Welcome to my Computer Music blog! In this section I will discuss how MIDI Controllers work, different types of MIDI Controllers and some tips on what to look for in purchasing a MIDI Controller.
Note: MIDI Controllers are not necessary to create computer music! However, if you want more leverage and control over your music, I would highly recommend purchasing one.
What is MIDI?
Excellent question, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a protocol that gives software (Virtual instruments, commands) the ability to access and communicate with your MIDI controller. Basically, MIDI allows your plug-ins to be emulated onto your MIDI interface. The strange thing about MIDI sound is that its not actually an audio signal like naturally created sound. The computer is sent commands that would enable your computer to recognize the pitch, dynamics, volume, and tempo of the chosen note.
Digital sound has become extremely advanced over the years. Everything you hear on the radio these days are created from a computer using digital hardware and software (Pro-Tools, Logic, etc). Digital recording has become extreamely popular for many reasons. Here are three reasons that I call the Triple C reason. (Un-original i know ;P )
However there is another form of recording called Analog, which records actual audio signals and records to physical tape. I will go over this in a later section.
Buying a MIDI Controller
This part of your journey will require you to invest a little cash, but trust me, its well worth it. There are a couple things you should consider when your buying a MIDI controller. The main question you should ask is...
-What am I going to use it FOR?
This is very important in deciding which controller your going to settle with. There are many types of Controllers out there but the main 2 you should worry about right now is a MIDI Keyboard and MIDI Pads.
MIDI Keyboards will give you more options to create melodies while MIDI Pads will give you a lot of variety with creating beats. All can be done WITHOUT a MIDI controller. Many professionals have both of these types of MIDI devices.
MIDI Keyboard Size is something you should also consider. Smaller Keyboards are convenient, cheap, and could be all you need if you are not interested in creating complex melodies. Larger keyboards (Usually 49-88 keys) offer a full sized keyboard to work with. So whether your learning how to play piano, or creating full creative melodies, a full sized keyboard is a standard choice.
Note: Avoid keyboards with built in MIDI Pads. They are usually not very sensitive and cant handle complex rhythms. This will intern not register everything you are trying to play, thus limiting you. We certainly don't want that. If you want MIDI Pads, you should invest in buying a dedicated interface.
Here is what I suggest for MIDI Controllers