Audio to MIDI
Much has been made of Live 9’s new audio to MIDI function, which automatically converts audio clips into a new MIDI track, either by right-clicking them, selecting the function from the Create menu or simply dropping an audio file directly onto a MIDI track. Audio to MIDI conversion isn’t a new idea – among others, Widisoft’s WIDI Audio To MIDI plugin has been around for a few years – but it’s notable that Live is the first major DAW to include the functionality as a standard feature.
Three options allow ‘harmony’, ‘melody’ or ‘drum’ audio clips to be converted to MIDI. All three features carry out exactly the same process, analysing the audio and creating a MIDI version, but the first is intended for polyphonic material, the second for monophonic and the third for rhythmic.
The audio to MIDI features work about as well as any we’ve used before, which is to say they’re a long way from being perfect. Don’t expect Melodyne-esque levels of note recognition here. Results are generally better for simpler source material, and if the software really struggles you can help matters slightly using filters and gates or by manually editing transients and warp points. Even so, the function should really be considered an added bonus when it works rather than a fool-proof tool.
Don’t expect Melodyne-esque levels of note recognition here.
An attempt to convert a simple drum beat was relatively successful:
But Live struggled when the beat got more complex:
Likewise, attempts to convert a simple bassline and a slightly more complex chord sequence were only partially successful at best: