MIDI Controller…… What is it!!!!!

MIDI controllers

What Is a MIDI  controller ?

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That’s the classic question that many passionate neo music producers ask to themselves.

Well the first thing that we can say is that MIDI stands for “ Musical Instrument Digital Interface”.

MIDI is a language that is been created to globalize the communication between machine (hardware) that sends  data messages. Thanks to MIDI it has been possible to have a single language that every Controller, machine, hardware understands.

A MIDI controller  doesn’t have or produces any sounds , it is basically an empty machine but the functions that are in the controller is what  makes it a real producing instrument.

A MIDI controller like I said before doesn’t produce any sound , instead it can send data messages into a software (example: Ableton, FL studio etc.)  or an other  Hardware ( for example  another MIDI Controller).

Every time we press or move any button on to the MIDI Controller , this data message will be finally sent to a software  and it will be converted  into sound .

There are two connections that can  send MIDI data messages;

  • USB (mostly used )
  • 5 pin DIN connector (originally used, not as much anymore)

5 pin din connector

(5 pin DIN Connector)

A MIDI port has 16 channels .

Every channel has 128 note messages(0-127) and 128 velocity messages (0-127)

Every time that we press a pad or a key onto the MIDI controller, a note ON message is sent and along with that, also a VELOCITY message.

The note messages is there to identify the note that we press .

Example : if the first pad of the MIDI controller is set as note # 36, every time that we press it, the note message that will be sent will be #36.

The velocity message is there to identify how hard we press the pad or key.

Example:  depending on how hard we press a pad or key the sound will be low if we press it soft and higher if we press it harder.

An other function of MIDI messages is called AFTERTOUCH.  

Also the aftertouch function sends a maximum of 128 messages.

Basically Aftertouch gives you the possibility to control the amount  of  sound travelling after the note has been played, giving you a really dynamic sound.

These are the basic things that you need to know about MIDI, but there is a lot more to know .