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Record MIDI

There are two basic methods of converting MIDI to MP3, WAV, and to other digital audio formats. The first one is quick and easy, especially if you use some tool like MIDI Converter Studio. It is known as MIDI to MP3 conversion with SoundFonts. With this method, a MIDI file is not played during the conversion, but instead it is rendered in the computer's memory using samples from SoundFont banks. This allows you to convert your MIDI music to MP3 without need to listen to every given file from the conversion list. Thus converting a long (say, ten minutes of total duration) file may take just a few seconds. Moreover, this method makes you independent of your sound card's capabilities, as by downloading and using different SoundFonts you can easily change acoustic parameters of the used instruments and create superbly sounding music even on a computer with a less than average sound card (or with the worst sound card ever created, if you wish).

The idea of the other converting method may be simpler, but the converting process itself may prove to be tricky. If you decide to convert MIDI to MP3 using sound recording, you should take into account a number of things. We will discuss them after a short intermission. If you don't need the following information, just skip the next four passages.

There is yet another thing that can be referred to as MIDI recording. That is, you may want to record music to your computer from an external MIDI keyboard (or synthesizer) and wonder how this can be done.

Again, you have two options. It is possible to connect your keyboard's MIDI port to the MIDI port of your computer and to record the music that you play with a MIDI editor that supports the function. Most of MIDI editors are capable of listening to the MIDI port and recording all kinds of activities from it. Using the same MIDI editor you will be able to add or remove some parts of your composition, to rearrange it, if necessary, and to save it as a proper MIDI file. After this, you can run a MIDI to MP3 converter on it to make it fully compatible with as many devices as possible.

The other option is even simpler, but it lacks the flexibility of the first one. When recording a MIDI file, you can add and mix multiple tracks, freely edit the tune itself, add or remove special effects, and so on. All of this is not possible with the other method of recording MIDI from an external keyboard.

And here it is. Connect 'audio out' jack of your synthesizer to 'audio in' jack of your computer's sound card. Then use an audio recorder to capture your composition directly to MP3, without creating the intermediate MIDI file. Using silence detection, you can even record several compositions in a row.

Now let's return to the theme of converting MIDI to MP3 with the method of sound recording. We have already mentioned that there are several requirements to be met. First of all, your sound card should support MIDI recording.

Unfortunately, this depends only on your hardware. Some (most of) sound cards allow so called sound mixing, when sounds from quite different sources (line in, microphone, WAV, MIDI) can be mixed together and captured by sound recording software. If you have such sound card, you are lucky, as you can record any sound on your computer, including the sound of a MIDI file being played.

However, if your sound card doesn't support recording of MIDI, you won't be able to use the second method of MIDI to MP3 conversion. You still have the possibility to record the sound with an external recorder (connect the 'line out' or 'speakers' output of your sound card to a sound recorder), but in most cases this is not what you would do. Nevertheless, it's not a reason for being sad about the lacking capabilities. You can still convert your MIDI to MP3 with SoundFonts, and most probably there's a SoundFont on the Internet that creates exactly the sound you want to hear.

Another requirement for the sound recording mode is not so final. If your sound card does support MIDI recording, you should activate the feature. Otherwise no sound will be captured, although you will hear your MIDI file playing during the recording process. It's nothing wrong, if you hear no sound in the output file, you simply need to switch to the proper recording device. Microphone won't be any good here, you should select "Stereo Mix", or a similar device.

MIDI Converter Studio supports the both methods of converting MIDI to MP3. If you use the sound recording mode, it will prompt you to activate the correct device automatically. Thus you don't need to open the recording mixer and to guess what device should be used. Also, the program uses names of MIDI files that you convert to create output filenames. Basic ID3 tags can be set. A handy tempo control is available, which allows you to record MIDI slower or faster, according to your needs. With every supported output format, you can adjust its settings to get better quality or smaller file size. All the most popular MIDI formats are supported: MIDI 0, MIDI 1, Karaoke MIDI, RIFF MIDI 0, RIFF MIDI 1. Drag&Drop and user-friendly multilingual interface make handling of MIDI files still easier.

Naturally, all the above features are also present when you convert MIDI to MP3 using SoundFonts.

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I also use the MIDI converter software to create audio CDs for choir members to learn their parts. Some of them don't have computers and e-mail to use MIDI files, so with the converter I can give them a CD to play on standard audio equipment.

Earl Hughes


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