Simple midi file question


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I have used MIDI to some extent over the years and have a basic level of knowledge. I have a Yamaha CLP – 170 that has both a disk drive and USB as well as MIDI in and out.
What I am attempting to do is archive songs played by a couple of my daughters. I want to come up with midi files. Of course I can do this using the 3 1/2 inch disc drives, but that requires some gymnastics as in cranking up the old gateway tower, copying the file to a portable storage device, loading that to my iMac, saving it to dropbox, then opening in Synthesia to play in the Yamaha if I want to record an audio track.

I am able to record MIDI into Garage Gand as well as studio one but there is not a simple way to export a MIDI file with those two.
I think that my old cakewalk on the gateway will do this but I don't really want to use it. So my question is, are there some good apps for iPad or iPhone that I can use to simply archive songs and create mid files?
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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In addition to GarageBand, there are other DAWs available for the iPad, such as Cubasis, n-Track, and Auria. There is also GarageBand and Logic Pro for the iMac, along with a variety of other DAWs, such as Ableton Live, Studio One, Cubase, REAPER, Tracktion, and many others. I'm thinking the iMac would probably be easier to use for this than either the iPad or iPhone would be, but you could use either or both depending on your needs.

Personally, I would avoid using Ableton Live or Studio One for this, because they will filter out any SysEx messages, which Yamaha uses for selecting the Reverb Type and Chorus Type, adjusting the tuning of either the entire keyboard or individual notes of the scale, and many other system settings.

If you want to use something that's completely free of charge, Tracktion T7 is a full-featured, non-crippled commercial DAW that's free to use. Tracktion's approach is to charge for the newest version of their DAW, distribute the previous version as "free" bundled software, and allow all versions older than that to be freely installed and used without charge. Thus, the newest version of Tracktion Waveform must be purchased, but the older version of Waveform can be obtained as bundled software with certain products, and all versions of the older Tracktion DAWs (T7, T6, T5, etc.) are completely free to download and use, with T7 being the most up-to-date of those older versions.
 
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Thanks. There's a lot of midi apps for iPad and IPhone out there. I use (and like) Synthesia on iPad, but it only plays midi files. Seems like it would be an easy thing to simply record midi data from a piano via USB on an iPhone and save as midi file.
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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Okay, I'm having a glance at the CLP-170 manuals.

Whether you use your iMac or an iPad/iPhone, the easiest way to connect would be USB, as you've mentioned. If you use an iPad/iPhone, you'll need a Camera Connection Kit so you can connect via USB, whereas you shouldn't need anything extra on an iMac. You didn't say, but I'm guessing you may already have a Camera Connection Kit.

If you want to record the CLP-170's MIDI output using external software, there are two things you should keep in mind:

(1) Yamaha uses SysEx messages to set many important system parameters, including settings for the effects (reverb, chorus, etc.) and the voices. You'll want to use MIDI recording software that doesn't filter out those SysEx messages, because if they're omitted from the MIDI recording then the voices probably won't sound quite the same when you play back the recording through the CLP-170. I haven't dabbled with GarageBand in a few years, so I don't know what its MIDI capabilities are these days, but back when I did check it out a few years ago there was basically (IIRC) no way to save your MIDI input to a MIDI file. I've heard that it's been improved a bit since then, but I'm doubtful as to whether it lets you record SysEx messages. I do know that Studio One does not; it removes any SysEx messages when you load a MIDI file or send MIDI data to the DAW to be recorded. So I wouldn't recommend using either GarageBand or Studio One for what you want to do. Instead, I would recommend Cubasis if you're going to use an iPad. Your options will be more varied if you decide to go with the iMac, because there are many DAWs which let you work with SysEx messages, including the free Tracktion T7 DAW.

(2) When you record a song on the keyboard, Yamaha saves all of the necessary setup information for the system parameters, voices, and effects at the beginning of the song, in a special "SInit" or "Song Initialization" measure that precedes the measure in which the notes of the song actually begin. If you want to record the keyboard's MIDI output using external software, you'll need to make sure that all of this setup information gets transferred to the software and recorded in the MIDI file before you begin to actually play any notes, otherwise your MIDI recording might not use the correct voices and other settings when you play it back. There is an "InitialSetup" function that can be used to transmit the MIDI messages corresponding to all of the keyboard's current settings so they can be recorded in your external MIDI software; see page 90 of the CLP-170/150 Owner's Manual. So the procedure for recording with external software should be as follows: (a) Start recording in the software. (b) Select the "InitialSetup" function so the keyboard's settings will be recorded. (c) Begin to play the song you want to record. (d) Stop recording when you're finished.
 
