Tips on how to Document & Edit MIDI and Digital Devices

Reaper is a strong, versatile and customisable audio software. You need to use Reaper for music creation and manufacturing, podcasts, voice-over, sound design, audiobooks, dwell efficiency, mixing for video, mastering, and way more.

In our free Reaper course, you’ll study the fundamentals of Reaper with Dave Bode, and on this lesson Dave will present you report and use a digital instrument and edit in Reaper’s MIDI editor. 

Tips on how to Document & Edit MIDI and Digital Devices

What’s MIDI?

MIDI is an acronym that stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. According to the Wikipedia article, it’s a ‘technical commonplace that describes a communication protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that join a wide range of digital musical devices, computer systems, and associated audio units for enjoying, enhancing, and recording music’.

That final half is how I’ll use MIDI on this lesson.

Including a Digital Instrument – Does Reaper Have Digital Devices?

I am going use a MIDI keyboard that’s sitting on my desk to enter some be aware data into Reaper, and that may set off a digital instrument to provide me entry to some extra sounds for my track.


To get began, I would like to leap into the Preferences and allow my MIDI keyboard. So I am going to hit Ctrl+P on the keyboard to open up Preferences.

On the left, beneath Audio, there’s MIDI Gadgets, and within the MIDI inputs section, I’m going to discover my MIDI keyboard, a right-click on it, and select Allow enter, and that is it! Now my MIDI keyboard works in Reaper.

While I am in Preferences, I’ll present you one thing else on the left facet beneath Plug ins after which VST.

add pathsadd pathsadd paths

That is the place you may add some extra paths to level Reaper to any areas the place you may need extra results or digital devices put in. Click on Edit path record, after which you may select Add path.

I’ve added two paths on my sDrive, one for 32-bit plugins and one for 64-bit plugins.


When you’ve added the path the place you’ve put in your results and devices, you may come click on on Re-scan > Re-scan VST paths for brand new/modified plugins.

add instrumentadd instrumentadd instrument

Does Reaper Have Digital Devices?

Subsequent, come over to the Monitor Management panel, right-click and select Insert digital instrument on new observe.


Reaper will then open up the Results browser with devices chosen on the left and now I’ve entry to the entire digital devices on my system. If you are following alongside and you’re new to Reaper and recording, you most likely do not have this many and also you could be questioning, does Reaper have digital devices? – it does! You’ll positively have: ReaSamplOmatic 5000, ReaSynDr, and ReaSynth. These three are Reaper results, they usually’re okay. ReaSamplOmatic might be probably the most helpful.

Instead of displaying you use these, which I do not assume are all that helpful within the grand scheme of issues, I am going to indicate you the way to make use of a easy and free digital instrument, referred to as MrTramp2.

This can be a fairly outdated digital instrument, and it solely is available in 32-bit VST format, but that is effective, as a result of you may get it for Mac and PC, it sounds actually fairly good, and it is free.

mr tramp 2mr tramp 2mr tramp 2

I choose that, after which click on Add after which it’ll seem over on the left. The new observe is about up and that is my instrument interface, proven above. It is very primary, there are 5 controls, and I am not even going to mess with any of them.

My observe already has record monitoring on, which is critical in the event you wish to hear the instrument, and if I play on my keyboard, I can hear an electrical piano sound.

Recording the Digital Instrument

recording instrumentrecording instrumentrecording instrument

To report this instrument, I must deliver the Edit cursor again to the start by urgent W on the keyboard, flip the metronome on with the icon highlighted within the screenshot above, after which I can press Ctrl+R to start out recording, and play some easy chords.

I deliberately performed a few what you may name ‘spicy’ chords to indicate you edit MIDI in only a minute.

recorded chordsrecorded chordsrecorded chords

You can see as I used to be recording, the entire notes that I used to be taking part in have been populating on this MIDI merchandise on the backside.

Reaper MIDI Document Modes

record optionsrecord optionsrecord options

If you happen to right-click on the Document button, you’ll see you will have a number of choices. It’s set to Document: enter (audio or MIDI) however under there are some choices particular to MIDI tracks.

The primary one is Reaper’s MIDI overdub. With MIDI overdub, you may add new notes on any channel inside current objects, preserving what you have already got. As you play new notes, they’re added to the prevailing notes.

With MIDI change, from the time you begin recording till you cease, current MIDI notes shall be eliminated, and any new materials performed on any channel shall be recorded of their place.

With MIDI touch-replace, current MIDI notes shall be changed by any new notes performed over them on the identical channel as the unique materials and different current materials will stay as it’s. In different phrases, if I play new notes, these notes will get changed and any of the notes that I do not play excessive of, will not get replaced.

MIDI latch-replace means current MIDI materials stays unchanged till you strike the primary be aware. All the outdated materials will then get replaced with notes performed on the identical channel as the unique materials till recording has stopped. This is just about the identical as MIDI change, besides it would not begin recording no matter you are doing till you play the primary be aware.

I often depart all of my Reaper MIDI tracks arrange as MIDI Overdub.

Tips on how to Edit Your Reaper MIDI Tracks

open track in midi editoropen track in midi editoropen track in midi editor

To get began I’ve disabled my observe for recording and soloed it, after which I can double-click on the MIDI merchandise to pen it up within the Reaper MIDI Editor such as you see above.


