MIDI usage

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MIDI usage

Postby skira99 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:12 pm

Hey guys, this is gonna be a really basic one. I've obviously googled around and know the general uses of MIDI, for automation, control, etc. But, can you guys give me a concise explanation of what's most useful about MIDI, when it's appropriate, and what you guys use it for? Not necessarily a full feature list of everything it can be used for, but what it's best at doing.

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Re: MIDI usage

Postby gcoudert » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:17 pm

I have used MIDI since the mid-80s. Early on, I used it to layer my JX8P and DW8000 synths for a bigger sound. I soon got hold of a U110 module, an Amiga 5000 computer with a MIDI interface and 8-track sequencing software on which I started producing whole backing tracks. When I started using rackmount modules (you can only have so many keyboards in a small home studio), I obviously used MIDI to play them from my synths. More recently, I used MIDI (over mLAN/Firewire) to control Cubase SX3 via my Yamaha 01X mixer, which has motorised faders. Now that I have reduced the amount of gear I own to a couple of workstations, I run their sequencers in sync via MMC. I also use MIDI automation in my sequences for program / volume changes and to control a few patch parameters here and there. My Fantom banks are also backed up as MIDI sysex on a PC. I'm not really into MIDI editors though and prefer editing sounds from the hardware's front panels no matter how small the displays are. Nothing special, really.
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Re: MIDI usage

Postby meatballfulton » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:38 pm

What it is "best for" is making multiple device work together as an integrated system.

When is it appropriate? Always.

Using software instruments in a DAW? That's MIDI.

Synching sequencers together? That's MIDI.

Using one keyboard instrument to play another? That's MIDI.

Backing up your patches or updating the OS of your device? That's MIDI.

30 years after it was introduced, MIDI is everywhere...it's in your phone...and not using it at all is not something I can imagine.
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Re: MIDI usage

Postby abruzzi » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:54 pm

The most concise explanation of MIDI sequencing: sequencer records MIDI performance, plays it back to recreate the performance, allows editing/looping/copy-pasting of the recorded data so when playing back the performance is changed.

MIDI controller: keyboard doesn't have piano sound, rack unit has piano sound, connect MIDI from keyboard to rack, play keyboard, hear piano from rack.

EDIT: the other thing worth pointing out is that MIDI has become so ingrained in synth design that even if you play a keyboard without ever hooking up the MIDI ports, you are probably still using a system designed around MIDI. So velocity is still limited to 0-127. Many sound parameters are also 0-127 (or -63 to +64) because of the 7bit nature of MIDI.
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