How using kar files in a DAW for educational purposes - Part I

In the nineties I used managing karaoke for friends: Not having much money, and doing that for friends in private parties, I collected from the web a huge number of free .mid and .kar file that I retrieved yesterday from an obsolete and still working CD-ROM

Well, I can say that CD in my PC rumbled as a bunch of rattlesnakes :snake: :snake: :snake:, and I spent dozens of minutes to transfer just 100 MB of files, so not well working indeed

Note: these files are mostly made by amateurs, so almost useless for musical production, but I think they can be useful to understand a bit the structure of certain famous songs, so be possibly able to replicate them in Scaler

BTW, among my old softwares I also retrieved Picasa that was a very simple but very good software to organize and edit shoots: so now my wife can practice PP a bit without getting mad, he he

And I also retrieved VanBasko, a free karaoke player that still works in Windows 8.1: Amazing considering that its development ceased in 2004 :astonished:

Well, I quickly fed Scaler with some of those MIDIs but I found that Scaler doesn’t recognize any karaoke file, likely because they contain multiple instruments, each one with its own chords

And here is my usual photostory :rofl:

When you drop a karaoke file in Ableton Live 11 (I don’t know other DAWs) you’ll have a series of MIDI tracks like below, and if you hit the Play button you hear nothing: this because karaoke files are MIDIs so they don’t contain any sound

In the past Soundfonts were used, and it seems they are still used, but I am quite sure that our modern VSTs performs better

Now, if you are a Lucky Man they have names suggesting the intruments involved, but it was not the case here: there are 5 instruments and no one shows the instrument involved YUK!

It’s the time to use one feature of VanBasko that lets you see the instrument names after you click on Play and BINGO: We know there are 2 guitars, a piano, a drums and a solo guitar

Wait, 5 instruments and a piano?
The band was just 4 people and there is no piano in their videos: it means the karaoke maker cheated LOL

Well, doesn’t matter: the piano seemed fine to me so I kept it

Now the next step is finding the closer vst you have, and putting it next to its matching MIDI track, then you must move the MIDIs (colored rectangles with a green arrow) on the intrument track, and eventually you delete the MIDI track

And here is the picture after having renamed all 5 tracks

The next step is putting VanBasko in loop so you can understand the “sound” of each instrument trying to emulate it; for the solo distorted guitar I think I found a good sound just using one S-Gear preset, while for the other guitar, bass and drums I selected the proper sound by ear and using vintage presets

And now it’s time to collocate the instruments in the space, so I dropped a Relay tool on each track

Then I launched the Neutron Visual Mixer: this beast is amazing because lets you positioning precisely in the space, vertically (towards the public) and laterally, all instruments in a visual way

Below is the starting situation with all instruments at the center

And here is a 1st casual positioning, just for audting the result, but how knowing the real one?

I used my Woodstock DVD and I did a couple of screenhots to see their spatial placement

As you see the solo guitarist (and vocalist, but sorry if I don’t even try to emulate him :rofl:) is on the left of the drummer, while the bassist and the acc guitarist are on the right, more or less on the same horizontal line

I checked other videos on YT and I found more or less the same situation, so now it’s time to translate this information in the Visual Mixer, and here is the result, with the Snapshot feature on top used to save the positioning in case some instrument are to be equalized…

While auditing indeed, I noticed the bass sound was too much faint, so I dropped a Neutron on it, and applied (by ear again) a revitalizing effect

At the end, I did the final mixing by ear, instead of using the usual Neutron My Assistant feature, and that’s all

here is the spell result


Great Job and explanations.

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Thanks for your endorsement Miki

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Pretty extensive work there ! Very good … but aren’t you supposed to have recorded singing along with the backing ?? :slight_smile:

You missed my claim a few lines above LOL

As you see the solo guitarist (and vocalist, but sorry if I don’t even try to emulate him :rofl:

Geat performance! But where’s the singing? :wink:

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Dear @yorkeman and @Bernd

I cannot mimic that voice because I am a baritone :wink:

Right, who are we to complain, who not volunteer our own voices for a song collaboration :wink:

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If somebody wants collaborating with any instrument but the door bell, he/she’s welcome

To find out which instruments are used in the MIDI file there is a faster and easier system. Just open the midi in a score editor. This is what you see in Musecore after dragging the midi file over the program

About singing, I will say that I have a little voice, but quite unpleasant :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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MuseScore… I think I had this software some time ago: I likely uninstalled it because I am not interested in scoring, but maybe I’ll reinstall it

Can I know if it can serve to audit (listen) MIDIs like VanBasco does?

Yes. You can listen directly by following the score. It is also free. There is a paid version, but the free version works great

OK, I’ll give a try, thanks

After some testing & reasoning I prefer using a KAR player like VanBasko because its browser is too practical (score tools don’t have a browser), and because translating instruments in a DAW using my not-compliant KAR files is too much an hassle

It’s way better having VanBasko just playing the song, and using its option to mute channels of instruments I want practise with

Kar (karaoke) files are midi files, usually using General Midi.
The instrument assignment on the 128 Midi channels is usually always the same, and can easily be found in a Google search.
I leave here this link to Wikipedia, which is more reliable and accessible to everyone. Explains well the instruments that are assigned to each channel
General MIDI - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
I hope this can help you in this matter

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I know, I know, but I assure you that most of my KAR/MIDI files have just the drums on channel 10
All the other instruments are randomly assigned :cold_face:
This is likely because my files are not made by professionals

In any case, finding matched instruments is a waste of time, considering I want use them just to practice soloes

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