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MIDI Learn is a function that enables you to map the knobs and sliders of your MIDI controller to the parameter knobs and sliders in a virtual instrument. All of the instruments included with Pro Tools have this feature, as do all other Avid virtual instruments, and some third-party products. Let me show you how it works. Let me go ahead and open up this vacuum plug-in, and I want to play a note. (Note playing.) Sounds great. So to set up MIDI Learn, you can go down to parameter and right-click on it and get the MIDI Learn menu.
So I'm going choose Learn MIDI CC, and CC stands for Continuous Controller, which is a knob or a slider on your MIDI controller. Now choose that, and then I'll move one of the knobs on my MIDI controller, and now that knob is controlling the range value in Vacuum. So if I play the note and then twist that knob you'll hear how this affects the Vacuum plug in. [00:0:59.54] (Note playing.) Let's go and set up another one.
We'll go to the Cutoff > Learn MIDI CC, and I'm going to twist this knob on my controller, and now I'm controlling this cut off frequency. (Note playing.) If you want Pro Tools to unlearn the connection between this knob here in the instrument and the one on your MIDI controller, you can choose Forget MIDI CC. I'm not going to do that here yet.
Now you notice that there are some other options in this MIDI Learn menu. We have got the Set Min and Set Max. These enable you to scale the incoming MIDI controller data, so that the control doesn't go below or above a certain value. For example, if we don't want the cutoff frequency control to go above a certain frequency, and we can set the range here and create a smaller spectrum of frequencies for the cutoff filter. So I'm going to go ahead and do that. If I had Set Min right now, it's going to set the value that we have on the knob at the moment for the minimum.
So I'm going up here and twist the knob just a little bit, and now I'm going to set my minimum. And I'm going to click and drag, right-click and set my maximum, and now I want to twist the knob on my MIDI controller, it only goes between the minimum and maximum values. And let's hear that sounds like. (Note playing.) There is also one more control in this list, and it's Invert Range.
This enables you to invert the MIDI controller data so that the chosen controller reacts in the opposite way as you might think of would. So if we hit that, and I twist this knob, now as I'm turning the knob up, the value is going down and vice versa, so I've inverted this range. A great example for this feature is if you want to assign the drawbars on the DB33 organ instrument to set a MIDI fader controls so that the faders work in reverse like the drawbars on a real B3 organ. Now Pro Tools will remember everything that it MIDI-Learned until you change the instrument patch, take a virtual instrument off the track, or close the session without saving.
If you save the session, Pro Tools will remember the controller parameter maps for the next time when you open the session. However if you change the instrument's patch you'll lose the map. So what I would recommend doing is using the Save Settings or Save Settings as command, so that you can save the controller parameter map assigned with the patch. MIDI Learn is a super useful feature that can make working with virtual instruments in Pro Tools much easier and more interactive.
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