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Old 05-28-2019, 08:30 AM   #1
chrisprice
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Default Loading Midi Files into Reaper (Mac El Capitan)

I'm not a newbie when it comes to digital recording. I'm a veteran muso with 20+years of using Cubase. However I am new to Reaper. I decided to dip my toe in the water as I like the reasonable licensing approach here and, having spent a few days messing with the demo, I like what I see so I've invested in a Reaper license. Here's my question:

Part of what I do involves working with midi files. Old technology I know but still used by many of us. I can load a midi file into reaper and expand it accross however many tracks. The controller/tempo info is there which is great. What I don't seem to be able to do is get Reaper to automatically assign midi track numbers and voice info to a vst/au sample player of my choice. Unless I'm missing something, the only way to do this is manually which works but is very time consuming. Anyone able to enlighten me?
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:17 PM   #2
chrisprice
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Default Answering my own question!

I suspect the answer maybe that, as Reaper doesn't come bundled with a vst/au sample player like some other DAWs (inc. Cubase), it possibly isn't equipped to send out midi channel and voice info in this way. I really hope I'm wrong because I use midi files a lot when I'm preparing backing tracks for gigging. If not I'll have to stay with Cubase for this part of my work. I see no problem using Reaper for recording original material - I do a lot of that too.

Still hoping for some feedback.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:48 AM   #3
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Actually, all you need to do is hook up whatever sound module you use live to Reaper MIDI to achieve what you need for live work. Done it myself for years. However these days I tend to us a bunch of good plugin instruments & render the tracks out to audio, which then goes on my laptop or iPad for gigs.

Depending on what sort of sounds you are looking for there is a mountain of free VSTis out there for both mac & PC. Check out the Bedroom Producers Blog site, also the Going all freeware (well almost) thread on here for advice and location of decent freebies...

P.S. welcome to the forums. Make sure you download & check out the free User Guide and all the excellent free video tutorial videos at reaper.fm
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Old 05-30-2019, 02:02 PM   #4
chrisprice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
Actually, all you need to do is hook up whatever sound module you use live to Reaper MIDI to achieve what you need for live work. Done it myself for years. However these days I tend to us a bunch of good plugin instruments & render the tracks out to audio, which then goes on my laptop or iPad for gigs.

Depending on what sort of sounds you are looking for there is a mountain of free VSTis out there for both mac & PC. Check out the Bedroom Producers Blog site, also the Going all freeware (well almost) thread on here for advice and location of decent freebies...

P.S. welcome to the forums. Make sure you download & check out the free User Guide and all the excellent free video tutorial videos at reaper.fm
Thanks for the reply. Indeed, I'll check out the guides and videos.

Sorry, I perhaps didn't explain myself fully. I'm not using a sound module live. I use midi files to create and manipulate backing tracks which are then exported as mp3's - similar to you from what you've said.. Sometimes I create my own tracks from scratch, but sometimes I download free or pay-for midi files and use them as templates to work with, adding real instruments and backing vocals to suite. What I'm hoping is that, when I import a midi file, Reaper can automatically send out midi voicing info to a vst or au sample player. This can be done easily in Cubase and other DAW's. I can explode the file onto different tracks in Reaper but, as far as I can see, the instrument voices have to be set up manually. Having it automated as a starting point would save a lot of time. Maybe I've missed something as I am new to this software.

I'm otherwise liking Reaper. I doubt that I'd ever transfer to it totally as I have a wealth of material recorded in Cubase, but I do like the cost, flexibility and the lower use of system resourses...and what appears to be a great community. I have it loaded on my old Macbook at the moment. It's not my main system but it's useful for getting ideas down.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:03 AM   #5
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here is what you are not exactly understanding...

reaper does not come with any [well almost none] plugins that make sound.
you midi file does not of it self make sound, I think you know that

other DAW's may come some manner of a plugin that does make the sounds for general midi files...
Cubase, Sonar [now called bandcamp and free], etc.

So I guess you have a few options...
If you want to be purely in reaper, you need something to make the noise...
Roland has VSC for 125 bucks...
IK Multimedia has Sample Tank [way better sounds IMO]
Or you can get one of the free sound font players...

Now there are some things to consider..
VSC has "ok" sounds and it will read the instrument channels directly from your midi file... you don't even need to explode them to separate tracks

But... IF you want better sounds then maybe Sample Tank would be the way to go... however, you'd have to set it up to have on each channel the instrument you want... and you'd have way more options... like which piano or which violin, etc. along with easy ability to mix them.

The good news is that in Reaper we can save Track templates.
So you have one that used Sample Tank all set up for 16 instruments as desired for say a jazz band, and then another set up for Orchestral stuff, etc.

