With all the home recording equipment available, are MIDI controllers necessary for beginners?
While they are not necessarily necessary for beginners, the music-creating process can get frustrating and sound robotic without a MIDI controller.
MIDI controllers, especially the keyboards, give you a tangible, authentic instrument feel while playing. This aspect is critical to creating quality music.
You have it now.
While MIDI controllers might not be required, you should budget some money to buy one if you’re serious about music production.
This post will discuss the top advantages of owning a MIDI controller and which is most appropriate for beginners.
MIDI controllers are not necessary for beginners, but they make your life much easier.
You need a MIDI controller if you plan to start creating music for a living.
However, if you are testing the waters of music production as a hobby and have not decided if you’ll stick with it, you can work around not having a MIDI controller- but it can get difficult.
Without a MIDI controller, you will have to draw notes into your DAW using your mouse.
This process is time-consuming and frustrating.
Depending on your DAW, you can play music using your laptop’s QWERTY keyboard, but the letters and notes are not as intuitive as a regular piano keyboard.
All you have to do with a MIDI controller is hit Record and start playing your ideas.
There are three main types of MIDI controllers:
- Drum pad
- Guitar and wind
If you’re a beginner, you want to purchase a MIDI keyboard controller.
MIDI keyboards are the most common and versatile type of controller.
They look like regular keyboards but only make a sound when plugged into a computer with digitally downloaded instruments.
You can plunk out drum beats, lay down some chords, or hammer away a bass line.
Drum pads are great for laying out beats but are not necessary for a studio.
Guitar and wind MIDI controllers are rare to find.
These are not a necessity when it comes to creating music for a beginner.
Professional producers would also rather play the real instrument plugged into an audio interface.
There are plenty of perks to having a MIDI controller, but here are our top five:
- It is cheaper than purchasing a synthesizer
- It gives your music a more authentic feel
- It improves your workflow
- It allows you to play any instrument you want
- It gets you comfortable with a piano.
We live in a world where recording studios are going digital.
Synthesizers are a professional recording standard.
They allow you to fill the blank spaces of your songs with ambient noises and smooth pads.
But these machines can sometimes run you around $1000 or more.
MIDI keyboard controllers can grant you access to these same synth sounds- especially with all the great downloads available for free online.
Gives Your Music a More Authentic Feel
As we enter this digital era, technology makes things easier for us to create music anywhere and everywhere.
If you’ve got your laptop with you, you have a whole recording studio at your fingertips.
However, as a musician, it can get frustrating trying to click and drag notes into a DAW or use your computer’s keyboard.
It is not only time-consuming but also mechanical sounding. It takes the whole human aspect out of the song.
Your song might even sound like a robot composed it in a factory.
MIDI controllers imitate the feeling of playing a physical instrument.
It will record how hard or soft you hit a key.
It registers the sensation as a number between 1 and 127, with 1 being the faintest sound possible.
You can create more natural, authentic-sounding music with a MIDI controller.
Improves Your Workflow
Anyone who has worked with an audio interface, microphone, and DAW knows that setting up real, physical instruments can become a hassle.
It takes time to ensure everything is plugged in well and routed properly.
That great inspired melody line in your head could start dwindling during this time.
Plugging in a MIDI controller is easy.
The setup time is short and usually connects without a problem, allowing you to get your ideas down in digital format while the inspiration is still hot.
Ability to Play Any Instrument
Unless you are some musical prodigy, you are unlikely to know how to play every single instrument ever created. Just imagine the amount of space those instruments would take up in your house!
If you have a MIDI controller, you have tons of drum sets, wind instruments, guitars, basses, and more at your fingertips.
Want a violin solo in your epic rock ballad?
You can create one without paying for a single violin lesson.
It may not sound as authentic as playing the real thing, but tons of VST plugins can help you mimic the physical instrument.
Pro tip: You may want to study certain aspects of instruments before including them in your tracks. You want the music to sound authentic, so you should avoid creating something with your MIDI controller that would otherwise be impossible for an actual violin to make.
Teaches You Piano
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to understand much about pianos before working with a MIDI keyboard.
However, that knowledge will come to you as you go.
You will learn subconsciously.
After working with the MIDI keyboard for a while, you’ll intuitively know how to create basic chords.
You can also consciously set out to learn how to play piano using your MIDI keyboard. Purchasing a MIDI keyboard is cheaper than a piano or full-size keyboard and takes up significantly less space.
A MIDI controller can increase your workflow and help you have more fun while creating music.
Purchasing one may not technically be necessary, but they make a huge difference in your production quality.