Questions & Answers

MIDI Notation Mute Automation Request

–1 vote
156 views
asked Nov 20 in MIDI Editing by gh.productions (1,900 points)
edited Nov 24 by gh.productions
I am writing to request the ability to automate the existing mute button for MIDI notation on virtual instrument tracks (*see pic: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fC7Bktj8XS3--Ys8jNHb9U1w6Irej14M/view). If approved, the MIDI notation mute workflow would go something like this:

1. Produce basic 4 to 64 measure loops for each section of a song (section A, B, C, intro, verse, chorus, bridge, outro, etc).

2. Duplicate all MIDI notation for each section of the song for however long as needed. For example, if the song is going to be 3 minutes long and the arrange of each section has been decided on yet, that’s okay. Each song section can already be arranged in its own folder track, which can also be duplicated to potentially playback each section of a song, with each section overlapping each other for the full 3 minutes. Note: In the next steps I will be covering an example of how implementing the automation of a MIDI notation mute button can be used to arrange AN ENTIRE SONG effectively and creatively in a single write automation!

3. Get a feel for your arrangement by manually muting the different aspects of your MIDI instrumentation, from folder tracks to individual instrumentation, and consider what areas you may want to break down, build up, etc using only the virtual instrument mute buttons on the song page.

4. When ready, go to the mixer and change automation settings to WRITE for all desired VST instrumentation. This will simplify the arrangement process by allowing the song page virtual instrument mute button to dictate when MIDI notation is allowed to be played through each virtual or external MIDI instrument in a single write automation - or more if needed.

5. Go back to the song page and press Play. While your arrangement is playing you can now creatively mute and unmute the MIDI notation of not only individual virtual instrument tracks, but also multiple virtual instrument folders simultaneously from the song page in real time! If you mess up, press undo [CTRL/CMND+Z] and give it another go. Song arrangement couldn’t be easier or faster! When done set automation for all tracks to READ.

6. Quantize or manually fine tune the resulting MIDI mute automations. All subsequent MIDI information will visually display notes that have been muted in the piano roll / pattern editor, song page MIDI selection displays, as well as notation software.

7. Add any other remixing / glitch software special effects and audio candy, like build ups drops, etc.

8. Mix to taste and master the result!

In summary, having the option to utilize this function in real-time across multiple virtual instrument tracks simultaneously is obviously a huge time saver! The result of this request would effectively yield the same in-the-box results as enabling or disabling MIDI tracks on an external keyboard workstation, in addition to all the other benefits that Studio One has to offer!

The goal of this request is speeding up the workflow for MIDI editing overall. Although it may be most beneficial for producers of electronic, loop, or pattern-based music, it will ultimately benefit anyone who has integrated MIDI recording, arranging, or sequencing as part of their production process – and who hasn’t!?!

I am requesting this option to mute MIDI notation, separate and apart from the mixer, in the form of each virtual instrument track having a NEW “Mute” automation lane under the virtual instrument channel on the song page. Although its function would differ somewhat from a traditional audio channel mute, the location would appear on the song page under the virtual instrument as an option for automation, just as it currently appears as an option for audio channels!

The reason for this request is the fact that so many virtual instruments are now being created with built in effects. As a result, virtual instruments now have very little need for external signal processing. However, there is a downside to all the freedoms of using virtual instruments and their included effects, which is the fact that longer audio tails tend to result when using them.

Longer audio tails can happen with or without insert effects. For example, when the release time of a virtual instrument is extended, this causes a longer audio tail and makes muting from a mixer channel undesirable, especially if using a virtual instrument’s built-in reverb or delay effects.

Although this is a known issue and the current trend for most virtual instruments, Studio One currently has no options to automate the virtual instrument MIDI notation mute button located on the song page. Not having this functionality inherently causes a bottleneck in the creative pre-production process for all users that currently use MIDI recording as part of their song arrangement process.