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I downloaded Tracktion T7 in my iMac. I feel like I'm sitting in the cockpit of an F-35 –as a civilian.
I don't have any plugins. Just the piano. I'm using E-Mu midi cables, which I see are recognized in the software. Managed to record a test and when playing back it was apparent that it was recording thru the built-in mic. I think I enabled that during set up. So...

Would I want to use one track for a stereo midi track?

Assign one midi channel per track ok?

Would this recording do playback thru the piano. (That's what I'd prefer)

Again, I'm just trying to archive my kids playing while they're active.

This stuff is rocket science.
 
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So I unenabled the mic ok. I'm sure the midi connections are functioning because the corresponding keys
on the screen respond exactly when I play the piano. I'm just not seeing record level indicators moving, and when I do a recording there's nothing.
 
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Ok so now I'm gathering that Tracktion has no sound producing plugins? This is getting complicated.
 

SeaGtGruff

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MIDI isn't audio, so when you record MIDI you won't see any reaction on the meters as when you record audio.

I think Tracktion T7 has a soft synth (virtual sound module) that comes with it, but I'll have to double check that. I had purchased it and all then-available plug-ins back before it became free, so I've already got everything on my Windows desktop computer. But I haven't installed it on my MacBook Air yet, so I'll install it later tonight and see what comes with it.

I'll also see if I can take a few screenshots and post a short how-to for you, although I think there might be some instructional videos on YouTube, or maybe on Tracktion's website.
 
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Ok I got it to work. Had to download a free piano plugin. And yes, the level indicators "indicated"
I was hoping it might play back on the Yamaha, but that's ok. At least I can record and make files!
Thanks for plugging in helpful input.
 

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You should be able to load a MIDI file into Tracktion T7-- or record new MIDI tracks-- and then play back the MIDI to your CLP-170. You just need to select the CLP-170 as the output device for the tracks.
 
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Would selecting the CLP 170 be the same thing as selecting the E-MU because that is what shows up as midi and put an output?
 

SeaGtGruff

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Yes, if you're using a MIDI-to-USB adapter or a MIDI audio interface then the CLP will show up on the iMac or iPad/iPhone as whatever the adapter or interface identifies itself as.

The CLP has a USB port, so you should also be able to connect it directly to the iMac or iPad/iPhone with a USB cable, in which case I think it should show up as "Clavinova-1" or something similar-- at least, the MIDI Implementation Chart in the CLP-170/150 Data List says "YAMAHA [ Clavinova ]" in the top left corner, and it's my experience that whatever is between those square brackets in the top left corner of the MIDI Implementation Chart is the MIDI device name that the keyboard or USB-MIDI driver will use when the MIDI ports are listed on a computer.

PS -- I suggested Tracktion T7 (or other DAW of your choice, as long as it doesn't filter out SysEx messages) for RECORDING the keyboard's MIDI on the iMac, as an alternative to recording on the CLP itself and having to deal with floppy diskettes. I had assumed that you'd still be PLAYING BACK the resulting MIDI song files using Synthesia or whatever you've been using. But you should certainly be able to play them back from the DAW as well-- and I imagine that you would want to do that, at least after you've recorded a song, to verify that everything worked as expected.

Also, I verified that T7 doesn't include any plug-ins. To be honest, I already had so many plug-ins on my Windows computer before I ever installed T4 (which was the version of Tracktion that I started out with) that I never even noticed that there were no included sounds-- plus, as I said, I had bought the bundle which included all of the soft synths and effects that were available at that time.
 
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Yes I can play a recorded file via Synthesia but it’d be nice to play thru Tracktion as well. Are you saying that there is going to be a difference between using the E-MU midi cables and the USB cable? I used the five pin MIDI cables to do the recording. So in my thinking that same cable should send the signal back to the piano.
 
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SeaGtGruff

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The end result should be the same whether you're connecting the CLP's MIDI ports to a computer's USB port using a MIDI-to-USB cable or connecting the CLP's USB port to a computer's USB port using a USB cable.

The difference is that the USB port is simpler to use, because you don't need a special MIDI-to-USB cable (and with cheaper cables there can be data errors). But if you want to connect the CLP to another MIDI device that has MIDI ports, you'll want to connect the CLP's MIDI ports to the other device's MIDI ports.

Also, the MIDI device (CLP or whatever) will usually show up on the computer under whatever device you're using to connect-- that is, connecting the CLP directly to the computer via USB should display it as "Clavinova" or other descriptive designation that the Yamaha USB-MIDI driver is using, whereas connecting via an additional interface should display it as whatever designation the interface is using. That's why you're seeing it show up as E-MU or whatever rather than as Clavinova. Note that this shouldn't make a bit of difference in the data being received (and if it does, then you've got a bad interface).
 
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