MIDI Software Review
Why MIDI Software?
MIDI Software has existed for more than 20 years. During this time it has evolved from expensive, limited programs accessible only to big-spending producers with a great deal of hardware, to its readily-available, feature-rich form today. MIDI Software has enabled unsigned and unheralded artists to record, edit and transform one-way MIDI messages into clear, replicable messages that could integrate and even automate various hardware, computer and instrumental components.
There is often a great deal of confusion over MIDI "event messages" and commonly-used audio file formats. MIDI does not, in the literal sense, transmit audio media. Rather, it communicates the "event messages," which are commands to alter pitch, tempo, volume, vibrato, clock signals and other values and cues that construct the parameters through which audio files and media are filtered. MIDI also differs from traditional audio file formats in the sense that it is much smaller in data size, existing as imperative data rather than compressed or uncompressed audio waveforms.
While MIDI's roots began on the stage with its quick adoption by performance artists with a sizable synthesizer rack, it has since evolved to find use among both producers and composers. While most MIDI software programs are oriented towards the former, several MIDI software programs, including SmartScore X MIDI Edition, have special features to annotate, modify and integrate traditional notation and scoring features within a software-based, MIDI-intensive environment.
With MIDI Software, producers and composers can expedite compositional and sequencing efforts and expedite the recording process with automated parameter modulation and instrumental cues. Composers can compose entire scores in standard notation or tablature and even print lead sheets with lyrics and instrumental cues for use in an orchestral or symphonic environment. Artists and DJs, who were among the first to take advantage of MIDI, have at their disposal a tool capable of reproducing on stage what could previously only be considered in the studio or executed with a vast array of instruments or with using the difficult "Control Voltage" sequencing.
MIDI Software: What to Look For
Though MIDI "event messages" don't require the space of common audio file formats, these programs still, in virtually all cases, require a great deal of computing power. That said, simply meeting the basic system requirements is no by no means an assurance that the software will be optimal--or even passable. It is for this reason that prospective and concurrent MIDI software program users should exceed the basic software requirements to ensure optimal function and performance.
Not all MIDI Software programs are created equally. Some MIDI software programs and applications found in digital audio workstation software programs are suited for one style or mode of production, while others are highly flexible, versatile and finds apt usage as a MIDI software and audio production software program. Others, too, cover all these bases and can even hold their own on stage for live performances.
The following is the criteria TopTenREVIEWS used to evaluate MIDI Software:
Composition & Sequencing Features
It says it in the name, sure, but MIDI Software programs should offer a palette of tools and host of features to create, craft and build MIDI events for use in recording or for audio tracks. These tools and features generally include: beat and percussion sequencers, piano-roll sequencers, playlist or palette sequencers, which list all MIDI events used in the track, as well as built-in tools and features to modify, adjust and optimize parameters to ensure integrity and consistency of values such as tempo, pitch, volume and others.
Recording & Editing Features
For recording and editing functions, MIDI Software programs should offer features that enable producers to view the track data through several modes or perspectives, such as waveform, grid, groove, standard notation, tablature or another form of discernible visual representation. From there, producers, composers and other users should have the necessary tools to edit entire audio regions without causing destructive disruptions to the overall composition. MIDI Software programs should also offer a degree of real-time functionality, allowing producers to preview the effect of additional or supplemental effects, samples, instruments and/or loops while maintaining the ability to spot-edit or rescind an intended edit.
Just as important to MIDI Software features and functions is what can or cannot be input into and supported by the program. MIDI Software programs should be compatible with a variety of MIDI devices, hardware controllers, plugins, effects and patches, as well as both compressed, "lossy" audio file formats like WMA, WAV, OGG Vorbis, AIFF, RAW and AU and uncompressed, "lossless" formats like FLAC, WV and ATRAC Lossless and others. It almost goes without mentioning, but MIDI software programs should also support various MIDI file types, providing users with an expanded flexibility.
On the converse of input is output, MIDI software programs should provide producers, composers and other users with various avenues for the publication and execution/output MIDI events and audio/MIDI efforts. MIDI Software programs should allow producers to publish finished tracks and projects to a variety of audio file and delivery format types.
Ease of Use
MIDI Software programs are highly-advanced, technical programs that generally require a great deal of time and effort to gain familiarity and fluency. The learning curve, however, can be reduced greatly as a result of the software design and architecture. MIDI Software programs should have an intuitive, organized and easy to use interface, while the workflow should provide for seamless movement from one task, feature and/or module to another.
Audio production is no small feat. Whether being used simply to patch in effects and loops in a live performance or being used to create entire tracks from scratch, MIDI Software programs should provide a variety of resources to see the producer through every stage of production, from A to Z. This includes built-in help sections and learn-as-you-go features housed directly in the program, as well as how-to guides, tutorials, FAQ pages, knowledgebases, user forums and direct correspondence online.
In this site you will find articles related to MIDI software as well as in-depth reviews of some of the most popular and widely-used MIDI Software programs available, including TopTenREVIEWS top-rated programs FL Studio, Digital Performer and Numerology.
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