The best MIDI controller keyboard is a piano-style keyboard that’s connected to a PC or Mac via a USB cable. Most models can’t make a sound on their own. Instead, they send data to a music software program. The sound is actually generated by a PC using different types of software programs.
Learning how to use a MIDI keyboard can allow you to compose and edit music down to the note. These controllers are perfect for the pianist, composer, producer, and musician in need of an easier to way to create music. So, if you have a VST on your PC, you can use the controller to play music in real-time, or you can use it during a studio recording session.
A Beginners Guide to Midi Keyboards
Most hardware synthesizers and regular keyboards can work as a MIDI keyboard controller.
Many models come equipped with sliders and knobs that allow you to expertly control virtual instrument parameters. As an example, if you’re using a virtual synth and your controller has a volume slider, you can control it in real-time by routing it to a slider on the MIDI.
However, there are many newbie musicians who wonder just how necessary a MIDI keyboard is to their home studio setup. So, what are the real advantages of MIDI controllers?
When you play a bass line or melody with a MIDI, it can give music more of a human touch, instead of programming a song using your computer keyboard and a mouse. It can also help you to learn how to play the piano.
It makes creating music more efficient and fun. While using your PC and mouse to compose and edit is possible, at times it can ruin the vibe and it’s also a very time-consuming process. Additionally, if you’re used to the feel of the keys and the type of feedback you get when playing piano, trying to create a melody with your mouse can be very frustrating.
The type of MIDI keyboard you choose depends on the type of options you want. Most boards are marketed based on how many keys the keybed has. You can choose from controllers with twenty-five, forty-nine, sixty-one, or eighty-eight keys. You’ll also need to pay attention to the weight of the keys. There are unweighted options available, or you can choose semi-weighted, or heavy weighted. Weighted keys tend to offer a more realistic feel that’s similar to what you would get from an acoustic piano. If you have experience playing piano, then purchasing a model with keys that offer a more realistic feel will be the best option. If you’re a beginner, this feature probably won’t matter as much.
Making Music with Your MIDI
In order to make music using your MIDI, you’ll need to choose a compatible software program. The type of software you buy will allow you to control each note in a song. Generally, these programs will also come with a wide range of virtual instruments so you can begin creating right away. Some of the top programs include Ableton Live and Reason. Pro Tools is also a good option; however, you would also need to purchase virtual instruments for that program.
The controller makes it so much easier for you to interact with software. The controller allows you to trigger musical notes within the program, instead of drawing the data with your mouse.
After you have connected the controller to your PC and installed the music software program, you’re ready to begin creating music.
The first time you use the software, you must ensure that the controller is connected. On Windows, this is found under file and preferences. On a Mac, it’s usually found under software title and preferences.
Now, you’re ready to open a virtual instrument, such as a sampler, drum, or synthesizer. You can begin experimenting with the different instruments in order to become more familiar with the controller. If you decide you like the music you’re making, you can record the MIDI data using the record function in the software program.
If you find that you’re having a hard time with creating music, you may have better results trying out the Pre-recorded MIDI files. These files are sold with some music production sample packs or apps. The files contain a series of chords or notes being played and can be used by loading them into your music software program and assigning the MIDI track to a particular virtual instrument.
The Creative Process
In order to create a unique sound, you can edit the file by changing the velocity of the notes, when a note is triggered, how long they last, and which notes are playing. You can also change the rhythm, tempo, or even add effects.
You must work with high-quality sounds in order to make a piece of music sound original. Online, you’ll find several options for sound creation. Working with sample packs is probably the easiest method when it comes to getting pro-quality sounds. These sample packs will feature a series of disks that contain different special effects, drums, orchestral instruments, synthesizers, and more.
Once you purchase and download the sample pack onto your PC, you’ll be able to make modifications to the audio and trigger the sounds using a virtual sampler. You can also make your own samples by recording audio from live performances, or from ambient sounds, and movies. When you create a sample, you will need to create sounds that can seamlessly loop, which is what makes them easier to work with. You should also take time to learn how synthesizers work. Learning how to use a synthesizer to create sounds can provide you with endless possibilities when you’re making music using your MIDI.