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Here are some byte sized tips and tricks to nibble on. 

May 08 How to Use Jamstik+ as MIDI Guitar

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Jamstik+ from Zivix is an interesting solution for guitarists who want to play MIDI instruments. While it's not a guitar, it feels mostly like a guitar because it has real strings, a neck, and frets—but it doesn't make any sound. On the plus side, you don't have to change or tune the strings. Also, the basic version has only five notes, so it's mor...

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May 09-Get Imaginative with the Mod Wheel

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Despite rumors to the contrary, Congress did not pass a law saying that mod wheels could be used only to add vibrato. Granted, the periodic vibrato a mod wheel adds is something only a synth can do, but try adding vibrato with the pitch wheel instead—it will sound more human, and more like the vibrato guitarists use. Now that you've freed up your m...

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May 10-Create Dramatic Pauses with Tempo Track Tweaks

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One of the main differences between music recorded in the past and today's recordings is the use of click tracks to maintain a constant tempo. We can debate whether this is a good idea or not, but here's an easy-to-do tempo track tweak that can add a lot of impact to a song. Short, subliminal pauses can create a fleeting sensation of tension and an...

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2890 Hits

May 11-The Keyboard MIDI Control Surface for Mixing

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When it comes to mixing, a lot of engineers will tell you there's nothing quite like a good piece of hardware with real faders. Some synthesizers nclude faders for real-time control over the sound you're playing, however you may be able to program these to control the faders in a recording program's mixer. Several keyboards, such as Nektar's Panora...

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May 14-Why MIDI Plug-Ins Are Cool

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When audio plug-ins entered the mainstream, MIDI plug-ins took somewhat of a backseat because they weren't the "shiny new toy" in town. However with MIDI's resurgence, companies are paying more attention to MIDI plug-ins. For example Cubase has always had a great roster of MIDI effects, Ableton Live almost gives parity with MIDI and audio plug-ins,...

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2846 Hits

May 17 Non-Rigid Quantization

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One of the complaints about "MIDI music" is that quantizing everything to the beat sucks the life out of a song by eliminating the kind of timing variations humans make. But that's not the fault of MIDI— the problem is the person doing the quantization. So, here are three ways to make quantization more human-sounding. Quantization strength. Instead...

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May 19-Programming Synths for MIDI Guitar

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Part of making MIDI guitar feel "right" when triggering synths has nothing to do with the guitar and its tracking, but with editing the synth presets so that they're guitar-friendly instead of being optimized with keyboards in mind. Separate channels. The guitar will most likely send data from each string over a different channel. So, use synths in...

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May 21-Leading and Lagging the Beat for Feel

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You can "humanize" sequences that have been quantized too rigidly by tweaking the start times for individual notes or phrases. Ignore any menu item called "humanization," because this usually just adds randomness—that's not what makes timing human (unless the human in question had too much to drink). Instead, alter note timings manually or use a "s...

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May 27-Polyrhythmic MIDI Echoes

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There's more to life than audio echo—like MIDI echo. Although the concept of MIDI echo has been around for years, early virtual instruments often didn't have enough voices to play back new echoes without stealing voices from previous echoes. With today's powerful computers and instruments, this is less of a problem so let's re-visit MIDI echo. It's...

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May 28-Manual Vibrato for Keyboards

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The way most keyboard players add vibrato is to turn up the mod wheel, and inject some LFO to change the oscillator pitch periodically. That's fine, but consider guitar players—they add vibrato by moving their fingers on strings, which gives a more human quality than using an LFO. So, try your hand (get it?) at doing vibrato with your fingers inste...

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3732 Hits