Recommended workflow for multi-take recording of MIDI drums?

Hi folks and Happy New 2023!

I’d like to record the drum parts for my songs with my Akai MPK Mini. The trouble is, my finger drumming sucks, so I’d like to do record the part in multiple takes (e.g., kick and snare/toms in one, cymbals in a different take). What workflow would you recommend for that?

If I try to record a second take over an existing take on the same MIDI track, the first take will be muted. One obvious solution is to include two (drum) MIDI tracks, and record each one separately but then the mixing becomes more annoying, especially when I use the fanout option, so I’d like to keep everything on one track if possible. Is there a way to merge two MIDI recordings somehow?

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You can have the MIDI tracks feed a MIDI bus.

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MIDI layers on a single track can be “opaque” (muting the ones below) or “transparent” (allowing the ones below to be played). Before Ardour 7.0, they were transparent by default, but since 7.0, are opaque by default.

You can “record over” e.g. the kick and snare part with the hi-hat part, and later turn off the “opaque” setting of the hi-hat layer in its “Gain” menu (toggle using Alt-0 by default).

I think you can restore the “transparent by default” setting, but couldn’t find an option for it in either the “Preferences” window or the session properties window.

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Re: Merging

In addition to the suggestions above, you can consolidate a track’s MIDI clips into one clip:

  1. Make sure you are in Range Mode and select the MIDI clips.
  2. Right-click on the highlighted selection to bring up the context menu.
  3. Choose “Consolidate Range”.
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Pay attention when do duplicating the consolidated regions - they have no match with the grid by their end boundaries by reason of this issue:
0009177: Bug: The new consolidated MIDI region doesn't match the grid after the consolidation of few MIDI regions - MantisBT
If you will duplicate the selected consolidated region few times through the Ctrl+D (or Alt+D) combination in G-mode - this produces a accumulated error in matching to the grid.

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Good to know - thanks for the heads up! I’ve been waitng until a later 7.x release before upgrading from 6.9, so I havent run into this issue.

Great, thanks everyone for the helpful replies!

You just need to enable “Sound On Sound” recording, in the Record-Mode pulldown menu.

Then you’ll hear the prior take (kick+snare) while you record the next one (cymbals) and the new take will be a new, transparent region atop the first one.

see: Mixbus32c 8.2 Overview Video - YouTube

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A 2023 approach version here:

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