WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIGITAL AUDIO AND MIDI?
[MIDI] (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a 'language' for sending
messages between multiple electronic devices. MIDI devices like keyboards,
music synthesizers, and drum machines can 'speak' to and play with eachother.
The soundcard installed in your computer can also respond to MIDI messages.
MIDI can be thought of as the piano roll in the most amazing player piano
ever invented. You won't hear the sound until you crank up the player piano
and the machinery actually plays the piano roll.
However, unlike the player piano, today's MIDI synthesizers and samplers
can play back any sound ever recorded, or even synthesized sounds made
A MIDI file contains a set of *instructions* for how the music should be
played and what instrument should play the sound. The MIDI file does not
contain the actual sounds, it only contains instructions for what sound should
be played, how it should be played and when it should be played. When you want
to hear the contents of the MIDI commands (the "MIDI sequence") the MIDI file
must send its commands to some kind of electronic sound generator, which then
makes the sounds following the MIDI sequence's commands.
Such an electronic sound generator that will faithfully follow the MIDI
commands is called a "MIDI Instrument."
With MIDI, the MIDI file (the 'piano roll') tells the MIDI instruments
(the 'player piano machinery') what and how to play the electronic sounds,
and what sounds should be played. Then you hear the results. With MIDI, you
can have a 'sequence' of MIDI commands played by a guitar sound, an organ
sound, or even by a shakuhachi!
[DIGITAL AUDIO] can be thought of as a computerized 'tape recorder.' Just
like a tape recorder, a digital audio file contains actual sounds, stores
them, and can play them back. You can edit the sounds, make them louder or
softer, and change the tone quality, but usually you just play them back.
Just like with a tape recording, you can't take a digital recording of an
electric guitar and simply change the instrument to a church organ or a
A Digital Audio recording is a very faithful, high fidelity *record* of what
happened at a certain time, in the real world -- not a sequence of commands
telling an electronic sound generator how to make sounds (as in MIDI).
While MIDI is a music format for computers, it is NOT possible to simply
burn a collection of MIDI files onto a CD-R disc and then play them in
your CD player. You see, your CD player plays a format called Red Book Audio,
which is a special *Digital Audio* file format, as described above.
MIDI, as we have seen, is a set of commands for MIDI instruments to play.
There are no actual sounds stored in a MIDI file.
If you've composed a collection of MIDI masterpieces in your Voyetra MIDI
sequencing software, and you want to make a CD of them so your friends and
family can hear them, you will need to make DIGITAL AUDIO recordings of your
MIDI instruments playing your MIDI sequences. These "mixdowns" are then stored
on your computer as Windows WAV files, which can then be converted to Red Book
audio format, and finally 'burned' onto an Audio CD.
Now your friends and family will be able to play your tunes on their home CD
Please be sure to look in the manual and online Help for your software for
topics about Mixdown and Converting MIDI to Digital Audio.
All files and documentation are offered on an *AS IS* basis and you assume full responsibility for using them.