Virtual Piano Keyboard VS Midi Keyboard VS Controller Keyboard

What Should You Buy? A Controller Keyboard, Virtual Piano Keyboard Or A Midi Keyboard

When people think of making music they have different ideas in their imagination. Some people play in groups, are fully fledged piano men or women in their own right, are songwriters, and others simply want to learn to play piano.

While buying a piano is an excellent idea for a lot of households, not everyone wants that sound, has the space, or the budget to purchase one. Moving onto the world of interfacing synthesizers with computers, in comes MIDI interfaces and associated keyboard setups.

Now, it may seem like a big plastic keyboard should be $50, they can be as expensive as an upright or baby grand piano. They may run into the thousands of dollars. For someone who is simply wanting to put their music into recorded form, this may be a bit out of the price range. And, the individual who wants to play for fun that could not afford the piano, will not be able to afford the keyboard option either.

Enter the virtual piano

The controller keyboard or the virtual piano are both keypads that do not make a sound on their own without any support from a computer.

The Virtual MIDI Piano makes and can receive MIDI sounds. It is capable of driving a MIDI synthesizer of any type. Whether it is internal or external or digital or analog it may work. It allows composition and playing by the click of a mouse, or by the more traditional tactile approach of a traditional keyboard.

The MIDI keyboard, by contrast, takes on a piano-style interface. The keyboard device sends the MIDI signals through a MIDI or USB cable. The sound can be sent onto other devices that are hooked up to the MIDI interface.

Just one example is the digital audio workstation (DAW). It is able to take sound and transfer it onto the other MIDI devices. It requires connection via a cable or can operate within a computer.

Even the MIDI keyboard does not actually produce any sound. At least that is true for the basic style. The MIDI information is transferred to an electronic module that makes the sound by mimicking sounds that resemble the sound of conventional instruments.

Remember how some styles of setups allow the individual to use a mouse to make sound, rather than a keyboard? Well, then it is no surprise to learn that MIDI keyboards resemble a piano keyboard interface.

Though, in addition, MIDI keyboard controllers usually will have special buttons to transfer MIDI signals. They are great at mimicking whatever rhythm and volume levels can be played similar to a natural sound emanating from a conventional instrument or piano keyboard.

Getting In Tune With Your Style

It is important to be intimately connected to a musician’s personal needs and process to get the most out of MIDI setups for performance and composition purposes.

The idea is to get down to the very minutiae of details as well. For one, knowing whether the individual requires a variety of volume levels and sounds that can be voiced is one starting point.

Are Virtual Instruments Necessary?

Typically, musicians who are heavily invested in synthesizers and keyboards, virtual instruments make sense and suit their musical styles well. In a word, yes, virtual instruments are likely to be necessary.

Though, they will act as a sound module found in the software called a virtual instrument. They effectively mimic the sound of all sorts of sounds, from a drum machine to orchestral instruments.

It allows a musician or composer to play those emulated sounds right through the computer. The software may interface in different manners.

Some software will be like an add-on or plug-in or host adapted for a DAW. Check out Avid or Garage Band for an idea of how these work. Of course, there are specialty aspects for performance.

This is where the fine details come more into focus. Performance musicians will want to pay attention here. Just for performances alone they may want software made to deliver layers of sound.

Choose Computers Wisely

The sounds and the instruments will only be as powerful as the computer that it relies on to run off of it. The computer itself will be making the sounds. Choose computers wisely. This is another area where the low-cost computer probably will not do well.

Spending a couple thousand dollars may be necessary to get the type of performance that is required. The musician is rewarded with instruments that are sometimes difficult to discern from their real traditional counterparts.

The musical instruments can range from everything from a convincing sounding church organ on down the line to a mellow horn. Be on the lookout for the types of sounds that are necessary to carry your music. Always know your instruments and choose a system that will be able to produce what you need most.

Even if you are typically locating the ancillary sounds, such as strings or synthesizers, be sure that the system you choose can perform up to your standards.

  • Composers need to ensure that their whole host of potential is capable of being reproduced.
  • For composers, who are setting original sounds up, being able to reproduce unique sounds is important.
  • To do this may require the space and the quality of sound to play back libraries of sound.
  • Overall, though, remember, compared to buying a whole orchestra, church organ and rock band’s worth of instruments, the computer route is much less expensive while allowing greater creative control.

Typically, you will only need to have access to a computer that has the ability to reproduce the sounds you want while being able to keep up with demands on memory and speed. Check out our MIDI Keyboard Controllers Buying Guide here.

Of course, finding the right type of keyboard controller is important as well. It must work with MIDI, of course. Everyone needs an audio interface or a MIDI interface. Monitors and a quality sound system are also necessary to make music through MIDI interfaces altogether.


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