Midi controller tips

Ableton Live is the most popular DAW for producers of hip-hop and electronic music. Live revolutionized the way artists write music with its innovative Session View. But at its core, Ableton was always meant to be played… Live.

Even in the studio the best way to use Live is to play it like an instrument. But there are more Ableton controllers out there than ever before. Ableton created its own controller in-house to be the perfect companion to Live. Push 2 gives you hands-on access to your entire production workflow. But they also come at a price. Novation was one of the first companies to produce an Ableton-specific device with the Launchpad.

The Launchpad features the classic RGB-enabled grid, plus an additional set of circular buttons around the edges for navigation control and transport.

How to Make a Beat from Scratch Using MIDI Keyboard

With a selection of pads, faders, encoders and even a crossfader, the APC 40 mkII is pre-mapped to work perfectly with Ableton right out of the box. The APC 40 mkII functions as a true music production centre with dedicated controls for nearly every important function of Live.

midi controller tips

This simplified APC has a grid, sliders and multifunctional buttons to take care of launching clips and scenes. All that plus dedicated navigation and enough pads to perform basic clip launching tasks make the Launch Control XL a great option—especially for dedicated knob tweakers!

Now called the Monome Grid, the idea that a controller as minimal as a simple square set of pads could be an expressive musical instrument was revolutionary. The idea that a controller as minimal as a simple square set of pads could be an expressive musical instrument was revolutionary. You could say that capability was what kicked off the Ableton controller craze in the first place! It may sound obvious, but I mean it! The Novation Launchpad Mini is one of the most compact, straightforward Ableton controllers available.

If saving space and keeping it simple are your chief concerns, the Launchpad mini could be the right choice!The Roland Worldwide Social Network keeps you connected to the latest products, exciting events, and much more. Protect your investment. Register your product and stay up-to-date with the latest warranty information. Tips for selecting the right MIDI keyboard controller.

These days MIDI keyboard controllers are an integral part of production and essential for playing software synths in the studio or on stage.

Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision when selecting the right MIDI keyboard controller for your needs. Too often the playability of a MIDI controller is overlooked.

Tip: Go to your local music store and compare the feel and playability of your favorite synth or piano to that of the MIDI keyboard controller that you are considering. Make sure it feels like an instrument and not like a toy. Tip: Print out a copy of your digital workspace next time you go to the music store. Visualize how the MIDI keyboard controller that you are interested in fits into your workflow. Do you need knobs, sliders, pads and transport control?

midi controller tips

If yes, how many of each? Could it take your everyday use? How about abuse? A controller might look great on the surface, but if its driver is sub-standard, it can cause instability, intermittent connections and other anomalies.

Tip: Do a little research on the manufacturer that you are considering. Tip: A MIDI keyboard controller that has customizable and configurable controls knobs, sliders, pads, etc. In most cases, a controller with native support from your DAW dynamically maps controls depending on the virtual instrument or effect on your screen. Rest assured; they are up to the task. Obviously, there are many other features and things to consider when selecting the right MIDI keyboard controller.

What would you add to this list? Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Email Address. Warbecks October 31, pm. I was especially impressed with Ivory Feel-G keys on the A series. Log in to Reply. Foniksymphony October 12, pm.

Should I Buy A MIDI Controller Or A Keyboard? – Useful Tips

Tom August 28, pm. All of the keyboards have midi in and midi out jacks. Also available is a external power supply to use with setups without hooking to your computer. Kevin McWilliams August 8, am. Jason Ward August 14, pm. What do you mean by a MIDI interface? By using the USB it interfaces just fine with the Computer. You must be logged in to post a comment. Worldwide Social Network The Roland Worldwide Social Network keeps you connected to the latest products, exciting events, and much more.

Email Support Get your questions answered by a Roland product specialist. Register Products Protect your investment. Subscribe to Blog via Email Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.Stuck in a programming rut?

Hollin Jones explains how, with a little know-how, you can use MIDI programming to revolutionise your setup…. Ultrabeat is a great way of producing self-contained patterns.

These are used to tell a specific module to change from playing one beat, sequence or loop to another. Pattern sequencing can be quicker than duplicating MIDI clips or notes to achieve this result, and makes for more flexible arrangements. Typically, pattern clips can be converted to regular MIDI clips if required.

The former is good for reassigning parts of clips to play new instruments, and the latter for bringing together a number of parts to be played by one instrument. Exploding a part into lanes adds real sonic flexibility. Split off the snare notes to a new lane or clip to achieve this. These might control parameters in other tracks or modules, or be linked to external MIDI gear.

In fact, this is how MIDI sequencers started life: triggering external kit. As well as note data, you can send program changes, parameter modulation and many other commands either internally or externally. Use controller data to link to external gear. Drag them around a project freely to change parameters at different points. These can be used to switch polyphony modes, change banks and all sorts of other MIDI commands, all recorded inside a project. Create a second instance of that beatbox on a different track, or load up a different instrument.

