Are there any drawbacks to rendering MIDI notes to an audio file?

  • #69260

    Hey Riley! Is there any downside to rendering midi to WAV file?
    Would it be harder to add effects or alter a wav file to sound clearer in a mix etc?

    Basically I mean if I choose to render loads of sounds to WAV from midi then mix later would that make mixing harder?

    GratuiTous Join Platform!

    Hey man!  Great question!

    .WAV files vs. MIDI Notes have both pros and cons.

    Generally, using MIDI Notes gives us producers ULTIMATE FLEXIBILITY and sound quality by being able to adjust our notes however we’d like (note length, note frequency [A4, B6, etc..), and even the loudness [velocity] of each note.. velocity can be used for volume, or if the VSTi supports it, can also trigger different “timbres” or “instances” of that same note with a different recording/sound for more randomness/realness!)

    A .WAV file, while lossless (very high-quality), handcuffs us in some areas, such as being able to adjust an individual note’s volume (which is more powerful than compression!), or having the flexibility to go back and change the notes, or the preset from our Virtual Instrument for a different sound.

    Note, when we talk about audio files within music production, they should ALWAYS be .WAV.  (.MP3 is for listening purposes, not for making music, as they don’t have the same audio quality!)

    The pros of using a .WAV file is the ability to easily chop/slice them, as well as remove audio abruptly.. which is very common for a cool “audio painting” effect.

    Another big benefit of rendering to .WAV (also known as “freezing a track”) is CPU performance.  Our CPU’s can play a .WAV file WAY EASIER than many MIDI Notes in a Virtual Instrument (especially if the VSTi has many “voices” per note, and many notes are being played at once [lots of chords]).

    If your computer is starting to run hard, and you’re getting underruns, rendering some tracks to .WAV will allow you to stop using certain VSTi’s within that project, and improve performance.

    I personally like to stay within MIDI and Virtual Instruments as much as possible for the ease of use, and backup purposes.

    When you start creating new .WAVs for a particular project, you have to REALLY make sure you’re backing them up properly, but either way you work, compatibility for future projects is safe, but if you have many .WAV files rendered for a particular project, you’ll see you have to pay closer attention to backing up for long-term purposes!


    Thanks very much for that!
    I think that answer will make me try to stick more with the MIDI notes whenever possible!
    Only time I might render to .WAV files is if unable to sort issues with CPU etc

    GratuiTous Join Platform!

    Yes, that’s a good mindset.. it will allow your music making to be EASY in the long-term..

    Don’t forget, you can always increase ASIO Buffer Size to help CPU (and even increase triple buffer in FL Studio) if your computer is struggling.

    As I always say.. your computer not handling your projects is a good things, because that’s when you know you’re improving 🙂.

    Again, rendering [freezing] to .WAV does have its time and place, but typically just using MIDI notes is by far the easiest, and will typically give you the highest quality and most control as a beatmaker!

  • The topic ‘Are there any drawbacks to rendering MIDI notes to an audio file?’ is closed to new replies.
← Back to Questions Area