MIDI Keyboard or MIDI Controller

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Samuel, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Samuel

    Samuel Member

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    Hey,

    I don't know which one to go for. I would appreciate if you could share your thoughts to help me decide. I'm new to this.

    I like the idea of connecting everything to the audio interface and have everything running on the same sound card but it seems that is only possible with a Controller since the Keyboards are connected directly to the pc. (That's the main reason I am considering a controller.)

    To use a keyboard while you're at the same time using the audio interface, wouldn't you have to utilize both your PC's soundcard (to communicate with the keyboard via USB) and the audio interface's soundcard? How would that work with your DAW, for example?

    An upside to the keyboards is of course the added functionalities, like the keyboard being able to actually produce its own sound. How useful is that though? I assume there's a wide variety of freely available synths and such to assign to the midi controller as well. The drum pads on a lot of the keyboards out there are of course also beneficial.

    What do you think?


    EDIT: It seems that writing "MIDI" in front of both the Controller and the Keyboard is probably incorrect. An example of one of keyboards I am referring to would be the "Akai MPK mini", which is connected to the PC via usb. (Although I believe these can still be programmed to alter MIDI in the daw? Not sure)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  2. mollydyer

    mollydyer Member

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    I'm confused. Your title says MIDI but the body talks about USB. What specifically are you looking at?

    Why would the keyboard be connected directly to the PC?

    ...and now you've lost me completely. The keyboard - if connected via USB - would be it's own sound card. Not sure what you're asking here, so if you wouldn't mind being a little more specific - and maybe drawing a picture - of what you WANT to do, as opposed to how you think it works; we can chime in here and make suggestions on what to get, and how to configure it.


    ... and also, you're in the wrong part of down hombre, this is about guitar modelling. You might want to post this over in the recording/live sound section.
     
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  3. Elantric

    Elantric Silver Supporting Member

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    Most DAW apps on all platforms support USB connected MIDI footcontrollers (KMI Softstep) or keyboards ( Korg Microstation)
    As well as your Audio interface ( connected via USB, Firewire, thunderbolt, PCi, etc .

    If you are still refering to your DAW Audio interface as a "Soundcard" - this suggests you are stuck in 1992 era knowledge and still using a Creative Labs Soundblaster (yuck)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  4. gumtown

    gumtown Member

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    USB Midi and USB Audio are seen as different device types,
    so you can use your chosen USB audio device, and use as many USB Midi devices as you like independent of the USB audio.
     
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  5. Samuel

    Samuel Member

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    You're right, the words I chose to describe the two things are wrong since MIDI should only apply to what I refer to as a "controller", not what I refer to as a keyboard.

    An example of one of keyboards I am referring to would be the "Akai MPK mini", which is connected to the PC via usb. (Although I believe these can still be programmed to alter MIDI in the daw? Not sure)

    The MIDI Controller is pretty self explanatory I assume then, as the name suggests.
     
  6. Samuel

    Samuel Member

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    Thanks, that pretty much answers the question.

    Am I? I view them as separate things, if that's what you're asking? The Audio interface, for example a focusrite, surely has a built in soundcard?
     
  7. adamquek

    adamquek Member

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    The word soundcard is a throwback to the era when most expansions to the PC were done via a "card" slotted internally into the motherboard (typically on a PCI slot). These days, audio interface is the preferred nomenclature, because they now come in a variety of form factors (in fact, cards are a rarity nowadays).

    You are right to saw the Focusrite is the equivalent of a soundcard (and in fact the guts of it are mounted on a "card" of sorts, a PCB) built in, but it is no longer common referred to as such.

    Now the DAW becomes the hub for routing all audio and MIDI (which is not audio, but a way of controlling devices that among other things may produce audio) communication. Think of the DAW as the brain, and the audio interface as the mouth and ears, and the MIDI interface as the limbs that can manipulate things.

    The short answer to your opening post: your audio interface and MIDI controllers do not talk to each other directly, but through a middleman (being your DAW, or softsynth, or VST host, etc). So just get the right audio interface for the number of ins and outs that you need, and the right form factor (size), and connect as many MIDI controllers/keyboards as you need to tell middleman what you want to do.
     
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