How to Sync MIDI Controllers With Other Devices?

19 minutes read

To sync MIDI controllers with other devices, you will first need to determine the specific connections available on both devices. Typically, MIDI controllers can be connected to other devices such as computers, synthesizers, and other MIDI-enabled equipment using either USB or MIDI cables.


If both devices have MIDI ports, you can connect them directly using MIDI cables. Make sure to connect the MIDI Out port on one device to the MIDI In port on the other device. If one of the devices does not have MIDI ports, you can use a USB-MIDI interface to bridge the connection between them.


Once the devices are physically connected, you will need to set up the MIDI settings on each device to ensure they are communicating properly. This may involve selecting the appropriate MIDI channels, assigning MIDI controllers to specific functions, and ensuring that the devices are transmitting and receiving MIDI data correctly.


Depending on the specific devices you are trying to sync, you may also need to configure additional settings such as clock synchronization or MIDI mapping to ensure that the devices are working together seamlessly.


Overall, the process of syncing MIDI controllers with other devices involves both physical connections and software configurations to ensure that the devices can communicate effectively and work together harmoniously.

Best MIDI Controllers of May 2024

1
Akai Professional MPK Mini Plus - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 37 Mini Keys, 8 MPC Pads, Sequencer, MIDI/CV/Gate I/O, Music Production Software

Rating is 5 out of 5

Akai Professional MPK Mini Plus - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 37 Mini Keys, 8 MPC Pads, Sequencer, MIDI/CV/Gate I/O, Music Production Software

  • Full Creative Control - A dynamic 37-Key MPK Mini keybed for 3 full octaves of melodic and harmonic performance. Easily connect to your DAW or studio equipment with the USB-powered MIDI Controller
  • Advanced Connectivity - Connect to different sound sources with CV/Gate and MIDI I/O. Control modular gear, sound modules, synthesizers, and more to bring new sound sources into your music production
  • Record and Compose Without a Computer - Connect to your production station and use the built-in 64-step sequencer featuring one track for drums and one for melodies or chords, with up to 8 notes each
  • Control Your DAW - Transport section for intuitive hardware control of your DAW. Arm and start recordings, stop playback, rewind or fast-forward for easy navigation of large sessions and projects
2
AKAI Professional MIDImix - USB MIDI Controller Mixer with Assignable Faders & Master Fader, 24 Knobs and 16 Buttons, 1 to 1 Mapping With Ableton Live

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

AKAI Professional MIDImix - USB MIDI Controller Mixer with Assignable Faders & Master Fader, 24 Knobs and 16 Buttons, 1 to 1 Mapping With Ableton Live

  • Mixdown Essentials - 8 individual line faders and 1 master fader for controlling track volume, virtual instrument parameters, effect settings and more
  • Assignable Control - 24 knobs, arranged 3 per channel for controlling EQ, bus sends, virtual instrument parameters, effect settings and more
  • Get Hands-On - 16 buttons arranged in 2 banks provide mute, solo and record arm functionality per channel
3
M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 – 88 Key Semi Weighted MIDI Keyboard Controller for Complete Command of Virtual Synthesizers and DAW parameters

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 – 88 Key Semi Weighted MIDI Keyboard Controller for Complete Command of Virtual Synthesizers and DAW parameters

  • Music Production Essential – MIDI keyboard controller with 88 full-size velocity-sensitive semi weighted keys for MIDI control of virtual instruments, software samplers and plug-in synthesisers
  • MIDI Keyboard Must-Haves - Volume fader, transport & directional buttons; pitch & modulation wheels, octave up & down buttons and sustain pedal input for expressive performances
  • Your Music Studio Equipment Centrepiece – Slimline design fits any desk, studio or stage setup perfectly and advanced functionality customizes your controls for your recording software
4
Arturia MiniLab 3 - Universal MIDI Controller for Music Production, with All-in-One Software Package - 25 Keys, 8 Multi-Color Pads - White

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Arturia MiniLab 3 - Universal MIDI Controller for Music Production, with All-in-One Software Package - 25 Keys, 8 Multi-Color Pads - White

  • GO WITH YOUR FLOW: MiniLab 3 is an easy keyboard controller that adapts to your needs, your style and your workflow, so you can make music just the way you like it. It lets you control instruments, mute tracks, punch in your 8 pad drums, and adjust your 4 faders with a flow so fluid you’ll forget you had a mouse. Hook it up, discover fresh sounds, enjoy premium velocity-sensitive keys, and get hands-on with your music like never before!
  • ALL THE ESSENTIAL CONTROLS IN A COMPACT CONTROLLER: MiniLab 3 is USB powered with 25 note velocity-sensitive slim keyboard, 2 banks of 8 high quality pads with RGB backlighting, 8 rotary encoders, 4 sliders, Mini display & clickable browsing knob, Built-in Arpeggiator, Hold and Chord modes, 2 touch sensors for pitch bend and modulation wheel, USB-C Port, MIDI Out. Great for beginners, it also fits for pros, and allows you to tweak every aspect of your mix in an instant.
5
Novation Launchkey Mini [MK3] — Portable 25-Key, USB, MIDI Keyboard Controller with DAW Integration, Chord Mode, and Arpeggiator — for Music Production

