Midi and Kar question

Hi, I have recently received several hundred .mid and .kar files and after doing some research on the net, this is my understanding. If I have misunderstood something, I would appreciate known what is the correct interpretation. The reason for wanting to understand this is that I would like to perform with my guitar and would like to have some backing tracks to help in the background with drums and other instruments. However, I am deeply disappointment at the quality of the sound of both the mid and kar files and wonder if there is a way to make the instruments sound more realistic instead of toy like instruments.
Here is my understanding;
Midi files are created similar to a computer program in that it creates commands to sound like a particular instrument, the length of time a note should be pressed, etc. etc. but it does not record the actual sound. The sound is generated by a sound card inside my computer and thus it makes the sound called for by the midi file.

Kar files are created the same way except they have an additional option which allows for the video display.

In other words, neither the Mid or Kar files store real instruments. Now, is there a way for me to make the sounds sound like real instruments using my computer? If not, why are these formats so popular when the sound is so inferior to real instruments. It could be that a software program might do that but I'm not familiar with any. Lastly, is there a place that sells backing tracks created with real instruments. Thank you for helping me understand this.



Midi and Kar files are, as you have deduced, electronic "instruments".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIDI
Even if you convert them to another format, they aren't going to sound like live band instruments.

In fact, a MID file really just contains instructions to the computer and sound card to render a certain tone at a specific pitch, for a certain length of time, at a certain velocity that translates into volume, and other instructions such as lyrics that can be rendered by certain media players. The computer and sound card does all the work. You can sometimes get a reasonably realistic kick drum or fretless bass sound in a MID file, but the more harmonically rich the instrument is that the midi file is trying to emulate, the less it will sound like a real instrument. The "lead guitar" or "electric guitar" voice will usually sound like the bagpipes or a peruvian nose flute, and the "acoustic guitar" will usually sound like a muted glockenspiel or something. They are too rich in harmonic overtones to be emulated truly, and the bent string of an electric guitar is almost impossible to render accurately.

I have used the occasional MID file to play guitar along with, but only after individually muting all the instruments other than drums, bass, and occasionally keyboard using free Midi playback software by van Basco (http://www.vanbasco.com/karaokeplayer/). Basically I was just using the midi file as a "click track" with bass for the groove. I would never even think of using a MID file as a backing track in a live situation, because it would sound amateurish. Most karaoke MIDI tracks are keyboard-rich, and that is the one instrument that sounds truer than others in files that you download.

You can get a lot of backing tracks on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=guitar+backing+tracks
If you want an audio file you either have to use recording and editing software like Audacity to capture the audio that is being played back through your computer as you play the video, or else use a browser plugin program that allows you to capture, convert, and save the audio content as a useful audio file like MP3 format. I use Audacity for things like this but, as I haven't ever used YouTube Downloader programs I cannot recommend any.

I believe that one of the best sites to buy backing tracks is http://www.karaoke-version.com. It provides a good search function and you can preview snippets from the various versions of songs recorded by real players and singers. You need an account to purchase songs, but you can re-tweak and then download the song as many times as you like. In the interface you can change the tempo and pitch, mute certain instruments (including vocals), then download your edited version in that form as an MP3. You can go back and change the selections, pitch, tempo, etc, and download again. As long as you name each MP3 with a useful name, you could download each instrument as a separate MP3 and then mix back again in multi-track software (read the copyright). The songs aren't very expensive at all, although some are better than others. If you choose a popular rock song, it is often the vocal rendition that lets it down, but the same is true of any band copying a very popular song anyway.



Midi and Kar files are, as you have deduced, electronic "instruments".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIDI
Even if you convert them to another format, they aren't going to sound like live band instruments.

