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Understanding MIDI interfaces

From: Logic Pro 9 Essential Training

Video: Understanding MIDI interfaces

Logic Pro is perfectly capable of running on your Mac without any external devices. However, one of Logic's strengths is its powerful MIDI recording, sequencing, and editing capabilities. Having an external MIDI input device can be very useful. Let's go over what's out there and differentiate the various types of external MIDI devices Logic can talk to. MIDI, which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a technology from an earlier era. Computers don't even have standard MIDI ports on them. Today, most MIDI is transferred over USB cables instead of the 8-pin MIDI cables from the 80s.

Understanding MIDI interfaces

Logic Pro is perfectly capable of running on your Mac without any external devices. However, one of Logic's strengths is its powerful MIDI recording, sequencing, and editing capabilities. Having an external MIDI input device can be very useful. Let's go over what's out there and differentiate the various types of external MIDI devices Logic can talk to. MIDI, which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a technology from an earlier era. Computers don't even have standard MIDI ports on them. Today, most MIDI is transferred over USB cables instead of the 8-pin MIDI cables from the 80s.

This is how you will get MIDI into your Mac. To see what is connected to your computer, you can go to your main hard drive, Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup. Double-click on it to open. And if you don't see this window pop up, you can go to Window and make sure you say Show MIDI Window. This window shows you the types of MIDI devices that your computer currently sees. You can also test them here to make sure they are active and being communicated to by your computer. For example, we have the E-MU Xboard 49 MIDI Controller.

If I click on Test Setup, I can hit any key on our keyboard and I should see the arrow light up. (Piano notes playing in background.) That tells that the computer is now seeing and talking to that device. Now we can close Audio MIDI Setup and go back to Logic. Logic can talk to several different types of MIDI devices. Let's break them down. MIDI controllers are usually keyboard-based devices that output MIDI messages via USB to Logic. They can be used to play and control the many amazing sounding software instruments that come with Logic.

Most of them look like keyboards with some additional controls. However, they don't have to be keyboards. They can also look like drum pads, even MIDI saxophones or guitars that can spit out MIDI instead of sound. MIDI controllable devices are usually rack-mounted boxes that contain sound modules, samples or sound effects of their own. They do not control Logic, but rather Logic can be used to control them in a studio. Logic can send MIDI messages out to these devices to make them playback sounds or change effects parameters.

With the power of software effects in instruments, the popularity of these types of devices is waning, but you will see them in studios. Finally, control surfaces use MIDI not to play instruments in Logic but more to control Logic's playback system and virtual mix console. You can think of these like a big glorified computer mouse that helps control Logic via something that looks more like a mixing console than a computer keyboard and mouse. To configure your MIDI controller device in Logic, you don't have to do much. The general rule is that if your computer sees it through Audio MIDI Setup, where we just were, Logic will too.

Logic also comes with the built-in MIDI input device. I like to use this device when I only have my laptop and external controllers are not possible, like if I am on a plane or a subway train. It's called the Caps Lock Keyboard. It turns your QWERTY keyboard into a MIDI controller. Make sure to enable it by going to the Logic Pro > Preferences > General tab, and at the end, here we have Caps Lock Keys tab. Just make sure it's enabled. Now we can hit the Caps Lock on our keyboard and it activates the Caps Lock keyboard.

Like I said, this turns your QWERTY keyboard into a controller. And we can use the ASDFG line to control the white keys. (Piano notes playing.) The keys above that, WETU, those are our black keys. The number keys control what octave we are on. So if want to move over to higher octave, I can type 6? (Piano notes playing.) And get a higher octave. You can also change the transparency of the Caps Lock keyboard with this handy slider here. If you want to see objects that are underneath it at anytime.

Hit Caps Lock again to deactivate it. Control Surfaces may be configured using Logic Pro > Preferences > Control Surfaces and go to Setup. In the Setup menu, you can choose to, under the New menu, Scan All Models. This will look for and install any model you have connected to Logic. In this case, I have no new devices. But what I get after this is a list of all the devices that Logic will talk to. If you happen to own any of these devices, such as the Tascam FW-1082, you can add it here to your list of devices that Logic will talk to.

Finally, MIDI controllable devices such as the rack-mounted devices we talked about earlier require a little bit more to set up. You must be prepared to configure the specific MIDI output port you wish to communicate to your device over. This can be done by making a new external MIDI track. We will go up to Track > New > External MIDI. Create. We get a new external MIDI track. Now in the Library pane on the right- hand side, you can see a list of devices outside of our computer. In this case, we have a Yamaha Motif connected and here we can communicate over any of the available 16 channels to that device.