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Novation Launchkey Mini [MK3] — Portable 25-Key, USB, MIDI Keyboard Controller with DAW Integration, Chord Mode, and Arpeggiator — for Music Production

  • Get creative easily with arpeggiator - Easy to use but deeply controllable, Launchkey Mini’s creative arpeggiator allows you to change rhythm, beat, pattern, octave, gate and more to add a whole range of diversity to your ideas and melodies.
  • Play chords with one finger - Lay down chords for your track quick with fixed chord mode. Play a chord with one finger by assigning a fixed shape to the keys and it’ll transpose as you move up and down the keyboard.
  • Finest-tech at your fingertips - The Launchkey Mini might be small in size but it’s packed with features. The 25-key device has 16 velocity-sensitive RGB, eight rotary controls, pitch and mod touch strips, and sustain input. Our finest mini keymech to date is also included.
  • DAW Integration - In addition to Apple Logic and Ableton Live, Launchkey Mini also has excellent integrations with Reason, as well as any HUI compatible DAW, such as Cubase, Pro Tools, and more.
6
AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2 - USB MIDI Pad Controller for Clip Launching with Ableton Live Lite, 64 RGB Pads, Drum and Note Mode and MIDI Mixer

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2 - USB MIDI Pad Controller for Clip Launching with Ableton Live Lite, 64 RGB Pads, Drum and Note Mode and MIDI Mixer

  • Complete Control – Ableton Live Clip Launching MIDI Controller, perfect for creative looping, mixing, home studio and live performing. Connect to Ableton Live and control all your studio equipment
  • Bright 8x8 RGB Pad Matrix - 64 RGB pads for launching clips in Ableton Live providing visual color feedback. Trigger everything from Loops, Vocals, and melodic samples for instant creativity
  • 9 Assignable Faders - With 8 assignable faders + 1 master fader instantly map to Ableton Live's mixer for hands-on mix control of volume, pan, or devices. Use Device mode to control Ableton macros
  • Drum and Note Modes -The Drum sample mode features seamless integration with Ableton Drum Rack. With the inbuilt "Smart Scale View", Note mode enables you to visually play melodies effortlessly
7
AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 - 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Backlit Drum Pads, 8 Knobs and Music Production Software Included, Grey

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 - 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Backlit Drum Pads, 8 Knobs and Music Production Software Included, Grey

  • Music Production and Beat Maker Essential – USB powered MIDI controller with 25 mini MIDI keyboard velocity-sensitive keys for studio production, virtual synthesizer control and beat production
  • Total Control of your Production - Innovative 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control, plus a built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range and modes
  • Complete Command of your Virtual Instruments and FX - 8 360-degree knobs assign to all your music studio plugins for mixing, tweaking synth controls and more
8
AKAI Professional MPD218 - USB MIDI Controller with 16 MPC Drum Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Note Repeat & Full Level Buttons and Production Software

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

AKAI Professional MPD218 - USB MIDI Controller with 16 MPC Drum Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Note Repeat & Full Level Buttons and Production Software

  • Beat Production, Anywhere - Ultra-portable, feature-packed and USB powered pad controller with 16 thick fat MPC pads for triggering drums, melodic samples, effects and more
  • Expandable Banks - Easily accessible dedicated controls for three pad banks provides a total of 48 assignable pads
  • Feature Packed - MPC note repeat and full level controls for immersive expressive performances
  • Comprehensive Software Suite Included - Ableton Live Lite, Drum Synth 500 by AIR Music Tech
9
Arturia KeyLab Essential mk3 — 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Analog Lab V Software Included

Rating is 4.2 out of 5

Arturia KeyLab Essential mk3 — 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Analog Lab V Software Included

  • New creative features: Scale Mode, Chord Mode, and Arpeggiator, making composition, songwriting, and beat-making more intuitive than ever.
  • Custom DAW integration: KeyLab Essential 3 features custom scripts for deeper control over DAWs, including Ableton Live Logic Pro X, FL Studio, and more.
  • Easier controls & interface: RGB-backlit pads with velocity and pressure sensitivity, contextual button, and a bright new 2.5” LCD screen for real-time feedback.
10
Alesis V49 MKII – USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Velocity Sensitive Keys, 8 Full Level Pads, Arpeggiator, Pitch/Mod Wheel, Note Repeat and Software Suite

Rating is 4.1 out of 5

Alesis V49 MKII – USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Velocity Sensitive Keys, 8 Full Level Pads, Arpeggiator, Pitch/Mod Wheel, Note Repeat and Software Suite

  • Plug in the USB Powered V49 MKII MIDI keyboard, and turn your PC, Mac, or iOS device into a feature packed production studio - Ideal for home studio producers, piano beginners, and desktop djs
  • 49 Full-Size, Velocity Sensitive, Synth Action Keys alongside 8 velocity sensitive backlit beat pads with full level and note repeat controls, all in a design that fits easily into your workspace
  • Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels for added expression, and an Arpeggiator with 6 modes for creating unique melodies and inspiring creativity


How to sync MIDI controllers with sequencers?

