12,000 bars and 300,000 notes - Scaler MIDI CAPTURE as an in situ "happy accident" recorder

What happens when you leave Scaler cranking along @ 300 BPM playing a dozen different chords in a bunch of different performance modes at 2x speed and forget about it for a few hours? You get a big a$$ midi file, lots of test data and (at least if you are in Studio One) a perfectly stable system when you return.

If you are anything like me, you might spend a little time (ok, a lot of time) inside Scaler exploring, experimenting, tweaking and stumbling onto those happy accidents that make you feel particularly dope that day. Sometimes you can go back and recreate them, but sometimes you can’t…unless you get in the habit of always turning on Scalers Midi Capture feature and just letting it keep recording. My testing shows continuous Midi Capture has no meaningful impact on system resources (and this is on a 10 year old Windows desktop with maybe 12 GB of memory and an i5 processor.

You might say…yeah, but I’ve got the new and improved retrospective record in my DAW…so do I. However, and at least in S1, that recorder only catches midi that travels through the DAW and not by making changes to Scaler while it is active in the foreground. This is where some of the cool stuff really happens.

With the Scaler Midi capture running, you always get all your pattern, swing, voicings, etc, while you are changing things as Scaler happily plays along. I’ve learned to rely on it almost every time I’m in Scaler and wish I could have it on by default…(hint, hint dev team)

Some thoughts on using Midi Capture (on Studio One and a Windows machine)

  • I’ve tried, but I’ve NEVER had capture “get full” - seriously, I’ve ran this thing for hours, captured 10s of thousands of bars @ 300 BPM with Scaler set to 2x playback speed with not one hiccup.
  • Depending on the size of the capture and if you choose option 1 below, (this is my description, not from the devs) Studio One will either drop the captured string directly from memory onto a track, or if it is really large, it will read from what appears to be temp file and open a new song with the captured midi. You will know what to expect by paying attention to the mouse tool tip. Either way, you will always have your Midi until you hit clear, clear Scaler’s state, or close the song.
  • When you drag the Midi Capture file you have a few options:
  1. Drag to a new or existing Instrument/Midi track in S1 (event or track + event creation)
  2. Drag to a valid Windows location (file drop)
  3. Drag to the files tab in the Studio One browser (file drop)
  4. Drag it to the upper or lower S1 toolbar or the instrument browser window to open the file in a new S1 song. (file open) For large files, I created a simple macro to split the file at each bar to make it easier to find what I was looking for. It saves a ton of time.

Another reason to use MIDI Capture in Studio One…Multi Instruments, Note FX and Impact…but that is another post.

If this is all old news to you, maybe share it with a newbie. I’m pretty sure it will save them some time and effort, make Scaler even easier to explore and might even save some of those unexpected moments of brilliance.

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Sounds exciting!
Black MIDI - Wikipedia

I imagine this… :wink:
[Black MIDI] Notes Per Second Lag Tester - YouTube

But where do the 300,000 MIDI notes comes from that Scaler generates notes from? Or is Scaler running its own loop and you have the DAW record its output?

Scaler notes and Scaler recording. To generate those big files and test performance, I set up a few patterns and variations, set Scaler to perform mode, turn on Midi Capture, turn on pattern loop and click the play button. An hour or so later I stop the pattern play and the capture mode and start messing around with the midi file. Scaler creates and captures all the notes.

Wow, that MIDI capture goes into memory. I guess MIDI data doesn’t take that much space and with modern computers’ RAM. It’s funny to read these capabilities that go way beyond it was designed for, while others whine about its limitations.

So the resulting MIDI file from your performance test is then highly repetitive? Might be an interesting feature request to induce some aleatoric variation (random fluctuations, to make it not 100% repetitive)
I use an iOS based sequencer app, Xynthesizr, that can be configured to morph existing MIDI patterns slowly around, finding the right mix between recognizability of the scales/patterns, but eliminating boredom.

Yes…very repetitive, just big looping sequences. Those big files were just for testing and stability validation, not any real performance stuff.
I actually stumbled onto this when I was testing for Midi note hanging. I was playing around with audio driver settings and wanted to stress test Scaler so I cranked it up as fast as I could with 64 unique chords and a ton of performance variations. I accidently left Midi Capture on once and came back to a 5000 bar file. I did it again to 10,000 and then again to 12,000 with no ill effect. Now I just let it capture when ever I’m in Scaler in case there is anything I want to pull back or some kind of off routing thing I don’t want to mess with.

Looks like after all this you can issue a certificate of stability for Scaler :wink:

“Scaler 2 ™, stress-tested by @TMacD Labs” LOL

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I like the sound of that, but I’m sure the devs put Scaler through the ringer in ways I can’t imagine. :slight_smile: