Gearphoria Volume 7, Number 1

What do you know about MIDI? More pedals have MIDI ports today than ever before 24 GEARPHORIA SEP/OCT 2018 SOME OF THE more advanced digital effects pedals from manu- facturers such as Eventide, Stry- mon, Line 6, TC, Boss and Moog among others, include MIDI interfaces, but why would you need MIDI on an effects pedal? MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It was originally developed in the 1980’s as a standard protocol to allow electronic music devices such as keyboards, synthesizer modules, and sequencers from different manufacturers to communicate. The standard is maintained by the MIDI Manufacturers Association. MIDI is a simple, low cost, low speed, digital protocol that does not require fancy cables or con- nectors, and can be transmitted over a reasonably long distance. It’s remained stable with minimal changes over the years. This makes it relatively simple to setup and use on stage and in a studio. Most MIDI compatible equipment will work together at least on a base level, regardless of age. Although it was originally con- ceived for electronic music, MIDI has proved extremely flexible and useful beyond its initial use cases. We now find MIDI used with all sorts of different instruments, in- cluding guitar. There are a few con- cepts that make MIDI useful in the effects pedal field; synchronization, multi-function, and automation. Synchronization allows multiple devices to synchronize and com- municate timing information. MIDI provides a MIDI Time Code (MTC) and MIDI Beat Clock. The MTC contains hour, minute, second, and frame information. It’s similar, and can easily be translated, to SMPTE which is a common time synch protocol used in film and TV. This is useful if you are trying to automate actions or sync to an external source such as a computer. Imagine you are recording a sound track for a video, and you want to sync repeats on your delay pedal to changes in the video. MTC is clock information, it has no musical basis. The MIDI Beat clock, sometimes just called MIDI Clock has its basis in musical measures rather than minutes and seconds. Beat clock messages are