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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. I am going to go and open this Vacuum plug-in and play a note. (Music Playing) So now I'm going to set up MIDI Learn so my MIDI controller can control the knobs within this virtual instrument. To do that, I can just go and right-click on any of the parameters, and you'll see the MIDI Learn menu.
We can choose Learn MIDI CC, and the CC stands for Continuous Controller, which is a knob or a slider on your MIDI controller. After choosing that, I can move one of the knobs on my MIDI controller and it'll control that parameter within the virtual instrument. So if I a play a note on my MIDI controller and then twist that knob as well on the controller, you'll see how it affects the Vacuum plug-in. (Music Playing) Let's go and set up another one.
I'm going to choose this Cutoff frequency. So I'll right-click it and I'll Learn MIDI CC. Now I'm going to twist the knob, and now I have control over this Cutoff frequency. I'll play another note. (Music Playing) If you happen to notice, there's another parameter within this plug-in that is mapped to that same knob that I was twisting, and that's the Drift parameter.
So whenever I twist the knob, both the Cutoff and the Drift move at the same time. Usually you don't want this to happen, so I'm going to forget my MIDI Learn. So I'll choose this, and now the Drift is not connected to that knob; only the Cutoff is, as you can see over here. There are some other options in this MIDI Learn menu. Let's take a look. We have Set Min and Set Max, as well as Invert range.
Set Min stands for Set Minimum, and Set Max stands for Set Maximum, and 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, in this case if we don't want the Cutoff frequency control to go above a certain frequency, we can set the range and then create a smaller spectrum of frequencies for the cutoff filter. So let's go ahead and do that. If I set the minimum right here, it'll actually choose the value that I've got right here, so that will actually be the minimum. So what I want to do is twist this up, and now I'll choose that as the minimum, and then I can choose a different value for the maximum.
Now if I twist that knob, you'll see that it only goes between those two values, the minimum and the maximum. And let's hear what that sounds like. (Music Playing) There's 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 it would. So if I hit Invert Range and then I twist this knob, now as I'm turning the knob up, the value goes down, so I've inverted that range.
A great example of this feature is actually if you want to assign the drawbars on the DB-33 Organ so that the MIDI fader controls act in reverse like the drawbars on a real B3 Organ. So what I'm going to do here is mouse up to this drawbar, right-click it, and choose Learn MIDI CC. Then I'm going to grab a fader on my MIDI controller and move it up and down, but the problem is is that it's moving in reverse for me. When I pull the fader down, the drawbar goes up, and vice versa.
So what I want to do now is choose Invert Range, and now when I pull the fader down, the drawbar comes down as well. And when I push the fader up, the drawbar goes up. So Pro Tools will remember everything that MIDI learned, until you take the virtual instrument off the track or close the session without saving. If you save the session, Pro Tools will remember the controller parameters for the next time that you open the session. Another way to ensure that your settings are saved, if you go up to the Map Options menu and choose Save Map As, and here you can save your MIDI-learned settings and create your own map file for this.
So as you can see here, 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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