Quicktime and iTunes Pick the Right Instruments For This Midi, But Garageband Won't

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Maserati7200, May 7, 2010.

  1. Maserati7200 macrumors 6502a

    Maserati7200

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    11230, Midwood, Brooklyn, NY, USA, North America
    #1
    So I have this midi of the song Stacy's Mom that I want to convert into an audio file. Whenever I play it in Quicktime or iTunes, it chooses the correct instruments. I converted it to AAC via iTunes, but it wasn't the way I liked. The original midi had more of an echo and was louder (the instruments were correct though).
    So I opened Garage band to import the midi with intentions of tweaking the project so that the out coming audio file would sound livelier and louder. But the instruments GarageBand chose were completely wrong, and I tried to look for the correct instruments to replace the incorrect ones, but didn't have any luck (and yes, the extra instruments and loops are installed). For other midi's I've imported into Garage band, they were always the same instruments as Quicktime/iTunes, this is the first time I've encountered this problem.
    I'm aware that not all midi's follow the standard or something so it may sound different on different operating systems, but it frustrates me that Apple's own Garageband can't get it right but their Quicktime and iTunes do. I have attached the midi file so you could try for yourself.
    Are there any other programs similar to Garage Band (that are free, or maybe shareware/trials, I'll only need it for this time) where you can't edit midi's and audio projects? Because I'd really like to get this midi into an audio file the way I like it.

    Oh, and if anyone knows any tips on how to make projects in Garage band sound like they are being played live like midi's are, please let me know.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    Maybe it's due to the difference in Garageband versions, but the first thing I noticed when I imported it into GB was the lack of a drum track!

    If you can't find the instruments you want in Garageband then it might be easiest to try to edit the converted files you get from iTunes in Audacity a bit, if it's just volume that's lacking use the amplify effect.

    There are a couple of MIDI tools I can recommend though, MidiKit and MidiSwing, though I'm not sure how much use you'll have for them. MidiSwing in particular is nice (even though it seems to be Java) since it allows you to edit notes and change instruments for tracks (for example I noticed the drum track that went missing says "Not defined for this bank" in MidiSwing).

    If you want to give Garageband another try I'd say play around more with the effects of the intruments; importing MIDI files always seems to blow the guitars out of proportion since the Big Electric Lead sound is so overwhelming. Ease of on the compression and amp simulator and you have a cleaner sound. Not sure what you mean with "played live like midi's are", I've never thought that MIDIs sound like they're played live... If you mean lots of reverb though you can add that on the master track and have it effect all the tracks equally.
     
  3. Maserati7200 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Maserati7200

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    11230, Midwood, Brooklyn, NY, USA, North America
    #3
    Hey thanks for the response. I'll try both... editing the file I get from iTunes and using those Midi apps. I hope they allow you to export it to an audio file...

    EDIT: ok so i tried using Midi kit and the instruments were correct but there was too much echo/reverb and I couldn't find a way to edit it in a way I understand. In Midi swing the instruments were off and I couldn't figure out how to change them... I going to try iTunes...

    Edit^2: I used iTunes to convert to WAV and I'm finding that there is a little too much reverb/echo and it sounds a little off..
     
  4. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    AFAIK both Midikit and Midiswing use the Quicktime instruments, so that shouldn't be any different from playing/converting in iTunes.

    Midiswing is a bit hard to work with at times, I had a look at trying to remove the some of the reverb but couldn't get around it. I had more success with Midikit though, just open the midi file and click edit; it will look like jibberish, but find all the instances of Reverb Level (GS) and change the 255 to something lower. Play around with the number to see what suits you.
     
  5. markvdb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    #5
    I have exactly the same issue.

    This midi file sounds great when I play it in the OSX finder or in Quicktime but it sounds terrible when I play it in Garageband.:
    http://www.scubamom.com/midis/latin/nolink/jealousy.mid

    Looking at forums, apparently this may be because Garageband defaults to a different (bad sounding) sound font. Whereas Quicktime use a different (good sounding sound font)
    I think it may be possible to fix this by altering the instrument generator settings in Garageband - to make them point to the same soundfonts that Quicktime and OSX finder are using.
    (see attaches screen snapshot)
    I have tried setting this to "DLSMusicDevice"
    But that is still not giving the correct sound.
    By "correct" I mean "make it sound exactly the way it sounds when Quicktime and OSX finder play the midi file".
    Is there a way to find out exactly which sounds quicktime is using to play the midi file?

    Can anyone out there tell me what settings to alter in Garageband to match Quicktime?
    There is no way I will be able to manually find hunt for all these sounds manually.
    I bet there is an expert somewhere who knows a smarter way.

    To be honest today is my first day playing with midi and garageband.
    So I am only beginning to grasp the terminology and paradigm, so forgive me if I have named something incorrectly. For example, I am only really guessing as to what a "sound font" is exactly.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. markvdb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    #6
    Possible solution found

    The advice on macaudioguy.com seems to be working for me.
    If you follow the directions here, your midi file in garageband will sound like it does in Quicktime. (at least in my initial tests).


    http://macaudioguy.com/midi-and-garageband/
    Click Save Instrument button and save the instrument as “DLS Device.” And now you have an additional 127 software instruments for use in GB. Cool or what?

    I am not sure if it has to be called “DLS Device.” and I have saved one in every relevant instrument folder. Again, I really don't know exactly what I am doing here - but it has worked.
    I can not tell exactly why that works, but i am happy now.

    See attached screen snapshot, with the solution implemented.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. markvdb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    #7
    Now I am confused

    I am now doing the same workflow to this different file, but garage band is turning everything into a piano after i save the "DSL Device" (using the same process that fixed the least midi playback).
    http://www.scubamom.com/midis/latin/nolink/mambomix.mid

    Clearly this midi stuff is a black art.
    Grr.
     

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