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BlackFish

Midi workflow vids

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I'm trying to find some good videos on making midis and was hoping some midi gurus here had something to watch. I have FL Studio 12 to play with and need some inspiration. I have some songs in my head in mind but I'm not sure how to fully flesh them out.

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It's very interesting that you're plotting notes via a music sheet rather than a piano roll interface like I'm used to. Knowing actual chords does help I've noticed. Half the time I'm trying to figure out what notes I even want to use! (And yes, that program totally looks like a 16 bit program!)

Here is a recent example. I'm trying to make an opening riff where I have two extremes of what I want, but I can't figure out where in between I want the base note. I've spent hours trying to figure it out and it's driving me nanners! It's supposed to open the wad as a theme song. The wad is meant to be a standalone game about space aliens invading stuff. (note FL Studio rendered this as piano, but they ought to be Overdrive guitar.)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mv7xgrj1ci9wha0/Fortressone.mid?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6cf8pg3hfglx5ub/Fortresstwo.mid?dl=0

It might help to attempt to make more parts to it to figure out where I want the base note to be, but I have a tendency to get really anal about one part before moving on.

Here is an example of a midi I did a while back. I think it sounds fun and cheesy but it could be longer with more interesting variety of riffs.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/imff50e4wby42lm/cheetos.mid?dl=0

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I streamed and recorded this back sometime in 2013. I wasn't expecting to actually be able to get anything done under the pressure of having other people watch, but it came out well! I still need to get around to finishing that song though.

The streaming software recorded it in f4v format, which can be played back in VLC. The first few minutes of the video are just me setting things up, and can be safely skipped.
http://essel.spork-chan.net/wasd/composing.zip

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BlackFish said:

(And yes, that program totally looks like a 16 bit program!)

Cakewalk for Windows is a 16-bit program. Jimmy, what kind of devil magic did you use to get it to run on modern Windows?

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I've watched some of that video of yours. Going to watch the rest of it tomorrow. From what I saw though, it looked like you were able to attach plugins of some kind to the midi channels which I thought was pretty neat.

I think FL Studio has a few thinks like that by default, which I'll investigate tomorrow.

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BlackFish said:

I've watched some of that video of yours. Going to watch the rest of it tomorrow. From what I saw though, it looked like you were able to attach plugins of some kind to the midi channels which I thought was pretty neat.

I think FL Studio has a few thinks like that by default, which I'll investigate tomorrow.

I use Reason, which isn't really intended for MIDI composition (its only form of MIDI file export is just basic note data and some parameter automation). I'm comfortable enough with its sequencer and other tools, though, that I find it easiest to work this way, and then once the song is finished, export the note data and use Sekaiju to manually replicate the instrument and mixing settings as MIDI events.

The effects devices that I inserted on some tracks are Delay units, which in the completed MIDI file are manually replaced with duplicated tracks that I offset by however many steps in the sequencer. Working this way makes it easy to implement elaborate delay effects (among other things) while I'm writing, and it doesn't take too much time to replicate the end result once the song is done.

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esselfortium said:

The effects devices that I inserted on some tracks are Delay units, which in the completed MIDI file are manually replaced with duplicated tracks that I offset by however many steps in the sequencer. Working this way makes it easy to implement elaborate delay effects (among other things) while I'm writing, and it doesn't take too much time to replicate the end result once the song is done.


Is that how the double acoustic guitar thing works in BTSX E1-Map01? Or in BTSX-E2-Map01 with notes being ahead of each other? (see image link)

I imported some midis into FL Studio again to look at what all FL Studio can use for modifiers. This is what BTSX E2-MAP01 looks like. I noticed something alarming when I at first chose CGM3 as the soundfont, the speaker panning wasn't working! It sounded decent, but it was obvious that everything was "centermixed" so to speak. It was cool though after using the below mentioned soundfont that stuff like using reverb was possible with midi.

I have another soundfont, Roland SC-55.sf2 (I think it was linked on these forums somewhere) that I have. While it has ye ol "saxophone guitar" effect, it's probably the best sound quality to filesize ratio I've encountered and think I'll be using that instead for composing.

Before I do though, I wanted to verify that soundfont is producing the right mix. It appears some things might be louder than others. Here's a render of an unmodified midi of BTSX E2-MAP01. What's your opinion?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0x4cog7oqjjmpna/btsx2-01.ogg?dl=0

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BlackFish said:

Is that how the double acoustic guitar thing works in BTSX E1-Map01? Or in BTSX-E2-Map01 with notes being ahead of each other? (see image link)

More or less. I'm not sure what Stewboy's process is for it (he did e2m1's music, not me), but the end result is the same: a duplicated track (or several), containing the same notes notes, but offset to play at a different time. The clean guitar part in Womp is another obvious instance of delay use in one of my BTSX tracks.

I haven't used FL and I'm not familiar with its midi import and export. When you import a midi, though, are the tracks' volumes and panning being changed from the defaults? If not, it's probably ignoring that data.

The soundfont I use is http://essel.spork-chan.net/rapidshare/Roland_SoundCanvas.sf2
I use it because it's very similar (though not 100% identical...) to the standard Windows midi playback, so there aren't usually any big surprises when I translate a song over to a proper midi file at the end. I aim for the standard SoundCanvas-based Windows midi sounds both because they're what most people realistically will be hearing the songs with, and because replacement GM soundfonts tend to sound pretty terrible IMO.

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esselfortium said:

I haven't used FL and I'm not familiar with its midi import and export. When you import a midi, though, are the tracks' volumes and panning being changed from the defaults? If not, it's probably ignoring that data.


FL Studio detects a number of things including Volume, Channel Panning, Velocity and Panning per note, and the reverb, chorus, etc knobs as seen in the screenshot. CGM3 wasn't noticing channel panning, but the SC-55 soundfont was. It's actually quite intricate. I learned today that if I set up a delay in the channel's properties, it'll duplicate the notes accordingly in the render.

Thanks for the vids and tips so far guys.

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