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Seperate MIDI/AUDIO Rigs
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GenevieveBeamer
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#1
3rd January 2013
Old 3rd January 2013
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Seperate MIDI/AUDIO Rigs

Hi everyone, I'm kinda new to the recording scene, I've been in plenty of studios and had a few "mini lessons" from the engineers out of my curiosity. I've finally decided to go the home recording route and have invested quite a bit of money in it. My confusion comes when recording MIDI and AUDIO are concerned.

Basically, if I've got a Mac Pro and a MIDI keyboard, but I'm also going to be recording acoustic guitar and drums, what do I need to get?

A mixer on its own will not deal with the MIDI am I correct? But if I get a MIDI Interface, it will only be able to record MIDI and maybe 2, 4 or 6 tracks of Audio... So do I need say, one MIDI interface going into a USB/FireWire slot and select that as primary recording source when doing the MIDI, and then buying a USB/FW mixer (or whatever) and then selecting that when I'm recording the drums/guitar?

Any help is much appreciated!!
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4th January 2013
Old 4th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenevieveBeamer View Post
Hi everyone, I'm kinda new to the recording scene, I've been in plenty of studios and had a few "mini lessons" from the engineers out of my curiosity. I've finally decided to go the home recording route and have invested quite a bit of money in it. My confusion comes when recording MIDI and AUDIO are concerned.

Basically, if I've got a Mac Pro and a MIDI keyboard, but I'm also going to be recording acoustic guitar and drums, what do I need to get?

A mixer on its own will not deal with the MIDI am I correct? But if I get a MIDI Interface, it will only be able to record MIDI and maybe 2, 4 or 6 tracks of Audio... So do I need say, one MIDI interface going into a USB/FireWire slot and select that as primary recording source when doing the MIDI, and then buying a USB/FW mixer (or whatever) and then selecting that when I'm recording the drums/guitar?

Any help is much appreciated!!
On a Mac the audio and MIDI interfaces and controllers are separately selected. You can use a basic MIDI interface connected via one USB or Firewire port, and add an audio-only interface with as many audio inputs and outputs as needed on another, OR you can get a USB or Firewire audio interface that also has a MIDI interface built-in. There are many examples of both types available. A small sampling of good quality examples of both types (audio only and audio/MIDI) can be found here, but this is only the "tip of the iceberg".

Since there are so many audio interfaces available with vastly different input/output capacity (number of channels) and vastly differing quality levels, and a very wide range of prices, it's important to carefully decide on your current and possibly future needs and the quality level you can afford. If you're willing to pre-mix your drum tracks down to (2) channels, a mixer can be used ahead of a pair of interface line inputs, or you can purchase a mixer with a Firewire interface for all channels. There are plenty of larger interfaces with 24, 28 or 32 channels (expanded via ADAT inputs and/or external mic pres) such as the MOTU 828MK3 or the RME Fireface 800 that do include built-in MIDI. Either of those can handle a full drum kit, guitar and MIDI keyboard. Doing a little basic research now can save you time and money in the future.

The Utilities -> Audio-MIDI Setup Control Panel lets you select each one independently. An interface with both audio I/O and MIDI will show up in each section of the Audio-MIDI Control Setup panel (after installing an appropriate MIDI driver if needed). In fact, on a Mac, it's actually possible to select several different audio interfaces simultaneously (a process called forming an aggregate device) to increase the number of parallel recording tracks.

If you use Logic, Cubase or ProTools as your DAW, you can just record enable both your audio and MIDI tracks simultaneously to record your MIDI keyboard while you're recording voice or drums/guitar (or anything else). Once installed and originally selected, there is no need to choose between audio and MIDI. Although different in the way they operate, audio and MIDI tracks can co-exist side-by-side in the same project. Just enable the appropriate tracks and record each or both types of inputs as you please.

Hope this helps.
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GenevieveBeamer
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#3
5th January 2013
Old 5th January 2013
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Originally Posted by Lotus 7 View Post
On a Mac the audio and MIDI interfaces and controllers are separately selected......................Just enable the appropriate tracks and record each or both types of inputs as you please.

Hope this helps.
This has got to be one of the most informative answers ever given so early in a thread haha!

Thank you sir for your help. It is much appreciated. Allow me to +1 your rep
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5th January 2013
Old 5th January 2013
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It's easy to provide a decent response when the original inquiry is clearly stated. Often a Gearslutz thread will take a while to achieve a correct "focus" because the original poster is not able to state their issue completely or in understandable language, or uses incorrect terminology.

Re: Choosing the Best" interface for your application. You will find many Gearslutz threads where someone asks "What is the best specific ________ for my application?" [insert microphone, mic pre, cable, interface, equalizer, compressor, monitor, etc., etc.] (rather than asking "What type of device might fit my needs?). Those threads often become savage debates of Brand X vs. Brand Y, with supporters of each side defending their personal purchase decisions and projecting their preferences to someone else with entirely different needs.

The most intelligent musicians, engineers and producers never start that sort of thread. They determine their needs by asking, as you did, reading the specification sheets and owner's manuals to find the best fit, and then reading every published review of the hardware they're considering. Of course, it's always a very good idea to search the on-line forums and users' groups about specific problems or issues for any major purchase before you buy.

Hope you enjoy using the home recording system you're putting together.

Cheers!
GenevieveBeamer
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#5
6th January 2013
Old 6th January 2013
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Originally Posted by Lotus 7 View Post
The most intelligent musicians, engineers and producers never start that sort of thread. They determine their needs by asking, as you did, reading the specification sheets and owner's manuals to find the best fit, and then reading every published review of the hardware they're considering. Of course, it's always a very good idea to search the on-line forums and users' groups about specific problems or issues for any major purchase before you buy.

Hope you enjoy using the home recording system you're putting together.

Cheers!
I could not agree more, I used to be one of those musicians when I started guitar lessons, always asking other player which brands were the "best". Over several years of playing, performing, listening, practising and moving more towards engineering, I noticed I would hear a sound and go "ohh! What's that!?" And find out the really nice guitar tone I was hearing was one of the "brands" I'd been told weren't the best. It's about getting the right sound for YOURSELF and finding the things that get the job done.

Again, thanks for the help
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