The death of midifiles and minidiscs

Thanks to Danny from the Revive band for this question…

Hi Kenny
Thanks for singing tips in latest email found them very helpful.

My question is regarding MP3s, our band currently use midi files through a Roland Discover 5m which has been great allows us to remove live instruments at the touch of a button. We are currently considering moving to backing tracks as the cost is just the same.

The problem is we would to keep most of our current midi files as we are used to them, I suggested to the company we buy them from if we transfer them to mp3 then onto Minidisc, he said Mp3 is a harsh sounding format, is this true??? funny thing is his samples on his website midis coverted to mp3 and sound ok to me.

If we go down this route do you supply backing tracks with Live instruments removed, we would need bass and guitar removed the reason i asked we were watching a friends band last night and they have exactly the same line up as us but use full tracks and it looked quite false as the bass player lifted his pint up during a song and the bass was still heard, down here in Ayr a lot of the full bands moan about what they call karaoke bands so thats why we like bass and guitar removed if we make a mistake you hear it.

Play back devices for mp3s any good ones at a reasonable price some pro mini players i have seen are around £500


Re-Vive (band)

Hi Danny

Oh dear, it seems your midifile supplier doesn’t want to lose your business and is trying to put you off using mp3. I just hate it when some of these music companies give poor advice to their customers just so they can squeeze a profit out of you.

His suggestion that mp3 is a very harsh sounding format is complete rubbish.

MP3 is the most popular music format in the world and has achieved its success BECAUSE it is such excellent quality.

I’ve never heard such cobblers in my life. For your midifile supplier to even try to suggest to you that everyone on the planet, including companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sony etc etc are all deluded and have mistakenly embraced a technology which is “harsh” and doesn’t sound good is…well…staggering!

Of course, you don’t have to look too far to see what he’s really saying. When he says don’t move to mp3, what he’s really saying is “Don’t change to mp3…keep buying midifiles from me…!”

The only thing that’s harsh is the harsh reality that midifile is a very old and outdated format – midifiles have been around for two decades and as you probably already know, they are only as good as the sound modules you play them on.

Some of the midifile arrangements that websites out there are selling are nothing short of horrendous. No doubt you’ve heard many of these bad midifiles with their annoying “doo doo doo” voice sounds, synthesized choirs instead of backing vocals, and those stupid pan-pipes playing the melody!

On the upside, with a bit of dexterity a good midi programmer can usually butcher a midifile about to improve it if it’s not too bad in the first place. And then if you play it through a half decent sound module, it can sometimes sound quite good.

Minidisc is a very good music format, but should be avoided too. Not because of the quality of sound (in fact the quality of sound from minidisc is very, very good) but because it is, again, an old and outdated format. Minidisc deck players and blank minidiscs are getting harder and harder to find.

MP3 is the most solid route to go down for playing backing tracks (and will be for the forseeable future).

Every major electronics manufacturer in the world has embraced the mp3 format and produce mp3 players because of the quality of mp3 and the popularity of mp3. That’s why mp3 is the number 1 music format in the world today.

We here at MP3 Backing Trax can create customized mp3 backing tracks of any of the songs in our catalogue specially for you without the bass and guitar so you can play those instruments live on top of the tracks.

There is 1 hour of studio time required to do this so the cost is £20 GBPounds per song.

If we DON’T have a particular song in our catalogue, we can still create it specially for you.

The price of producing a song which is NOT in our catalogue will depend on how many hours work it takes to create it for you. I can give you quotes for any non-catalogue songs you want created.

Just one last thing, and this isn’t something we usually do but it may be an option for you. You say you already have a collection of really good midifiles you use for your current set list – there’s every possibility we could actually use those midifiles to create mp3 backing tracks of your songs without the bass and guitars. Again, there’s probably only 1 hour of studio time required to do this so the price would be £20 GBPounds per song with you supplying the midifile….