Reaper’s MIDI Editor is admittedly implausible. You are able to do plenty of issues, you may quantise, transpose, lock your notes to a selected scale, add notes to no matter you will have recorded by simply clicking and dragging, you may trim your notes, make them longer or shorter you may modify the rate by clicking and dragging close to the highest of your notes (above).

velocity 2velocity 2velocity 2

The opposite means that you are able to do that’s to click on and drag the rate lane, which does not make as a lot annoying noise. If you happen to push the worth all the best way as much as the highest, that’s the loudest a MIDI be aware will be: 127. If you happen to pull all of it the best way down, it is 1, which is the quietest. You possibly can modify how loud or smooth your notes are like that. It’s also possible to delete notes.


The colouring of the notes signifies their velocity.

colouring 2colouring 2colouring 2

You possibly can see that the primary chord is all the identical velocity, which is why it is all the identical color.


One of many stuff you’re going to do fairly continuously is use quantisation to wash up rhythms. Quantisation is a course of the place Reaper will transfer your MIDI notes to the closest grid line. Just like within the Prepare view, the MIDI editor has grid strains which you’ll set on the backside.


At present, it is set to sixteenth notes, and you’ll set the kind of sixteenth notes. Proper now it is set to straight, however you can even do triplet, dotted, and swing with the drop-down field. Quantising strikes my notes, that are already fairly near being proper on the beat, and get them even nearer.


Urgent Q on the keyboard will deliver up the Quantise Events window. As this popped up, the entire notes shifted just a bit bit and that is as a result of that is set to quantise all notes. Proper now, it is solely set to place, however there are a number of extra choices: place and be aware finish, place and be aware size, be aware finish solely, and be aware size solely. I would wish to level out that there are much more quantisation settings in the event you change over from Use Grid to Guide. When it is set to Use Grid, it’s kind of unclear what the distinction is between place and be aware finish, and place and be aware size. It appears to be like prefer it’s doing one thing, nevertheless it’s not simple to inform.


If you happen to change this over to Manual, place and be aware size makes a bit of extra sense as a result of there’s a drop-down for size, and you’ll set a selected be aware size for your entire notes. You can also make all of them complete notes or quarter notes, and you will have extra flexibility with the settings. I am not going to enter all of those settings as a result of I believe for this specific instance, it is adequate to modify over to Use Grid and set it to Place and Be aware Size.

notes alignednotes alignednotes aligned

All the notes that I’ve performed have been locked into the grid. Relying on how nicely you performed your MIDI notes, this will likely or might not work completely.

If there have been, for instance, a bunch of notes that have been a bit of bit too early and also you quantise the whole lot, they’ll be snapped too early, so sometimes what I’ll do is take a look at the factor that I’ve performed after which do some actually fast handbook changes. Generally I’ll choose all of the notes and simply shift some over so that they are nearer to being within the neighbourhood of the place they must be after which quantise.

chord adjustmentchord adjustmentchord adjustment

One factor I would like do is modify the size of the primary three chords as a result of they’re a bit of quick. I may have performed this with my sustained pedal, however I did not as a result of I wished to indicate you clear these up a bit of bit. Generally enhancing with a sustained pedal can get a bit of bit difficult, so you may manually modify the size of your notes by highlighting and dragging, or you should use Occasion Properties by hitting Ctrl and F2 or going to the View Menu and all the way down to Occasion Properties.

event propertiesevent propertiesevent properties

You are able to do a bunch of stuff with the occasion properties, like setting your entire notes to the identical size. What I might do right here, is kind in 0.3.75 which is able to set all of them to 3 and three-quarter beats lengthy, which is three beats and a dotted eighth be aware, after which click on Apply and that is a extremely quick option to set a bunch of chords or notes to the identical size,

Delete, Repeat

What about among the ‘spicier’ chords?

delete repeatdelete repeatdelete repeat

I’ve some errors in a part of my recording, however as a result of this can be a repeating sample, I’ve simply deleted these notes, taken the primary part after which copied and pasted it.

need chordsneed chordsneed chords

I would like some chords to go together with this longer part right here.

draw in chordsdraw in chordsdraw in chords

What I can do is draw the notes in manually after which seize them and modify the rate again down, or simply copy one of many chords that I performed earlier, paste it over, and transfer it to the precise spot.

paste chordspaste chordspaste chords

I may even take a chord, maintain Ctrl, click on and drag, duplicate it after which simply increase it as much as the following chord.

Make it Pure

Possibly you’re feeling like after you’ve finished your entire edits to your notes and you’ve got quantised the whole lot, that it sounds a bit of bit robotic or unnatural. You may wish to make it sound extra human, and there’s a means to do this.


If you happen to press H on the keyboard, you may deliver up the Humanise Notes window, and you’ll modify the timing. I’ll choose All Notes and modify the timing just a bit tiny bit.


The timing bias will shift – when it is set to 0, it may modify optimistic or destructive. You possibly can see among the notes are forward of the beat, among the notes are behind the beat.


It’s also possible to humanise the rate. As an example I wish to modify the rate of this chord above, which is presently all on the identical velocity. I can pull the timing again to 0, after which simply modify the rate, and down on the backside it should modify the rate of the chord to make it sound a bit of bit extra human.

If that was an excessive amount of, you can re-quantise the whole lot and possibly simply set the place, however as an alternative of utilizing a power of 100%, possibly knock this again all the way down to 50%

Now you will have an thought of do some primary MIDI edits, which goes to be actually helpful.

About This Web page

This web page was written by Marie Gardiner from the transcript of a course by David Bode. Dave is an knowledgeable on video and audio manufacturing. Marie is a author, creator, and photographer. The web page was edited by Gonzalo Angulo. Gonzalo is an editor, author and illustrator.

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