Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Outputting or Importing MIDI from Groove Agent to a DAW

A lot of people have played with Steinberg's "Groove Agent" plug-in, and found it to be pretty handy for putting together a "quick and dirty" drum beat when producing tracks, whether they be classic rock, hip hop, pop, trance, or any of a couple dozen other genres. However, many people don't know how to do one of the basic tricks that makes this software especially useful.

Instead of playing Groove Agent as a stand-alone unit, and physically recording the output, or instead of using it as a VSTi plug-in within a host DAW such as Cubase, Sonar, Ableton, or a number of other audio editors, you can actually convert a "live" performance into a .MID file. This MIDI file can then be directly loaded into one of the tracks of your DAW. What's the advantage to this? Well, it obviously means that all of a sudden, you can more easily customize the "live" performance that you recorded on-the-fly by moving MIDI data around within the sequencer grid.

The problem is that it isn't extremely obvious about how to do this. Here's how:
- Load Groove Agent as either as stand-alone, or as a VSTi within your host.
- Go into the edit panel, and then into the setup panel.
- Switch MIDI output from "off" to "on."
- Switch from "live" to "file."
- Make sure your host (if VSTi) is at the proper master tempo.
- Choose your initial settings on Groove Agent.
- Hit "run," then play for a while. Hit stop when you're done.

Now, here's the catch: Where's the MIDI file? That's the problem. There is none! There is no "save to" location option. There is no file created.

Now, to solve this problem, turn the MIDI output switch to "off." When you do this, THEN the midi file is created. It automatically ends up on your desktop, as "Groove Agent Output.mid." You can then drag & drop this file back into your DAW for full-scale editing.

Remember to put it onto a track which triggers the Groove Agent if you want the same drumkit to sound. Of course, you can also load it onto a track and then load your own kit patch.

It's quite simple, once you know that you have to turn the MIDI output switch back off before the file is created.