general question about audio vs. midi

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epjl2000
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general question about audio vs. midi

Post by epjl2000 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:42 pm

Was just wondering.. for the sake of general knowledge..

Say there are 2 projects. One project consists of 10 audio tracks.. where beats and instruments are all recorded audio files to be processed. The other project then consists of 10 midi tracks.. where midi notes are tied to virtual software instruments. Each midi track is also of a different midi instrument. Both projects are also full of processing effects for each track and also on the master.

Is it right to assume that the project with only audio files consumes much less computer resources than the one with midi?

Cheers,

Justin

SubFunk
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Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by SubFunk » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:46 pm

that is correct.
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myxomat0515
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Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by myxomat0515 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:00 pm

I concur.

ShelLuser
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Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by ShelLuser » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:00 pm

epjl2000 wrote:Say there are 2 projects. One project consists of 10 audio tracks.. where beats and instruments are all recorded audio files to be processed. The other project then consists of 10 midi tracks.. where midi notes are tied to virtual software instruments. Each midi track is also of a different midi instrument. Both projects are also full of processing effects for each track and also on the master.

Is it right to assume that the project with only audio files consumes much less computer resources than the one with midi?
You're both right and wrong.

I am a bit nitpicking, but since its knowledge you're after I guess I should. Basically completing your scenario a bit and adding the right names.

You say you have 2 projects; one consisting of audio tracks and one of midi. That in itself isn't really doable in Live. A liveset can contain tracks (audio, midi, etc.) but a project is basically the directory in which one or more livesets reside, optionally with related data.

As to the scenario with the audio files; if those files were recorded using the liveset with the audio tracks itself then yes; it will be larger since the audio data (even temporary data) gets stored inside the project folder. If you simply dragged in the audio files from other locations then this may very well not be the case since Live will by default only save references to audio data; it doesn't automatically copy stuff inside your project folder.

Another very important detail to keep in mind: If you started live using an empty set/project (actually the project isn't empty; its a temporary one), then recorded your audio data and then saved the whole thing as a new project the same scenario applies as if you dragged audio in. In other words; the new project won't contain your audio data, only links to their location. Thus making this project equal sized (maybe even smaller) than the project with the midi tracks.


Bottom line: it heavily depends on context and how the projects were setup. But you can't say that a project which contains a liveset with audio tracks will per definition be larger than one which only deals with midi. In fact; since midi data is stored in the liveset itself the other way around is also possible.

Hope this sheds some light on all this.


Edit: Keep in mind that with "computer resources" I'm also thinking about used disk space and the likes. If you're only wondering about CPU usage, then its a no brainer; audio is mere playback whereas virtual instruments need CPU cycles in order to actually produce the sound(s).
With kind regards,

Peter

Using the 'Power' Trio: Live 10 Suite (+ Push & Max 8 ), Reason 10 and Maschine Mk3 (+ the ultimate Komplete 12).
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H20nly
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Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by H20nly » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:23 pm

epjl2000 wrote:Is it right to assume that the project with only audio files consumes much less computer resources than the one with midi?
if by computer resources you mean CPU yeah, yes, to your question above.

but, like I think ShelLuser was trying to say, if by computer resources you mean your computer in general... then audio could potentially use a lot more if you count the hard drive space to store the data, RAM (buffer) etc. I don't think this part is what you're asking about though...
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simpli.cissimus
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Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by simpli.cissimus » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:02 am

I have question too...

What do you think has a better quality, vst-instruments in midi-tracks or
recorded to audio.

I mean all with full effects like comps and EQ and so on...!

I like to know, because just midi-projects save a lot of space and time.
I have a Quad-Core 2.83Gh, so I never have problems with CPU power...:)

I mostly run my projects in pure midi stage and real-time, but another friend
keeps saying that he feels that audio-tracks are more stable to him.

I have some sounds that I have recorded to audio because the effects I used had a own drive and never repeat a sound in the same place because of LFO-Cycles.

So I record them only and use the parts that fit, but that's it...

O.K. now...! What do you think has better quality?

I would like to make this clear...


