organize your midi mail

I have no idea man, I just connect this funny looking cable to my computer and it works. Well my friend, that may be true, but its time to understand some basic facts about MIDI so you can use it to help you do crazy stuff like my custom VCI-100 midi mod.

Most of you may own a midi controller but few people actually know what MIDI really is. Lets boil away the excess technical fat and get down the meat of the matter. MIDI is a communication format sort of like an email. Each midi message has diffrent parts just like every email message has sender, receiver, Subject and body. So, each time you hit a key on your VCI-100, your sending a midi email to your computer. The VCI is the sender and the computer is the receiver.

Each midi email contains the following info:

What Channel is this message on

This helps keep the messages from getting mixed up, kind of like folders in your gmail account. If 2 buttons both have the same value (like note E5) then they will both trigger the same things in your software. BUT, if you put them on different midi channels then they will never conflict. Very helpful, I use this a lot when i want a button to send out 5 different messages.

What is my message number

This the actual type of the message and its unique identifier. That could include any note including A,B,C,D,E,F,G (octaves 1-5) or Control Changes 1-120. A midi button can be any of these messages, you just happen to have a lot so you wont run out of choices.

What is my message value

This is basically how hard is a button pushed, and is the button or knob ON or OFF.
The range is 0-127
For instance, when you first hit a button really hard it sends out 127. That tells the computer that the button was pushed and with the highest pressure. Then when you release the button the VCI sends out a 0 value telling the computer that it was just released. Knobs work the same way. All the way to the left is 0 and all the way to the right is 127. As I said all midi buttons can be programmed to send out midi mail as a CC number or a NOTE. If they are a CC number then they send data just like the example above. If they are notes they also send out note on and note off info. That is usually reserved for keyboards but the VCI-100 is using note on/off data for its buttons.

Something cool:

Want to make a midi knob only turn up an effect’s virtual knob half way but you want the full range of the knob? Then change the way its programmed so it only sends out values 0-63. This way, when the knob is turned all the way to the right , the virtual knob in the computer will only be turned up half way.

Dj Tutorialsmidi translatorTips
Comments (7)
Add Comment
  • Kool Kid 123

    How do you actually change the midi message?

  • CionniAsd

    “Then change the way its programmed”

    Ean, how i can do it??

  • Ean Golden

    HI, I have tried many ways to put "super knobs" into effect within TRaktor,

    You don't need to put them on different channels. Its just a matter of assigning the right things in the right way to the same knob on the same channel. Traktor does support multi midi channels but the vci does not send out on anything but channel 1. I think a Traktor focused super knob tutorial is in order.

  • CJ

    HI, I have tried many ways to put "super knobs" into effect within TRaktor, but as you have said, I would need to get each message on different channels. If that makes sense, however I have assign the 5 diffrent functions I want the knob to respond to on 5 different channels, but the software only responds to the changes on ch1. How do I knoow which channels the VCI is communicating through and how so I enable it to communicate through other channels?

  • Oskar

    Hi there Ean,

    It's a pleasure to read your posts and by all means, do keep posting them! Thanks a lot.


  • Editor

    Glad to help! is there any other things about midi that have people confused?

  • Jesse

    I just got my hands on the VCI-100 over the weekend (Black Friday sale at Guitar Center) and I've been on it all weekend long. I am currently running Virtual DJ on my laptop which worked fine when I set it up to work with the VCI but a lot of the buttons on the VCI weren't activated/programmed to work with VDJ. I didn't really like Traktor all that much so I spent a couple of hours figuring out how to give each button an action to perform while mixing on VDJ and I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. Every button now has a function that helps my mix in some way. I'm a beginner to the MIDI world so posts like these really help me out. Thanks!