Q - What is a MIDI file?
'A MIDI file is a set of computer instructions which trigger sounds already contained within a digital musical instrument.'
A MIDI file is simply another type of pre-recorded music, and whilst there is a general awareness that MIDI files are computer based, there is still some confusion between MIDI and audio formats. For this reason, and to fully appreciate the benefits of MIDI, it is important to understand the difference between a 'MIDI file' (or a 'Disk of MIDI files') and an 'Audio' recording on a CD, cassette or mini-disk.
In simplistic terms, when an audio recording is made - let's say of a worship band - a microphone is used to pick up the sound from the band. This sound is then burned onto a CD or put onto tape (or previously scratched onto vinyl!). When the recording is played back on a stereo system, all this does is amplify the existing sound. Even computer based audio formats such as MP3 or WAV files work in a similar way, albeit with further levels of digital encoding.
In contrast, there is NO sound on a disk of MIDI files. A MIDI file is a set of computer instructions which trigger the sounds already contained within a digital musical instrument. If that's already beginning to sound confusing, think back to the old Pianola that once used to adorn the back wall of many a Victorian drawing room. The Pianola was a real piano into which could be placed a punched paper roll. As the roll turned, the Pianola 'read' the instructions on the paper and made it's own sounds according to what had been 'recorded' onto the roll. A MIDI file carries out exactly the same function as the punched paper roll, containing instructions relating to notes, tempo, dynamics and so on.
Q - What's the difference between Midi Files and MP3 Files?
A - Midi files are small computer files which allow keyboards or midi file players to play back music using their own internal sounds to simulate instruments through synthesis. Whilst these are great for many instruments such as pianos or drums, they can never sound truly realistic for instruments like guitars or wind, sung vocals cannot be reproduced, and unless they are programmed very well may sound rather artificial.
MP3 files, on the other hand, are actual recordings just as you would find on a CD or record, performed by top musicians and singers especially for Worship Downloads, featuring real instruments and backing vocals. If played back through a suitable PA system it would be very difficult indeed to tell whether you were listening to MP3 files or live musicians!
Q - Should I use Midi Files or MP3 Files for our church's sung worship?
A - Both have their own advantages. If you already have a Midi file player you will be happy to learn that Worship Downloads will continue to bring out top quality Midi files for download on our website. You may have musicians that like to play along to the Midi files in church by muting certain tracks, or perhaps you like the flexibility of being able easily to change pitch or tempo. On the other hand, MP3s undeniably sound better, and can feature sounds like vocals, wind instruments and acoustic guitars that can never sound truly realistic on a Midi file.
With prices and storage capacity of personal MP3 players falling every day there is no need to spend large amounts of money investing in new equipment; the chances are that someone in your group will already have everything necessary to download and play the files.
Q - How do I use an MP3 file as backing for our church worship?
A - Simply connect your MP3 player to your amplification system as you would do a cassette or CD player, adjust the level and off you go. To ensure a seamless session without searching for the songs, in a few seconds you could create a playlist, putting the songs in any particular order as the occasion demanded. Anyone who has spent ages fast forwarding and rewinding a cassette deck will appreciate the simplicity of MP3s!
NB: You can also plug your MP3 player into a powered speaker or portable PA system, and even a suitable portable CD/tape player or hifi system. Which means MP3's are ideal for use in small groups, outdoor events, childrens and youth events, Holiday Clubs, outreach, missions etc.
Q - What kind of MP3 players are available?
A - Over the last few years the iPod personal stereo has become ubiquitous; on any train or bus journey you will see people of all ages with their headphones on listening to their music collection on an MP3 player. Of course, many other types of personal music players are available, and devices with capacities to store many hundreds of songs are now available on the high street for a few pounds. Any of these devices can be used to play MP3 files in church simply by connecting them to the PA system via a lead into the headphone socket. If your church uses a laptop computer, this can be used to play the files straight from the hard disc in the same way.
Another idea is to use a DVD player with MP3 capability - MP3s can be burned to CD-ROM and played back on an inexpensive DVD machine. Some portable CD players also offer this option. Many mobile phones now have MP3 playback capabilities (although it might prove distracting if someone were to ring you in the middle of a song, so this might not be the most practical option!).
Q - What is our Refund Policy?
We are unable to offer refunds on downloaded files. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are having any difficulties with your download.
Q - What Currency are your products in?
All products on our website are in US Dollars.
If you don't see your query answered here, please email us at email@example.com