In fact, a MID file really just contains instructions to the computer and sound card to render a certain tone at a specific pitch, for a certain length of time, at a certain velocity that translates into volume, and other instructions such as lyrics that can be rendered by certain media players. The computer and sound card does all the work. You can sometimes get a reasonably realistic kick drum or fretless bass sound in a MID file, but the more harmonically rich the instrument is that the midi file is trying to emulate, the less it will sound like a real instrument. The "lead guitar" or "electric guitar" voice will usually sound like the bagpipes or a peruvian nose flute, and the "acoustic guitar" will usually sound like a muted glockenspiel or something. They are too rich in harmonic overtones to be emulated truly, and the bent string of an electric guitar is almost impossible to render accurately.

I have used the occasional MID file to play guitar along with, but only after individually muting all the instruments other than drums, bass, and occasionally keyboard using free Midi playback software by van Basco (http://www.vanbasco.com/karaokeplayer/). Basically I was just using the midi file as a "click track" with bass for the groove. I would never even think of using a MID file as a backing track in a live situation, because it would sound amateurish. Most karaoke MIDI tracks are keyboard-rich, and that is the one instrument that sounds truer than others in files that you download.

You can get a lot of backing tracks on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=guitar+backing+tracks
If you want an audio file you either have to use recording and editing software like Audacity to capture the audio that is being played back through your computer as you play the video, or else use a browser plugin program that allows you to capture, convert, and save the audio content as a useful audio file like MP3 format. I use Audacity for things like this but, as I haven't ever used YouTube Downloader programs I cannot recommend any.

I believe that one of the best sites to buy backing tracks is http://www.karaoke-version.com. It provides a good search function and you can preview snippets from the various versions of songs recorded by real players and singers. You need an account to purchase songs, but you can re-tweak and then download the song as many times as you like. In the interface you can change the tempo and pitch, mute certain instruments (including vocals), then download your edited version in that form as an MP3. You can go back and change the selections, pitch, tempo, etc, and download again. As long as you name each MP3 with a useful name, you could download each instrument as a separate MP3 and then mix back again in multi-track software (read the copyright). The songs aren't very expensive at all, although some are better than others. If you choose a popular rock song, it is often the vocal rendition that lets it down, but the same is true of any band copying a very popular song anyway.



Thank you for that. This clears up the difference between MId and Kar. I first thought that KAR were done with real instruments but that doesn't seem to be the case. So basically what you are saying is that it would not be wise to spend the time to review the hundreds of MID and KAR files that I have because even if I bought the program you mention AUDACITY, the finished product would not be acceptable in a live professional setting. Is that correct? Instead, you recommend buying the tracks from KaraokeVersion. So my final question is; are the tracks from Karaoke Version produced with real instruments or are they also Midi?



camtz what do you use to play the background sounds? Software?
Audacity is free open source by the way.
Trying to picture you playing your guitar with background music.
I have watched many buskers and am familiar with creating my own music using a keyboard and or synthesizer recording this and using a trigger Foot pedal to control playback called looper and pedals
Looper & Sampler Effects Pedals
To keep the music going there are no accessories more versatile than looper and sampler effects pedals. Allowing you to record rhythm loops as you play, and play them back as you continue jamming, these pedals add layers to you music, helping you effortlessly create uniquely songs and sounds.
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Looper---Sampler-Effects-Pedals-Effects-Pedals.gc
They created their background music and use a mixer
this is my favourite busker using the Loop and Pedal with a couple of mixers he records the first loop live then if you watch he presses the pedal then it plays back while he plays a different piece., Very cool
Awesome Electric Violin - Ed Busking Chester
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUO6kYLb6As&index=26&list=FLTbE_VoNpPAT25Isv81Pn6A
Digitech JamMan looper phrase sampler pedal guitar lesson ( youtube video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbbtKZTFblE

