SCAN guide to MIDI controllers


Basically a MIDI Controller Keyboard is way of communicating with a Synth or a sampler or a Computer running a VST instrument or other software based Sound generator.
It is possible to play music via a computer by simply entering data into the DAW via the QWERTY key board, but it’s not very musical.
Keyboard controllers are usually based on a standard piano keyboard. Pressing down a key allows a Note On/Note Off message to be sent to a receiving device, a sampler maybe, telling it exactly which note to sound. At the same time a velocity message is transmitted, showing  how hard the key was struck.
Compared to a real piano, most keyboard controllers have small keys and provide a playing range of just a few octaves.
They usually have no internal sounds of their own. Many units also come with various sliders, knobs and pads which can be assigned to control other MIDI functions linked to filters and Oscillators.
The Controller usually connects to the computer via a USB port, doing away with the need for a MIDI interface. Most software can recognise the USB as a MIDI Device.

As well as devices based on a Piano keyboard, there are many controllers available which are based around a series of pads, or sliders and knobs, as well as dedicated controllers for software packages like Ableton Live.
They basically all work the same way, sending MIDI controller data to the computer or synth, and allowing the user to manipulate the sound in a much more tangible and intuitive way.

These are specialised ‘Drum Kits’ or individual drum like elements that allow the user to play sampled or computer generated percussion sounds in an authentic way.

1,407 thoughts on “SCAN guide to MIDI controllers”

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