Super Booth has been growing rapidly over the past few years, but this year there will be a record 227 companies exhibiting at the synth extravaganza held at the Fez in Berlin.  May is MIDI Month Pl atinum sponsors Ableton, IK Multimedia, Moog, Roli and Yamaha will all be there.  Here are their booth locations in the F...
Tristan Shone A.K.A. Author and Punisher is a musician and mechanical engineer who makes heavy metal MIDI controllers, really heavy metal ! He has created a range of unique MIDI controllers he calls " dub machines" using his electronic and mechanical engineering expertise.  Tristan studied for a Master of Fine&nbs...
MIDI 1.0 Specification From August, 1983 Uncovered at Yamaha US offices in April, 2018.    Recently we uncovered some unique historical MIDI documents.  These were discovered in a file cabinet at Yamaha Corporation of America's headquarters in Buena Park, California.  These documents pre-date the formati...
We hope you enjoyed these daily tips during MIDI Month—but that's not the end of it, because there will be plenty more tips to come when you join the The MIDI Association. TMA is an all-volunteer organization that believes in TMA's mission: to nurture an inclusive global community of people who create music and art with MIDI. Our strength is our co...
Nick Demopoulos started out as a jazz musician and played with legends like Chico Hamilton.  But then he began exploring the possibilities of using MIDI and that led him to a new path as a DIY maker and creator of some fascinating and unique MIDI devices.  HIs website ( Smomid.com )  is named after the first instrument he ever built....
In the tip for May 22, we covered how to control effects and virtual instrument parameters with a footpedal hooked into a synthesizer or other controller. But what if you don't have a synthesizer or other controller...and would rather use a 100 mm fader than a footpedal? No problem, if you're willing to do a little soldering. Take a 1/4" phone jack...
MIDI has lasted over 30 years, so the MIDI data you entered in a sequencer back in the 80s can still drive today's virtual instruments (which is pretty amazing, come to think about it). However virtual instruments, computers, and operating systems don't have, shall we say, quite the same kind of longevity. You'll be reminded of this when Steven Spi...
The way most keyboard players add vibrato is to turn up the mod wheel, and inject some LFO to change the oscillator pitch periodically. That's fine, but consider guitar players—they add vibrato by moving their fingers on strings, which gives a more human quality than using an LFO. So, try your hand (get it?) at doing vibrato with your fingers inste...
There's more to life than audio echo—like MIDI echo. Although the concept of MIDI echo has been around for years, early virtual instruments often didn't have enough voices to play back new echoes without stealing voices from previous echoes. With today's powerful computers and instruments, this is less of a problem so let's re-visit MIDI echo. It's...
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...
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...
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 ...
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...
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 ...
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...
When we saw this YouTube video of  Daði Freyr using the Genki wave MIDI controller,  we knew we had to post it right away.  The Wave MIDI controller from Genki has been .... well making waves.   " Wave adds a new dimension to musical creativity... It's a cool tool for all creatives and I can definitely recommend adding...
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...
Part of making MIDI guitar feel "right" when triggering synths has nothing to do with the guitar and its tracking, but with editing the synth presets so that they're guitar-friendly instead of being optimized with keyboards in mind. Separate channels. The guitar will most likely send data from each string over a different channel. So, use synths in...
Some MIDI instruments, particularly those from Arturia, include an external input for processing audio signals through the synthesizer's filter, VCA, and effects modules. That's cool enough, but of course, what's even cooler is that is that you can then use MIDI to trigger filter and VCA envelopes, turn filter resonance up high and use a keyboard t...
One of the complaints about "MIDI music" is that quantizing everything to the beat sucks the life out of a song by eliminating the kind of timing variations humans make. But that's not the fault of MIDI— the problem is the person doing the quantization. So, here are three ways to make quantization more human-sounding. Quantization strength. Instead...
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...
Most people of think of arpeggiation solely in melodic terms, but arpeggiation has additional uses. General MIDI instruments include drum kits where the top notes are percussion sounds, and many virtual instruments include percussion presets. Setting up an arpeggiator in a random mode to trigger various percussive sounds can create a really cool ef...
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,...
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...