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...
When it comes to mixing, a lot of engineers will tell you there's nothing quite like a good piece of hardware with real faders. Some synthesizers nclude faders for real-time control over the sound you're playing, however you may be able to program these to control the faders in a recording program's mixer. Several keyboards, such as Nektar's Panora...
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...
If you're a keyboard player using chords to define a chord progression, it's easy enough to have chords hit on, for example, the beginning of a measure. But "strumming" the chord can add interest and a more guitar-like quality (note that the intention here isn't to replicate a program that emulates strummed rhythm guitar parts, but to add interest ...
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...
Despite rumors to the contrary, Congress did not pass a law saying that mod wheels could be used only to add vibrato. Granted, the periodic vibrato a mod wheel adds is something only a synth can do, but try adding vibrato with the pitch wheel instead—it will sound more human, and more like the vibrato guitarists use. Now that you've freed up your m...
A company asked me to do a video for a reverb plug-in they were introducing, and I wanted to demo it with a variety of instruments. Drums? It's easy to find good acoustic drum loops. Guitar? I play guitar. Vocals? The company provided me with a vocal I could use. But I really wanted an acoustic piano piece, like something from Debussy, to demo the ...
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...
Don't Let Notes Overlap. Most bass lines are single notes, and because bassists lift fingers, mute strings, and pick, there's going to be a space between notes. Go through your MIDI sequence note by note, and make sure that no note extends over another note's attack. The orange notes have overhanging decays and attacks. The gray notes to the left a...
Audio compression can give more consistent levels, but it doesn't give a more consistent touch; that has to happen at the source, when the instrument plays. Some recording software programs have either MIDI FX or editing commands to compress data by raising low-level notes and/or or reducing high-level notes. But if your program doesn't have veloci...
The original MIDI protocol specified a five-pin DIN connector (DIN stands for Deutsche Institut für Normung, a German standards organization), which is what you'll find on older legacy MIDI gear (anything made before 1999).  5-pin MIDI out and MIDI in jacks were the original MIDI connectors, and are still in use. However, today most MIDI gear ...
Celemony Melodyne has one foot in audio, but the other in MIDI because the analysis that it runs on audio ends up being easily converted to MIDI data. If you can sing with consistent tone and level, Melodyne can convert your singing into MIDI. The same functionality for monophonic tracks exists in many DAWs. MIDI data has been extracted from the gu...
Yamaha has been intimately involved with the development of MIDI since the very beginning. We pioneered groundbreaking technology by making the first all digital FM synthesizer, the epoch making DX7. Yamaha synths like the Motif and the Montage have been the standard for touring and studio professionals for the past 2 decades.  ...
At SXSW, we got a chance to check out the Cabor MIDI cahon.  Cabot is a project of UTSUWA, Inc., a Kyoto, Japan based tech start-up.  The Cabot percussion robot was conceived by Hideaki Iio, Director of the Cabot development team and guitar player/singer. "I wanted to create a product that would rev up my solo performance." &nbs...
Air DJ displays new MIDI Controller at SXSW There were some interesting new MIDI products introduced at SXSW.  One of them was the wireless BTLE MIDI controller for DMET Product Corporation.  It can control sound, DJ Video software, and lights. Of course, it is all done by mapping MIDI signals and in some cases translating them ...
MIDI Bling with wireless rings There are a number of MIDI rings on the market. IK Multimedia makes one and so does Enhancia . Here are links to articles on those.  The Enhancia Ring MIDI Controller at CES 2018 -   For the past several years a MIDI product has always been in the Best of CES product list including the Roli Seaboard and the ...
Google Creative Lab, Use All Five, and Yotam Mann  launched a new browser-based music sequencer  c alled Song Maker.  It's a classic grid style sequencer and allows anyone to easily create simple grooves on the web.  You can even connect your MIDI keyboard or other controllers to input notes via Web MIDI.  When you're ...
It's a pure delight to attend the Winter NAMM Show. You get to bask in the warm Southern California sun, in the middle of winter, next to Disneyland, while your family enjoys a mini-vacation. The annual Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim California puts you at the global crossroads of the music products industry. This year's event, which to...
 Art+Logic Announces Launch of New Software Incubator Lab. Software innovation company will design and develop a working prototype of selected music technology or pro-audio app. Pasadena, CA: January 24, 2018, Art+Logic, a premier software innovation firm in the United States, announces the launch of a new software incubator called Art+Logic L...
MIDI-CI specification available for download The MIDI-CI specification is now available for download by MIDI Association members. .  Download the MIDI-CI Spec MIDI-CI press release ​ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) Adopts MIDI Capability Inquiry (MIDI-CI) Specification. New Feature of MIDI Technology Paves the Way fo...
Best New MIDI Products of Winter NAMM 2018   The Washington Post coverage of NAMM was all about MIDI controllers (you can skip the ad after 15 seconds) Here is The MIDI Association's list of must-see MIDI products at Winter NAMM 2018. MINDMusic Labs  Elk- THE MUSIC OPERATING SYSTEM and Sensus, the world first real smartguitar . ...
Sensel was at CES 2018 and we were excited to get a chance to play wit h the Sensel Morph and check out its capabilities.  Here is a brief overview of what the Sensel Morph does.  Digital artists rely on more than just one tool to tell their story. Until now, almost all those tools are bulky, take a lot of power, and don't capture the ful...
For the past several years a MIDI product has always been in the Best of CES product list including the Roli Seaboard and the Zivix JamStick.  It seems that MIDI and innovation naturally go together.  2018 was no exception with a number of unique new controllers introduced at the CES show.  The Enhancia Ring MIDI Controller 1 The Enh...
MIDI (the Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was an integral part of the Intel CES 2018 Keynote "Rock The Park" pre-show entertainment. The pre-show started with the world's first Data only band, Algorithm and Blues. Want to guess what kind of data it was?  MIDI, of course !  Using Intel's Intel® RealSense™ Technology, a band perf...