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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » MIDI Controllers and Interfaces
Can someone explain to me everything a MIDI Controller does.
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StandardAndy



Joined: Jul 01, 2015
Posts: 3
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:05 pm    Post subject: Can someone explain to me everything a MIDI Controller does.
Subject description: I want to know the very basics of a Midi controller.
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Hello everybody. I just wanted to know a few things about the controllers. I was thinking of buying one for my girlfriend because she really wants to get into this stuff. I want to get her one that is the best for beginners. But first I want to know more about the controllers.

Do they all come with built in library in their software? Do they all come with their own software? Are they able to record? Some, like the novation launchpad have only a pad, where as others come with dials and a keyboard? What is the difference? What are they for?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Regards, Andy
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onewayness



Joined: Jun 16, 2011
Posts: 144
Location: Erie, PA, USA
Audio files: 19

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: Can someone explain to me everything a MIDI Controller does.
Subject description: I want to know the very basics of a Midi controller.
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StandardAndy wrote:
I was thinking of buying one for my girlfriend because she really wants to get into this stuff. I want to get her one that is the best for beginners. But first I want to know more about the controllers.


You say she wants to 'get into this stuff'. What does she want to do?

StandardAndy wrote:
Do they all come with built in library in their software? Do they all come with their own software?


Not ALL, though many will come bundled with a starter/'lite' version of one DAW or another.

StandardAndy wrote:
Are they able to record?


A MIDI controller in and of itself doesn't 'record' per se. What a MIDI controller does is send MIDI data (for example: note ons/offs, pitch bend, and potentially a whole bunch of continuous controllers which could be mod wheel position, knobs, sliders, whatever) to some sort of hardware or software that will receive them and implement them. This could be a hardware synth, a software synth, or a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), which would be used to record either the MIDI data, audio from whatever synth is being controlled, or both.

StandardAndy wrote:
Some, like the novation launchpad have only a pad, where as others come with dials and a keyboard? What is the difference? What are they for?


Not to be a smartass, but... the ones with buttons have buttons, and the ones with keys have keys. Wink Wink Wink

The ones with piano-style keyboards are typically used for playing keyboard parts, obviously. The dials and sliders and bells and whistles that are found on some (but not all) of these can be mapped to various parameters within the software being used.

MPC-style control surfaces like the Launchpad can be used in a number of ways, but in a lot of cases they're used to launch clips/samples, sequence patterns, trigger different events, things like that.

So, really, to know what's best for her... What does she want to do and how does she want to do it?

Cheers,
Adam

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StandardAndy



Joined: Jul 01, 2015
Posts: 3
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:31 pm    Post subject: Can someone explain to me everything a MIDI Controller does.
Subject description: Subject description: I want to know the very basics of a Midi controller.
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Thanks for the reply Adam.

What I mean by 'she wants to get into this stuff' is she has always been interested in electronic/chill/tropical house... big fan of Nicolas Jaar/Chet Faker, etc. And she has mentioned that she would love to be able to have something like a controller to make tunes like that. She doesn't play any instruments but I ain't getting her f**king piano lessons for her birthday. Razz

Are there free DAWs, open source? Paid? Branded? And what about compatibility with different midi controllers...? Do some/all controllers come with DAW Software?

This is what I was looking at. Korg PadKontrol, nothing fancy, something small, simple, something to start with. Yes or No? I'm trying to grasp what she would start with if she did want to get into it.

Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B002MHML06/ref=s9_simh_gw_p267_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=17SQ3SWE1GQHP1FMXQ3N&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=577048787&pf_rd_i=desktop
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onewayness



Joined: Jun 16, 2011
Posts: 144
Location: Erie, PA, USA
Audio files: 19

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:38 am    Post subject: Re: Can someone explain to me everything a MIDI Controller does.
Subject description: Subject description: I want to know the very basics of a Midi controller.
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StandardAndy wrote:
Thanks for the reply Adam.

What I mean by 'she wants to get into this stuff' is she has always been interested in electronic/chill/tropical house... big fan of Nicolas Jaar/Chet Faker, etc. And she has mentioned that she would love to be able to have something like a controller to make tunes like that.


Gotcha. Smile

StandardAndy wrote:
Are there free DAWs, open source? Paid? Branded? And what about compatibility with different midi controllers...? Do some/all controllers come with DAW Software?


Not sure what you mean by 'branded', but yes, there are both free/open source and proprietary/paid DAW's. Ableton Live is very popular amongst people who make the kind of stuff you're talking about her being into, though I've never used it personally. I use Ardour, which is free & open source. There's lots of other choices too.

Some, but not all, controllers come bundled with a DAW of some sort. It's often a 'Lite' type stripped-down version, but not a bad way for her to get her feet wet probably.

And as far as compatibility, that's more an OS issue than a DAW issue. What OS does she run?

StandardAndy wrote:
This is what I was looking at. Korg PadKontrol, nothing fancy, something small, simple, something to start with. Yes or No? I'm trying to grasp what she would start with if she did want to get into it.


Personally, for me, it's hard to imagine making much of anything without some sort of controller with keys. I know you said she doesn't play, but even with pretty basic skills, things like basslines and leads and stuff are WAY easier (and more musical sounding) with a keyboard than trying to peck them in a note at a time with a mouse cursor.

You might consider something like one of the Akai MPK series, which has lots of pads, but keys as well: http://www.akaipro.com/product/mpk25

adh

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StandardAndy



Joined: Jul 01, 2015
Posts: 3
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

She would be working with Mac OS. Do different controllers have compatibility issues with different Operating Systems and if so is this information available in the product description of some products?

I was looking at the keyboard controllers and yeah I think I'd be more likely to get one of those. I was looking at the MPK 25, can't find it on Amazon. Could only find the MPK 225, 49(which is a bit big), and the Mini MkII. I was also looking at Novation Launchkey 25 MK2. i will probably go with the Akai seeing as you recommended it.

Andy.
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kamienZen



Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Posts: 3
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:45 am    Post subject: What is it? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here is a good description, useful information what exactly it is and what functions it has.
http://bestmidicontroller.co
Very clear and easy written. I hope it will help you.
[In my opinion it is a very good gift Smile ]
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