First, before you can decide if a MIDI keyboard is right for you, you should know what MIDI stands for and the basics of what it is.
MIDI stands for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface”.
This means, unlike an audio signal, the signal that is sent out from a MIDI keyboard connection is digital and will be sent to a piece of hardware/software that can accept a digital signal.
Purchasing the Right Keyboard
When purchasing a MIDI keyboard, you want to look at the outputs it has and compare it to what you are planning on using it for. There are many different connections other than MIDI, and sometime in the future you might find that you need them or want them. For instance, the most common connection used in music is the aux stereo output, but not all MIDI keyboards come with them and you might regret not having them.
Also, a lot of small MIDI keyboards do not come with a sound bank, meaning you won’t just be able to plug-in and play. The reason for this is that it makes it cheaper for the manufacturer to make and cheaper for the consumer to buy. And if you are already working with a software or hardware that has a sound bank that can be utilized by a MIDI keyboard, you really don’t need a second sound bank.
Why Is MIDI so Significant?
The power of manipulation: each note you hit sends a digital signal to your hardware/software, which is displayed on a screen and can be manipulated in many different ways. For instance, if you play a quick melody and one note in that melody was hit with more velocity than the rest, you can adjust that note to your liking without playing the whole melody again.
And this just doesn’t work for velocity, in fact, each note’s volume, panning, pitch, length, timing and even what key the note was played on can be changed all with a simple turning of a knob. This doesn’t do much for a live musician, but for time pressed musicians, such as someone who is paying for studio time. This can save a lot of money by not being forced to go back and play a musical take all over again just to fix a few mistakes.
MIDI can also be beneficial for someone who is trying to learn how to play the piano. The first benefit a new piano player will have is when you’re done with a performance, the note pattern shown on your hardware/software screen will show you where your mistakes were made. The other benefit will be that with just a touch of a bottom you can record and play back your performance on your hardware/software, whereas, with an acoustic piano you will need some type of microphone setup, and pianos are not easy to record.
The Downfall to MIDI Keyboards
One of the downfalls about keyboards are that no acoustic sound can ever be replaced by a digital sound; there will always be some acoustics tone loss. And the other downfall is most reasonably priced keyboards on the market are conveniently small and portable, but do not have the standard amount of keys that all pianos have. This could cause a problem for piano players who are learning the correct way to play the piano.
The Best Thing About a MIDI Keyboard
There is no end to what sounds you can make the keys play. You can assign the keys to play anything from a drum set, to a flute and everything in-between, so they can be very lucrative to whatever your musical ambitions are.