I also have Ejay it is software to create your own drums loops
http://www.ejay.com/us/product
Most buskers have drums and beats to play with.
Would you be interested in Kits?
The portable kit includes four sensors that attach to any part of a live set: could be a guitar, a microphone, an arm. Each sensor then connects with standard music software to dictate a different light or sound action based on the performer’s movements,
THE PLUG + PLAY KIT IS FOR MUSICIANS WHO STAND ALONE—TO DELIVER ALL THE LIGHT AND SOUND DRAMA OF A FULL BAND.
http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672914/an-instant-one-man-band-kit-twists-and-slams-the-solo-show
Just giving you some ideas
cheers



Hi camtz

The songs on www.karaoke-version.com are real recordings of songs played by real people on real instruments. Without an account you can preview sections of the songs. It is unsurprising that they have usually picked the best or most recogniseable sections of popular songs. There are also some free MP3 instrumental tracks (http://www.karaoke-version.com/free/karaoke.html). Let's say you want to download an instrumental of La Bamba so guests can sing along to it at your Tequila parties ;-) You will see the description alongside it:La Bamba made famous by Mexican Traditional
• 2 music tracks in MP3 instrumental version
• 1 music track with vocals (cover)
MP3 karaoke file Vocal Backing Track MP3
http://www.karaoke-version.com/free/mexican-traditional/la-bamba.html

La Bamba - Free MP3 Instrumental - Mexican Traditional - Karaoke Version
Tempo: variable (around 156 BPM)
Song key: C
End without fade out
Duration: 2:19 - Preview at: 00:51

There are 3 versions :-Instrumental Version MP3
-Instrumental Version MP3 - with guide melody
-Cover Version MP3 - A singer performs the lead vocal

The only user-changeable option you have with this free song is the ability to drop the pitch down by two steps or raise it two steps prior to download.

The songs that you pay for are multi-tracked, which is to say that each instrument is recorded to its own L+R stereo track. On the La Bamba page you will see that there are other non-free versions in different categories:-Guitar Backing Track
-Drum Backing Track
-Bass Backing Track
-Custom Backing Track
-Karaoke Video with Lyrics

Suppose you choose the "Guitar Backing Track" category, you will see that there are 4 versions to choose from, all in high 320 kilobits per second quality:http://www.karaoke-version.com/guitar-backing-track-free/mexican-traditional/la-bamba.html

Tempo: variable (around 156 BPM)
Song key: C
End without fade out
Duration: 2:19 - Preview at: 00:48

-Guitar Backing Track With Vocals - with vocals but no guitar
-Guitar Backing Track Without vocals - no vocals, no guitar
-Full version with vocals and guitar
-Guitar without the other instruments

With each you can raise or lower the pitch by two steps before downloading the MP3 (i.e. up to up to D or down to Bb).

So far this has only been the free version. There is a La Bamba performed in the style of Los Lobos available on the site for 1.50 British Pounds or $1.99 US:http://www.karaoke-version.com/guitar-backing-track/los-lobos/la-bamba.html
You will see that you again have a few different preset versions, but if you want to gain more control over any of the non-free songs you should go to the "Custom Backing Track" option which will cost $2.99 US:http://www.karaoke-version.com/custombackingtrack/los-lobos/la-bamba.html

The interface, which takes a moment to load, allows you to select whatever instruments you want, and when you then download the MP3 it has been mixed with only those instruments.



BillDL - I am extremely appreciative of the time and effort you put into this. I have now visited Karaoke-Version and have a pretty good idea of how it works so I will definitely be registering and buying some of their material. The most helpful thing for me out of all of this is the fact that I now understand the difference between .Mid and .Kar files and why they sound the way they do. One problem I foresee with Karaoke-Version is that I only play and sing Latin & some classical music (like Malaguena, Granada etc.) and from what I have seen so far, Latin music seems to be limited. So one option is for me to learn a few American songs (after all, I am an American now and I live in America which is the greatest country on the planet. Your expertise has been enormously helpful and I will be going over this material for some time so as not to miss anything. I will also download Audacity and play around with it to see if it can help me.

Share this

Related Posts

There was an error in this gadget