Old 03-01-2012, 08:28 PM   #1
Quest The Wordsmith
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Default Whats terrible about Reapers MIDI?

I constantly see posts on the forums here either trashing Reapers MIDI capabilities, or begging users to support some MIDI feature request. In a nutshell, what's so bad about Reapers MIDI?

Granted, I'm not a heavy MIDI user. I play a groove on the keyboard, maybe quantize a bit here and there, edit a note or two's velocity, and I'm done. What are you MIDI power users looking for that Reaper fails at? Am I unaware of a world of MIDI possibilities that would make my creative process bloom? Tell me!

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Old 03-01-2012, 08:47 PM   #2
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I am Reaper user since 2008 and I use a midi lot. I dont use hardware midi keyboard but softsynths. I am very satisfied about Reapers midi work. Except score editor Reaper is very good in midi editing and recording.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Quest The Wordsmith View Post
In a nutshell, what's so bad about Reapers MIDI?
There are lots of annoying bugs in MIDI editor GUI. Zooming, scrolling, focus, etc.

And MIDI editor's visual appearance and actions/shortcuts/tools are not consistent with arrange view. It is like jumping to another application when you start the MIDI editor.


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Old 03-02-2012, 12:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Quest The Wordsmith View Post
What are you MIDI power users looking for that Reaper fails at? Am I unaware of a world of MIDI possibilities that would make my creative process bloom? Tell me!
You won't understand until you use FL Studio or another DAW with good MIDI tools for a few weeks. These tools literally make you 100 times better at coming up with new grooves, melodies, and ideas. The more you experiment with these tools, the higher the chance of creating something cool or sparking an idea.

Honestly, I think REAPER's MIDI features will always suck because the developers probably don't care about MIDI stuff. Even the MIDI editor needs a lot of work. I don't think Justin makes MIDI based music and I don't think he is learning from other DAWs like FL Studio.

When Schwa came on board, I thought he could do it. Initially, there were many MIDI improvements but after a while, the focus went back to other things.

I was so stupid. I used to check the Pre-release forum almost everyday, hoping for the MIDI/Automation features that we requested over 4 years ago. The sprinkles of MIDI features every now and then made me think that any day now, we would be blessed with features like groove quanitize or automation clip.

Recently, after seeing OSC on the change log, I did a little research on it and it finally occurred to me that REAPER is going in a different direction than I thought.

After 3 years of fighting with REAPER's MIDI, I gave up and moved back to FL Studio yesterday. It really feels good to use groove quantize, the strum tool, and automation clips again.

I wasted many hours creating numerous macros to deal with the lack of proper MIDI tools and the clumsy behavior of the MIDI editor. It was all a waste of time and I wish I could go back in time and ignore Jason Brian Merrill's 2007 posts on KVR that initially drew me in.

It's kinda sad because REAPER's MIDI has so much potential but the developers seem to think that other features are more important.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:57 AM   #5
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There are lots of annoying bugs in MIDI editor GUI. Zooming, scrolling, focus, etc.

And MIDI editor's visual appearance and actions/shortcuts/tools are not consistent with arrange view. It is like jumping to another application when you start the MIDI editor.
In addition to this, other DAWs have utilities and tools that help certain MIDI workflows. Users come to accept these as normal features and it's disheartening to have to work without them in REAPER.

I find REAPER's MIDI to be perfectly useable, but there are certain tools I'd love to see, eg a feature to unselect every other note in a selection (or leave every third or fourth note selected). I'd like thus because I program drums, but there are more things requested by deeper MIDI users.

>
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:03 AM   #6
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Maybe MIDI lacks some actions (like restricting polyphony as in Cubase, but I am just finishing my long-play album that was made entirely in Reaper and is based in 90 percent on MIDI stuff. No problems at all. I don't find Reaper MIDI workflow significantly slower than in Cubase.

