Studio Setup, page 4...
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Connection Scheme 4:
In Connection Scheme 4, shown in Figure 4 below, we have added a MIDI sequencer. A sequencer is a special type of digital recorder that records a MIDI performance rather than the actual audio from the performance. These recorded MIDI performances are called "virtual instruments". A sequencer is used to record which notes are struck on a MIDI keyboard or on drum machine pads, when the notes are struck, how hard they are struck and how they are released, if any pitch bend or modulation is added to the notes, etc. You can buy a standalone hardware sequencer (there are a ton of them on the used market now) or the sequencer can be a software program hosted on a PC or Mac computer. A third option is that the sequencer may be included as part of your multi-timbral synthesizer.
There are many great things about using a sequencer in the home studio. One is that the recording of the MIDI information does not use up any tracks on the 4-channel recorder. There is no tape noise or distortion associated with the data recorded by the sequencer because it is just recording the note data performance. If you make a mistake while playing the MIDI keyboard or drum pads, you can go into edit mode on the sequencer later and correct the mistake so that the correct notes are played back. Finally, you can play back any recordings made on the sequencer with any synthesizer, drum machine or sampler voices you want. You are not constrained to use the same voice you used when you recorded the original sequence. For example, say you recorded a certain horn line in to the sequencer using a trumpet voice, but later on (when you go to mix the song) you find that a French horn voice sounds better. You can simply change that voice on your synthesizer or sampler without rerecording anything.
You can record and play back as many individual, sequenced instruments as your synthesizer/sampler has available voices to use in real time. Perhaps a good strategy for the connection scheme shown in Figure 4 is to use the sequencer as the master synchronization source for the system. The sequencer then drives the MIDI control signals to the synthesizer and the drum machine. I would place the sequencer in play mode and then record all of the MIDI drum and sequenced instruments to 2 channels of the 4-channel recorder at one time, using the mixer to mix them together before they go to the 4-channel recorder. Then I would go back and add vocals or guitars or other acoustic (i.e., non-MIDI) instruments to the other 2 tracks on the 4-channel recorder. Finally, I would mix it down to the 2-channel master recording.
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