If I want to communicate over channel 1, I can select that. Now this external MIDI track is talking to our Yamaha Motif device outside of our computer. The MIDI capabilities of Logic are truly wonderful. You will definitely benefit from an external MIDI controller if you keep going with this program. More can be learn about MIDI technology in the "Why MIDI" chapter of this series.

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This video is part of

Image for Logic Pro 9 Essential Training
Logic Pro 9 Essential Training

74 video lessons · 28252 viewers

Scott Hirsch
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 55s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 5s
  2. 17m 39s
    1. Installing the software
      3m 19s
    2. Launching Logic for the first time, using the templates
      5m 15s
    3. Understanding audio interfaces
      3m 35s
    4. Understanding MIDI interfaces
      5m 30s
  3. 32m 15s
    1. Getting to know the Arrange window
      5m 15s
    2. Using the many windows of Logic
      4m 13s
    3. Creating your own screensets
      2m 23s
    4. Using the Transport window and controlling playback
      4m 54s
    5. Using the Toolbox
      2m 37s
    6. Naming tracks and regions
      3m 27s
    7. Learning useful and custom key commands
      5m 18s
    8. Saving and going mobile with your project
      4m 8s
  4. 41m 41s
    1. Setting up for recording
      5m 43s
    2. Understanding Metronome settings or the click track
      4m 7s
    3. Understanding tempo
      4m 37s
    4. Recording live instruments and vocals using multitrack recording
      3m 56s
    5. Playing with guitar madness: Amp design
      5m 13s
    6. Playing with guitar madness: Pedal board
      4m 5s
    7. Working with takes recording and comping
      4m 51s
    8. Punching in to replace bad audio
      4m 51s
    9. Using Varispeed to create an old tape machine sound
      4m 18s
  5. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding MIDI
      4m 41s
    2. Using the Logic synth instruments
      7m 4s
    3. Working with the emulator instruments
      5m 23s
    4. Using the EXS24 sampler
      3m 7s
    5. Building tracks with Ultrabeat
      5m 31s
    6. Using channel strips to select a virtual sound
      5m 29s
    7. Understanding the basics of MIDI recording
      4m 38s
    8. Learning how to use MIDI with Cycle Record
      4m 9s
    9. Using Logic's step input
      4m 3s
    10. Mastering quantization
      6m 18s
    11. Working in the Piano Scroll window
      5m 33s
    12. Editing controller messages with Hyper View
      4m 8s
    13. Working with the Hyper Editor
      5m 29s
    14. Working with the Events List
      3m 20s
  6. 29m 49s
    1. Importing prerecorded audio into Logic
      4m 5s
    2. Exploring Apple Loops
      4m 40s
    3. Creating your own Apple Loop
      4m 21s
    4. Conforming tempo, region to session, or session to region
      3m 51s
    5. Using the new Flex Time feature
      5m 17s
    6. Beat mapping your project
      4m 41s
    7. Importing elements from project to project
      2m 54s
  7. 24m 15s
    1. Understanding the basic editing techniques in the Arrange window
      7m 5s
    2. Tips for editing and arranging
      3m 21s
    3. Editing and merging regions in the Arrange window
      3m 45s
    4. Mastering fades for audio region arranging
      4m 58s
    5. Fixing and morphing sound with the Sample Editor
      5m 6s
  8. 11m 12s
    1. Working with notes and composing in the Score Editor
      4m 26s
    2. Editing notes, keys, and time signatures
      3m 35s
    3. Creating scores and lead sheets for musicians
      3m 11s
  9. 9m 8s
    1. Setting up for a sync video project
      4m 50s
    2. Scoring music to video
      4m 18s
  10. 56m 32s
    1. Mixing philosophies and five tools for mixing
      3m 37s
    2. Setting up for a mix
      5m 11s
    3. Directing audio traffic with fader levels
      5m 7s
    4. Exploring Logic's panning features
      4m 37s
    5. Exploring inserts: Using EQ as a mix tool
      6m 51s
    6. Exploring inserts: Using compression as a mix tool
      5m 38s
    7. Using advanced signal flow with aux and send tracks
      3m 12s
    8. Using advanced signal flow with time-based FX to create space in your mix
      3m 44s
    9. Using automation to create dynamic mixes
      6m 22s
    10. Giving your mix life with automation
      2m 45s
    11. Optimizing performance with freeze tracks
      4m 42s
    12. Using channel strips for audio processing
      4m 46s
  11. 16m 7s
    1. Understanding surround hardware requirements
      4m 5s
    2. Building surround mixing workflows
      6m 17s
    3. Using the surround panner
      5m 45s
  12. 15m 48s
    1. Bouncing down your song
      5m 31s
    2. Understanding why alt mixes are a good idea
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring Logic's export options
      3m 37s
    4. Mastering your own Logic project
      4m 18s
  13. 37s
    1. Goodbye
      37s

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