...Until You don't record MIDI in takes (and face auto-splitting horror)
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:09 AM   #7
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You won't understand until you use FL Studio or another DAW with good MIDI tools for a few weeks... Honestly, I think REAPER's MIDI features will always suck because the developers probably don't care about MIDI stuff... It's kinda sad because REAPER's MIDI has so much potential but the developers seem to think that other features are more important.
If none of the current developers use MIDI as an important tool for their song making (is that pure speculation or fact?) then it's obvious that Reaper's MIDI feature set will always stay behind other DAWs that are known to have great MIDI (i.e. Cubase). In certain areas, Reaperís MIDI is so behind, itís almost a joke. Heck, MasterTrackPro for the ATARI in the 1990s had groove quantization WHILE RECORDING and it was a pleasure to program MIDI on it! (Did I forget to mention that was in the 1990s?)

http://tamw.atari-users.net/mtpro.htm

Fortunately for me, nowadays I donít use MIDI extensively so Reaper suits me fine as it is, but I believe that if the developers want Reaper to really become the DAW of choice for the Pros, and even more so for the mass, they should get/add a fourth programmer that would specialize in the MIDI stuff (because he uses it himself extensively). Then within a short period of time, Reaper would RULE!
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:09 AM   #8
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Here's some of my niggles with MIDI in Reaper (quantization is not one of them, I can do without):
  • The thing that bothers me most with Reaper's MIDI is how it handles item splitting through notes. Most often I don't want the note to be split, so I would wish for a possibility to let MIDI notes ring out until it's note of even if that note off comes after the right item edge and just let the note length intact instead.
  • Close second is the way Reaper traces back MIDI CC (and pitch messages etc) only inside the current item. When playback starts mid project Reaper should be aware of the last CC, even if that happened in an item way back.
  • The item-centric handling of MIDI in general is sub-optimal to me.
  • The MIDI filter and the event list are way behind of what they ideally would be. Most missing in the event list are note off messages. If you ever want to tweak note off velocity, the only way to do it with Reaper is using notepad and edit text in the *.rpp file or write a highly complicated Python script (with some system inherent flaws).
  • Lots of actions are missing and ReaScript as well as extension coding for MIDI is not as nicely supported as it could be, so we can only sometimes (and with big effort) help ourselves with that.

If Cockos want to do something really nifty they could add polyphonic pressure editing right in the piano roll. That would have a huge wow factor...



None of these make me use the word terrible, actually there are a bunch of things I like and most of the time I find working with MIDI in Reaper fairly enjoyable (that's more than I can say about the bread and butter editing in Logic (v5.51)) but yeah, that are my pet peeves (and I find more).
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:17 AM   #9
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There's apparently no option to invert a note selection.
I've given up on trying to quantize. I don't know what I'm missing, but it never seems to work.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:18 AM   #10
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the default zoom levels are a pain and for some reason they don't address them. See my FR below for the info.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:41 AM   #11
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the default zoom levels are a pain and for some reason they don't address them. See my FR below for the info.
+11111111111111111

As a person who uses MIDI primarily, this is the #1 workflow killer for me. Every time I load up a new midi clip, stop and fix the zoom level. Leave the zoom level alone, Reaper. Don't change it. If they would just fix this very simple problem, I would have little complaint about Reaper's MIDI.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:46 AM   #12
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Not a MIDI user (I use it as a control interface only), but if you want to quantize, why not just convert the MIDI to wave and use the feature in the audio editor? It would then stretch notes just like to would with any real track.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:10 AM   #13
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Default My two cents....

Much depends upon the type of music you do. We all realize that certain kinds of music lend themselves, more readily, to building tracks through midi.

It is not always midi, per se, that is being used in building these tracks, but some kind of grid, or graphical interface, that makes things really easy and fun.

For instance, I have fun, (yes actual FUN!) building tracks in NI Maschine and FL studio 10. It's fun because the interface is so easy and foolproof to get an idea going and/or to be inspired by just playing around with them!

Sometimes, I believe that is what people are expecting from Reapers midi editor.

In my experience, there is nothing really wrong with Reapers midi, it is just the learning curve that makes it seem so unfriendly, at first, but like anything, practice makes perfect. The more you use it regularly, the more used to it you become.

That said, I do wish Reapers midi editor were more like FL studio or NI Maschine. They just make "making music", easier and fun! I am all for easier and fun and inspiring!
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Not a MIDI user (I use it as a control interface only), but if you want to quantize, why not just convert the MIDI to wave and use the feature in the audio editor? It would then stretch notes just like to would with any real track.
Because that would be sacrificing flexibility in order to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, at the expense of the audio.
I think I'll just keep moving the notes myself until somebody fixes the MIDI quantize.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:28 AM   #15
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Default At first...

