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...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...
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...
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 Platinum sponsors Ableton, IK Multimedia, Moog, Roli and Yamaha will all be there. Here are their booth locations in the FezA...
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 ...
In January 2018, we covered Intel's Keynote pre-show which prominently featured Artificial Intelligence and MIDI.  But one of the leaders in the AI and Machine Learning field is Google.  Their Magenta project has been doing a lot of research and experimentation in using machine learning for both art and music. The grea...
MIDI 1.0 Specification From August, 1983 Uncovered at Yamaha US offices in April, 2018.  In November of 2018 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 th...
Since Nektar Technology, Inc was founded in 2009, we have been passionate about our mission to bridge the gap between powerful music software and controller hardware. With software continuously evolving, a plethora of instruments and effects have become available. Able to run even on modest computers, music creation has become more accessible to th...
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.  ...
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 ...
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.&nb...
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 it ...
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." ...
Air DJ displays new MIDI Controller at SXSWThere 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 to...
MIDI Bling with wireless ringsThere 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 Zi...
Google Creative Lab, Use All Five, and Yotam Mann launched a new browser-based music sequencer called 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 finis...
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...