Updated: Nov 10, 2022
In recent history, especially with the rise of technology in the music world, MIDI has become a staple in the industry. It is a powerful tool that encompasses almost all aspects of music creation in this digital world. MIDI can become an important part of the process, and the chances are that if you’re currently making music in any form aside from strictly live music, then you’re already familiar with it whether you know it or not.
What is MIDI?
MIDI is an acronym that stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Essentially, it is a communication standard that allows various digital instruments and music gear to speak amongst each other through the workstation of choice. It was developed in the early 1980s as numerous manufacturers were creating instruments with electronic components. They realized that to target the masses, they had to work with each other in a standardized language so that musicians of all kinds could collaborate the way they needed to. MIDI was unveiled in 1982, and the rest is history! It has become a staple term and functionality in the music industry ever since.
Uses of MIDI
MIDI is essentially a transmitter that sends data to the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) or another interface that is being used. With MIDI instruments, no audio signal is going through. This means that after the MIDI sequencer gets filled, the sounds that accompany the sequence are based on the instrument chosen in the DAW. You could play one sequence of notes that could transform into a guitar, saxophone, drum kit, or any other instrument available in your DAW. The great thing about MIDI is that once the sequence has been created, the pieces of information can be edited and adjusted after the fact. This allows room for experimentation and error without the stress of getting it completely perfect in a live atmosphere.
Common MIDI Setups
There are countless ways to integrate MIDI into your musical workflow. That being said, we’ll go over the top three common ways to work with it.
MIDI Controller and DAW
With a MIDI controller, a computer, and some form of DAW to work on, this is the most common and simple way to connect your instrument and create any imaginable sound you can think of. This light setup is perfect for creating all genres of music.
Computer, MIDI Interface, and Synthesizers
The MIDI interface in this scenario connects the synthesizer hardware with the computer, allowing playback and creation of sequences. The DAW then enables editing and live playback on the synthesizer devices.
Hardware Sequencer, Drum Machine, and Synthesizer
A non-computer-centric method, the hardware sequencer enables all of the channels to pull through to it, creating a DAW of purely hardware gear. Before computers became an affordable and reliable option, this is how most music was produced through MIDI.
Mike’s Mix & Master Experience
MIDI is a language of choice at Mike’s Mix & Master. After dedicating decades to the craft and learning of these processes and applications, Mike is eager to help transform your recordings and automation into masterpieces. Be sure to contact our office today to see how we can assist your music’s capabilities!