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Calling DanielB (or any other well seasoned (old) member.)
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Oliver
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November 25, 2014 - 9:12 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
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Daniel,

I would have PM'ed to you but there may be something worthwhile to talk about here.

The matter is that many months ago you told me that you liked working with ogg files but you didn't say why.

Anyhow, this sent me on a little research mission and guess what I found out?  Midi files are often out of tune and I always thought it was me.  I set up here to convert midi to mp3 and most  of my problems went away! (I bet you knew that would happen!)

A second thing I came to realize is that there is almost always at least one string out of tune (10-20 cents). (The hysteresis of the fine tuners is murder.)

If some other file format is better than mp3, just say the word!

Cheers

Oliver

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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November 26, 2014 - 2:17 am
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Well, mp3 is good for what it is good for.  Just not for everything.  Mp3 is a compressed file format, meaning it is basically shrunk down to make it smaller to send via email or to stream off a website or to just take up less space on your computer or media player.  The problem is, like evaporated milk, something gets lost/changed in that process.  Mp3s are called "lossy", because they delete some of the musical information that the encoder thinks isn't important. 

They are still good for general purposes, but they just have their limits.  Kinda like cassette tapes.

I use OGG format where you might use mp3 since it is what came with my Linux operating system. LOL  I feel it is a bit better than mp3, but since I still usually convert to mp3 for anything other people have to hear and I want to send as a file, it doesn't make much difference.  I feel it's maybe a bit better, and it is native to some of my software.

Now if you want actually better.. WAV files are not "lossy", and they save any music you record as much like the original as possible.  Better sound quality.  But they are large.

FLAC or on a Mac, ALAC, are compressed, so they are smaller on your player or computer, but they are "lossless".  Like the WAV, but smaller to store.  They are a better option for sound quality with a reasonable storage size.

 

Now MIDI... The problem there is that different hardware manufacturers and software companies don't actually agree on the pitches.  It makes it a pain in the butt, since you have to keep noticing it has happened and adjusting it.  Oh well, nothing is perfect.  Especially not MIDI.  LOL 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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November 26, 2014 - 9:08 am
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Other phenomena ......

I think I can "tune" a midi somewhat by choosing different instrument voices.  Not all instruments may be in tune(?)   (is that a function of the "synthesizer"? or sound card?)

I also notice that midi improves as I eliminate voices?

It is also possible that I'm hearin' things  : )

Cheers

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 26, 2014 - 10:28 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

MIDI is an interface and midi files only contain information for notation, pitch and dynamics. They can even contain parameters for effects such as vibrato, panning, and timing (clock) that allow you to synchronize your apps and products. Your products and apps and midi information, are the ones that possibly play or sound out of tune. :)
In one way, everything is "out of tune", it's a question of by what scale and by how much. Many of you already know the difference between tempered and non tempered pitch. LOL
Our ears don't mind "out of tune" to a certain degree and we all differ when it comes to how much we can tolerate.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Oliver
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November 26, 2014 - 12:57 pm
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The theoretical aspects I'm sure are very important to scholars but (I ask myself), how do I confirm pitch while playing?  I guess I could have perfect and instant pitch ability but that will take the full 10,000 hours to happen :)

I'm not sure it is legal but when I get a note that lasts long enough, I pay special attention to the zero beat.  I've gotten great results with the church piano this way.

The final result is that I will often make several minute shifts to maintain pitch through out the piece and, I'm also learning to keep my ailing vibrato in pitch to the extent that helps.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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November 26, 2014 - 1:37 pm
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The problem you're describing, Oliver, sounds like it could be "choking".  What you did with turning off some voices to see if it sounds better, that's the diagnostic trick for seeing if a system is choking.  "Choking" is what we call it when you are running too many instruments and/or effects in midi for the computer to actually handle. 

That's the bad news. 

The good news is that you can just mute some voices or turn off some effects while composing or whatever, and then turn them back on if you are using software that can export/render the sound into a WAV or whatever audio file.  Basically play back all the sounds in full quality while the computer records them without making a sound through the speakers.  That way an older machine actually *can* do a full orchestra with effects on every single instrument and etc.  All it has to do to "render" is keep the math straight, not make is sound good through the speakers while doing it.  The end result can sound way better than what your system can do in "real time".

I'm probably getting a bit too "techie-talk" with all this, but I was just taking a course on DAW software and studio hardware the past couple months.  So I am even more "full of it" than I usually am.  LOL

 

Yeah, as Pierre said, MIDI isn't really sound itself, it is the instructions to your gear for how to play the sounds.  It's a lot like a written score that way.  Or a high-tech equivalent of a player piano roll.  How will it sound?  Well, it will always depend on the gear (using that word here for both hardware and software) that you play it through.

That being said.. It *is* possible for a MIDI file to also not be great.  Just like a score can be written by someone where you don't like their arrangement or version of a song very well.  And with MIDI, if their hardware was different than yours (almost always true), and they adjusted the pitches/tuning for their gear, it can sound kinda off on your gear. 

To give an example what I mean.. Imagine somebody is using midi with some voices on their computer/soundcard, but they also decide to hook in something like maybe a sound module or a synth with voices like a DX7 or maybe a sampler keyboard, because they want to do a flute part that sounds a bit nicer.  They keyboard probably won't agree with their soundcard on the exact pitch of the notes, so they adjust for that.  No problem.  Until you try to play the MIDI file they made on their gear on YOUR gear.  Then the parts actually are out of tune.

That's just one way it can happen.  I won't bore you with the others that come to mind.  LOL

MIDI is great.  Not the absolute best and most hi tech thing out there, but very useful and dependable for many things.  But for being something that doesn't take a huge super fast machine to be pretty useful, and that can talk to a really wide variety of gear, it is probably one of the most useful tools for someone running a home recording studio. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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November 26, 2014 - 4:19 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
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"Choking"!  Interesting.  However, all your new super tech has only served to convince me to go mp3.  I do understand and appreciate your comments.

However, seeing you are on a roll, I have a REAL problem for you.

I have been playing a 15" viola tuned violin for many months and it is the best thing I've done.  I moved G,D,A down one peg and added a violin E on top.

I COULD have simply put on a set of regular violin strings (which is the cheaper route)  and the violin strings are long enough for the 15" viola.

It is obvious that all this plays havoc with manufacturers string specs and the best answer is the best sound.  I'm running tests.  What do you think?  The only thing I notice with the 3 viola string set-up is the low strings and the high(er) strings don't seem to match.  Bass dominates.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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DanielB
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November 26, 2014 - 5:19 pm
Member Since: May 4, 2012
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I think that you might want to go with a wound, rather than plain E string for that, if you want the sound to be a closer match.  Maybe go with something a little heavier on the A as well, if it seems too weak to blend well with the G and D?

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
NC
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November 26, 2014 - 6:39 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
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Gee, I forgot about weich, mittel, etc.

Happy Holidays in case I do not return before all that!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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