Electronic Drums and Audacity

Hello, everyone!

I am using Win 8 and Audacity 2.0.6

I am not very fluent in technical terminology and I am certainly not a programmer or coder.

What I am is a musician that has been using Audacity for at least a decade and the program is a God-send.

All that said, I am not sure if this is a valid question (I DID check the FAQ).

Is there a way for me to record a .midi track off of my electronic drums (Alesis DM7X) into Audacity so I can send the .midi file into EZDrummer.

Short of that, is there a way to load EZDrummer as a plug in for Audacity (because I should be able to just use Audacity as a conduit to record the .midi into EZDrummer)

Thank you for any help you can offer.


MIDI isn’t sound, although it probably seems like it because of all the background processing. It’s machine control.

Audacity doesn’t speak MIDI, although I think you can get it to transfer MIDI commands now. I think they did that just so we couldn’t say it didn’t work at all.

You can’t cut a MIDI song.


You could try Hermann Seib’s VST host for Windows:


It should work with/next to Audacity and it’s free, but I’ve never tried it myself.

Another one that people seem to use as a live MIDI host, is Cantabile:


Cantabile is 79 or 239$, depending on use.

There was a good MIDI recorder, called “WOK Notenspeicher”, but I can only find virus laden illegal copies atm. It was only 3€. You could run that VST in one of the hosts above.


It seems you can get all 44 VST plugins the Notenspeicher author wrote if you donate for the dialysis of his wife’s son. More info here:


Not so, as far as I know.

That you can actually do, but you can’t hear it because there is no MIDI playback.



A deaf MIDI editor. Works for me.

I’m going with a blanket Audacity doesn’t support MIDI and let somebody else patiently explain how wrong I am.


As far as I know, all we have to do to enable MIDI playback is to fix some crashes that occur if you have Mixer Board open, and make sure MIDI support compiles if enabled.

You can just point to http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Midi. I think that is still accurate.


Folks, I apologize. I am guessing that you’re trying to be helpful, but I really am lost, when it comes to tech talk. I don’t even know what “VST” is

I did click on the above link from Gale and then, clicked on a subsequent link:

Audacity cannot record MIDI input, only audio input. Audacity cannot be directly controlled by a MIDI controller, though Bome’s MIDI Translator (Windows and Mac OS X) can translate MIDI commands to standard keystrokes which Audacity can then recognise as keyboard shortcuts.

I clicked on Bome’s MIDI Translator and if I’m reading it correctly, that might work for me?

Can someone explain it to me like I’m a five year old blonde child, please?

Thanks, again,


VST is a plugin format. Some VST plugins can work with MIDI input if put in a “host” application that can accept the plugins. Then such a host might be able to provide an audio output that Audacity can record form. But you may have to pay a lot for a host or plugin that is good enough to do that well. I don’t think that is the best solution.

The MIDI to key presses translator won’t help you record the drums.

Your kit has 1/4" main left and right outputs and 1/8" stereo headphone outputs. Does your computer have a blue line-in input separate from the microphone input? If yes, just connect either drums output to the line-in and set Audacity to record from the line-in.

Even if you only have a microphone input, it might be a compatible port that lets you record stereo, but those are not good quality ports.

Look in your computer manual to find out.

If you don’t have a suitable audio input on the computer you can buy a decent USB interface for about 30 EUR to take the output from the drums. Then you would record from the USB interface into Audacity.

Also, if you plug the USB MIDI cable into the computer can you hear the sound you are making? If yes, you can record the computer playback. See Tutorial - Recording Computer Playback on Windows. If you cannot make Windows play the MIDI signal from the drums, I don’t think direct MIDI recording is that hard. See: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Midi#Free_programs_for_working_with_MIDI.


I think I’m not being specific enough.

I CAN record the drums into Audacity. I have done so, many times. I’m looking for a way to record just a .midi file of what I’m playing on the drums so that I can load that .midi file into EZDrummer (Better sounding drums than the Alesis set).

I don’t mind the idea of paying for a (I think you called it a) “host” if that is going to allow me to do what I want to do. Part of the problem (for me) is when I go to look at some of these programs, I have no clue what I’m reading. I’m tech-illiterate. It’s not one of the languages I’ve managed to learn.

I’m sure there’s some software I can buy that will enable Audacity to do what I want it to do (or, I could just bite the bullet and buy Protools), but I like Audacity. I’ve used it for a long time. I’m comfortable with it. That’s what happens when you get into your fifties, I guess. :laughing:


Audacity cannot record MIDI, which is why you are receiving answers about how to make the output of the drum kit into audio so that Audacity can record it. You don’t want to record audio because then you would have to convert the audio to MIDI, which almost never sounds right.

You will either have to buy a hardware sequencer that has MIDI recording ability or use a software application that has MIDI recording ability, like those I already linked to in my last reply: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Midi#Free_programs_for_working_with_MIDI. For example, look at Red Dot Forever or Mu-Lab. Audacity can’t help you with this.


To record MIDI you need a “MIDI Sequencer”.
Most “DAW” (Digital Audio Workstation) applications include the ability to record MIDI.

MuseScore is a free MIDI sequencer with good score writing ability: https://musescore.org/
Reaper is an inexpensive DAW with MIDI recording and editing ability. They offer a full featured “demo version” (it’s actually the full version, with a reminder to pay for it if you continue to use it).
Sonar (Cakewalk) and Cubase are commercial DAWs. Their entry level (cheapest) versions should be able to do what you want, and trial versions are available from their websites.

Hydrogen is a free MIDI drum machine with excellent sounds built in and additional drum sound libraries available for download http://www.hydrogen-music.org/hcms/
(well worth a look)

Just to add, if using an external hardware sequencer, use the MIDI in and out cables on the drum kit as described in the drum kit manual.

If using computer software to record MIDI, use the drum kit’s USB output.