It’s been quite a while since I mentioned the MIDI thing device that I’m part of. MIDI thing has been going through tests with a number of people for the last few weeks and we’ve got some very useful feedback on how it works and how people who’ve been testing it feel about it.
So I thought now would be a good time to show a little of what we’ve doing with MIDI thing, and, more importantly, what it actually does.
If you’ve not heard of MIDI thing before and this is all new to you then I’ll give you a little background. If you know all this already then feel to skip over it.
MIDI thing is a hardware project that I’ve been a part of with an old friend who’s done the design work. It came out of a bunch of ideas around open source hardware and software and making neat small mobile music devices which are ideally battery powered. That’s just what MIDI thing is.
There’s the battery now here’s what it does:
- Midi thing connects between the MIDI-out of a keyboard controller and the midi-in of a sound generator module or an iOS device that can run as a multi-timbral MIDI module.
- The MIDI thing has just one switch and this is for turning the power on and off. You control the looper by activating a “command” mode. Using command mode the note keys operate the various looper functions instead of producing sound.
- The “switch” to activate command mode is either a pre-selected note (e.g. unused note at the top or bottom of the keyboard) or control change (cc) knob/button; it is chosen when the unit is switched on.
- The loop can be 2, 4 or 8 bars long. It can run in 3⁄4 or 4/4 time. There is a tap tempo function or the looper will synchronise automatically to an external MIDI clock and respond to start, continue and stop commands. All midi information (on all 16 channels) can be recorded up to a maximum of 400 MIDI events.
- Each MIDI channel has a separate A/B recording zone which can be freely switched. Individual channel (and A/B) recordings can be quantised or deleted. A bi-colour led shows tempo and progress through the bars. A metronome (General Midi hi-hat) can be activated as MIDI-out on channel 10.
Hopefully that gives you a reasonable idea of what the thing does. Now we’ll have a look at it working. In this short video the MIDI thing is running multiple channels on Roland’s Sound Canvas app for iOS. The nice thing about the Sound Canvas app is that each sound can be assigned to an individual channel, just like a hardware module really, which wouldn’t be a surprise as the Sound Canvas was of course originally a hardware module.
What I’m doing here is laying down a series of tracks over multiple MIDI channels. Each of the channels has a different instrument assigned in the Sound Canvas.
Swapping between channels is actually very easy. All I do is use a pre-determined control key to change channel on the MIDI thing. I don’t need to fiddle with any controls I’m just using the CZ101. I’m going to do another video soon to show just how that works, so expect that soon.
Hopefully this gives a little idea of what the MIDI thing does, even with my terrible playing. There’ll be more soon.