Thank You
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DJ Tequila
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Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by DJ Tequila » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:42 am

You're using different resources with audio vs. MIDI.

You can gum up your hard drive if you have too many audio tracks playing at once. (Even some VSTs can cause problems with the hard drive if you use sample based instruments. Things like Stylus, Atmosphere, Nexus, or just multi-samplers like Sampler or Halion.) The effect would be audio drop-outs or missing voices/instruments, even though the CPU may not be pushed very hard.

You can set audio clips to be RAM based to help this.

Also, you will (as has been mentioned) use up more hard drive space with audio clips.

MIDI tracks controlling VST instruments will consume CPU, depending on the instrument. (Massive will consume more than something like Z3ta+ or Analog.)

simonlb
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Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by simonlb » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:46 am

simpli.cissimus wrote:I have question too...

What do you think has a better quality, vst-instruments in midi-tracks or
recorded to audio.

I mean all with full effects like comps and EQ and so on...!

I like to know, because just midi-projects save a lot of space and time.
I have a Quad-Core 2.83Gh, so I never have problems with CPU power...:)

I mostly run my projects in pure midi stage and real-time, but another friend
keeps saying that he feels that audio-tracks are more stable to him.

I have some sounds that I have recorded to audio because the effects I used had a own drive and never repeat a sound in the same place because of LFO-Cycles.

So I record them only and use the parts that fit, but that's it...

O.K. now...! What do you think has better quality?
It's personal preference if you ask me, there shouldn't be a quality difference. Of course that'll depend on the settings you have for recording/freezing but it's much of a muchness if they're good enough. Some people seem to like to get things bounced to audio as soon as possible, others will go with MIDI till the very end, it's a question of workflow and preference.

Sounds like you're on the right track... it seems you find MIDI easier to work with but like audio in some situations, just keep doing what makes sense to you :) the quality is a non-issue.

simpli.cissimus
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Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by simpli.cissimus » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:34 am

simonlb wrote:
simpli.cissimus wrote:I have question too...

What do you think has a better quality, vst-instruments in midi-tracks or
recorded to audio.

I mean all with full effects like comps and EQ and so on...!

I like to know, because just midi-projects save a lot of space and time.
I have a Quad-Core 2.83Gh, so I never have problems with CPU power...:)

I mostly run my projects in pure midi stage and real-time, but another friend
keeps saying that he feels that audio-tracks are more stable to him.

I have some sounds that I have recorded to audio because the effects I used had a own drive and never repeat a sound in the same place because of LFO-Cycles.

So I record them only and use the parts that fit, but that's it...

O.K. now...! What do you think has better quality?
It's personal preference if you ask me, there shouldn't be a quality difference. Of course that'll depend on the settings you have for recording/freezing but it's much of a muchness if they're good enough. Some people seem to like to get things bounced to audio as soon as possible, others will go with MIDI till the very end, it's a question of workflow and preference.

Sounds like you're on the right track... it seems you find MIDI easier to work with but like audio in some situations, just keep doing what makes sense to you :) the quality is a non-issue.

Thank You !

This clears my thought I had and makes me more confident...

Cheers
No! I'll never use the Push-App Live 9 !!!

DJ Tequila
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:30 am

Re: general question about audio vs. midi

Post by DJ Tequila » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:35 pm

Stability is an interesting point.

I've had software instruments just forget patches. Or make them sound different when you reload the project. If you record to audio you eliminate the chance of that.

In D&B bouncing to audio seems to be endemic, with producers creating beats, bouncing down, adding more layers of percussion, bouncing down etc. etc. (Every time adding more compression and distortion...)

(Or making a bass sound, bouncing down, loading it into a sampler, then playing it on that.)

It's definitely true that it's easier to chop up a single audio loop than it is to chop up a large array of MIDI instruments and audio loops at once. With extra control comes more expensive workflow.

There's another consideration. If you have the original instrument there, you may be tempted to tweak it... I've lost many an hour (and many a good sound) that way...

More and more I'm bouncing down tracks and tucking the original away in a group track. Just in case.

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