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The Advantages of MIDI files over Audio Loops (Real Tracks)...

While PG Music has done a wonderful job with their Real Tracks (audio loops), but for the way most professional musicians work, MIDI is superior.

Why?

The output of BiaB (MIDI and/or Real Tracks) is OK, but not good enough for gigging. I really think they need to be tweaked.

    Some of the tweaks below can be done with Real Tracks (Audio Loops) but to do so you would need to have: a home recording studio consisting of a high quality digital recording setup a vast array of instruments (bass, guitar, sax, violin, trumpet, etc.) AND the ability to play them an array of high quality microphones an acoustically pristine room to record them in engineering, mixing, and mastering skills While MIDI tweaking can be done on the most modest computer with very inexpensive software.
These are some of the tweaks necessary to bring the output of BiaB to gig quality.
    All of the tweaks below are easy in MIDI, but impossible or difficult (needing the home studio described above) in Audio. Here are a few things that come to mind (in no particular order):
  1. The endings on BiaB styles are limited to 2 bars. Some of the endings in styles (other than my own of course ) are pretty lame. In MIDI you can create a proper ending or simply copy and paste from one of my MIDI intro/ending disks.
  2. There are no "real" intros in BiaB. You can easily create one in MIDI or simply copy and paste from one of my MIDI intro/ending disks.
  3. Some songs need "song specific" licks, often on a guitar or the bass. BiaB style by their nature are more generic and they should be. A style with a song-specific lick would generally be good for only one song. I know, in my early days, I wrote an Elvis "Don't Be Cruel" style and with that "signature" guitar riff. That style really isn't good for much other than "Don't Be Cruel".
  4. Some songs have rhythmic kicks (I was jamming with some Salsa guys and they called them "breaks") -- a section of music where the entire band plays a passage consisting a number of what PG calls Shots and rests in a very definite, rythmic pattern.
  5. Some songs could use volume manipulation on individual drum instruments (bring up the snare, take down the cymbals), this is easy to do in MIDI, next to impossibld to do in Audio Loops
  6. Sometimes you may want to change a drum sound, for example, on a Latin/Rock tune, change the ride cymbal to a cowbell, easy in MIDI, darn near impossible in Audio.
  7. I've often changed instruments on some of the BiaB output parts. (That piano part might sound better on a Rhodes for a particular song, or a nylon string guitar, or a Clavinet and that Clean Guitar might sound good as an Acoustic Guitar on another song.) Again, easy with MIDI, impossible with Audio
  8. Expressive devices that are lacking in BiaB, easy to do in MIDI, extremely difficult or impossible with Audio Loops
    • crescendo (A directive to a performer to smoothly increase the volume of a particular phrase or passage)
    • diminuendo (A directive to a performer to smoothly decrease the volume of the specific passage of a composition)
    • accelerando (Gradually accelerating or getting faster)
    • ritardando (Gradually getting slower)
    • fermata (notation marking directing the performer or ensemble to sustain the note of a composition affecting all parts and lasting as long as the artistic interpretation of the conductor or performer allows)
  9. Composing - you cannot get audio loops to do what you want, but you can change or add anything you want in MIDI format very easily.
  10. Sometimes when changing from an A substyle to a B substyle you might not want a roll. In MIDI it's a simply copy and paste operation.
  11. You might want to rearrange the drum rolls in a piece or change the roll from a snare to a tom. Again in MIDI it's just copy and paste or a simple transpose command.
  12. Fade outs. I don't do them in a live situation, but others do - plus if you are recording and need a fade out, it's easy with MIDI.

In Addition:

  • I've read that on some computers, the "Real Tracks" can take from 40 seconds or more to load. This is definitely too long to wait on a gig. 5 seconds is too long on a gig, and in my opinion, too long to wait at home
  • The money you will spend on external hard drives to store all the real tracks could be spent on a good MIDI sound module that would make your drums and other instruments sound great, load instantly, not tax your CPU, and give you all the editing opportunites you don't get with Real Tracks

Conclusion:

While the Real Tracks sound good, as long as you have a good external sound module (not a computer sound card), the editing features of MIDI more than make up for any slight difference in tonal quality and in the end can give you a far superior musical output.

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