Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

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MathieuF
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Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by MathieuF » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:51 pm

Hi guys and gals !

I'm doing more and more keyboards recording sessions for various artists, bands, etc. and I've had a recurring issue that I now want to discuss with pros :)

It's been maybe 3 or 4 times when a client would come back to me, days, weeks or even months after a session was done, asking if I could change "the tones a little bit" or the key of the whole thing or some little details like that and they all assume it would be easy to fix because they assume I record my keyboards in MIDI and I can just run the MIDI through the keyboards again and change little details. But I don't (always) record the MIDI ! And actually when I do, it's mostly just because I want to get a "quantized" option or something that should sound programmed and not played.

So my question is, should I always record the MIDI when I do sessions ? So I can provide this option of changing sounds, tempos, keys, etc.. ?? I feel like yes, I should...but I don't...sometimes I record really quickly and go with the flow, and somehow recording the MIDI is messing with my work flow.

Any pro keyboard players here that does session work ? Do you provide that option or just provide the audio and that's it ?

Bonus question : How many revisions of a recording should I provide for the first agreed price ??

Thanks !!
Mathieu Fiset - Keyboardist / Drummer / Composer
https://mathieufiset.bandcamp.com/

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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by edmondredd » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:19 am

Heya Mathieu,
I personally don't do much session work, however and FWIW, I find it way easier to record midi files, not just to get a "quantized" option.
You could change the timbre, you could change the virtual instrument, you can also change the global tempo, and you could adjust velocities. Those settings, personally, are easier done with midi rather than audio.
Plus you can always bounce a midi to a wav file if need be.
HTH,

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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by MathieuF » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:01 am

edmondredd wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:19 am
Heya Mathieu,
I personally don't do much session work, however and FWIW, I find it way easier to record midi files, not just to get a "quantized" option.
You could change the timbre, you could change the virtual instrument, you can also change the global tempo, and you could adjust velocities. Those settings, personally, are easier done with midi rather than audio.
Plus you can always bounce a midi to a wav file if need be.
HTH,

edmond
Yeah of course I know I should, there's definitely a lot of options when you record the MIDI.

The question I guess is more : Should I provide that option to the client I work with ? To be able to change little details after the tracks has been delivered first ? Of course I offer free revisions of my work, but sometimes they approve everything and then come back to me for changes...assuming I can do it quickly with MIDI...kind of annoying.
Mathieu Fiset - Keyboardist / Drummer / Composer
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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by Len911 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:25 am

Then perhaps you would prefer something like acid pro? Once you save your acidized wav you can then load it and change the tempo, key etc within reason of course for stretching audio, without all the artifacts.
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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by MathieuF » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:37 pm

Len911 wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:25 am
Then perhaps you would prefer something like acid pro? Once you save your acidized wav you can then load it and change the tempo, key etc within reason of course for stretching audio, without all the artifacts.
I wouldn't deliver something like that to my clients though. Yesterday when I was asked to change the key of my tracks, I just said I couldn't do it simply, without having to re-record everything, OR they could pitch shift the tracks themselves, but I don't want to put my name on something pitch shifted. But then that doesn't solve the issue of someone wanting to change the sounds that I used...

I guess I realize I should always record the MIDI...but I wonder what session keyboard player did in the years prior to MIDI :P Re-record and charge extra I guess.
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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by guscave » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:16 am

I've had similar issue. Although I bounce all my midi to audio before mixing, I've had clients come back months later to ask for changes that required me to go back to the original midi file so I make the necessary changes. 90% of the times it's not a problem, but there have been a couple of times where the VSTI was no longer available and I had no choice but to tell the client it couldn't be done.

You do what you can, but sometimes you just have to say no.

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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by MathieuF » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:35 am

I guess I'm surprisingly "old school" in my ways of recording keyboards. I don't use VSTs much...I use my Nord Stage 2 and Korg MicroKorg for 80 to 90% of the tracks I record, and don't always think about recording the MIDI as well...Of course if I was using more VSTs the MIDI wouldn't be an issue.

Anyways, thanks for the discussion, just talking about it made me take the decision of AT LEAST TRYING to record the MIDI at all time :D Just in case :)
Mathieu Fiset - Keyboardist / Drummer / Composer
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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by andygabrys » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:57 pm

Most people I know offer 1 pass. A couple of touch ups if required, maximum of 3 touchups. But you have to be close with the fast recording otherwise they are just getting free work out of you.

I don't know anyone who would ask a guitarist to re-record in a different key etc without paying again. Using hardware synths you are basically in the same situation. That's what they are supposed to figure out before they contract you (what key things will be in). If you are working with them doing pre-production and writing parts and trying keys, you should make a different contract with them that compensates you for much more than just playing a couple parts.

Recording MIDI at the same time as your audio shouldn't be that hard anyway - you enable a MIDI track and record it simultaneously. You could have one setup that you move between Synths assuming they are modern enough to have MIDI in and out. Then you run that back through the synth and re-record in a different key or whatever. Similar to re-amping a DI guitar track. You can also trigger soft synths with the same MIDI. I would likely do that just to prevent headaches.

Another option is Melodyne with DNA. Which allows you to capture a polyphonic audio recording and export a MIDI track out. You might have to do some clean up but you could offer 2 rates: 1) straight audio one pass plus touchups and 2) audio with extra work to either capture MIDI at the same time or use Melodyne to capture MIDI and then work with the client to come up with the perfect sounds / part.

IMO based on what I just hear on your site though - maybe people are expecting a run of the mill synth part instead of somebody with super chops who plays a lot of amazing analog stuff. I would campaign for a more fair share if they are asking for all this extra work.

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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by MathieuF » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:20 pm

andygabrys wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:57 pm
Most people I know offer 1 pass. A couple of touch ups if required, maximum of 3 touchups. But you have to be close with the fast recording otherwise they are just getting free work out of you.

I don't know anyone who would ask a guitarist to re-record in a different key etc without paying again. Using hardware synths you are basically in the same situation. That's what they are supposed to figure out before they contract you (what key things will be in). If you are working with them doing pre-production and writing parts and trying keys, you should make a different contract with them that compensates you for much more than just playing a couple parts.

Recording MIDI at the same time as your audio shouldn't be that hard anyway - you enable a MIDI track and record it simultaneously. You could have one setup that you move between Synths assuming they are modern enough to have MIDI in and out. Then you run that back through the synth and re-record in a different key or whatever. Similar to re-amping a DI guitar track. You can also trigger soft synths with the same MIDI. I would likely do that just to prevent headaches.

Another option is Melodyne with DNA. Which allows you to capture a polyphonic audio recording and export a MIDI track out. You might have to do some clean up but you could offer 2 rates: 1) straight audio one pass plus touchups and 2) audio with extra work to either capture MIDI at the same time or use Melodyne to capture MIDI and then work with the client to come up with the perfect sounds / part.

IMO based on what I just hear on your site though - maybe people are expecting a run of the mill synth part instead of somebody with super chops who plays a lot of amazing analog stuff. I would campaign for a more fair share if they are asking for all this extra work.
Thanks for the very complete answer :P

Actually most people hire me as a composer of keyboard parts, not just performing parts already written.
Mathieu Fiset - Keyboardist / Drummer / Composer
https://mathieufiset.bandcamp.com/

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Re: Recording MIDI or Audio Only ?

Post by carel11 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:39 pm

Hey Mathieu,
I do not work with clients, but when recording, I save both....After recording the midi and mixing the track down, I render all individual tracks to audio. That way if a plug in is unavailable or is altered by the manufacturer in future, I still have product that will work.
good luck
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