The only current options to both appropriately and effectively mute MIDI notation are:

- Muting MIDI notation note-by-note via the piano roll / pattern editor
- Muting a selection of MIDI notation note-by-note via the piano roll / pattern editor
- Muting an entire MIDI event.

While these options do serve their intended purpose, they are exponentially slow compared to what I am requesting. For example, I am requesting that when MIDI notation recorded to a virtual instrument track on the song page has a mute automation written to engage or disengage the MIDI mute button, I would like to not only hear but visually see the affected MIDI notation being muted as well, as a visual confirmation that what is being muted or unmuted is being done in real time. This action would take place as the play head cursor moves from left to right, in much the same way wave files suddenly appear during a multitrack live recording. So, I'm effectively requesting a similar response while performing multitrack MIDI notation mute automations.

The only other possible audio related options at present are bypassing a VST instrument, which can only be done on one individual instrument at a time, or by engaging mute for the selected VST instrument from the mixer. Both audio options have similar results, with the downside being that fact that audio is immediately cutoff for the selected VST instrument or channel when the bypass or audio mute button is activated, and effectively yield results that sound like a stutter or glitch audio effect. Although stutter and glitch audio effects can sometimes be artistically desirable, they are not the desired result for this request.

In the best use case scenario for this request, the process would be executed from the song page. I would like MIDI notation mute automations to be visually reflected in the piano roll, pattern editor, as well as any subsequent musical scoring, and/or Presonus Notation software. For example, if an entire event has been muted during a MIDI notation mute automation, I would like to see that entire event has been visually muted as well. If approved, this request will not only exponentially speed up production turnaround times, but also add to the list of Presonus firsts, while simultaneously changing how MIDI song arrangement is done.

I checked and no other DAW is doing this. So, implementing this feature has both a very real and very high potential for generating new cross-grade sales! Studio One’s pattern editor already very closely simulates step-recording seen in numerous other DAWs. However, there is currently not a more intuitive way to creatively arrange MIDI notation for entire song arrangements than what I am requesting. So, I could easily see existing FL Studio and other pattern/step recording based DAW software users leaving their current DAWs once marketing and word of mouth have spread the news of this feature request being implemented.

Also, consider the fact that the process of song arrangement tends to involve variations on a theme. Songwriters may sometimes write different aspects of their completed work over an extended period, which later forms a completed work. Then at other times, a song writer’s completed work might start out as a huge aggregate of different aspects that have to be sorted out and filtered down into something that music consumers can audibly digest and enjoy.

In either case, and all cases in between, arrangement of those different musical aspects plays an import part in the process of creating a finished work. With MIDI Note Mute Automation song arrangement doesn’t have to take a long time anymore! Sure this request could be avoided by using other current means, but all other current options with Studio are exponentially slower than the what is being recommended in this feature request.

This request also presents a potentially more achievable solution than a previous feature request of mine:

https://answers.presonus.com/66012/could-impact-updated-include-drag-drop-functionality-files

5 Answers

0 votes
answered Nov 20 by gh.productions (1,900 points)

Having the piano roll, pattern editor, and song page events update with the MIDI automation would also simplify the process for those scoring for film. So, this is a potentially huge request IMHO.

Note: we already have the following write automation functions for audio channels (highlighted in yellow), but we don't yet have MIDI Note Mute automation for MIDI instrument tracks just yet (highlighted in red).

–1 vote
answered Nov 20 by princeagrawal (9,000 points)

Hi, 

You can achieve this mute automation effect on Instrument tracks if you add the Instrument Bypass to the automation lane as shown below.

0 votes
answered Nov 20 by gh.productions (1,900 points)
edited Nov 20 by gh.productions

@princeagrawal   I am well aware of the parameter you've described and it does not match the feature I am requesting. If this feature request were already available, the requested MUTE parameter would be visible from within the expanded MIDI folder. I realize I may not have communicated my request very well, as I see the MIDI folder in your screenshot is still collapsed. There is also a notable difference between MUTING the MIDI notation of an instrument track from the SONG PAGE and bypassing a VST instrument.

