What is a MIDI Controller? How does a MIDI Controller Function?


A MIDI controller is basically a device, which resembles an electronic piano, which comes along with a selection of keys, buttons, knobs, and sliders. The controller does not emit any sound by itself. All the MIDI data are transmitted to external the sound modules, i.e. audio-enabled MIDI synthesizers or computer. Even though most of the keyboard controllers themselves do not have any kind of internal sound generating ability, but all the MIDI synthesizer or workstation have the capability of controlling the sounds and parameters of any other devices.

CME-Bitstream-3X-Midi-Controller-GroveboxThe keyboard of the controller will help you to get a better hands-on control over the software or any other module that is connected to the controller. For example, if the controller is plugged into your laptop, the controller’s knobs, button, sliders and modulation wheel will help you get a real-time control over your music and you will be able to create a complete “authentic analog” feel, just by using a mouse. These days, some of the controllers even come with the automapping technology, which enables you to set up the faders and knobs to sync them with the specific software applications.

The main beneficial characteristics of using a MIDI controller are flexibility and portability. With the help of this instrument, you can easily get control over almost the whole range of modern music hardware and software. But, this device is compact enough, so that, you can fit it in your laptop bag.

What are MIDI outputs for?

The MIDI sends the messages into and out of the computer, by using a hardware known as MIDI interface, which can be used as a single module for connecting to the computer’s USB port, a part of the sound card, etc. Your computer first sends the MIDI messages to the MIDI interface, which is then further sent to the MIDI instruments. In this way the MIDI interface enables the MIDI software to play MIDI instruments. A MIDI interface has both inputs and outputs, which are labeled as “MIDI IN” and “MIDI OUT”.

What are MIDI cables used for?

MIDI cablesYou require to connect the MIDI cables, so that, the MIDI messages can get transmitted to and from the MIDI instruments. The cable is basically from a MIDI interface’s “MIDI OUT” to an instrument’s “MIDI IN”. You also have to connect a MIDI cable from the “MIDI OUT” of the instruments you are using to the “MIDI IN” on the MIDI interface. The instrument that is being connected to the “MIDI IN” of the interface is said to be a controller. This controller has a keyboard, which is used for sending messages, notes, pitch and modulation wheels. The controller uses some sliders for sending the MIDI messages to the MIDI interface.

You can even get yourself a MIDI converter module that can help to convert guitars, drums or almost any other instrument into a controller. MIDI instruments can even be built into a sound card, which have internal synthesizers, which has the ability to produce a minimum of 128 types of sounds.