Join Mark Struthers for an in-depth discussion in this video Extracting MIDI with VariAudio, part of Up and Running with Cubase Pro 8.
- Let's look at using a VSTi so that we can use it to remix or replace existing recordings. And along the way, we're going to use Vary Audio, perhaps in not the most obvious way, so that we can extract a performance from an audio recording and then save it as a MIDI file, so that that can be used to power our VSTi. I'm going to do it with this base line. This is the existing audio recording. (base plays) Okay, so that's what we want to copy.
It might be a bit of a challenge, I have to admit, with those sliding run-downs. But we'll see what we can do. Our first step is to open the Sample Editor. So I'll double-click. And then, once I'm here, I'm making sure I'm looking at the Vary Audio tab. We need Cubase to analyze these notes, not just their pitch, but their velocity, too. So I'll click on Pitch & Warp. Now, just for the sake of argument, I'm going to assume that Vary Audio has analyzed accurately and all these notes are correct.
I dare say they're not, but we're just using this as an example of what we can do. My next step is to get Vary Audio to extract all the MIDI information from this audio recording. So we do it by coming down here and clicking on this button. Consequently, the Extract MIDI dialog opens up. Now, there are a few fields here. To be honest, what I suggest you do, certainly with this pitch mode field, click on the drop menu to start off with, and then, of our five possibilities offered, first of all consider what sort of MIDI information that you want extracting.
At the moment it's set to just notes, and no pitchbend data. But, as I suggest, textually these five options indicate what you will be left with. Once you try some of these, you might see a warning message indicating an issue, this, for example. So I'm going to go for our second one, Notes and Static Pitchbend Data. To be honest, there isn't that much pitchbend within our bass recording. But, just in case there is any light vibrato, I'll leave it at that. I don't think I really need a pitchbend range of two. Nevertheless, I'll leave it at the default.
I do want this set to Dynamic Velocity. I don't want every note to come out at a static volume. I want Vary Audio to analyze the relative volumes of each individual note and then reflect that in the resulting MIDI file. And then finally, for the destination, I want it to create a new MIDI track. So I'll click Okay. And then I'll close down the Sample Editor. Right. There's our new MIDI track with this new MIDI file brought in, and generated from our audio recording. Now, in fact, I'm going to move it up to the top next to the audio recording.
There's no real reason behind this other than this is the way I work. When I'm working on a particular track, I tend to move it to the top, simply because it's nearer the ruler. My eyes don't have to flick up and down the screen. And in fact, with this bass audio recording, I'm going to place it inside our Guitars folder. Okay then. So that's us set up with the MIDI file. So far, we haven't set up a VSTi so that this MIDI file can play through it. Now, of course, with this being a MIDI file, if we select it, we can come up to MIDI and then open up one of the MIDI editors.
I'll open up the List Editor, and then, now, we can adjust any of our notes, should we want to. Now, of course, in the real world, I would go through and check every single note. However, for our example, I'll assume that Cubase has got it right. But that's the List Editor. I'll just close it down. Now, because I've only got the MIDI file, this is great, but it needs a VSTi to drive. One way of doing this ... And the way that you would have probably done it in the past if you are a long-time user of Cubase, and you might still do it this way if you prefer to have what's known as the Rack floating around on your screen ...
Come up to Devices and roll down to VST Instruments. Notice the shortcut there, F11. Okay, so here is the floating panel. We can resize it or move it around. Some people prefer this convenience. I'm going to use it here first of all to search around my media bay so that I can find a relevant bass patch. And the particular bass patch that I find that I want to use, well, that preset will be linked to a VSTi. So by clicking here, just to the left of where it says Track Instruments, Cubase is clever enough to understand that my MIDI file is named as Bass.
Consequently, within the media bay here, relevant links to bass presets show up. And at the far right in the results, I'll choose one of these at random. I'll go for this Fretless Bass and then simply hit that track down at the foot. Okay, brilliant. The VST Instruments Rack now loads up, running this copy of HALion Sonic SE for the VSTi. Our newly generated bass MIDI file will now drive this particular bass preset within HALion Sonic SE. And really, we've had to do hardly any setting up.
Now, I'm just going to close down this floating panel for the moment. What I need to do is move our MIDI file from that MIDI track that we created automatically via Vary Audio, and then just move it down to this instrument track that we automatically created that is now driving HALion Sonic. Now, at the moment, if I simply try and drag it down, I don't get it snapping to Bar 11, where I want it to be. So I'll undo this, control plus z, or command plus z, to take us back to where we were. Now, if I come up here and activate this Snap button, it's really simple to drag it down now, and it snaps exactly to that bar.
Okay. Now I'm going to remove our first MIDI track. Don't need it now. So I'll right-click on it and run down to Remove Selected Tracks. Okay, brilliant. That's us all set up. In fact, we can see down here our output for this instrument track is being routed out to HALion Sonic. At this point, if you want to see HALion Sonic, click on this button here. Consequently, the HALion Sonic SE2 interface opens. We'll see in the first available slot that that Fretless Bass preset is loaded up.
And this is on MIDI Channel 1. If you wanted to load up a different preset onto MIDI Channel 2, perhaps so that you can change around the sounds later, maybe as a remix, maybe you don't want to use this MIDI file as a bass. Maybe you would like to load up a piano so that you could use it as bass piano notes, or maybe an organ, or whatever you want to do. Well, by clicking on here, for our second MIDI slot, I can then run down and choose from any of these presets. I'll go for this one at random, the Combo Organ.
Okay, great stuff. It's now loaded. Consequently now, if I come back over to the Inspector, at present, this bass MIDI file is driving that Fretless preset. Remember, it's on MIDI Channel 1. Well, now, if I click where it says 1, I can flick this over to a different MIDI channel, number 2 for example, the one that we've got that organ set up on. So that's the principle. In fact, I'm gonna change it back to MIDI Channel 1, the Fretless Bass. Now, just prior to listening to this, I want to come back over to the Inspector, to this section, MIDI Modifiers, only because, once I open it up, I want to show you this.
Where it says Transpose, if I want to move all my MIDI notes up or down, I can do by using this Transpose function. This is set up in semi tones. So if I want to go up a full octave, of course I would have to type in 12 there. It's up to you. You might not want to do this. I'm simply showing you this as an option. Anyway, let's have a listen to it now. I want to place my cursor just before the MIDI file kicks in. I need to turn Snap off to place my cursor just before. And we'll finish off for this movie by having a quick listen. Here we go.
(bass plays) Okay, not too bad. There were a few spurious notes creeping in. That's, of course, going back to what we mentioned right at the beginning of this movie. By using one of the MIDI editors, the List Editor, for example, we can modify or even delete any spurious notes that don't quite sound right. Anyway, I'll leave it here for the moment.
We'll pick up again in the next movie.
- Installing and connecting Cubase
- Organizing assets and tracks
- Recording audio and MIDI
- Inserting effects
- Quantizing and processing tracks
- Integrating virtual instruments
- Developing song ideas with chord pads
- Using the Mix Console