Once done, loading a track template is fast and easy in reaper... in fact you could load more than one and put your midi file on different ones to see what you like the best...

If it was me, I'd probably buy Sample Tank 4 and use it for what you want and a ton more...

again... VSC would be easier at first but in the long run not nearly as much bang for the buck.

Or... I guess you could use your cubase or get bandcamp DAW and save out your wav files and load those into reaper...

I used to use both those DAW's but have stayed in reaper for years now..

PS: I see you asked about assigning midi track numbers to a vsti of your choice... what would that be?
maybe your problem is just a matter of knowing how to set up routing in reaper...
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:04 AM   #6
chrisprice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopi View Post
here is what you are not exactly understanding...

reaper does not come with any [well almost none] plugins that make sound.
you midi file does not of it self make sound, I think you know that

other DAW's may come some manner of a plugin that does make the sounds for general midi files...
Cubase, Sonar [now called bandcamp and free], etc.

So I guess you have a few options...
If you want to be purely in reaper, you need something to make the noise...
Roland has VSC for 125 bucks...
IK Multimedia has Sample Tank [way better sounds IMO]
Or you can get one of the free sound font players...

Now there are some things to consider..
VSC has "ok" sounds and it will read the instrument channels directly from your midi file... you don't even need to explode them to separate tracks

But... IF you want better sounds then maybe Sample Tank would be the way to go... however, you'd have to set it up to have on each channel the instrument you want... and you'd have way more options... like which piano or which violin, etc. along with easy ability to mix them.

The good news is that in Reaper we can save Track templates.
So you have one that used Sample Tank all set up for 16 instruments as desired for say a jazz band, and then another set up for Orchestral stuff, etc.

Once done, loading a track template is fast and easy in reaper... in fact you could load more than one and put your midi file on different ones to see what you like the best...

If it was me, I'd probably buy Sample Tank 4 and use it for what you want and a ton more...

again... VSC would be easier at first but in the long run not nearly as much bang for the buck.

Or... I guess you could use your cubase or get bandcamp DAW and save out your wav files and load those into reaper...

I used to use both those DAW's but have stayed in reaper for years now..

PS: I see you asked about assigning midi track numbers to a vsti of your choice... what would that be?
maybe your problem is just a matter of knowing how to set up routing in reaper...
Thanks for the reply.

I fully understand that Reaper doesn't come with a sample player or any sounds as you put it. I'm aware of what options are out there as I'm a long time user of Cubase. As you suggest there's Sample Tank, VSC etc. Steinberg does a free version of their HalionSonic SE3 sample player which works well with Reaper. It is indeed all about routing which is maybe where I've missed something obvious. My point is that other DAWs can do this automatically taking the info from the midi file. I have already created a template for this player which does work. But I still have to route the midi channels/voices manually for each midi file which is what I'm trying to get around.

Last edited by chrisprice; 06-03-2019 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:43 AM   #7
chrisprice
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I'm getting there after a fashion. I'm using Steinberg's free sample player HalionSonic SE3. As has been suggested, I've created a template for this which opens up 16 tracks/16 midi channrels with instrument sounds of my choice. I can now drop a midi file onto this and I can listen to and work on the song. The instruments aren't all correct but it is workable and I can change what I need from here. It's still nowhere close to the way it works in Cubase, Logic or Cakewalk, but I'm making good progress.

I'm starting to get my head around Reaper's midi routing which is rather different to what I'm used to. I feel sure that I can refine this process further. I hope so because I'm otherwise very impressed with Reaper.

Last edited by chrisprice; 06-07-2019 at 08:03 AM. Reason: More progress
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:26 PM   #8
chrisprice
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Updating my own thread again as I've made some real progress today. It might be of interest to someone. As was suggested to me further back it's all about midi routing. It's also about doing things quite differently from Cubase.

I've got a custom theme loaded up now which helps. I've learned how to apply custom colours and toolbars and save the theme. It's a Cubase look though I'm not really trying to replicate Cubase - no point in doing that, but it helps for familiarity. I may change it again later.

Dropping in a midi file is now proving easier and HalionSonic SE3 works surprisingly well with Reaper. Once I've edited the voices for the midi file, the information is being remembered between sessions which is good. Reaper is actually better than Cubase in that it reads tempo information properly. I've also introduced an Addictive Drums track..it's my choice for drums - no problems at all with that. Just drag the drum track into it as I've always done. I've imported a drum map so editing the drums is more or less as I'm used to.

The next job is to try recording some real instruments and backing vocals. I don't expect any issues here. Any info would still be appreciated as I am new to Reaper, though it is starting to fall into place. Watch this space.
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