To sync MIDI controllers with sequencers, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your MIDI controller to your sequencer using a MIDI cable. Make sure to plug one end of the cable into the MIDI OUT port of the controller and the other end into the MIDI IN port of the sequencer.
  2. Turn on your MIDI controller and sequencer and make sure they are both set to the same MIDI channel. This can typically be done in the settings or preferences menu of each device.
  3. Set your sequencer to receive MIDI clock signals from your controller. This will allow the sequencer to sync to the tempo of the controller. Check the manual of your sequencer for instructions on how to do this.
  4. Start playing your MIDI controller and the sequencer should automatically sync up with the tempo and start playing in time with your performance.
  5. You can also use MIDI mapping or MIDI learn features on your controller and sequencer to assign specific controls on the controller to parameters in the sequencer, such as volume, filters, and effects.


By following these steps, you should be able to sync your MIDI controller with your sequencer and have them both working together seamlessly.


How to sync MIDI controllers with virtual instruments?

To sync MIDI controllers with virtual instruments, you can follow these steps:

  1. Connect your MIDI controller to your computer via a USB cable or MIDI interface.
  2. Open your preferred digital audio workstation (DAW) or music production software.
  3. Load the virtual instrument plugin you want to use in your DAW.
  4. In the DAW, create a new MIDI track and select the input source as your MIDI controller.
  5. Configure the MIDI controller to send messages to the virtual instrument. This can typically be done by using the MIDI mapping or MIDI Learn functions in the software.
  6. Play notes or trigger sounds on your MIDI controller, and you should hear the corresponding sounds coming from the virtual instrument.
  7. You can further customize the MIDI controller mapping to control parameters like volume, pitch, modulation, etc., in the virtual instrument.


By following these steps, you can sync your MIDI controller with virtual instruments and start creating music with ease.


What is the difference between MIDI clock and timecode when syncing controllers?

MIDI clock and timecode are both used to sync controllers and other devices, but they work in slightly different ways.


MIDI clock is a synchronization signal that is sent over a MIDI connection to keep devices in time with each other. It consists of a series of regular messages that tell other devices what tempo to play at. MIDI clock is typically used to sync musical instruments and sequencers so that they play in time with each other.


Timecode, on the other hand, is a more precise form of synchronization that is typically used in film and video production. It is a continuous stream of data that specifies the exact time at which each frame of video or audio should be played. Timecode can be used to sync devices to specific points in a timeline, making it useful for coordinating multiple elements of a production.


In summary, MIDI clock is a musical synchronization signal used to keep devices playing in time with each other, while timecode is a precise timing signal used in film and video production to sync devices to specific points in a timeline.


How to sync MIDI controllers with external hardware synths?

To sync MIDI controllers with external hardware synths, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Make sure all your devices are powered on and connected. This includes your MIDI controller, external hardware synth, and audio interface.
  2. Connect your MIDI controller to your computer or audio interface using a MIDI cable or USB cable. Make sure the MIDI input/output ports are correctly connected.
  3. Configure your DAW or MIDI software to recognize both your MIDI controller and external hardware synth. This may involve setting up MIDI inputs and outputs, as well as selecting the appropriate channels and settings for both devices.
  4. Set the MIDI clock on your DAW or MIDI software to sync with the external hardware synth. This will ensure that the timing of your MIDI controller is in sync with the external hardware synth.
  5. Check the MIDI settings on your external hardware synth to ensure that it is set to receive MIDI clock signals from your DAW or MIDI software. This will allow the synth to sync with your MIDI controller.
  6. Test the synchronization by playing notes on your MIDI controller and listening for the sound coming from the external hardware synth. Make sure that the timing is accurate and that both devices are working together seamlessly.


By following these steps, you should be able to sync your MIDI controller with external hardware synths effectively for a more integrated and cohesive music production experience.


What is the function of tempo maps in syncing MIDI controllers?

Tempo maps are used to define the tempo changes and timing of a piece of music. In the context of syncing MIDI controllers, tempo maps help ensure that all connected MIDI devices are playing in time with the music by providing a reference point for the tempo and timing of the performance. This helps to create a more cohesive and synchronized performance, especially when multiple MIDI devices or tracks are involved. Tempo maps can be used to automate tempo changes and adjustments during a performance, allowing for more dynamic and precise control over the timing and tempo of the music.

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