This is something that I wish I had learned right at the beginning of my music-making career. Do you, or should you, bounce midi to audio? A project is not truly finished until you have bounced all the parts to audio, backed those audio files up and stored them in a safe place. You can read about my backup strategy here.
The reason to bounce all those MIDI parts to audio is for the purposes of redundancy. What happens if you wish to revisit the project only to find that one of the synthesizers you used no longer works or the latest operating system update has made it unusable. Remember the latest Apple Catalina update that made many software synthesizers unusable for a period of time?
"A project is not truly finished until you have bounced all the parts to audio, backed those audio files up and stored them in a safe place."
This post is a short lesson on reality and ensuring you have properly future-proofed your project. If we rewind back to the 90's I had just created my first ever electronic music track. I called it 'Vocal Strings of Mars' and it was created using my Korg Triton Rack, which I still have to this day. I created the whole track in MIDI, mixed it and exported the completed track as an mp3 file.
The track was very basic but I was thrilled, as it was the first-ever electronic music track I had written.
Let us fast forward 20 years and I wanted to revisit the track and rework it into a more modern-day piece. The problem was, the piece of software I used to create it no longer existed, hadn't been updated in years and would no longer load using modern-day operating systems.
As I had no audio stems, I could not edit the track without recording each part over again. Although the melody was simple enough to recreate, the actual vibe and sound were missing as I had tweaked some of the patches. If only I had bounced each track to audio and created stems (facepalm moment).
It was from this moment that I started to bounce all my projects to individual stems before mixing. My process is now to write the track, bounce any midi tracks to audio.
Only once I have committed my stems to audio do I start mixing and mastering and adding the fairy dust. I would recommend that you look at following a similar process if only to preserve your sanity when, in years to come, the software you used to create your track no longer works.
What was your light bulb moment, post in the comments below so we can learn from each other's mistakes and discoveries?