PC MIDI Editors

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MNX2010 PC Audio Sites - PC MIDI Editors :

It seems that with the increase in use of sampling on the computer the use of MIDI decreases and even seems to be more and more forgotten. There are a few causes for this : First of all a lot of PC users have no or little knowledge of MIDI. MIDI is actually very simple, but it can also be very complex, especially when dealing with the extra parameters and "System Exclusive". MIDI is very slow, actually it's out of date and not even totally real-time. Few PC's have MIDI connectors or a keyboard nowadays. That's a pity, because MIDI forms the basis for making music with the computer, if you look further than just stacking some samples on some tracks. Even though MIDI is not really simple, it can create endless possibilities. It is flexible, more dynamical and uses small data storage. Almost all External music hardware (Samplers, Modules, Synthesizers) use MIDI (some also use USB). Also the internal software to generate sound like VST Instruments and software samplers uses MIDI.

Midi can be divided into 3 sub groups : MIDI-Note / MIDI-Controller / MIDI-System Exclusive.

  • MIDI-Note : All in direct relation to Note Notation, like : Note, Volume, Place, Tune and Length.
  • MIDI-Controllers : Realtime parameters which support MIDI-Note like : Pitch Bend, Modulation, Pan, Balance en After Touch.
  • MIDI-System Exclusive : The non- realtime parameters like : Sound Editing by computer software editor and dumping and loading of soundbanks en parameters.

The professional Midi arrangements programs support all these MIDI parameters. The system Exclusive can be used to load and store the sounds, by parts or by bank. Bank or Dump Utility's only support system exclusive.

MIDI Editors
Sadly the supply of MIDI hardware Editors for the PC is not so promising. Especially when you're used to an Atari with its enormous variety in editors, it strikes me that for the PC not so much effort has been made.

Besides the small amount of free editors for the PC, the quality is also depressing and for the some what older synths there are far more editors than for the newer ones.
In the Atari-age it was quite common that a fanatical synth owner created an editor of good quality, really open for suggestions from users. This rarely happens for the PC, if you want a good editor it will cost you money. The reason for this situation is caused by these few issues : The PC is not yet fully acknowledged as a music computer, still more as an all-round computer. When computers where new, people were experimenting more and the users were more idealistic. There is some sort of saturation, with the introduction of the software synths, there is a clear decreasing in hardware users. At last, studio's normally uses presets (factory sounds) in most cases.

But still editors are very important, especially if you want to achieve the maximum of what's possible with your synth, and create your own, unique sounds, without having to spend hours above a way too small display. Besides the editors itself, there are also Utilities like : bank save, bank manager (select sounds for your bank). Saving time is one of the many benefits. Through direct display of al your parameters you can get results much quicker. Some editors even have a "Sound-Robotter". This is a sound generator which can generate new sounds with a click of the mouse through selected randomizer parameters or presets. If you like the sound you can select it for your bank with a right mouse click. Sometimes there is even a sequencer built in to play programmable midi loops. The top of luxury is an extra USB connector especially for the editor, so the MIDI stream will not interrupted by the System Exclusive data. Also exchange of sound between different synths is one of possibilities; there are existing software converters who can translate the data-blocks.

So if you own a good editor, you have a lot of possibilities to expand the use of your synth and you will be able to explore the boundaries of your device. You shall find out you've added a new synth to your collection.....Jan 2004

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