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Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

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Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

Postby voxtags » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:38 am

I have spent a lot of time trying to make MIDI instruments sound less terrible. While obv there are better ones available, from an engineering standpoint I am interested in finding a straightforward, in-the-box method for making them sound fundamentally better.

My thought right now is that running a lossless sound file through a reverb plug-in (w/ width and Haas control to approximate miking) and a software amplifier of some sort would give some life to these lifeless instruments, and you could put them into your mix to work on from there. i just got a decent convolution reverb but i haven't found a VST i like for amp and the tape emulator i have sounds pretty transparent. suggestions on this front welcome, particularly if they're free.

If anyone is a puredata or Max/MSP user, I am thinking this could be a patch through which you could run your audio and any advice you might have of pre-existing reverb or amp patches would be much appreciated.

if anyone here has experience with reamping, what advice could you give and what sort of amp and mic set up would you use? i am not looking to add grit but a little color and harmonics you get from playing something through analog system.

you can also tell me i'm overcomplicating this and should just spend some money on better MIDI instruments, plugins and/or do a proper reamping with real equipment.

cheers
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Re: Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:37 pm

You're over-complicating things! :lol:

Welcome to the SOS forum! :thumbup:

Honestly, if you're having to jump through these kind of hoops to make an instrument acceptable to you, then you surely have the wrong instrument, or something in your signal chain is awry.

Many VSTis are set to output insane levels, which is fine in your DAW, but can play havoc with D/A conversion - I would certainly wonder whether your signal chain is giving you a true impression of what your instruments are actually producing.

Maybe tell us more about your system, audio interface and connections?
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Re: Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:43 pm

Also how are you 'playing' these instruments?
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Re: Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:58 pm

voxtags wrote:I have spent a lot of time trying to make MIDI instruments sound less terrible.

Which MIDI instuments are you referring to, and please define what you mean by "terrible", as this doesn't tell us anything about the issue you are having...

voxtags wrote:While obv there are better ones available, from an engineering standpoint I am interested in finding a straightforward, in-the-box method for making them sound fundamentally better.

"Fundamentally better" in terms of what?
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Re: Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

Postby voxtags » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:08 pm

The Elf wrote:
Maybe tell us more about your system, audio interface and connections?

Currently I compose with the MIDI samples in Garageband App, then export to Audacity, where I apply surgical EQ, compression, stereo wideness, etc, then arrange everything together in the free version of Studio One 3. The GB synths are rather incredible, and their "real" instrument patches are workable. However I have a lot of older tracks made just using Studio One's basic instrument library. modulation and reverb and light delays would a sense of stereo space but ultimately there's just not a lot of higher harmonic information to play around with and dynamic response (on/off) is clunky. As for my (free) tape emulation VST, it adds saturation and some tape speed FX but eventually you're just making the bad thing sound louder.

Obviously I could just export the MIDI info from the track and plug it into a better patch but I haven't been able to pull the trigger for a real DAW yet and I sort of enjoy the challenge of finding a work around for things like this and wondered if anyone had ever tried something drastic to improve a lousy sample.
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Re: Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

Postby voxtags » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:13 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Also how are you 'playing' these instruments?

I have an AKAI Mini and then Garageband has a soft keyboard. I can't read or write music but I'll spend quite a bit of time playing with velocity or use a humanize function in the case that I end up drawing something on the screen from scratch. Occasionally I'll really dig in and start moving things around by a 1/32 note but that's only if I'm feeling really manic that day :crazy:

What is your methodology like for MIDI?
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Re: Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:47 pm

That sounds a bit tortuous TBH! I'm unconvinced that adding yet more processing, re-amped or not, is going to get you what you want - it's not a magic wand, I'm afraid.

Do you have a decent audio interface and monitoring?

How about letting us hear an example of what you don't like?
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Re: Virtual Reamping for MIDI Instruments

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:00 pm

voxtags wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:Also how are you 'playing' these instruments?

I have an AKAI Mini and then Garageband has a soft keyboard. I can't read or write music but I'll spend quite a bit of time playing with velocity or use a humanize function in the case that I end up drawing something on the screen from scratch. Occasionally I'll really dig in and start moving things around by a 1/32 note but that's only if I'm feeling really manic that day :crazy:

What is your methodology like for MIDI?

I'm primarily a guitar player so don't use a lot of midi but when I do I either use a keyboard controller or a wind controller*. The reason many VSTi tracks don't sound good is down to the playing, often the voicing are inappropriate for example, if you play a piano part using a guitar patch it will sound more like a piano than a guitar, regardless of how good the guitar samples used are.

HTH

* Roland A90EX/Juno-D or Akai EWI USB.
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