Old 10-17-2018, 12:18 PM   #1
Diki Ross
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Default MIDI Export issue. Help please...

I have found an issue with exporting SMF's.

I had a project where I copied a CC11 fade from a Ch.2 track to the Ch.1 track. Tracks were set to 'Original output', so the Ch.2 fade didn't affect the Ch.1 data. The track didn't fade.

So I set the track's output to Ch.1. and now, in the keyboard, the track faded exactly as it should.

So I Exported the SMF, but the export had the fade back on Ch.2, not the Ch.1 that the keyboard had received. and when played in the keyboard, no fade.

I then applied properties to the Ch.1 track and changed all data to Ch.1, and now the SMF exported fine.

But why did the export go wrong in the first place when the track played fine from the computer to the keyboard?

Is there a setting I had wrong?
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Old 10-17-2018, 12:25 PM   #2
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My understanding / assumption was that the MIDI output selector is converting the data later in the chain, kind of like a MIDI filter plugin would do, but i could be wrong
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Old 10-17-2018, 12:43 PM   #3
Diki Ross
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I have the export set to 'Entire Project'.

I would have thought the export would be post everything?
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:23 AM   #4
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Still trying to get my head around this. Quite a bit of my workflow involves copying stuff from one channel to another, but it is going to be a hassle if I cannot rely on the track's channel output to force it to where I want it when I export the file.

Has anyone got a clue where I am going wrong?
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:35 PM   #5
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Just to clarify, what exactly do you mean by "channel output"? Are you referring to the MIDI hardware output? It's not logical to me for this to have an effect on recorded data, but maybe there is a way.
Obviously there are other methods of changing the MIDI channel on a track or item, which will definitely carry over to a MIDI file, maybe use one of those methods instead?
ie. change the event properties in the MIDI editor, or change the MIDI channel in the item properties and then glue it.
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:03 AM   #6
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Normally I import an SMF (I work on backing tracks for use in keyboards at live gigs - yes, I know, how old school!), and explode by channel into separate tracks.

Each track contains only the one channel data. I then go to the track outputs (right click after selecting all tracks) and select my MIDI device (my keyboard's USB input) and set the output to 'Original channel'. This saves me the hassle of selecting each channel individually and hand setting the output channel (something Reaper really ought to do automatically, like every other sequencer/DAW out there) before I start.

The problem starts if I cut some data from say Ch2. and paste it into Ch1's track. When set to 'Original Channel' the track outputs the Ch2 data on CH2, even when pasted into the track with the CH1 data. I can understand this. Makes sense.

But after I set the track with the Ch1 data to be Ch1 in the MIDI output, the Ch2 data now PLAYS as Ch1 data, exactly as you would expect.

The problem is, when I finally want to save the SMF by 'Export Project MIDI...' the Ch2 data (set to Ch1 in the output) gets exported as Ch2 data! This makes absolutely no sense to me. Shouldn't the export be EXACTLY what the sequencer plays? It's playing it as Ch1, but exporting as Ch2.

This is as wrong as it gets, and the idea that I should have to go through ALL my tracks, applying properties to actually change all data to the channel I want, when it is already doing that at the master MIDI output is crazy!

So, one more time, am I doing something wrong? Or is the program crazy to export a file that is different to what it is playing?

Imagine that you couldn't rely on an audio export set to Master Mix, Entire Project to render EXACTLY what you were hearing! That's basically the problem here.
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:47 AM   #7
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i think you may be misunderstanding what the MIDI hardware output is. You seem to be confusing it with the channel that is specified in the MIDI data (which has a channel from 1 to 16 but it doesn't contain any information about which hardware output to use).

To put it another way, if you put a VSTi on the track which has been re-routed (before exporting), which channel would you expect it to play? the midi channel specified in the file or the channel that is re-routed at the hardware output?
Or if you had several MIDI hardware outputs on one track, sending to different channels, how would you expect an SMF to deal with that conversion?