....I found the midi quantize confusing and frustrating. Later, I learned to use it by being persistent and experimenting with it often often (Just play with it! That's something I am pretty sure we all know how to do.)

I learned to apply the proper quantization in the proper context, at the proper time, with the proper items checked.

In short, I had to think (way) outside my box.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:15 AM   #16
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Because that would be sacrificing flexibility in order to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, at the expense of the audio.
I think I'll just keep moving the notes myself until somebody fixes the MIDI quantize.
Hi Fex, I personally don't have any problems quantizing, I've used it enough now to where it works every time. It might depend though on just what your trying to quantize, mostly I just quantize position.

As far as hating the ME, I don't hate it but it certainly has it's issues. Many if not most of them have already been mentioned. The one thing I might add is the ME has a sluggishness about it. For instance when I click on the time line to position the cursor it sometimes takes 2 or 3 clicks.

The worst one is in the CC lanes, if you have a CC(s) selected you can't edit until you click in an empty space. The strange thing is, if the selected CC is out of sight left or right, it works fine.

Another thing that bothers me is when I zoom in, get the window positioned where I want it and start editing, the screen will flicker and the window will suddenly slightly zoom differently and reposition itself. This also happens in the arrange view.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:28 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dea-man View Post
....I found the midi quantize confusing and frustrating. Later, I learned to use it by being persistent and experimenting with it often often (Just play with it! That's something I am pretty sure we all know how to do.)

I learned to apply the proper quantization in the proper context, at the proper time, with the proper items checked.

In short, I had to think (way) outside my box.
There are more rewarding things to experiment with!

I draw notes in by hand most of the time anyway, so errors are rare. For those occasions when I really need to quantize, if I can't just press Q and have all the notes jump to the beat, then I'll quantize the part in some other program, or just move the notes manually one by one. It's stupid, but it's not a big deal. One reason I don't want to learn Reaper's quantize system is, I suspect it's going to change. It has to.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:39 AM   #18
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I draw notes in by hand most of the time anyway, so errors are rare. For those occasions when I really need to quantize, if I can't just press Q and have all the notes jump to the beat, then I'll quantize the part in some other program, or just move the notes manually one by one. It's stupid, but it's not a big deal. One reason I don't want to learn Reaper's quantize system is, I suspect it's going to change. It has to.
There's an action Quantize notes position to grid. Tie that to a shortcut key and you have instant quantize. There's also one called Quantize events using last quantize dialog settings.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:45 AM   #19
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For me that i can't duplicate a range of notes with a single key
or am i miss something?
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:59 AM   #20
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http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=91344

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Old 03-02-2012, 12:05 PM   #21
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This question pops up often huh?

Nothing "wrong" per se, you can get the job done. What some people (subjectively) don't like about it is that it's a bit of a patchwork. The only "major" remaining issue (imo) is multitrack midi editing. The other stuff is mostly smaller subjective stuff.

Of course they all have their flaws and when you really like something and/or are productive with something it's much easier to overlook defects... so the question keeps coming up because (apparently) there is a good sized group of people who aren't that comfortable with Reaper's midi.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:07 PM   #22
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This question pops up often huh?

Nothing "wrong" per se, you can get the job done. What some people (subjectively) don't like about it is that it's a bit of a patchwork. The only "major" remaining issue (imo) is multitrack midi editing. The other stuff is mostly smaller subjective stuff.

Of course they all have their flaws and when you really like something and/or are productive with something it's much easier to overlook defects... so the question keeps coming up because (apparently) there is a good sized group of people who aren't that comfortable with Reaper's midi.

If you like it... why worry about how others feel about it?
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:30 PM   #23
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Can only speak for myself, but my biggest gripe is the lack of specific data/event selection. In most other DAW's (even PT), you can select MIDI data based on a number of criteria. Things like velocity, pitch, grid position, etc, and more importantly you can select data on MULTIPLE criteria.

In Pro Tools I can easily take some triad chords and split all top/bottom notes to new tracks. VERY different than splitting by pitch as it's splitting based on the Chord. Then there's the whole notion of editing multiple items simultaniously...., and even more, editing MIDI as a track based operation as opposed to an item based operation.

