MIDI FAQ for beginners

07 Hardware SynthesizerMIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a language by which computers, virtual instruments, and hardware samplers/synthesizers can communicate. There are a lot of unfamiliar terms and concepts in the MIDI world, so let’s take a look at a few questions that I typically hear from first time users. Read more.

Virtual synths and the art of imperfection

QuadCurve EQSynthesizers are musical instruments. You wouldn’t mic a drum set by taking the first mic you found and pointing it the general direction of the drummer. A little extra effort spent on avoiding unnatural sounds when mixing synths with acoustic instruments, improving expressiveness, and tightening timing inconsistencies can help you get the most out of your virtual synths. Read More.

Using MIDI Controllers On Stage

Akai MIDI ControllersThe technical elements of a live performance have changed dramatically over the last two decades. Artists – including Foster the People, Passion Pit, and Capital Cities – have integrated samplers, triggered sound sources, and MIDI control surfaces into their live shows. As a result, MIDI controllers have been steadily rising in popularity and are a prized piece of gear for beat makers from the hip-hop and electronic world, as well as across a host of other genres. Read more.

MIDI controller

Using a MIDI Controller In Your Home Studio

As the home studio has evolved, so too has the MIDI controller to fit the needs of the musician and the software that has become a part of the studio arsenal. Controllers now have moved well beyond acting as a keyboard for module synths and enhance any musician’s DAW and SoftSynth, enabling one to retain a tactile experience in an environment that seems to require more and longer use of the computer keyboard and mouse. Read more.

virtual instruments

Using virtual instruments: Eight home recording tips to make your tracks sing

With multi-track recording programs like GarageBand, Pro Tools, and Logic becoming nearly ubiquitous amongst tech-savvy musicians, it’s easier than ever to take your own music all the way from first inspiration to finished audio file without leaving your room. But just because these high-powered tools are available, it doesn’t mean we all know how to use them well. Read more.

Last Day in Gear Heaven – NAMM Blog, Day 3
“When Worlds Collide”

More than ever, the NAMM show is becoming a mash up of the analog world – with its historic musical precedents made up of strings, reeds, mallets, speakers, mics and the best traditional music making elements – with the increasingly digital music world, where speed, portability, and innovation rule. When it comes to acoustic instruments and music making, there really are no new products, simply refinements and leaps ahead that improve existing tools and techniques. Read more…

Another Day in Gear Heaven – NAMM Blog, Day 2
“Show Me How It Works”

Yesterday, I ran into a friend who suggested I check out a soft synth program from Spectrasonics called Omnisphere 1.5, and I caught the tail end of a demo by keyboardist Jordan Rudess that day, but just what the Omnisphere program could do was still a bit murky to me. So today, I trekked back to the Spectrasonics’ booth and got a full 20-minute demo from the company’s founder, Eric Persing. Rarely have I seen a company’s found having as much fun with his creation as Eric did. Read more…

One Day in Gear Heaven – NAMM Blog, Day 1

Today was my first day at the 2011 Winter NAMM Convention, a gathering of more than 80,000 people involved in the music products industry. Everything from harmonicas to the latest recording hardware and software is on display from more than 1,300 companies, often demoed by the engineers and techs that invented them. This will be the first of three postings about what I discovered at this year’s show. Read more…