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MIDI has advantages and disadvantages when compared to digital audio. MIDI files are much smaller than audio files, since MIDI data is only made up of the commands to play instruments, instead of the actual sound of the instruments themselves. You can usually copy one or more MIDI files onto a floppy disk. You can easily email MIDI files. You can save a MIDI file in a format called a Standard MIDI File, and then open it and use it in many different programs. You can record MIDI music as slowly as you want, and then change the tempo in your software to play it back at any tempo you want. Audio files, however, can only play back at approximately the same tempo they were recorded at without drastically altering the sound quality. It’s easy to edit and transpose MIDI files, since they are so small and you’re just editing commands, not actual sound. MIDI files can be printed out as standard musical notation or lead sheets. It can be harder to make MIDI music sound as natural as audio. If you don’t record MIDI music in real time, it can sound mechanical. Some MIDI instruments, especially some of the acoustic-sounding instruments such as brass, strings, and guitars that you find on the built-in synthesizers of low-priced sound cards, sound artificial. However, percussive sounds usually sound quite good on MIDI instruments, and are much easier to record than a real drum set. You can also play back MIDI data through any number of hardware or software samplers that use recordings (samples) of any instrument you can imagine as sound sources.
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