The Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) is a standard protocol for connecting a wide variety of electronic music equipment together for the purposes of recording and performing. In a studio environment, MIDI is often used to build songs from multiple sound sources before mixing them together as real audio. The MIDI sequencer sends signals to different sound generators. Each machine plays its musical portion of the song independently from the others. Eventually, these separate layers must be converted to audio for an actual mix to be processed. Cakewalk's Sonar software is an excellent tool which integrates MIDI and audio with ease. Users can quickly convert MIDI data into true audio for manipulation.
Identify the MIDI tracks in Sonar you wish to convert to audio. These will often be software-based sounds from virtual instruments. Sonar includes a variety of these MIDI instruments to start building songs immediately. Programming them requires MIDI data to be laid out on individual tracks for each instrument. Any or all of these MIDI tracks may eventually be converted to audio. This frees up computer processing resources and is also necessary to complete a final mix of the song for output to CD or mp3.
Solo the MIDI tracks you have picked for audio conversion. Each track is set into solo mode by clicking its "S" button to the right of the track name.
Create a new audio blank audio track in Sonar. This will eventually contain the sub-mix of the MIDI data. All MIDI tracks set to solo will be converted together. To create the new audio track, right-click on the track pane and choose the "Insert Audio Track" option from the context menu which appears.
Select the audio input source for the new blank track. This source may come from a single MIDI track or multiple tracks. Click the Track Input button on the new audio track and choose Select Track Inputs from the pop-up menu. A new window will appear. Click on a MIDI track to select it as the source. For multiple MIDI tracks, hold down the CTRL button while selecting additional tracks in the list. To select several tracks in a row, click the first track, hold down the SHIFT button, then click the last track in the series. All tracks will be chosen for audio input. Click OK when this is done.
Arm the audio track for recording. Press the "R" button to the right of its track name.
Record the MIDI data onto the audio track. Initiate this by pressing the Record button on the Sonar transport bar at the top of the Sonar window. Then, press the Play button. Recording will begin and the MIDI tracks will start to play. Their output will be routed to the new audio track and converted in real-time.
James Highland started writing professionally in 1998. He has written for the New York Institute of Finance and Chron.com. He has an extensive background in financial investing and has taught computer programming courses for two New York companies. He has a Bachelor of Arts in film production from Indiana University.