- Sep 30, 2017
- Reaction score
I am primarily working on piano compositions and recording with Garageband. I'm curious, for those of you who play piano and record, which approach do you prefer for recording, MIDI or audio?
It depends what your goal is.
MIDI records are a history of what you played, but contains no sound whatsoever.
Some advantages: You can edit simple mistakes by editing the MIDI data (e.g. change MIDI note C to a C#). You can play it back using an entirely different sound (a better piano sound you find later, or a whole different kind of sound).
Some disadvantages: It will never sound exactly the way you played it unless you play it back using the same instrument you created it on. If you recorded it using the GarageBand piano sound, it will never sound the same except when you play it in GarageBand. If you recorded it using the sound in your keyboard, it will never sound the same except when you play it with your computer connected to that keyboard.
Audio records sound. So the file will always sound the same, and can be played back at any time by you or anyone else, with no extra gear or particular software.
Hi, thank you so much for this information. It makes complete sense to me. I am using a digital piano and am working with MIDI on my tracks for the reasons you described. I will go audio if I decide to add guitar or vocals. My hope is to create a four song EP and release it.I think that it also depends on what type of piano you are recording on/from. If you are using a digital piano, recording a MIDI sequence is a fantastic way to capture the note information. That way, you can edit any wrong notes.
If you are using an acoustic piano and doing a live recording, then audio is one of the only ways to go, unless the piano has a retrofit for MIDI transmission.
I have released 3 specific 'solo piano albums' in my discography. The first one, recorded back in 2009 (but released in 2015), was recorded live and to an audio recorder. I took those files, cleaned them up in my studio, and released it that way. Any mistakes I made while playing are still there, because I did not record it to MIDI from the digital piano I was using.
The second piano album was recorded on another digital piano and I recorded MIDI into a sequencer. I then fixed any errors, and played it back through the digital piano while recording to a WAV recorder. I mastered the files and released it as an album.
For the most recent solo piano release, I kind of did the same thing, but had some older original audio recordings of piano songs I did on another instrument. I added EQ and such to them and cleaned them up. I also wrote some newer material and I used a different digital piano for those songs. I EQ'd them as well and tried to make them sound similar to the other original songs that were done 'audio only'.
On this recent release, most of the compositions were done on a Kawai, one being an older one and one being something newer that I bought. Since they were from the same company, the piano sounds were fairly close anyway, so it took very little to make the sound similar. The exception was one song that I recorded live on a Casio Privia a number of years ago and it is very different than the Kawai piano sounds. I left it alone, since the only I could make that one sound like the others was to physically play it again...
If you are using an acoustic piano, unless the piano has a MIDI retrofit kit on it, your main option is recording to audio. I have tried 'audio to MIDI' programs in the past, but unless the audio is a monohonic lead line, it generally does not turn out too well.
It depends on how I am led to playHi, thank you so much for this information. It makes complete sense to me. I am using a digital piano and am working with MIDI on my tracks for the reasons you described. I will go audio if I decide to add guitar or vocals. My hope is to create a four song EP and release it.
One question for you: When you compose for piano via MIDI, do you play your piece straight through (as if via audio w/ your acoustic), or do you create distinct sections/bar lengths ahead of time to structure the piece as you go?
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