What is an Input Device?

What is an Input Device?

25/03/2019 7 By Nigel

What is a Midi (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) input device? Well, it could be your computer keyboard and mouse or a Midi Keyboard or a Midi controller.

Computer Keyboard and Mouse as an Input Device.

Musical Typing window.

What is an Input Device picture of Musical Typing window in Logic ProX.Here is the Musical Typing window in Logic ProX. As you can see you can use the corresponding letter on the computer keyboard to input the notes, pitch bend, modulation, sustain, octave and velocity of the Steinway Grand Piano (patch). You can also point your cursor to the key and press the mouse button. You can even play chords on your computer keyboard.



Step Time Editor.

What is an Input Device picture of the Step Time Editor used in Logic to input notes as notation directly from your computer keyboard or mouse.

Here is the Step Time Editor used in Logic to input notes as notation directly from your computer keyboard or mouse. You can edit each note and drag them using your mouse.

The Midi Keyboard.

What is an Input Device picture of an M-Audio Midi keyboard.What is an Input Device picture of the Midi keyboard controller has a volume slider octave - + controls and pitch bend and modulation wheels.


This is an M-Audio Midi keyboard. This keyboard can not play without a computer or sound module it is a controller not a synthesizer or a piano keyboard. The Midi keyboard controller has a volume slider octave – + controls and pitch bend and modulation wheels. Having these controls makes it a lot easier to adjust the midi parameters than just using your computer keyboard. The keyboard connects to your computer via USB. It can also be powered using the USB.

The Midi keyboard pictured has 49 keys, you can also get 25, 32, 61 and full scale 88 keys. The keys can be fully weighted hammer-action to give a natural feel, just like playing a piano. The keys are velocity-sensitive as well as have after touch. After-Touch enables the player to add vibrato which is a rapid slight variation in pitch, producing a stronger or richer tone.



All this information is sent to the computers DAW as Midi-Messages. A Midi Message is an instruction that controls some aspect of the receiving device. There are five types of messages or commands; Channel Voice, Channel Mode, System Common, System Real-Time and System Exclusive.


Channel Voice messages.

Channel Voice messages such as ‘Note-on’ tells the DAW software which note to play/record a velocity value or how hard the note is being played (not volume but attack) and the Midi channel number, up to 16 channels. It also sends ‘Note-off’ messages that end a note so you can control the sustain of the note (how long it lasts). Program change messages can change the ‘patch’ or instrument being played. You can go from playing a Saxophone to a Trumpet with midi program change.

Midi messages is a very extensive topic, however, If you want to know more about Midi messages click here.

The Midi Controller – Drums, Pads and Complete DAW Control.

What is an Input Device picture of a complete drum kit Midi controller.

This Midi controller is a complete drum kit. All the pads can be programmed to do different things and have different drum sounds. This kit can be used as a controller which triggers the drum sounds in your DAW.

So a drummer can play in real-time along with the track, and that Midi information, again Midi messages, can be recorded and edited to match the song. If the drummer is not quite in time, no problem the tempo can be edited using Flex-time.

This is a real advance in technology. Back in the day it would sometimes take all day in the studio just to get the sound of the drums right. With conventional drum kits when you hit something, things rattle, and with the very sensitive microphones used in the recording studio you would hear every little rattle and hum! We used to use Gaffer tape to secure the nuts and bolts of the drum-heads to stop them making such a din!





Drum Pads.

what is an input device picture of The Yamaha Multi-voice Multi-Effect pads.


The Yamaha Multi-voice Multi-Effect pads. Really love using these Pads, much better than trying to play drums on your keyboard keys! You can really hit these things hard! The Trigger function is amazing! Up to four different voices can be assigned to each pad. Also, has ‘stack mode’ where all notes assigned to a pad are triggered together! For music production using DAW it really is something!



USB – DAW Controller.

What is an Input Device picture of a DAW controller

Now with this little baby you can control everything that your DAW can do! It has a universal control surface with 9 Touch-Sensitive Motor Faders, yes motorised faders! So this means it will follow any automation written in your DAW.

This DAW controllers numerous possibilities with hands-on control over the most important parameters. The unit is compatible with all professional DAWs. Every fader, knob and button is fully assignable. Each channel also has a fully assignable rotary control with an LED collar to show current values.

This really is an amazing piece of kit! Basically, it’s a universal DAW remote control for your studio! It also allows for ‘on-the-fly’ adjustments of your favourite parameters, it remembers what you do with each fader and button in real-time and records the movements so it can play it back. Built-in 2×2 USB MIDI interface for direct connection to Mac or PC. And if that wasn’t enough it comes with 2 dedicated foot switch connectors and one foot controller input for external remote control! It is so simple to set up, just plug it in and start enhancing your mixes. I love this piece of kit!


So, the midi input device is a computer keyboard and mouse or a Midi Keyboard or a Midi controller. It can be a Drum-kit or pads and a DAW remote control. These are all major advances in the world of home studio recording! The automation has made life in the studio a doddle! Back in the day, we would all gather around the mixing desk for the final mix, and by hand make sure the lead vocal and lead guitar were turned up at the right moment in the mix! Someone would always make a mistake and we could spend hours doing the mastering! Now it’s all done automatically! Happy days indeed!

Here is my review on the Roland A-49 MIDI Keyboard Controller Have a read, this is a great 49 key controller.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions about what an Input Device is, or you want to add to this post, please leave a comment below.