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Understanding MIDI

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Geddyfleaharris, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. I wasn't sure if this thread should be in the FX section or the Misc so here it is. Mods please move it if the FX forum is more appropriate.

    I have a couple of questions about MIDI.

    I have a basic understanding as to what MIDI is but unsure of how to use it in a live setting. I have seen it used in recording demos with a keyboard but that is the extent of my MIDI experience.

    1) Here is a specific example of something I would like to do. Our band is rehearsing the Pink Floyd song Time which starts off with alarm clocks ringing (for those of you unfamiliar with the song). I would like to trigger a recorded sample(?) of the alarm clocks but have no idea as to what gear I would need or how to go about doing that. Do I need a sampler plus a trigger or some sort of a pedal or ??? Is this even a MIDI application? I don't know.

    2) The Whammy IV pedal has a MIDI interface. What can a player do with this interface - as in what can I hook it up to? Can it be used as a trigger? Uses?

    Forgive my MIDI ignorance but that is why I am posting my questions. :)

    If someone can direct me to a website where I can read up on MIDI that would be great. I read the Wikipedia entry but it seems to be more the technical side of things.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Used in this context (ie a live situation), the best way to think of MIDI might be simply a standard way of seperating the controls (the button you press) from the thing that makes the noise.

    1) you need a device capable of making the sound. A sampler would do it, or a synth might have a suitable effect built in. You could press a button on the sampler to make the noise, but you'd need to stand next to it. A midi keyboard, or better yet a drum pad trigger would generate a midi message saying "play that note", and the sampler would recieve the message.

    2) in the case of effects units in general, the midi interface allows the unit to be stashed away at the back with the amps. Again a seperate controller would allow you to operate the pedal as if you were touching it - in the case of a whammy, setting the mode, and position of the pedal (ok it's not going to move, but that's not important).

    At the front of the stage you have a little midi pedalboard with just a midi cable running back to a rack, rather than a mess of audio send and returns. When some drunk in the audience (or band!) pours their beer over the stage they trash your $100 controller rather than your $1000 fx units.


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