So, what is midi, and does it always have to sound so bad?

MIDI is an acronym for Musical instrument Digital Interface. It allows electronic instruments, computers and other electronic devices to communicate with each other. Devices can synchronise with each other and control each other using this standard.

The most important thing about it is that it doesnt transmit any sound. It is the information about what you play, eg the pitch of the note, the length of the note, how hard you hit the key, etc.

Midi was introduced in 1983 (when I was two years old). Before this there wasn’t a standard way for electronic instruments and equipment to communicate.

There are 3 types of connection – midi in, midi out and midi through. Midi in takes an incoming midi signal form another device. Midi out sends a signal to another device. Midi through takes the signal from the ‘in’ port and sends it out the ‘out’ port.

Using the ‘through’ port you can link different devices in a daisy-chain. You can, for example, plug a controller keyboard into two sound boxes. Controller keyboards don’t make any sound on their own. Sound Boxes don’t have any keys. By plugging the keyboard into the first sound box, you get noises when you press keys. Plug the second sound boxes ‘in’ port into the first sound boxes ‘through’ port. You now get the same note form both boxes. The combinations are endless!

If you want to geek out on all the aspects of this technology, then look no further than the wikipedia page

You can use controllers as input to computers and DAW’s. You can use keyboards to control guitar pedals and a million other things. You can even plug a keyboard or drum machine into your browser)!