Just to understand better: Why do midi tracks not follow "Tapemachine style" concerning monitoring

I am wondering why activating “tapemachine style” for monitoring does not affect midi tracks. Is there an intention behind this?
Thank you all, Ernst

I suppose it’s because the prefs in that sections concern audio busses, not midi-thru?

Well, yes - obviously - but how should that make sense? I mean, what is the purpose of decoupling the logic between how midi tracks are handled and how audio tracks are handled?


Heh, I would ask the inverse. Midi and audio don’t need the same functions, and activating/deactivating midi thru is different than monitoring audio.

You never put midi on recording tape, right?

Hm, you are not serious, are you? that does not at all answer my question unfortunately. Why? Well, here’s why: DAWs allow to record midi (just like audio - “tapes” are replaced by the storage of our computers). Pressing the monitor button on a midi track is supposed to do the same thing as on an audio channel (the midi thru setting is a general one under program preferences), namely decide whether we hear what is coming in from the original source OR what is already recorded. I do not see any point in not having the same logic available for midi channels concerning “monitor on/off”. Steinberg originally obviously thought like I do - otherwise they would not have called it “monitor” on both types of channels.

I was just engaging in a discussion, and have no skin in the game and I’m not looking to debate you. No prob! I’ll unsubscribe.

Hey you, no offense itended from my side :). I just want to find out what is behind the “feature” … are my arguments completely unvalid?

I think it’s because midi can ‘merge’ two signals (the recorded and the input) - which an audio track can’t - so no need to mute the input until you drop into record.

Maybe it would be appropriate to have a separate preference - what part of the current system doesn’t work for you with midi recording / tapemachine style ?

Ah, yes… that makes sense dr. Strangelove :).

And yes, I would love to see a dedicated preference. Here’s what I do: I have set up a project template for recording from my Motif XF using Songmode. This allows to have 16 separate midi tracks to control one sound in the motif. The audio returns come to cubase via the Motif XF Editor VST - so just like an external vsti. I route these to indiviudal outputs which I use to feed 16 Audio tracks to record the 16 vsti voices immediately (without the need to bounce or export). While recording and idividual midi track I use tapemachine style which does the right thing for audio, but not automatically for the respective midi track. This has to be monitor enabled separetedly in order to hear what i am playing. I found a workaround but I was curious - and your reply gave me a hint. If I get you correctly the point is that even with monitor on playing back a midi track will play back and at the same time allow to play additional voices on the keyboard which will also pass through. right?

exactly - but can’t you what you are asking by NOT using tape-machine style monitoring. (not in front of cubase at the moment) ‘while record running’ or something ? - the only disadvantage is not having ‘live input’ during stop ? (I think)

I digress, but despite coming from an analog/tape background I normally use ‘manual’ but recently have started to use ‘tape machine style’ but I’m sure there is a middle ground style monitoring with the advantages of both…just can’t work out what that is at the moment :smiley:

“Midi Record Modes” might be what you’re looking for ? MIDI Record Modes

There are similarities between midi and audio - and the Cubase main UI metaphor for midi has always borrowed heavily from tape decks (and piano-rolls) – a brilliant choice, since back in the last millennium, it made (and still makes) it easier for musicians with tape experience to understand working in a computer.)

The downside of this approach is, that it obscures some very fundamental differences between audio and midi:

Midi is actually to be understood as a series of commands (“events”) with (explicit or implicit) time stamps. Midi is a just command language to tell musical devices what to do. e.g. “start playing note number 60 now” or “stop playing note number 48 now” or “set the volume to 85/127 of maximum”.

Arguably the most “natural” representation of midi is found in the Midi Monitor

So Midi can merge 2 or more streams without any additional computation required. Audio can’t be “merged” in that sense - at the very least it needs to be “summed” when combining multiple input streams.

When audio gets summed (mixed), the 2 (or more) audio input samples at an exact point in time get combined into a new single sample in the audio output. The output stream is exactly the same length as the input stream.

When midi gets merged, all of the commands (events) from the 2 (or more) midi inputs get added to the output unchanged. The output list becomes a longer list.

All of this means means you have different recording options for midi compared to audio.

So this is really a discussion about skeuomorphic design, then…

those modes (audio has something similar) are slightly different. The ‘tapemachine’ mode is about the monitoring - not what happens on previous laps/takes/recordings (subtle difference)

I think it’s valid to want midi record modes to act the same as the audio modes, even though the background technology is 100% different - it would be reasonably trivial to implement. But I suspect SB don’t see the need, and I feel the same, can’t think of a scenario where this is needed.

I suppose so - but tape machine style is useful IMO - it does the record ‘drop in’ and switches the monitor across to the live signal at the same time. There’s a good reason tape machines did this - you could always override it but it was the most useful mode.

(word of the day BTW !)

I understood Elien to be concerned about the recording scenario, more than the monitoring (emphasis added):

yes but the two are interlinked - tape machine mode switches to input monitor WHEN you press record AND on stop… the other modes don’t do this. And tape machine mode is all about the monitoring. Although I’m not entirely clear what Elien didn’t like about the current setup ?

and I the question is why are midi/audio treated differently - answer, because they can…(I think)

skeuomorphic design is helpful for learning new technology but tends to hinder the deeper understanding and further exploitation of said new technology. – I have a love/hate relationship with it :crazy_face:


Because treating them the same would stunt the capabilities of midi? And then people like me :nerd_face: would complain bitterly! :angry:

no, I don’t believe so, because the other modes work perfectly well and wouldn’t change your workflow - you can just use manual mode and it would work fine - what mode are you using now ?

Actually on reflection - I think midi should follow ‘tape machine’ mode…the distinction between audio/midi shouldn’t occur. Why make recording a real piano different from recording a midi piano…or midi drums or anything.

Tape machine mode is one of the more useful monitoring styles (IMO) but because I’ve been using ‘manual’ mode for such a long time I hadn’t really noticed and just adapted…

For people coming from the drum computer school of making patterns, it’s quite customary to record each piece of kit separately? Of course you could do that on separate midi tracks, but that raises different usability issues.