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    If you're a budding producer or songwriter putting together your latest composition, you know you can do things the hard way: using the mouse and QWERTY keyboard to input notes. But, it's seriously time consuming and limited. MIDI controllers - designed like a piano keyboard or with various buttons for sounds - streamline this process.

    What is a MIDI Controller?

    Anyone who's even interested in producing or using synthesizers has heard of MIDI, short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Back in the '80s, as synthesizer and electronic music technology rapidly expanded, MIDI standardized the hardware among all of the manufacturers out there, allowing for greater compatibility and adaptability.

    Today, MIDI - used among sequences, synthesizers and samplers, as well as other electronic devices - allows the information you play on the controller to pass into your computer, where the software program you're using renders the notes. Simpler, even more streamlined technology eliminates the hardware used in the past, to the point that most MIDI controllers are plug-and-play devices just requiring a USB port.

    While having some piano skills are ideal, it's not necessary. Instead, MIDI controllers, especially those with a keyboard, assist with playing the melody, bass or chord as naturally as possible and, in the present, even pick up on dynamics and articulations. Playing the music directly into the MIDI controller eliminates the need to painstakingly click and enter everything by hand with your QWERTY keyboard. Rather, this aspect is then used for refining the music once it's rendered in the software.

    As well, depending upon your setup, the information you input from your MIDI controller can pass from your computer to analog devices, including synths and drum machines.

    What You Get with a MIDI Controller

    Whether you use a keyboard model from Roland or the buttons-and-board concept of Novation, a MIDI controller itself doesn't produce any pitches. Rather, it simply sends signals to your computer. For this purpose, models tend to have:

    • Various notes, based on a keyboard, with some offering a full 88-key set.
    • Multiple knobs, sliders and controls for effects.
    • Drum pads

    Find MIDI Controllers at Alamo Music Center

    Whether you're a producer, a composer or a DJ watching to add more variety to your setup, Alamo Music Center offers MIDI controllers from Roland, Novation, Korg, Arturia and other leading brands. Browse today, and take advantage of multiple financing and layaway options, including 12- to 48-month no-interest options at times.