You can easily convert audio to MIDI these days, and vice-versa, and quickly deconstruct how an arrangement was put together or simply speed up your workflows. This tutorial shares how it’s done.


It sure is great to live in a time when technology is evolving at nearly the same speed are our artistic trends. One always affects the other. They both drive each other. So it makes perfect sense that as we push the boundaries of both audio and MIDI in modern music production, that the lines begin to blur. In Logic Pro X, for instance, the Drummer feature seems to use both audio and MIDI interchangeably. But what about when you simply want to convert audio to MIDI? This lesson frames the question in a real-world scenario of having an audio recording you’ve captured, but wanting it to be played back through a software instrument you made for a specific project you’re working on. It’s actually a very fast and easy process.

To convert audio to MIDI, your DAW simply needs to be able to recognize and isolate two elements in a recording; transients and pitch values. Although Ableton Live is the one major DAW that actively advertises this capability, it can be done in others as well. And all DAWs can effectively convert MIDI to audio, by way of either bouncing (exporting, rendering, saving, etc) the sound as you normally would any project, or bouncing ‘in place’, which simply adds a new audio file to your project arrangement without having to export/import anything. You can do many things with audio that you cannot do with MIDI. This is also true the other way around.

If you convert audio to MIDI, you can grab that riff and play it back through any software instrument. You can make edits to the arrangement, adjust velocity, add parameters like aftertouch and pitch bend…the list goes on-and-on. If you convert MIDI to audio, you can take advantage of techniques like time stretching, resampling, advanced glitching, etc. So there are many reasons why you may want to explore these options for your own music. As with most things in this line of work, discovering a new workflow, technique or tool can change how you make music forever.