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Ableton - converting audio to MIDI
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Software  
Author Ableton - converting audio to MIDI
1n
*search not working - apologies if this is a repeat*

I'm a MIDIot *and* I dislike working with MIDI. However, I've a project on the go for which MIDI is the only option.

So I'm using audio to MIDI in Ableton, which is producing some good results and is incredibly good at reproducing complex microtonal patterns.

I've got great results from WAV files of up to 30 minutes' duration, many of varying quality (field recordings on a phone, etc.). But some WAVs of even a minute duration either crash Ableton or produce an empty MIDI track.

I've re-made these WAVs and increased gain, but no change. And I can't troubleshoot because I don't understand how this process works, despite reading up on it.

Can anyone help? Thanks.
KaOsphere
Did the process gave empty result with either melody, harmony and rythm attempts ?
1n
Thanks for responding.

Drums - empty; Melody and Harmony crashed Abe at between 40% and 50%
KaOsphere
Happened to me with random files for no identifiable reaseons.

I managed to get past through this when it happened by splitting the files in pieces.

Sometime splitting in half worked, sometimes I found that a specific part of the file was problematic and skipped it.

Lowering sample rate and bit depth sometimes helped too.

Sorry, I've no scientific answer, only workarounds...
1n
Thanks so much for the suggestions, much appreciated. Guinness ftw!

I tried splitting last night, and that didn't work, so I try sample rate/bit depth.

It got me so frustrated that I ended up using Flex in Logic Pro X - that's how desparate I was! MY ASS IS BLEEDING
alexander92
Purely hypothetical, try adjusting the BPM of your project to a lower rate, perhaps Ableton will analyze it differently.

Secondly, it's important that you convert audio which has some audible pitch and or transients. While Ableton does a really good job at analyzing harmonic melodic and rhytmic material, it certainly can not extract everything. If you end up with a blank midi clip, it means Ableton was not able to extract midi information from your audio.
Annwn
I had problems in the past with Ableton crashing when handling WAVs with strange sample rates. Have you tried ensuring your WAVs are at least 44.1k?
1n
Thanks!

"Purely hypothetical, try adjusting the BPM of your project to a lower rate"

I'll try this.

"it's important that you convert audio which has some audible pitch and or transients."

The WAVs I'm having trouble with are in a batch of poorly recorded acoustic guitar / mumbling. Some work, some don't. There's no perceivable audible difference in the quality of the sound, so you are right: it will be down to how Abe reads the (lack of) transients point-by-point in the recording, or expressive gaps in the playing.

"Have you tried ensuring your WAVs are at least 44.1k?"

Yes.

Flex in Logic Pro X picks everything up, so I've started importing these MIDI tracks into Abe.

I like using Logic for tracking and editing and Abe for mixing, so it's not much bother moving between.
ersatzplanet
Just isn case you don't have access to the Ableton manual:

For the most accurate results, we recommend the following:
•Use music that has clear attacks. Notes that fade in or “swell” may not be detected by the conversion process.

•Work with recordings of isolated instruments. The Convert Drums command, for example, works best with unaccompanied drum breaks; if other instruments are present, their notes will be detected as well.

•Use uncompressed, high-quality audio files such as .wav or .aiff. Lossy data formats such as mp3 may result in unpredictable conversions, unless the recordings are at high bitrates. Live uses the transient markers (page 141) in the original audio clip to determine the divisions between notes in the converted MIDI clip. This means that you can “tune” the results of the conversion by adding, moving, or deleting transient markers in the audio clip before running any of the Convert commands.

Although each of the commands has been designed for a particular type of musical material, you can sometimes get very interesting results by applying the “wrong” command. For example, Convert Harmony will usually create chords. So running it on a monophonic clip (like a vocal recording)
will often generate notes that weren’t present in the original audio. This can be a great way to spark your creativity.
1n
Thanks James.

This is exactly my project...I was so pleased with first results from 'misuse' of Convert to MIDI on n crappy recordings that I persisted.

Artefacts galore...leading to polyrhythms, polymelodies, orchestrated mess smile

Some crappy recordings work, others come up empty. That's interesting too Rockin' Banana!
ersatzplanet
1n wrote:
Thanks James.

This is exactly my project...I was so pleased with first results from 'misuse' of Convert to MIDI on n crappy recordings that I persisted.

Artefacts galore...leading to polyrhythms, polymelodies, orchestrated mess smile

Some crappy recordings work, others come up empty. That's interesting too Rockin' Banana!


A interesting thing to do is play with the transient Markers like mentioned in that third bullet. With them you can impart some order to the chaos by zeroing in on areas that produced the most interesting results. It is also great to run the conversion, move and delete a bunch of the markers, run the conversion again and rinse, repeat. You then end up with a bunch of sequences that are similar but different from each other in ways that are different from just chopping and mixing up a standard track. Then you can layer them with different voices for some interesting results.
rompler808
Not sure if it's what OP is looking for, but I have had great results with the MIDI Guitar 2. It's $99 USD but well worth it for my purposes (controlling hardware and software synths, etc). It allows you to take your audio input, the guitar input in my case, and it converts it to MIDI you can either record or control other MIDI based devices. It has a control where you can set it to monophonic, which can be useful. I'm unsure if it would work with field recordings, but might be worth a try.
1n
ersatzplanet wrote:
A interesting thing to do is play with the transient Markers like mentioned in that third bullet. With them you can impart some order to the chaos by zeroing in on areas that produced the most interesting results. It is also great to run the conversion, move and delete a bunch of the markers, run the conversion again and rinse, repeat. You then end up with a bunch of sequences that are similar but different from each other in ways that are different from just chopping and mixing up a standard track. Then you can layer them with different voices for some interesting results.


You've jumped straight to what i need to do to make some progress...without my having to ask! Thanks! I was getting lost trying to use 'Convert' to flatten out the eccentricities, when it's melodical and rhyrhmical anomalies I'm interested in.

Of course, it's about sequencing rather than performance integrity d'oh! I've been looking and listening at this problem so closely i couldn't see it Dead Banana

Beer for James! Guinness ftw!
alexander92
Another suggestion would be EQ-ing the elements that you need from your piece of audio. Rather then freezing and flatterning and losing your original, you can also flattern the piece of the audio you just EQ-ed, and just drag in into a new audio clip.

And also slicing with Warp markers instead of Transients, which opens alot of possibilitiea for me atleast.

Both techniques are well described in this video(except for the EQ part): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vg5VebvfvA

Also, a bit unrelated to this topic, but certainly helpful which I assume alot of peoople don't know about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48EYb7uD4kE
alexander92
1n wrote:
Thanks!
Flex in Logic Pro X picks everything up, so I've started importing these MIDI tracks into Abe.

Interesting, never really used Flex in Logic tbh.
1n
Well, you have to go deep into a cavern of drop-downs to get there...
1n
alexander92 wrote:
Another suggestion would be EQ-ing the elements that you need from your piece of audio. Rather then freezing and flatterning and losing your original, you can also flattern the piece of the audio you just EQ-ed, and just drag in into a new audio clip.


Thanks, I really appreciate your ideas! I've been doing this as well. It's a long process and I've a lot of files to review and work on. I was trying to semi-automate the process to speed things up a bit.

I have seen sense, and now I'm working on one track at a time, using EQ for layers and texture. I love audio editing: I always find myself back at the beginning again Guinness ftw! Rockin' Banana!

alexander92 wrote:
And also slicing with Warp markers instead of Transients, which opens a lot of possibilities for me at least.


I'll try this way of working. Revisiting Ableton always makes things more interesting.
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