Sunday, March 22, 2015

Recording Virtual Instruments with SampleRobot Part 2: Virtual Audio Cable with Windows Audio

This is Part 2 of a 6-part series. Make sure to check out Part 1 for the introduction.

Method One of Four: Virtual Audio Cable with Windows Audio

This is the simplest method I'll describe in this series, and it involves simply sending virtual instrument audio directly to SampleRobot via a virtual audio cable. The instrument I recorded while making the screenshots below was Native Instruments Maschine . The exact MIDI and audio options in your instrument or plugin host might have different names from what you see in the pictures.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Advantages: Cheap and easy to do. Suitable for any edition of SampleRobot.
  • Disadvantages: Limited to only 16-bit audio depth.
  • Software Required: VB-CABLE, LoopBe1, SampleRobot (any edition)
How to do it:
  1. Install VB-CABLE if you haven't already. These instructions assume you're using the single "VB-CABLE Driver" version, not the "hi-fi" one.
  2. Install LoopBe1 if you haven't already.
  3. If you just installed either of the above programs, restart your computer before attempting to proceed with recording. Some applications don't "see" their devices until you've rebooted at least once.
  4. Start up the instrument you would like to record. If it comes in a standalone EXE version, launch that. Otherwise, load the plugin into your VST host of choice. See part 1 of this series for steps on loading a plugin with VSTHost. Also, don't forget to load up the patch you intend to record!
    Here I've loaded the Aphasia kit from the Grey Forge Maschine expansion.
  5. Locate your instrument's/host's MIDI input settings (in Maschine standalone, you go to File > Audio and MIDI Settings > MIDI > Inputs), and make sure that the option for LoopBe Internal MIDI is enabled. In Maschine you do this by setting the port's Status value to On.

  6. Locate your instrument's/host's Audio device settings (in Maschine standalone, it's File > Audio and MIDI Settings > Audio) and make sure to select a Windows Audio driver type (it might be named WASAPI, Wave, WME, Windows Audio, or something similar) and select VB-Audio Virtual Cable as the audio device.

  7. Depending on how your instrument or host works, you might also have to specify how audio from the instrument gets routed. For example, in Maschine, we have to select the Routing > Outputs tab and make sure the main outputs go to the CABLE Input L and R.

  8. Launch SampleRobot and start a new project, either by clicking New in the Projects window or going to File > Project Wizard. Regardless of whether you use the wizard or set your options manually, make sure to choose the following options:

    Audio In Device: CABLE Output (VB-Audio Virtual Cable)
    Audio Format: 44.1KHz, Stereo, 16bit (this is the maximum valid bit depth for this particular recording method)
    MIDI Out Device: LoopBe Internal MIDI

    You won't be able to use the control panel (CP button) or audio in device monitor (the tiny blue button) of SampleRobot with this method because those only work for ASIO devices.
  9. In my screenshot below you can see I've also selected the following:

    Attack Vel: 127
    Note Length: 8 seconds
    Project Settings > Data Path: (a unique folder for this project)
    Note Range: 36/C1 through 51/D#2, 16 notes total, all notes in range selected. (This is the default note range for a Maschine kit.)

  10. When your project is all ready to record, click Rec in the Projects window, and then click Start Recording. You probably won't hear anything while recording is in progress. When recording is complete, little waveforms will appear under the virtual keyboard. You can test the recorded samples by clicking (and holding down) the left mouse button on individual notes (or triggering notes with a MIDI keyboard if you have one specified in the MIDI In Device field- remember to hold down keys to hear the samples ring out).
  11. If your samples seem to have completed successfully, go to the Import/Export menu to export the samples into your desired target format. If you're using the default settings, your exported samples will be trimmed down to only contain actual audio (which is good!). I like to save my exported files into a new folder called Exports inside my SampleRobot's Data Path folder. Here's a look at the resulting samples I got after exporting the above project. I am using Resonic Player to preview my samples.


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