Questions & Answers

Transform instrument to audio - need to maintain audio track structure when transforming back to instrument.

+7 votes
asked May 4, 2020 in Mixing by arthurzatarain (1,470 points)
The transform instrument to audio works well for multi instruments such as Impact XT. The resulting individual audio tracks can be modified and mixed just as if they were recorded with mics.Then can benefit from EQ, automation, panning, etc.just like any other audio channel. But if the multi audio version is transformed back to instrument (i.e. to make midi edits) all of the work done on the individual audio tracks is lost. When the edited midi is later transformed to audio the resulting audio channels are new and bare--no inserts, no automation, etc. remain from the previous transform operation.

A huge improvement would be for a multi-instrument (such as Impact XT) to have permanent links to corresponding audio channels, each with a structure that remains intact. Ideally, the Impact XT preset would include user-defined track names (such as Kick, Snare etc) instead of the default Impact ST1 format.

As a workaround I now transform Impact XT to multiple audio tracks and then copy/past the transformed audio into a parallel set of tracks that remain intact. The transform process would be much easier (and less error prone) if the transformed audio tracks were persistent instead of disappearing when the audio version is transformed back to instrument mode.

1 Answer

0 votes
answered May 5, 2020 by arthurzatarain (1,470 points)
I devised a more convenient workaround to have persistent audio tracks/channels for multi instrument output transforms. I set up bus channels for each of the instrument outputs. I do all the plugins, sends, automation, etc only on the bus tracks. When the instrument channels get transformed to audio they (luckily!) are automatically routed to the corresponding bus channel for each instrument output. So I don't do any plugin or automation to the raw (midi) instrument track. I then transform it to multiple audio tracks at unity gain, to produce "raw" audio tracks. Each of the raw audio tracks are sent to a corresponding bus channel that serves as the final audio channel for each instrument output.

For example, with an Impact XT drum kit, I have 6 instrument outputs that go to 6 audio tracks that then go to 6 bus channels. All the bus tracks go to a final Drum Bus (as usual). This is a lot of tracks, but it's easy to manage. I can make a midi edit, quickly transform the multiple outputs to their own channels, and have all the plugins, sends, and automation remain in place on the bus tracks.

I would prefer to have the transformed audio tracks be persistent so the extra bus channels aren't needed, but this will have to do for now.