NI Strummed Acoustic – midi editing

This post talks about me getting Strummed Acoustic (SA) as part of Komplete 11.

I now want to get some control over my recording by understanding enough about SA events to understand how to change the following mid-song by editing the song using the midi editor in, for my setup, Reaper, as a DAW:

  1. The pattern
  2. The pitch
  3. The accent/dynamic

Change the Pattern

First, listen to this sample, which gives 4 bars of a non-damped pattern, then the same 4 bars but damped, then repeats both those (so 4 non-damped, 4 damped, 4 non-damped, 4 damped).

The pattern changes are done by hitting a note in the second octave – in SA, the second octave is effectively used for control notes to implement pattern changes, as shown in the UI:

Change the Pitch

In this sample, you hear the transition from a chord played lower down the fret, to one higher up:

This is a “proper” control event – the Mod Wheel takes value [0] for the default fretboard position, that is, lower down, and the value [127] for the higher pitched version of the chord:

Change the accent/dynamic

… that is, make it softer / louder. Again a proper CC event, this time – Pitch Bend. When I was playing with the values, the arithmetic in my DAW, Reaper, seemed a bit off, in that sure the minimum value is zero, seems reasonable, but then adding 4000 to that gave 12192, and adding 8191 to that gave 16383. Regardless, the general principle is that something around zero gives a softer sound, and something around 16,000 gives a louder sound. For something more definitive, I googled [midi pitch bend min and max value], and found this as one of the returned posts. It will do.

Again, first an example of the output, going from soft to loud and back to soft:

Not much more to add to my opening point about how to make things softer and louder.





Kontakt: saving midi drum files

I want to be able to record a drum pattern from Kontakt, and to know that when I play it back through e.g. Media Player as a MIDI file, it is rendered as GM drums, and not as a discordant piano.

The key to everything is Channel 10, and making sure that Kontakt is set to play back on Channel 10. As usual, I’m using Reaper as my DAW, so I need to set that to Record/Output/MIDI. I have proven to myself that the Reaper end of things does not need to specify Channel 10.

This is a sequence that works for me (I am not covering how to set up a VST (specifically Kontakt, in this case) to work with Reaper):

  • Reaper/New Project/SaveProjectAs[DrumTest01]
  • Track/Insert virtual instrument on new track/OK
  • My Kontakt portal opens, and includes Factory Library.
  • In there I double-click on Studio Break Kit.nki
  • In the MIDI channel setting, from the dropdown, I choose Port A / Channel 10
  • Back in Reaper, I set Record Output to midi. Note that I am not setting Channel 10 explicitly here:
  • I then arm/record, and back in Kontakt, I hold down the pattern at the highlighted B (I just like that pattern – the fact it is on B is not significant.
  • Stop the recording, do any tidying up that you want:

Now for the export. There is more than one way to do this, but for the example, in the midi editor, follow the highlights I show below, and save to your chosen name and place:

And finally the big test: in Windows Explorer (I’m on Windows, apologies if you are not), open the midi file with Media Player, QuickTime, or somesuch. If you hear something like , (SoundCloud1), then you have saved your midi data and metadata correctly. If you hear something like this… , then back to the drawing board, I fear.

Finally, keep in mind that what you hear in your DAW from your expensive Drum VST will likely be different from how the drum pattern renders the data when going through the default player for midi. I might therefore ask… “What then is the point of going to MIDI, if the quality will be better in the original DAW/VST?”. Because I effectively have the source code. If I only have the rendered output, then I have no chance (well, little chance), of tinkering with the input, or applying different drum kits to my lovingly created drum patterns. The midi file is your music score, which can go through different versions, and with the right editing tools (haven’t found out what those are yet, but they must surely exist, given that MIDI is a standard specification), you can confirm exactly what changed between 2 versions.

Music: NI Battery 4 first impressions

This is part of my long trawl through Komplete 10. I was going to tackle the drum parts in 1 go… but they are quite different, one from the other, so that won’t work.

This is more drum machine than er drum kits, with loads of samples. Here I’ve posted a trivial mp3 of a pattern using the Alias kit. The midi is also in that folder.


Komplete 10: Massive

While I could record wav directly using Reaktor (for example), for recording Massive I find I have to drop into my DAW (Reaper in my case), save to Midi, and render to wav or mp3 from there. But no issues on CPU overload with this one. Hm… while I haven’t yet checked, the overload might be because Reaktor’s output is direct to audio, not midi. Regardless, I can imagine that as I start to multi-track with more than a couple of the instruments across Komplete, I’ll find myself in need of a way meatier machine than a 5 year old I5 laptop with a single mechanical disk and 8GB of RAM.

Soundcloud quick sample here, using Bansuri in Orange. The number of synths or whatever name I should give them is again predictably massive. It must be tough thinking up new names for these.

Music: drums and MuseScore

Ref the previous post about inconsistencies in denoting drum types, I wondered how MuseScore would do it.

It took me a wee while to remember even how to use MuseScore. In summary:

  1. Become a member
  2. Download MuseScore
  3. Start MuseScore
  4. File/open… .mid files are one of the supported types (which assumes that you have previously exported your drums from your DAW as a midi file). Call this tab A
  5. At this point, you have a score (in tab A) in non-Drum mode. So you have to File/new/(choose instrument)pick instrument as DrumSet. Call this tab B.
  6. In tab A, do (Ctrl-A) (PC) to select call the notes and copy to clipboard
  7. In tab B, go to the front of the stave and paste.
  8. That should give you something like this in tab B, where the call-it II symbol denotes that it is a drum score, the F, in treble clef terms, is a bass drum, and the C is a snare drum. And, for me that is good enough.

The midi is here.

Music: drum notation

Thanks to Wikipedia for this contribution on drum notation – really useful. As an example..

(Both by Hyacinth at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Hm, hang on… so even in the above we have some disagreement about what is what (e.g. the “crotchet” dissecting line 3, which is one case is a snare… else a tom?). And then when you include this picture from the evidently now-defunct, you get more disagreements (e.g. the position of the ride (cymbal))…

Hm, maybe better off sticking to Midi.