Drum Machine: MIDI or Audio?

I am pretty new to home recording and I have a question regarding MIDI vs. audio sounds.

I would like to record some drum sounds into n-Track using my BOSS DR-770 drum machine. I am very new to MIDI and I understand that MIDI is a way to send and control music information to the computer (or other device). Now, I was expecting to be able to use the drum kits and related effects from the drum machine directly in n-Track using MIDI. I am learning that is not the case and I would need to find soundfonts that are close to what I like in the drum machine. Would I be better off just using an audio out cable rather than the MIDI?

I thought the advantage of MIDI over audio was that MIDI gave me the ability to manipulate during and after the recording of a song (whereas audio is not as easily manipulated). Is this true? I want to hear the drums just as they are in the drum machine. Is there maybe a soundfont collection for the BOSS DR-770 that would seamlessly merge the two?

My goal is to use my drum machine to help me sketch out songs and record them. Here is my setup:

OS: Windows XP Home Edition, SP3
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 3200+
RAM: 1.00 GB RAM
AUDIO: M-Audio Audiophile 2496
SOFTWARE: N-Track Studio 24 Bit, Version 4.2.1, Build 2099

Thanks all for any guidance.

Hi Zen,

Pretty much you have 3 choices.
1. Record the audio straight from the Boss and skip the midi. Yes you have less control, but you can still edit wave files for length and what not.

2. Record with midi cable, search the internet for free VSTi’s in the drum sampler genre. Or purchase a drum program such as EZDrummer. Plug the VSTi into the midi files you record from the machine for playback.

3. You can also find a drum sampler/player VSTi that uses wave files and sample the Boss machine with all the sounds you want to use. Then plug in the VSTi and use your own samples.

As far as I know there are no samples floating around from the boss machine, but I could be wrong. I would try using a couple freebies to see how you like that route before purchasing anything. The world of VSTi’s is rather huge, so it can get confusing, or you may find you spend all your time searching and downloading new VST’s and VSTi’s and never get any recording done.

But welcome to home recording and nTrack forum, and good luck in your endeavors!

Connect audio out from the BOSS to audio INPUTS.

Connect MIDI OUT from PC interface to MIDI INPUT on BOSS.

Insert MIDI track into n project.

Route output of MIDI track to MIDI OUT.

Edit MIDI track or insert MIDI file or whatever to trigger the BOSS.

Sounds simple eh? Once you figure out what to route where and how to setup your MIDI channels etc it is pretty simple. (Hint: Drums usually go on MIDI channel 10.)


Yaz gives good advice, but maybe does not know there are already samples of the DR-770’s sounds available, for example at free samples; I haven’t time just now for a search on DR-770 soundfonts, but I believe there are some free ones available.

But you don’t have to make an either/or choice. You can record both the audio out from the unit and its midi output, and have the best of both worlds, an audio record of the drum programming you already have done, and a midi file you can use to control any good drumset soundfonts you find on the web, and which you can edit to create variations of your programming.

Cool, huh? :)

'til next time;
tony w

If you want to record both an audio and a midi, don’t forget to set the N-Track input to both - The Icon on the tool bar toggles between a Microphone (Audio) a Keyboard (Midi) and a Mic and Keyboard (both audio and Midi).