Automation can be a very powerful tool. Use automation to change settings, switch plug-ins on and off, change patches and presets, vary effect levels and all manner of other things over time.

midi controller tips

Automation can often be unlinked from MIDI clips so that it can be moved around the sequencer, copied, pasted or deleted independently of the clip with which it was originally associated.

The same goes for effects: modify MIDI effects just like you would audio ones. So you can trigger a standalone iOS synth from your iOS DAW and record the results internally as long as both apps support the protocol. So shorter and longer notes will remain different, but proportionately their relationship will be the same. So, for example, you could use such a tool to remove all the sharp or flat notes within a MIDI part, delete or replace all instances of a specific note, or extract all velocity data to a new part.

Cubase is one of the most accomplished DAWs when it comes to this, and it has a dedicated Logical Editor which is particularly powerful. A practical example might be to change a bunch of MIDI clips from a minor to major key, or batch change the velocity of all the kick drum parts across a drum track. Be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

Subscribe now and receive a free chorus plug-in! We provide insight and opinion on the gear, tools, software and services to enhance and expand the minds of music makers and listeners. Sign in. Log into your account.MIDI and Virtual Instruments have been around so long now that we probably take them for granted, especially when it comes to the increasingly sophisticated software-based virtual instruments VIs that are used in so much music making.

Here are 5 common mistakes that people often make when using MIDI and VIs, that can stand in the way of the most musical application of these creative tools. Velocity, of course, is MIDI-speak for how hard or soft you play.

Hard-played notes are louder, brighter, and have sharper attack transients at least percussive instruments like drums piano, guitar, etc.

Virtual instruments—synths and samplers—have two ways to accomplish this: They can use Subtractive Synthesis components—like Lowpass Filters and ADSRs—to make the Instrument respond musically and expressively to the Velocity generated by the performer. And Velocity makes this expressiveness possible— but it can also turn around and bite you in the ass!

Between the minimum 1 and maximum values, the Velocity levels in-between may smoothly span all values, or, as often as not, they may be less even in response. First, choose a MIDI keyboard with a suitable action—weighted or unweighted, depending on playing style.

And then test out the Velocity response between minimum and maximum—the Velocity curve—to make sure that Virtual Instruments are responding evenly, with their full-range of dynamic variation. One of the traditional limitations of MIDI has always been its somewhat keyboard-centric design—much better for playing percussive instruments than legato ones like winds, brass, strings.

Fig 3 Cutting edge keyboards incorporate sophisticated pressure and movement sensitivity for MIDI expression. This is a sensor strip under the keybed, running the length of the keyboard. Typical applications are volume swells, vibrato, and tone pressing adds brightness. In fact, the latest and greatest controllers have incorporated various new technologies in their playing surfaces for generating various CC and Aftertouch data with the same hand s playing the notes, which can, with a little practice, provide a much more expressive performance experience, with VIs that have been set up for them.

Fig 4 The lowest keys on an note keyboard often function as switches for various performance Articulations. Players with keyboards that are shorter than the full key piano length may be missing out on a substantial number of Virtual Instrument variations, that often come with each patch but are only accessible from the lowest octave of keys on an note keyboard.

High-end Samplers often include multiple Articulations with an Instrument, when appropriate, to allow for emulation of the different playing styles of the original. Often the only way to get at these is to use the lowest octave of keys on an note keyboard, which are typically repurposed as keyswitches, to select among the various Articulation options a VI might have to offer.

The mistake many players make is to not test out suitable Instruments, to see what hidden treasures might be lurking. But—just like with AutoTuning—it could be a mistake to become over-reliant on Quantizing, no matter what level of keyboard prowess you may or may not possess.

20 MIDI Programming Tips

While Quantizing can undeniably be useful, it can also rob a performance of musical style. As a longtime keyboard player, I usually avoid the big Q, but Smart Quantize really does do an excellent job, especially on drum parts tapped in from the keyboard in real time. More articles by this author. Joe is a musician, engineer, and producer in NYC. He's also taught all aspects of recording and music technology at several NY audio schools, and has been writing articles for Recording magaz Read More.

Create an account or login to get started!Looking for a MIDI controller? In this guide, we break down a few broad ways you can begin narrowing your search for the perfect controller that fits your needs. Some controllers run up into the multi-thousand dollar mark. While there are numerous choices on the market, going with a brand known for reliability and quality products can save you money in the long run.

Going with a cheaper, more cheaply-produced options may not last as long as a robust controller. You can also stretch your budget by looking for controllers that come bundled with software like Ableton Live Lite or third-party plugins. In addition, pay close attention to the built-in features.

Also, make sure to read the fine print. Moreover, going with a specialized controller gives you the advantage of saving time on mapping the controls to the dedicated software.

There are also mini controller options with less than 25 keys. Many artists go with a key option because it is large enough to play with both hands. The specifics of the keys mean more to some producers than others as well.

Heavier, weighted keys come at a higher price tag but can feel more comfortable for artists used to playing on a real piano. Most controllers come with plastic keys, which are lighter. It really depends on your personal preference. Will you be using your controller mostly in your home studio or will you need something portable for live sets? Take note of the weight and overall size of the controller.

