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Chapter 10. Editing MIDI > Making Quantized MIDI Sound More Natural

Making Quantized MIDI Sound More Natural

A method for making quantized MIDI parts sound less robotic and more similar to “live” sound is to use what Cubase calls Iterative Quantize. The dictionary definition of iterative is “characterized by repetition or repetitiousness.” In fact, iterative quantize is actually used to avoid quantizing MIDI to overly exact, robotic, repetitious timing values. Instead of moving MIDI notes to the nearest, most exact grid location, iterative quantize moves MIDI notes by a percentage of the distance to the nearest grid location. This approach is often the best way to quantize a MIDI part to make it sound realistic— the timing is tighter than the original performance but retains enough slop to sound like it was played by a person.

To apply iterative quantize to MIDI notes

Select the MIDI notes or parts to be quantized.

To give you a good view of what iterative quantize does, Figure 10.56 shows a few MIDI notes zoomed in quite close.

Figure 10.56. The MIDI notes before being quantized.

Open the Quantize Setup dialog box by clicking the MIDI menu and selecting Quantize Setup.

Near the bottom of this panel, enter the iterative strength. Start with a setting of 50% (Figure 10.57).

Figure 10.57. This setting determines how strong or weak the iterative quantize effect is.

The higher the value, the more the MIDI is quantized by iterative quantizing. At 0%, iterative quantize does nothing; at 100%, it acts just like Over Quantize.

Close this window without clicking Apply.

With the notes still selected, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) and select MIDI > Iterative Quantize.

The notes are moved with 50 percent of the quantize strength of Over Quantizing. Figure 10.58 shows the result. Compare this figure to Figure 10.50, in which all notes started precisely on an eighth-note. You may want to experiment by moving the value up and down to understand how these changes affect the rhythmic feel of the section.

Figure 10.58. The notes after iterative quantize is applied: Compare them to the other quantize results described in this chapter.



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