Last edited by domzy; 10-24-2018 at 04:37 AM. Reason: more stuff
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Old 10-24-2018, 12:31 PM   #8
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I think you are thinking altogether in the software realm. Try to remember the old school paradigm...

Your sequencer goes to a MIDI interface, which outputs only 16 channels down one MIDI cable.

I use USB to communicate with my keyboard. It is configured as ONE device only (with MIDI's 16 channel limit). The only option of MIDI output I have in the devices is the keyboard.

I honestly expect (and have never used a sequencer/DAW that doesn't do this) that whatever my DAW outputs down just ONE MIDI output device is reflected in the export.

Every single track is routed to the same device , and MIDI channel is set to either 'original' (which is appropriate if it only contains one channel), or a specific channel if it has multiple channels of data on it that I want to be output on that one specific channel.

I am not using multichannel VSTi's, multiple MIDI interfaces (and the MIDI output devices is set up to reflect that) or any other skullduggery! I have Reaper connected by USB to ONE keyboard.

Look, all I expect is for MIDI exports to be EXACTLY what comes out of the USB cable. Like every other sequencer does. Why Reaper has to complicate the simple beats me, and I still have no idea how you can justify a track set to output on ONE channel being allowed to output on multiple channels on export.

Is there anyone else with a clue about what I'm talking about here?

In Cubase-speak, I have a MIDI track set to Ch 1, paste in data from a track that contains Ch2 data (but that track is set to 'Any') and upon playing plays whatever Ch2 data is pasted in on Ch1. But, when exported in Cubase, the Ch2 data set to Ch1 exports as Ch1. Exactly as you would expect.

Basically, in term translation, a track in Cubase set to 'Any' is the same as a Reaper track set to 'Original'. The difference is, it appears that Reaper, when exporting the MIDI, ignores the track output channel designation. Somebody explain how that makes ANY sense...

Last edited by Diki Ross; 10-24-2018 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 10-24-2018, 07:28 PM   #9
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i understand what you are saying, and i can see you are frustrated that Reaper has different options to what you are used to in other softwares, but having switched from Cubase myself 8 years ago, i like the way Reaper handles things.
I have several PCs linked as a copperlan network with lots of MIDI hardware, and the options to re-route or send to multiple ports / channels at the output is invaluable to me. As mentioned, i can't see how Reaper would be able to translate this correctly to a SMF and i think consistent behaviour is important, from a simple one device setup to a multi-port setup.
Hopefully you find a way that suits you, my 2 suggestions from post 5 will do what you need, or maybe others have better methods?
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Old 10-26-2018, 12:48 PM   #10
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I'm afraid you are talking studio, I'm talking live.

The SMF format (that Reaper exports in) is a strictly one interface, 16 channel format. There is no way to have multiple Parts on the same channel that are independently outputted.

Yes, if you keep the data in Reaper, multiple channels on the same track on multiple outputs gets preserved. But the minute you 'export' to an SMF, all that data goes bye-bye.

So, in your case, you would NEVER export to SMF in the first place! No-one would, when talking VSTi's with multiple input channels. In fact have you EVER exported to an SMF? I have a suspicion that you are offering advice about something you have never done...

I understand the 'workarounds', but in the case of exporting to an SMF, they are tedious and unnecessary. For the purposes of SMF export, what comes out no matter what 'output' set to will end up on the SMF with no data about output assignments. It will be a strictly 16 channel limit no specified output file. That's what the SMF format is. It predates multiple channel input, multiple device output gear. Think 80's, 90's, etc.! Yes, there's a good case for a more modern SMF format, but the MMA have so far not addressed this.

Bottom line, when addressing one external device (which is the only reason you'd export it as an SMF in the first place), what comes out the USB cable (or MIDI cable) is what should be saved to the file. As I explained, it should be just like an audio export. We all trust that what is exported is what we hear when it comes to audio.

It should be the same for SMF export.
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:00 PM   #11
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Route all the MIDI data that you want to export to one track (make sure to include any channel changes in your routing setup, just like you are currently doing).

