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PlayingYourMIDIFilesInReaper

For those who are trying to get sound out of there old general midi files, you may have ran in to several obstacles. The first and most obvious being that there is no sound when you play the project containing said midi  file.

You would think that inserting your MIDI files into reaper, expanding the channels and tracks and importing the tempo maps would be enough to play the midi file natively. Unfortunately, not so much. Why is this?  It's because there is nothing available to render the instructions given in the midi files.

What went wrong?

Remember, like we said in the history of MIDI, it is only a protocol. MIDI does not produce the sound, the digital audio produces the sound. all midi files do is to tell Keyboards, modules, plugins, etc. to play certain notes with specific patches, with any number of other settings, including volume, pan, reverb, and chorus among others. So if the instructions are sent to places where they can't be followed, they're simply ignored. The challenge is to get the instructions set forth in the midi files to something which can carry them out.  Not only that, but something which can do this and allow reaper to render the result!

Fixing the problem

The easiest way to get your MIDI file blasting out through your speakers is to simply go to your track's routing dialogue and under MIDI outputs, change it to GW wavetable and here your instruments come to life.

  • Navigate to a track that you want to hear, from my experience, you have to either do this one track at a time, or put all of the tracks you are going to route in a folder.
  • Press the letter I to get into the routing dialogue.
  • Shift tab about 5 times until you get to a midi hardware combo box. From here, you can send all of your midi tracks to any MIDI output you might have. That could be a keyboard, a hardware synth, a sound module.

There is a potential problem here with this method, particularly if you are routing everything to wavetable. You will notice 2 things.

  1. Although you hear music now, reaper is very sluggish, and you are met with a lot of latency should you arm a midi track and play it.
  2. The meters on the master track look as if no audio is going through reaper.

The reason the meters look this way is simply because reaper is not following the instructions in the midi file, it's just issuing them to the microsoft wavetable, which is obeying them.  To get reaper to record the WaveTable device, you'll need to use a mixer of some type to rout the output of the device playing the wavetable audio in to an input of your interface which reaper can then record. In simpler terms, in this case, reaper is simply just being a sequencer. the output of what it is you are sequencing is being sent somewhere else.

Playing the file in reaper as a rendered file.

Fortunately, there is a way to get your files in reaper to render. You no longer have to use external sequencers to sequence something out and bring it back in anymore. To save the day, and give you something which is moderately better than wavetable, the vst plugin located at

http://veg.by/files/midisynth/yamaha_syxg50_vsti.7z

will give you a virtual yamaha gs midi synth. You'll need something that will extract 7z files in order to extract the dll, but you can paste it wherever your vst's are located, to then find that it's a VSTI when you load reaper. To use it, open a midi file, import all of the tracks and data from said file, and add it as an effect on each track. This time, pressing play will give you audio generated by reaper.

Some fun creative tips

You'll probably want to start swapping out the gm sounds for better ones in your collection, as well as editing various events, and, in some cases, humanizing some of the tracks for a more realistic result. Play with the instruments, see if you can make the instrument a tool.

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Page last modified on March 02, 2017, at 06:21 AM