MIDI Controllers Buying Guide
In order to solve the problem of cross-compatibility. Before then, it was often
impossible to get equipment from one manufacturer to communicate with that of any other. More importantly, all the complicated control information we’ve associated with sequencers for two decades was unthinkable.
Originally designed to travel down one cable (and in one direction only) MIDI data could operate on 16 channels, delivering up to 128 types of controller information for each one (with a range 128 possible values each). Some of these parameters were, and still are, ‘hardwired’, but others were left free for people to assign to whatever they wanted.
In addition, MIDI equipment can be daisychained and used to return performance information to a sequencer. It’s absolutely impossible to overstate the contribution MIDI has made to modern music. Even today, it’s the language used within most sequencers to control most plug-in instruments.
It’s a credit to the system that, almost unchanged, it’s still built into very nearly every single bit of music software. It is beginning to show its age, but only slightly, and we hope that whatever system eventually replaces it is at least as future-proof and, even more importantly, as universally adopted as this.