Midi on a shoe-string

I’m trying to get into Midi, but moneys tight working as I do for the NHS…
Can just about afford the £100 kit, but it means no beer for a week or two. :slight_smile:

My local Gumtree has the following midi kit for sale… I’d value
anyones opinion who has worked with midi kit…

I’d also appreciate tips on free or cheap software other than SP, please.


M Audio Axiom 25 - 1st Gen - Excellent condition £25.00 Boxed, USB cable.

M-AUDIO AXIOM AIR 25 MIDI KEYBOARD £50.00. Boxed, USB cable.

AKAI MPD232 Midi controller £100 with USB cable.

Akai professional MPK mini £45.00. USB cable

**Akai MPK49 MPK 49 midi keyboard ** £100, Boxed, Never used. USB cable

Hi Eli,

I bought the Arturia MiniLab mkII and find it quite nice to start messing around with midi (comes with a lot of sounds and software if you are on Windows or Mac). Around 99$.

And: Try Helm as a softsynth.


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Helm… Okay, just downloaded, and installed… and never felt so
helpless in my life. So many buttons, knobs, sliders, 'scopes…

‘I have stared into the Abyss… it stared back… and giggled’.


Hera is a simple Midi Editor

Midi Editor

It’s free
Uses the computer sound card for output.
Will take input from a USB Midi keyboard
Or use the GUI to place notes on the piano roll, play them, record them and share them.

Download and install it
Open it
Click on MIDI in the top menu
Click on settings
Select the Midi output options mine was Microsoft Wavetable Synth
Use the right scroll bar to move the keyboard on the left so that C4 (middle C) is about halfway.
At the upper row of icons hover over the third from the right a pencil looking thingy.
It should say Create new events. Now click on it.
Move to the C4 key on the left and click You should hear C4 played through your computer.
Move right to the first slot on the chart.
Click and hold the left mouse button and move right to the next line and release.
A yellow box is now on the chart.
Repeat for E4 in the second box of the chart and G4 for the third
In the fourth box place c4, e4, and g4 to form a chord
In the bottom row of the icons at the top of the page find a triangle pointing right. Hover and it will say Play
Press the play button and hear the notes and chord.


Thank you so much… thats about the level I’m at right now.

I know that sounds painfully inept… but learnings a process,
and I’m afraid Helm was too much at once… I would have just
turned away from the whole experience…

I’ll get it and start learning.

Thanks again.


Other free software for MIDI


Here is a sample CSV file converted from MIDI

0, 0, Header, 1, 3, 480
1, 0, Start_track
1, 0, Tempo, 500000
1, 0, Key_signature, 0, "major"
1, 0, Time_signature, 2, 2, 24, 8
1, 0, Title_t, "Adele Polka  CGF 7-"
1, 61465, End_track
2, 0, Start_track
2, 0, Title_t, "Adele Polka  CGF 7-"
2, 0, Program_c, 0, 21
2, 0, Note_on_c, 0, 67, 105
2, 239, Note_off_c, 0, 67, 0
2, 240, Note_on_c, 0, 67, 80
2, 359, Note_off_c, 0, 67, 0
2, 360, Note_on_c, 0, 64, 80
2, 479, Note_off_c, 0, 64, 0
2, 480, Note_on_c, 0, 72, 80
2, 719, Note_off_c, 0, 72, 0

Another editor to try
[Aria Maestosa( http://ariamaestosa.sourceforge.net/)

Google Midi Editor for more

I bought an Alesis Q49 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller which is bundled with Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition software. Yes it lets me record what I play on the keyboard and play it in all kinds of instrument voices add tracks etc etc but editing a mistake in the song you played, no. So I looked for the Midi Editor.
The Ableton files are gzipped and to read them you have to unzip them (Google gzip)
They contain data that looks like XML Scrolling down you can find the recorded notes.

														<MidiNoteEvent Time="12.701315091158841" Duration="1.5325172223609724" Velocity="25" OffVelocity="64" IsEnabled="true" />
													<MidiKey Value="48" />
														<MidiNoteEvent Time="4.4117913336663337" Duration="1.1473469239094238" Velocity="35" OffVelocity="64" IsEnabled="true" />
														<MidiNoteEvent Time="11.55192749958375" Duration="1.2730610535298035" Velocity="84" OffVelocity="64" IsEnabled="true" />
														<MidiNoteEvent Time="14.059682504995004" Duration="2.0549661276223774" Velocity="22" OffVelocity="64" IsEnabled="true" />

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Hi Eli,

You may start by checking out the presets (top left corner: browse).

But I understand what you mean. To use helm (or some other soft synths) it is necessary to dive into sound synthesis (more or less). It is a bit like standing in front of these modular hardware synthesizers with loads of knobs and plugs;). If that’s not what you want, there are probably other soft synths for windows - even free ones. As I am working with Linux I have tried Fluidsynth, ZynAddSubFX, AMsynth, which - as far as I know - are all not available for windows. But unless you are only using the presets they all look quite similar.

The Arturia MiniLab I mentioned comes with 500 easily accessible sounds and Ableton Live Lite (there seems to be no midi controller manufacturer that has not made a deal with Ableton). Other midi keyboards and controllers may come with similar bundles (I am not an Arturia dealer;)



And with that, finally, good night all.

5:30 am… haven’t pulled an all-nighter
music binge like this in years.


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