When it comes to truncating and/or cutting off a VST instrument's voice, there is little to no difference between "bypassing" a VST instrument versus simply "muting" the VST instrument’s mixer channel, and neither of these results are desirable for this request. This request actually seeks to avoid truncation and also speed up the process of song arrangement with MIDI notation.

I ask that those reading this request first test the differences, or at least be aware of the differences between what I am requesting and what is currently available, before providing an inaccurate response that will misinform others. I took the courtesy of double checking to confirm that I hadn't overlooked something by double checking before writing this response. I only ask for the same courtesy.

I would like to post a video to help demonstrate what I’m describing, but I don’t have the time to edit it. I also feel this issue might be better understood by someone who tries this for themselves in 5 short and simple steps! So, to hear the DESIRABLE difference between what I’m requesting and what is already available…

Step 1: Record only two 16th or 32nd notes, with the two notes starting at the beginning of a different measure. For clarification, the first note should start on the down beat of the 1st measure; and the 2nd note should start on the down beat of the 2nd measure. Recording 2 notes will be sufficient for this example.

Step 2: Increase the decay/release time for the VST instrument being played and be sure it doesn’t sound long enough to overlap the 2nd note that starts at the 2nd measure. A sustain pedal is NOT recommended for this simple example.

Step 3 (desirable): Press Play to hear the first note of your pre-recorded MIDI notation through the VST instrument and as soon as you hear the notation being played, mute the "MIDI notation only" by using the MUTE BUTTON for the VST instrument ON THE "SONG PAGE" and NOT FROM THE MIXER page.

In this instance, you may be surprised to hear that the full decay of the first note is played without interruption. However, if you have correctly engaged the VST instrument’s SONG PAGE MUTE button before the 2nd pre-recorded MIDI notation was played, the 2nd note will not sound. This is only part of the desired result for this NEW automation request! 

To hear the UNDESIRABLE difference between what I’m requesting and what is already available, continue to as follows –

Step 4:  Repeat steps 1 and 2, then skip to Step 5.

Step 5 (undesirable): Press Play to hear the first note of your pre-recorded MIDI notation through the VST instrument, only this time, as soon as you hear the notation being played, engage bypass on the MIDI instrument OR mute the VST instrument from the mixer NOT THE SONG PAGE, either way the result is the same.

In this instance, the full decay of the first note is abruptly and noticeably truncated, which is undesirable for this request.

Please bear in mind the resulting audio playback is only half of this request. The other huge benefits of this request are: real-time writing of mute automation across multiple instrument channels, considerably more creative song arrangement, and ultimately much shorter song arrangement times, with the option for lighting fast fine tuning if needed. I hope these examples have cleared up any confusion. 

For anyone who realizes how beneficial this request really is, feel free to share a link to this page and give it a +1.

–1 vote
answered Nov 21 by gh.productions (1,900 points)
edited Nov 21 by gh.productions

@princeagrawal  There is actually a difference between using the VST instrument mute button on the song page, and using bypass or mute in the mixer. Follow the next 5 steps to hear the DESIRABLE difference between what I’m requesting and the UNDESIRABLE automation options  that are current available -

Step 1: Record only two 16th or 32nd notes, with the two notes starting at the beginning of a different measure. For clarification, the first note should start on the down beat of the 1st measure; and the 2nd note should start on the down beat of the 2nd measure. Recording 2 notes will be sufficient for this example.

Step 2: Increase the decay/release time for the VST instrument being played and be sure it doesn’t sound long enough to overlap the 2nd note that starts at the 2nd measure. A sustain pedal is NOT recommended for this simple example.

Step 3 (desirable): Press Play to hear the first note of your pre-recorded MIDI notation through the VST instrument and as soon as you hear the notation being played, mute the "MIDI notation only" by using the MUTE BUTTON for the VST instrument ON THE "SONG PAGE" and NOT FROM THE MIXER page.