Record the resulting MIDI stream as a new item on the new track.

Then export that item to SMF.
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diki Ross View Post
I'm afraid you are talking studio, I'm talking live.

The SMF format (that Reaper exports in) is a strictly one interface, 16 channel format. There is no way to have multiple Parts on the same channel that are independently outputted.

Yes, if you keep the data in Reaper, multiple channels on the same track on multiple outputs gets preserved. But the minute you 'export' to an SMF, all that data goes bye-bye.

So, in your case, you would NEVER export to SMF in the first place! No-one would, when talking VSTi's with multiple input channels. In fact have you EVER exported to an SMF? I have a suspicion that you are offering advice about something you have never done...

I understand the 'workarounds', but in the case of exporting to an SMF, they are tedious and unnecessary. For the purposes of SMF export, what comes out no matter what 'output' set to will end up on the SMF with no data about output assignments. It will be a strictly 16 channel limit no specified output file. That's what the SMF format is. It predates multiple channel input, multiple device output gear. Think 80's, 90's, etc.! Yes, there's a good case for a more modern SMF format, but the MMA have so far not addressed this.

Bottom line, when addressing one external device (which is the only reason you'd export it as an SMF in the first place), what comes out the USB cable (or MIDI cable) is what should be saved to the file. As I explained, it should be just like an audio export. We all trust that what is exported is what we hear when it comes to audio.

It should be the same for SMF export.
this is becoming a little silly, so we'll have to agree to disagree. One last time, in an effort to foster better understanding of Reaper - on the one hand you agree that SMF doesn't take multiple MIDI ports into account, and yet you expect the MIDI hardware out from Reaper to be accounted for in an export. This clearly doesn't make sense. To use your comparison of an audio render - would you expect monitor fX to be incorporated into an audio mixdown?
Reaper isn't cubase - they are different - maybe it'd be easier to continue to use cubase if you aren't prepared or able to accept the functionality that Reaper offers. But it really is no big deal to amend the MIDI channel in the item itself or in the item properties in Reaper.
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Old 10-28-2018, 10:49 AM   #13
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Not only is Reaper not Cubase, it is not ANY other DAW/sequencer out there. Not Logic. Not ProTools. Not Sonor. I have never come across a DAW that exports an SMF that does not reflect the outputs.

The whole POINT of an SMF export is to consolidate to ONE single set of 16 MIDI channels. As the MMA specifies.

Consequently, the output assignment is of no issue. What is forced by the track channel assignment to be played on external instruments is what should be the final result of the export.

I am still of the opinion that this is not of your concern because I don't believe you have ever tried to export to an SMF. Your setup and workflow would have quickly shown you that this cannot be done and still preserve the outputs.

These labyrinthian workarounds are idiotic once you realize the medium that is being exported to.

And yes, if the monitor effects were being routed to the final output, I would OF COURSE expect them to be included in the final render.
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Old 10-28-2018, 02:45 PM   #14
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I tried to check couple of days ago how Logic X does this. To me it seems that unless you use a specific function to all the MIDI regions (items) before the export (Apply All Parameters permanently), all the track events will keep their original channel(s).

Talking about Cubase, unless the previous actions or copy/paste functions don't already change the MIDI channels per track (?), it seems you still have to go to MIDI event properties to change them before the export?
https://steinberg.help/cubase_ai_le_...porting_r.html

Juat for fun, check Studio One SMF export.

Anybody who has actually worked with those DAWs or others could maybe confirm above. But to me it seems totally understandable that all the events/items do keep their original (source) channels unless specifically changed to something else...and hardware output should have nothing to do with this unless, again, it can be specifically chosen to do so.