I LOVE so many things about Reaper and even some of the MIDI features that I don't see anywhere else..., but it's still missing some more basic functions IMO.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:43 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by jnif View Post
There are lots of annoying bugs in MIDI editor GUI. Zooming, scrolling, focus, etc.

And MIDI editor's visual appearance and actions/shortcuts/tools are not consistent with arrange view. It is like jumping to another application when you start the MIDI editor.


jnif
THIS... eg. why does CTRL D repeat items on the arrange page and the when you open midi editor and highlight some notes and hit CTRL D, instead of repeating said midi notes, IT REPEATS ITEMS ON THE ARRANGE PAGE. UGH... horrible.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:45 PM   #25
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been using it for 5+ years now, after I ditched FLstudio and Samplitude. It needs work, but it does what I need it to do, faster than any other host.

I am leery about midi recording with a drummer, however. I think there needs some important improvements in that area.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:05 PM   #26
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My biggest gripe is the lack of integration with the main window navigation commands. It took me a week to set up the 'pass through' commands for the MIDI editor. That's something I always took for granted, and which made the Reaper implementation feel amateurish.

Another is the issue of timing when using an external synth. For some reason, VSTi's play very well with Reaper's MIDI. But when you're sending MIDI to an external synth and you change an audio event on the fly, the MIDI timing will stutter. This doesn't happen in Cubase.

One other is synchonization with an external sequencer. Very disappointing performance.

One thing I love is the dual quantize ability. I've got shortcuts set up for both 'grid' and 'last quantize setting.' It's nice to be able to have the main quantize set for say 8th note swing, and use the 'grid' shortcut to quantize the triplets.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:20 PM   #27
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One thing I personally don't like re: editing midi is the latency with the mouse. It's odd because Reaper seems to be the only app that does that. Let me explain...

1. Audio card set to 2048 buffer. I'll be clicking in notes.
2. The latency shows up on mouse click. ??

In my other apps the latency only shows up on midi input, not when clicking on the screen. So doing that in Reaper, I click a drum in EZD and I don't hear it until 50ms later... which is a bit off-putting. Same with the piano roll keys or live audition when editing.

In every other host (well, the ones I've used anyway) the sound on mouse click is immediate.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:33 PM   #28
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I am leery about midi recording with a drummer, however.
Why? I record midi only on all the drums in all my songs. Press record, play something on V-Drums that are triggering Superior Drummer 2 in Reaper. Rewind, hit play, and it sounds like what I played while recording.

If I don't like the way it sounds, then I use Reaper's killer midi correction tool, "<Ctrl-Z> <W> <Ctrl-R>".
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:42 PM   #29
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THIS... eg. why does CTRL D repeat items on the arrange page and the when you open midi editor and highlight some notes and hit CTRL D, instead of repeating said midi notes, IT REPEATS ITEMS ON THE ARRANGE PAGE. UGH... horrible.
It can be set up in actions menu, but i can't figure out how to duplicate a time range not just selected notes
Attached Files
File Type: reaperkeymap Duplicate notes.ReaperKeyMap (142 Bytes, 139 views)

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Old 03-02-2012, 03:19 PM   #30
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OP: Does that answer your question?
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:22 PM   #31
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One thing I personally don't like re: editing midi is the latency with the mouse. It's odd because Reaper seems to be the only app that does that. Let me explain...

1. Audio card set to 2048 buffer. I'll be clicking in notes.
2. The latency shows up on mouse click. ??

In my other apps the latency only shows up on midi input, not when clicking on the screen. So doing that in Reaper, I click a drum in EZD and I don't hear it until 50ms later... which is a bit off-putting. Same with the piano roll keys or live audition when editing.

In every other host (well, the ones I've used anyway) the sound on mouse click is immediate.
Humm Lawrence, that's not the case here, sure you havn't got an instance of ReaVerb or other Convo-Verb? Perhaps an other FX?
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:31 PM   #32
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^^^^color me lost

Now, when a track is not record armed, then there is a lag. But I don't understand this other problem you are talking about.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:03 PM   #33
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Nope. It happens exactly as I described. I can switch between Reaper and 2 other applications, all with empty projects with just something like EZD loaded, all using the same driver, Reaper auidbly lags a bit on mouse click when the buffers are set high.