In this instance, you may be surprised to hear that the full decay of the first note is played without interruption. However, if you have correctly engaged the VST instrument’s SONG PAGE MUTE button before the 2nd pre-recorded MIDI notation was played, the 2nd note will not sound. This is only part of the desired result for this NEW automation request! 

To hear the UNDESIRABLE difference between what I’m requesting and what is already available, continue to as follows –

Step 4:  Repeat steps 1 and 2, then skip to Step 5.

Step 5 (undesirable): Press Play to hear the first note of your pre-recorded MIDI notation through the VST instrument, only this time, as soon as you hear the notation being played, engage bypass on the MIDI instrument OR mute the VST instrument from the mixer NOT THE SONG PAGE, either way the result is the same.

In this instance, the full decay of the first note is abruptly and noticeably truncated, which is undesirable for this request. I hope this clears up any confusion about what is being requested. 

I've also requested that affected visual MIDI notation be updated to show it is also being muted or unmuted in real time while the proposed song page VST instrument mute button is writing mute status changes. This action would take place as the play head cursor moves from left to right, in much the same way wave files suddenly appear during a multitrack live recording. I'm effectively requesting a similar response while performing multitrack MIDI notation mute automations. 

This request would be considerably faster than current options and is also non-destructive, because all muted MIDI notation would still there, with the option to unmute and or make any further adjustments as needed. The resulting muted notation would also simply be omitted from any traditional musical scores, just as it is now. I've also requested that it be possible to quantize this simple on/off automation for even faster MIDI notation arrangement. 

If you understand the full projected benefit of this request, feel free to share and +1 this request to move it forward for addition as a new feature - thanks in advance for your consideration!

0 votes
answered Dec 2 by gh.productions (1,900 points)

Knowing that there is an actual MIDI mute button (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fC7Bktj8XS3--Ys8jNHb9U1w6Irej14M/view) and knowing the results of its behavior, I am convinced there has to be AT LEAST A POSSIBILITY that small tweaks to existing coding for this parameter could allow for it be automated.

However, I don’t know how realistic my expectation should be for the full implementation of my feature request, as I am not familiar with Studio One coding. So, although the desired result may be achieved faster with a lesser version of my initial request, I couldn’t possibly know if it’s even possible for a write automation to visually mute MIDI notation and therefore exclude it from notation software in real-time.

So, if real-time visual muting with simultaneous exclusion of MIDI notation from notation software is not possible, I can accept that limitation. As a trade-off, once the MIDI mute button (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fC7Bktj8XS3--Ys8jNHb9U1w6Irej14M/view) has been added as an automatable parameter, I would ask that there be 1 (if not 2) alternate option(s) to expedite the song arrangement process:

1. For those times when more meticulous MIDI editing is needed, I would ask that there be an option to view the MIDI mute automation lane from the piano roll and track editors, which would make for an easy way to manually edit the desired resulting MIDI notation for later scoring on a note-by-note basis.

2. For those times when a more batch processed approach is a better fit, I would ask that an option be provided to visually update MIDI mute affected notation in the form of an offline process, similar to the Loudness Information tab on the project page or an offline audio bounce or mixdown rendering, but with the result being an updated MIDI selection, piano roll, and/or track editor, which reflects a visual update for all notation that has been muted as a result of the MIDI mute button automation lane. This subsequent offline process might even be simply called “Apply MIDI mute”, as it’s job would be to visually mute any affected MIDI mute notation for the selected portion of instrument track it is applied to, while maintaining the original MIDI notation format of the selection MIDI section / notation.

With these (2) parameters added to Studio One’s arsenal, a macro would likely be the fastest way to combine and ultimately grant my initial feature request. I look forward to seeing this one become a reality. It would be a huge time saver and another 1st for Presonus Studio One as another means to attract new customer$ and creative$!

If you understand the time saving benefit of this request for producer$, songwriter$, and $ong arrangement overall, give this one a +1 by voting here (*even if you don’t plan on using it right away, because who knows what the future hold$):

https://answers.presonus.com/76617/midi-notation-mute-automation-request

Thanks again for your consideration!

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