When audio plug-ins entered the mainstream, MIDI plug-ins took somewhat of a backseat because they weren't the "shiny new toy" in town. However with MIDI's resurgence, companies are paying more attention to MIDI plug-ins. For example Cubase has always had a great roster of MIDI effects, Ableton Live almost gives parity with MIDI and audio plug-ins,...
A macro lets you string together multiple keyboard shortcuts into a single keyboard shortcut. For example, suppose you often quantize to 1/16th notes, with 50% strength, and like to add a swing factor of 52%. You can set up a macro so that after selecting your data, you do a single keyboard command and voilà—all three editing operations occur. Keyb...
Moog Music is the leading producer of analog synthesizers in the world. The employee-owned company and its customers carry on the legacy of its founder, electronic musical instrument pioneer, Dr. Bob Moog. All of Moog's instruments are hand built in its factory on the edge of downtown Asheville, NC ​ Moog DFAM (Drummer From Another Mother) DFAM DFA...
You can "humanize" sequences that have been quantized too rigidly by tweaking the start times for individual notes or phrases. Ignore any menu item called "humanization," because this usually just adds randomness—that's not what makes timing human (unless the human in question had too much to drink). Instead, alter note timings manually or use a "s...
​ Complimentary Summer NAMM registration for TMA members! Thanks to NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants), we have complimentary registration thro ugh June 13 for MIDI Association members to the Summer NAMM show which happens this year in Nashville from June 28-30.  Summer NAMM is open to all NAMM members as well as professionals ...
Founded in 1994 by Los Angeles composer Eric Persing and his wife Lorey, Spectrasonics quickly became a leading developer of world-class sampled sound libraries. As Chief Sound Designer for Roland Corporation since 1984, Eric was already well-known in the music industry for creating many of the most popular sounds in their classic synthesizers, inc...
Some virtual instrument and effects parameters just cry out for footpedal control—too bad you don't have a pedal that outputs MIDI data…or do you? If you have a keyboard synthesizer or controller, it will probably have an expression pedal jack. The standard MIDI controller for expression is controller #11, and unless your keyboard or controller is ...
Sometimes you hit notes you don't want to hit, particularly if you're playing MIDI guitar or some other alternate controller (although this tip is most relevant to MIDI guitar, even with keyboards you may end up brushing against some keys accidentally and creating notes you don't want). Here are some ways to clean up your data stream. Delete pressu...
ReWire is a software protocol that allows two (or sometimes more) software applications to work together as one integrated program. For example, suppose you wish your DAW of choice had Propellerhead Reason's roster of way cool virtual instruments, but you don't want to learn a different DAW. No problem: use ReWire with your DAW, and get Reason into...
Controllerism May 4, 2019 at 3 PM Pacific Time A panel discussion with the people who created the Controllerism movement about how MIDI influences the world of Digital DJs. Laura Escudé, Sam Gribbens, Huston Singletary, Moldover, Kate Stone, Shawn Wasabi Panelists  Laura Escudé International music producer, DJ, controllerist, violinist and liv...
Since 1979, we've helped music makers all across the world build their dreams. We are a team of gear heads who are committed to doing the right thing for our customers. ​ We are musicians, engineers, producers, Julliard grads, Grammy winners, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We are diverse in our backgrounds and beliefs, but we're all bound by...
Quantizing MIDI notes to precise rhythmic values on a grid can sound "mechanical." This isn't necessarily a bad thing, particularly with techno, electro, etc. But for musical genres that aren't quite as rigid in terms of tempo, overly tight quantization can sound stiff. Enter groove quantization: instead of quantizing to a grid, you can call up a p...
Jamstik+ from Zivix is an interesting solution for guitarists who want to play MIDI instruments. While it's not a guitar, it feels mostly like a guitar because it has real strings, a neck, and frets—but it doesn't make any sound. On the plus side, you don't have to change or tune the strings. Also, the basic version has only five notes, so it's mor...
One of the main differences between music recorded in the past and today's recordings is the use of click tracks to maintain a constant tempo. We can debate whether this is a good idea or not, but here's an easy-to-do tempo track tweak that can add a lot of impact to a song. Short, subliminal pauses can create a fleeting sensation of tension and an...
Second Sound showcases new ACO160 chip at NAMM 2019 Second Sound is the owner of the technology behind Sonicsmith's famous audio-controlled synthesizers, the ConVertor+ and Squaver P1+.  Now Second Sound is developing a new improved audio-controlled oscillator chip, the ACO160, which will bring frequency-tracking synthesizers to a new level of...
EASTWEST ( soundsonline.com ) is one of   the largest virtual (software) instrument companies in the world. With clientele that spans the who's who of the music, film, television, games, multimedia and performing arts, EASTWEST has led the industry for 30 years and provides professionals with the very best music creation tools available. ...
REX files chop digital audio into "slices," each of which is associated with a MIDI note. Playing a MIDI note triggers its associated slice, which is why REX files can follow tempo variations—slices can trigger at a faster or slower rate as you speed up or slow down a MIDI sequence. However, what really makes this fun is that you can also re-arrang...
In the days before click tracks, tempos varied because musicians are humans, not crystal-controlled clocks. However, these changes were far from random. While researching an article for Sweetwater's inSync web publication, I analyzed the tempo changes for several hits from the past that didn't use a click track and noticed a common element of most ...
If you think of a keyboard as playing only notes, four or five octaves may be sufficient. However, many virtual instruments (e.g., FXpansion Geist, Native Instruments Kontakt, EastWest's Play engine, etc.) use MIDI keys not only to play specific notes but also to trigger articulations or variations on a basic sound. If your main USB MIDI controller...
When you're songwriting, you want nothing to get in the way of your creativity, and you want as fast a workflow as humanly possible—so for those reasons, you're better off starting the songwriting process with MIDI rather than recording audio (if not you're not a keyboard player, even a simple MIDI guitar controller like the Jamstik+ or You Rock gu...
Way back in 1996 — around the time electricity was discovered and cell phones were the size of your average 4-slot toaster — two Italian engineers got together to solve a problem in a recording studio. Could you get the sound of classic analog gear from a computer? One of them said (in Italian, of course) "Could we emulate electronic circuits using...
Gewa was founded in 1925 by Georg Walther in a region in Saxony famous for its musicians and manufacturers of musical instruments),  Today, the GEWA company not only has subsidiaries in all important export markets but also holds substantial shares in Asian factories of musical instruments that enable a world-wide marketing of lots of GEWA pro...
Sometimes you don't need an external, dedicated MIDI controller—the one on your favorite synth may be all you need, and the synth even has built-in sounds. The keyboard usually feeds data to the synth's MIDI out, but also to its internal sounds (called "local control.") But if your sequencer echoes its interface's MIDI in to the interface's MIDI ou...
Six New Companies Join the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) at Winter NAMM 2019    With the MIDI 2.0 specification moving forward, more and more new companies are joining the MMA.  Blokas ( https://blokas.io/ )  is the team behind PiSound, an ultra-low latency high-quality sound card and MIDI interface special...