Not a big deal.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:04 PM   #34
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It can be set up in actions menu, but i can't figure out how to duplicate a time range not just selected notes
Following macro is supposed to work if you have loop points linked to time selection.

Move cursor to end of loop
Edit: Copy events within project time selection, if any (smart copy)
Loop points: Set start point
Edit: Paste
Loop points: Set end point

But it does not work because there seems to be some bug in the first action.
See video in this thread: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=98058

[rant mode = on]
And even if this macro was working this would be still an example of inconsistency between arrange view and MIDI editor.
Users should not need to create custom actions for simple operations like duplicate.

Reaper is quite famous of its customization capabilities. But there is a big risk that you will spend days or even weeks just customizing Reaper. And still you will not get the result that you would like to have. First the overwhelming list of actions looks like "Wow, I can do everything with these actions". But after spending some time creating macros you will notice that many actions are missing. Then you install SWS and hope that the missing actions can be found there. SWS might help in some cases but there are still many actions missing, especially in MIDI Editor.

For example I tried to create a set of custom macros for MIDI step recording. My target was to have same kind of fast and flexible step recording workflow as in Pro Tools. After about one week of fiddling with custom actions and shortcut key assignments I gave up. It was impossible to achieve similar fluent workflow as in Pro Tools.

And recently I have stumbled into a similar roadblock when trying to create consistent navigation/edit keyboard shortcuts for arrange view and MIDI Editor. In my opinion the default set of keyboard shortcuts is terrible, very far from consistent. And it seems that it is again impossible to create consistent workflow with currently available actions. In this case I tried to do just basic things like zoom, scroll, move edit cursor, move time/loop selection, select items/notes, move items/notes, etc.
[rant mode = off]

jnif

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Old 03-02-2012, 05:42 PM   #35
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Nope. It happens exactly as I described. I can switch between Reaper and 2 other applications, all with empty projects with just something like EZD loaded, all using the same driver, Reaper auidbly lags a bit on mouse click when the buffers are set high.

Not a big deal.
I don't doubt you for a second. I'd think that with that kinda latency it should be normal, but you are saying reaper is the only one that does this?

I can't confirm/deny this because I always work at a buffer of 64. There is however a delay in hitting note in reaper if the track is not record armed though.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:55 PM   #36
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1. Audio card set to 2048 buffer. I'll be clicking in notes.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:57 PM   #37
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I really don't like how the midi editor only lets you edit one item at a time. There's no advantage to it at all. Reaper has a philosophy of never adding unnecessary limits. So why did they add that limit? Instead the midi editor should open on a focus of the item that you double-clicked and then allow you to scroll to see any midi on that track.

I'm also really irritated by the CC manipulation. Particularly velocity. When I want to change velocity I need to drag the velocity up or down. But if two notes happen at the same time the there is no way to click the velocity behind the velocity in the front.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:00 PM   #38
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@Chris: Yeah. I checked again and it's definitely there, a difference in latency when clicking / triggering notes manually on the screen when my buffers are at 2048. That's my normal setting unless I'm playing a midi keyboard, which in that case I typically use a 256 sample buffer.

After doing it multiple times it's definitely not 50ms though, the system latency, so that initial comment was incorrect.... but there is a small but noticable delay. But it's not the full buffer, that would be a huge delay.

But yeah, there should be no latency at all with UI triggers and in my other apps there's not.

It may be one of Reaper's various plugin settings. If I get a chance i'll look deeper into it but it's not a major deal at all.

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Old 03-02-2012, 06:04 PM   #39
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See my comment above. Latency shouldn't affect UI operation. I work like that all the time when I click in hip-hop drum notes and similar. And again, it's not the full buffer latency. If i had to be @ 128 or something to hear a sound immediately when I clicked on a piano roll key on screen, that would drive me nuts.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:28 PM   #40
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Default I don't understand....

...why anyone would work at a latency/buffer of 2048? Is it because of low CPU power? Or wait, is "latency" considered different than "buffer"? Latency is what happens when I set my buffer to 2048!

I have never set my buffer at anything other that 128 or 256. 256 is only for particularly CPU heavy VSTi's.
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