Though Roland co-invented the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) well over three decades ago, it's still an integral part of new products and is as useful to musicians as ever. A prime example is the tiny but mighty Roland VT-4 Voice Transformer, a portable effects box for the instrument inside us all—the human voice. Today's musical style...
​ 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 ...
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...
NKS is an integration technology developed by Native Instruments NKS brings all your software instruments, effects, loops and samples, into one intuitive workflow – creating seamless integration between NI and other leading developers. It gives you streamlined browsing, consistent tagging, instant sound previews, pre-mapped parameters, Smart Play f...
KEYFEST RETURNS TO SWEETWATER! Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater is bringing his KeyFest experience back to Sweetwater! With three days of jamming alongside, hanging out with, and learning from Rudess and guests David Rosenthal (Rainbow, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper) and Otmaro Ruíz (solo artist, John McLaughlin, Abraham Laboriel), KeyFest is an event no ...
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...
​We're in a golden age of sampled instruments; these days, you can find realistic-sounding samples of everything, including drums . Back in the day, programmed drums sounded artificial and mechanical. Today, drums only have to sound that way if you want them to — and that sound is perfect for certain tracks! But assuming you want realistic-sounding...
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...
Push is an instrument that puts everything you need to make music in one place—at your fingertips Making music is hard. To stay in the flow, you need to be able to capture your ideas quickly, and you need technology to stay out of the way. Computers make it possible for one person to create whole worlds of sound. But instruments are where inspirati...
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...
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...
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 ...
Yamaha has a number of mobile apps for their DTX  electronic drums to make drumming more fun while helping you to get better!  The DTXM12 Touch app not only lets you edit the pads with a touchscreen interface but also adds new features that expand its functionality in live performance situations. When the DTX...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...
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...
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...
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...
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...
BLOCKS is a modular music making system made up of 5 components S eaboard Block Super Powered Keyboard Multi-award-winning Seaboard interface 5D Touch technology 24 keywave, two-octave playing surface Hundreds of free sounds Suite of music making software for desktop and mobile Wireless and portable for making music on the go Connects to ...
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...
As one of the inventors the Musical Instrument Digital Interface, Roland has continued to push the boundaries of the now 36-year old protocol(!) by continuously developing MIDI-based applications which bring totally new creative opportunities to musicians. One such application is the Roland AE-05 Aerophone GO , a unique digital wind instrument whic...