Why MIDI Rules Over Audio in Stochastic Drumming

Well, to make this bold statement, we first need a basic understanding what MIDI is and does and why it is so damn cool. After some considerations how to explain it, I decided to delegate this task to this informative, entertaining and enjoyable video done by macProVideoDotCom / Bill Burgess. I had fun watching it.

He’s asking the question “What the *** is MIDI and why should I care?”. It’s ca. 8 minutes long and worth watching. I liked the Uncle Bob references and the excourse in the dark ages.

You may ask yourself why a technical standard like MIDI – which was first standardized in 1983 (yep, last millennium) – should be important to you, right now in 2013. To be honest, I asked the same thing in the old days in the ancient years oif ca. 1986. But then, I had only one synthesizer which was capable of MIDI and I had to visit a friend of mine who lived 20 km away, who had a second one just to have the luxury to actually connect two MIDI-capable devices. After some fiddling with DIN cables (formally used for recording music to tape) we actually manage to play one synth using the keyboard from the other synth. Then we sat back and were not impressed because, hey why should it be a big thing to play two synths? I have two hands for this, right? Little did we know about (and little money available to buy) sequencers, expanders, drum machines, midi controllers, electronic music how it will be, iPads and apps and the bright future where making music will be free of a price tag.
Hey! Streaming midi-information using the internet to jam with a pal in the US or Australia? Get real, Kerl! That’s not the Jetsons (yet!) 🙂

Now, back to stochastic drumming:

Personally, I don’t need another stochastic drum machine with audio as an output, because I already own a phalanx of very cool instruments to produce audio, like the instruments from Ableton Live Suite or Addictive Drums or free VST Plugins or Max4Live Devices or iPad apps or ….
They are all cool and integrated into my DAW for automation. Last but not least, I already know them and don’t have to learn and master another instrument.

Second I have lots of Midi devices to manipulate the MIDI data on their way from the stochastic drum to the audio device, like Pitch, Scale, Arpeggiator, Velocity etc. They expand my room of creativity and the probability of happy accidents.

Third, combination of Midi devices is sooo easy and combination of audio devices is sooo limited. Maybe a bit of sidechaining to control a gate or stuff like that but for a person with compulsion of control it’s not enough. With audio it feels like
a) use it as provided (may sound cool, but is not yours) or
b) use some audio effects, like delay, phaser, … (boring and too static in most cases)

As a conclusion: MIDI RULES! Quot Erat Demonstrandum Baby!

Have an opinion about this point of view? I would like to hear from you in the comments.

-mE

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