This whole problem seems to miss some details to begin with, but is unfortunately stuck on a loop.
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Old 10-28-2018, 07:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diki Ross View Post
Consequently, the output assignment is of no issue. What is forced by the track channel assignment to be played on external instruments is what should be the final result of the export.
Yes -so we almost agree? The export is using the channel that is assigned in the track - not what is assigned at the output (as that is of no issue).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diki Ross View Post
I am still of the opinion that this is not of your concern because I don't believe you have ever tried to export to an SMF. Your setup and workflow would have quickly shown you that this cannot be done and still preserve the outputs.
You don't need to have been a horse to become a champion jockey
Of course you can't preserve the outputs - that's what i've been trying to say - which is why routing from this end of the chain should be ignored on export of an SMF

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diki Ross View Post
And yes, if the monitor effects were being routed to the final output, I would OF COURSE expect them to be included in the final render.
Probably best to not use the Monitor FX chain in Reaper then.


Seriously though, i hope you get your head around it. Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2018, 10:18 AM   #16
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Lost in translation seems to be the theme.

I think we are confusing the term 'output' and 'track' when it comes to MIDI's 16 ch SMF limitations.

For example, each track in Cubase can be set to 'Any', which allows multiple channels on the one track. Then it can be set to a specific channel, and any data on that track is output on the set channel. And, if you export to an SMF, multichannel data on a track set to output on one specific channel is exported that way, as it assumes (obviously) that there was a reason you set the data to output on one MIDI channel only.

From limited use on Logic, I believe it has (had?) the same basic paradigm. If you set a multichannel track to output on one channel, THERE'S REASON YOU DID IT! And when you exported the SMF it preserved your intentions.

Now, I am trying mightily to imagine a scenario where, if you decided you wanted all data on a track to be forced to one channel, you WOULDN'T want that data on that one channel when you exported the data. And failing completely to come up with one.

In the case of multiple output devices, or multiple channel single track VSTi's, you wouldn't force the multiple channel data to one channel in the first place, and you wouldn't use SMF as the export medium, because you would lose all that track separation. You would have to select each multichannel track separately, and save separate SMF's for each one (or the data on same channels destined for different outputs would be mixed together with no regard for output). Or simply paste from one project into another.

SMF export is its own VERY specific save medium. Very 80's, completely retro when it comes to capability in the world of multichannel VSTi's, or multiple output MIDI devices. The MMA has never addressed this. So, in this specific function, you can cheer your favorite DAW all you want, but when it makes an error (Lord knows, there's enough beefing about it's arcane comping procedures!) please don't compound it.

There is no conceivable reason why a MIDI Track forced to output on one channel would not want to be on that one output channel after export. If you want to preserve the multitrack data on it (even though you were listening to it on the one) for, say, archiving purposes, you would set it to 'Original' before export, in fact you would save it as a Project, not an SMF. But an Export is an export. It is a 'render' in audio terms. And a render that did not reflect what you heard would be a pretty poor render!
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Old 10-29-2018, 01:18 PM   #17
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I think what I wrote in post #11 should provide what you are looking for.

I don't think it's that much extra work to merge record all of the MIDI onto a new track, and then export that MIDI item as SMF.

If that's not doing what you want, let us know.
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Old 10-29-2018, 01:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diki Ross View Post
There is no conceivable reason why a MIDI Track forced to output on one channel would not want to be on that one output channel after export.
This is a bit misleading, MIDI tracks don't have their own mind. The question is if the user wants that to happen or not. And right there, if you have to have, or can have an option, you'll have to deal with it.

You do realize there are three SMF types, two of which are commonly used? You are talking about a scenario where a single track will for one reason or the other have events with several different MIDI channels. You might be routing those events through a single channel in your DAW if you so will. However, when you are saving (exporting) your tracks to SMF files, that doesn't matter. You still have to decide if you want to retain multichannel data on a single track (SMF type 0), or divide events of different MIDI channels to separate tracks (type 1). Afais, Reaper does this just the same as any DAW which is capable of it.

What you seem to be asking about is converting all channel information on one track to one channel before or during the SMF export. IOW, rewriting the original channel data. That might be a DAW specific function, and from what I've seen with some DAWs, you'll have to indeed do it separately before the SMF export. Afais, SMF export itself doesn't touch the original channel data, but rather divides or merges the saved tracks based on that (original) channel data.
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