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MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:15 pm
by Alden
HI guys, I would like to purchase a small midi controller but I notice that it is only powered through the USB cable. So, can I plug it straight into the Zoom HD16 port and will it record the sound onto a track, or do I need a mains powered midi controller? many thanks

Re: MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:54 pm
by Wulfraed
Pardon?

The only "MIDI" features of the R16 is the MACKAY control surface emulation, and the linked transport controls when using a pair of R16/R24 units to achieve 16-track parallel recording.

All /recording/ is analog input fed through an ADC to produce WAVE format sampled sound data (which is played back through a DAC). There is nothing a pure MIDI controller/keyboard generates for the R-series to record (the HDx did support MIDI for the rhythm/bass generator and allowed for an external MIDI source to control the HDx drum machine section; it also allowed for the HDxCD to read SMF files in sync with the recorder and send MIDI data out).

A MIDI /instrument/ (electric piano, synthesizer, organ) with Line-Out jacks /could/ be connected to a pair of R-series inputs and recorded that way -- but that is not MIDI data being recorded, but the instrument playback of MIDI data.

Re: MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:01 pm
by Jim_Fogle
Hi Alden and welcome to the forum!

Don't feel bad because you're not the first and won't be the last, person that doesn't know what MIDI is or what it does.

The short answer is MIDI is a standard that describes how equipment communicates. MIDI doesn't make sound but MIDI explains to a sound module how to generate sound.

How Stuff Works has a good, short primer on MIDI available here: https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/midi.htm. It well worth spending a few minutes looking at this article.

Re: MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:52 pm
by Alden
Hi guys, thanks for replies, maybe I've not explained myself properly so here goes. I have the HD16 machine, I record rhythm guitar and add a bass line and some vocals and would like to enhance this with some keyboard sounds, I know I can do this with a keyboard and record the audio, but my keyboard is very big, I wondered whether I could use something like a 25 key midi controller like an Akai MPK mini mk11, if I plug this into the USB socket will I be able to record the sound onto one of the tracks??

Re: MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:39 pm
by mikethebass
Hello Alden,

I run an R16 and I'm not sure what the differences are between it and an HD16.

However on an R16 you can't record midi at all.

I have a small midi controller keyboard and an ancient Yamaha sound module.

I either;

Connect the controller to the sound module with a midi cable and record the audio onto the R16 this is quite easy. The drawbacks are that you can't change a sound without re recording amd you can't quantize anything.

or

Connect the midi controller to my PC using a USB cable, import the Audio from the R16 into a DAW, I happen to use Reaper, then record the midi.

Hope that helps.


However you will have to select, possibly download your VST instruments for the midi to drive.

Re: MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:16 pm
by Jim_Fogle
Alden,

MIDI controllers do not create sound. MIDI controllers lack audio RCA jacks because they have no sound module. Your large keyboard likely has a built-in MIDI or computer interface, rom based sound module, pre-amplifier complete with line level outputs, stereo amplifier connected to built-in speakers and a stereo headset amplifier.

If your keyboard is like most I've seen it has a local / pc setting that connects the keyboard to the sound module when the setting is local and connects the external midi interface to the sound module when the setting is pc.

The Akai advertisement says it best when they state the Akai mini MK11:
lets you record, compose, and perform with virtual instruments, effect plugins, and DAWs
. The DAW in this instance must be a computer based DAW,

Re: MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:26 pm
by Wulfraed
Alden wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:52 pm
Hi guys, thanks for replies, maybe I've not explained myself properly so here goes. I have the HD16 machine, I record rhythm guitar and add a bass line and some vocals and would like to enhance this with some keyboard sounds, I know I can do this with a keyboard and record the audio, but my keyboard is very big, I wondered whether I could use something like a 25 key midi controller like an Akai MPK mini mk11, if I plug this into the USB socket will I be able to record the sound onto one of the tracks??
On the HD16, the only MIDI compatible function is the drum machine (rhythm/bass), and obviously that is limited to the drum kits built into the HD16.

The Akai is just a controller -- it does not produce sound on its own. It only sends MIDI messages telling an instrument (the web site seems to assume a computer DAW with VST instruments loaded) which note and when to turn it on or off. The sound is generated by that other device -- and the HD16 does not do general MIDI instruments.

The HD16 (the R-series) are /audio/ recorders -- you have to provide an audio signal, and that signal has to come in via the XLR/TRS Combo jacks. It can PLAY an SMF file using the MIDI output port to control some other instrument, but it does not record SMF files. When playing an SMF file, the HD16 acts as a controller.

Third matter: The HD16 USB is a /client/ port. I'm pretty certain the Akai is also a /client/ port -- both devices expect to connect to a host computer.

Re: MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:58 pm
by Alden
Thanks for your advice, info and input. I'll have to make do with my keyboard or but another smaller one

Re: MIdi controller USB question

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:23 pm
by Jim_Fogle
Correct. Keyboards have built-in midi sound modules that can create audio. Controllers do not have built-in sound modules so they can not create audio.