As stated earlier, fewer keys will be better when it comes to travel-size controllers. Choosing something robust is also where those weightier keys may outlast the lighter plastic ones. While keys are pretty standard, other niceties like drum pads, faders, and knobs can also be useful depending on what your workflow entails.

If your nose is buried in your computer screen, a simple keyboard may be all you need. However, if you prefer to work with your controller, then all the extra bells and whistles can help you stay in the zone. Make sure you get the chance to test it out first. Also, remember that you can always upgrade or add more to your collection as you grow.

What matters most is finding a MIDI controller that fits your skillset as it currently stands. Which Program are you interested in? How would you prefer we contact you? Music Technology.The combination of a QWERTY keyboard and mouse is great for most computing applications: it lets you type a letter, browse the internet and manage your music library at great speed.

However, although you'll use these standard input devices when you're piloting your music software, your creative experience will become all the richer if you splash out and buy a MIDI controller keyboard - and possibly another sort of controller - to work alongside them. Before we explain how these devices work and why you should be interested in them, let's deal with that scary-looking acronym: MIDI. This stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and is an industry-standard protocol that's been around for some 25 years.

In the early days, MIDI was used to connect up all sorts of external hardware boxes synths, sequencers, samplers and the likebut if you're a computer music newcomer, all you really need to know is that it enables you to send input information directly from your controller to your computer.

And these days, you don't even need to buy any special hardware in order to connect a MIDI device - the vast majority of controllers on the market can be hooked up to your Mac or PC using a USB connection. Even if you can't play the piano to save your life, we recommend that the first sort of MIDI controller you look at should be a keyboard.

Because once you've got one, your computer setup instantly becomes about a hundred times more musical. Software instruments are great, but if you only have your QWERTY keyboard and mouse, you'll have to either 'click' notes in manually or try and play them on the same keys that you use to write your emails not fun.

If you've got a MIDI keyboard, though, things instantly start to get a lot more enjoyable. Even two-note basslines sound better when they've been played properly - most MIDI keyboards are velocity sensitive, so you can play different notes louder and quieter - and you can also use your keyboard to program drum beats and trigger sample loops in real time.

MIDI keyboards come in different sizes from 25 to 88 notes and with different feature sets. Basic models just have the keys, but others add sliders, which are great for mixing, and knobs that you can use to tweak the virtual controls that are displayed in your music software. Drum pads and buttons to control the features of your recording software are sometimes included, too - you might be surprised to discover how much can be packed into even the smallest of keyboards.

That said, you may decide at a later stage that you need a second MIDI controller that you can run alongside your keyboard. Full-size mixing surfaces, instrument and effect controllers, and performance-friendly drum pads are all on offer, as are devices that feature all the controls you'll need to DJ. Technically, a MIDI controller is an optional accessory - it's perfectly possible to make music without one - but in our opinion, it's as essential as your software.

Available inand note configurations, this is a well-constructed keyboard that's bursting with features. All three models offer controller knobs and drum pads, while the larger ones have an additional bank of sliders. A fantastic piece of gear that's designed for anyone who wants to take hands-on control of their virtual instruments and effects. Thanks to some very clever technology, it sets itself up automatically.

If you've already got a MIDI keyboard, look at this next. Based on Akai's legendary range of MPC grooveboxes, this is a great tool for anyone who wants to create beats and take closer control of their favourite software. It's great for live performances, too. An note keyboard that gives you a piano-like playing experience, with looks to die for. It doesn't have many extra control features, but if you want a genuine performance instrument, it's worth the outlay.

MusicRadar The No. Get a keyboard first Even if you can't play the piano to save your life, we recommend that the first sort of MIDI controller you look at should be a keyboard.In short, that basically means music instruments inside your computer. Anyway my goal of this quickstart series is to help you understand MIDI and compose great music with it.

You have to understand what MIDI really is before going deep with it. That means music instruments in the digital realm. But essentially, MIDI is all data and not musical notes. Many people have a misconception thinking MIDI is the sounds they find on their electronic keyboard. MIDI is simply data. That data you send in then tells your computer which notes to play, which instrument to play, how hard it was pressed and how long the key was pressed.

Sound modules are also know as a tone generator. They contain music instruments samples and sounds that can sometimes be expanded with floppy disk and CDs.

Next we have the the Sequencer.

The beginner's guide to: MIDI controllers

The sequencer is an electronic device where you store your music notes, drum patches and rhythms. Basically this is a device that sends MIDI in and out your computer. The three items I mentioned above are no longer very popular these days. Sound generators which used to be hardware based are now found on your computer as VST samplers and plugins.

Software plugins are more versatile, cheaper and flexible. The old hardware sequencer has evolved into the digital sequencer which you find in your DAW Digital Audio Workstation on your computer.

All you really need next is to choose a MIDI controller and set up your computer together with the right sounds and samples to start making music. Click here to go to the next section.


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