MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a protocol that was specifically designed for digital synthesizers. The idea is that you can control, record, and playback music using MIDI on these synthesizers.
Event related messages like velocity, pitch, notation, and clock signals for tempo can be transferred using a MIDI keyboard app on the Android platform. This will make your life easier as a keyboard player and musician.
MIDI also facilitates communication between different musical instruments allowing them to control each other’s behavior. A very useful tool for shaping sounds after they leave the keyboard.
Instead of using a laptop, you can now use MIDI apps on your droid to do the same. Let’s take a look at some of the really good ones.
1. Wireless Mixer
Wireless Mixer, as the name suggests, will allow you to control your keyboard wirelessly. This will reduce cord clutter which is so common in the music studios. This doesn’t mean you can do away with your laptop. You will still need a DAW or computer with your favorite software.
You can control channel mute, record, and solo buttons along with level sliders. Each channel will have 3 knobs and 2 buttons to help you manage output. There are a total of 12 channels. The interface is not customizable enough but does the job. You will need DAW.
The app is ad-supported and there is no way to get rid of them. Personally, it annoyed me a little to have ads on a music instrument. It was distracting.
TouchDAW comes with a user manual that I would recommend you to go through. It is a powerful app that comes with a number of features. The UI packs a lot of options which makes it a little difficult to set up but once you do, you will love it.
You can connect via Wi-Fi or USB cable. For the latter, I would suggest RTPMIDI to make the process easier. There is support for a number of workstations like Reason, Samplitude, and Vegas/Acid.
For Apple users, TouchDAW is compatible with Network MIDI implementation in MacOS. It comes with multi-touch keyboard and launchpads, mixer, and xy-controller pads.
Though the UI is neat and looks great, setup will be a little difficult due to too many features and options. But once you get it right, it will work amazingly well.
The free version is limited but good for testing app. The paid version will cost you $4.99 but you get DAW controller and MIDI control in the same app.
Everybody loves Synthesia but sadly, the software is only available on the PC. MIDI Melody is looking to solve this problem by bringing the same functionality to your Android. You can now visualize notes falling as you hit different keystrokes on your piano. Looks cool.
Don’t worry, you are going to use an actual piano because the app can be easily connected to your piano via USB. This is a great way to learn how to play a piano because sight reading is not easy for everyone. This also makes it easy to work with MDI files.
You can increase/decrease the length of the keys by zooming in and out using your fingers. The color codes are customizable. The app was developed to do one thing and it does it well.
MIDI Melody is an app for newbies who are looking to learn. The app is free and ad-supported but you can upgrade it to remove them.
A simple little app that was built to be used by software developers as well as keyboard players who are looking to control their tools like Reason and Ableton Live. A great MIDI input device to send MIDI files from your Android to PC.
There is no Wi-Fi support so you will need a USB cable to connect your droid to the PC. Not a deal breaker as MIDI Keyboard app for Android works right out of box with little configuration needed on your end.
Advanced features like dual keyboard and the ability to change octaves are not there but the app was never built for that.
MIDI Keyboard is a free to use app and there are no ads. The UI is clean and clutter-free.
MIDI Commander is a cool MIDI message transmitter that will allow you to customize buttons. Each button can be configured to control and change different aspects. You can also select the number of buttons that you want to have.
Once the buttons and knobs are configured, you can connect your droid to your keyboard and start experimenting. Like other Android MIDI controller keyboard apps mentioned before, you can use it to manage frequency, tempo, velocity, and so on and so forth.
MIDI Commander is a free to use app with no ads or in-app purchases.
Piano MIDI Legend is a dual purpose app. It is not only a keyboard MIDI app but also doubles as a piano app for those who like to practice octaves in their free time. There is no support for Wi-Fi however USB cable works just fine.
There is support for other instruments too, for those who can handle keyboard and guitar both. The layout is good and the UI is functional, however, you can’t see all the keys at the same time which kind of defeats the purpose. More suitable for tablets with larger screen.
Piano MIDI Legend is a freemium app with ads that you can remove by upgrading.