Resources for the Recording Musician
February 18, 2013

MIDI and Audio - Connections

If I'm going to MIDI my Korg Extreme to an audiobox 44VSL interface to do everything one needs to in order to record...Am I still going to be using 1/4" (phono) cables as well? (from Korg to interface)
Also, while I got'cha, could you Please turn us dummys onto a site showing the ORDER in connecting and disconnecting, which cables to use, MIDI in's and out's etc.
Thanks so much

First of all, have a look at this short question and answer about MIDI vs Audio to make sure you know the difference:

You can also do an internet search for "MIDI vs Audio" if you want a more detailed explanation.

But, the short answer is "Yes", you will still need audio cables to go from your Extreme outputs to the audio inputs on your audio interface, IF you want to record the sounds from your Korg into your computer.

I did a very quick search for Korg Extreme, and it appears that it also has USB connectors, and so you could use those instead of MIDI cables to interface directly with your computer and record MIDI information, as well as edit patches as such for your Korg.  However, it depends on the type of computer and operating system, and you need to make sure you have the correct drivers.  If the USB thing doesn't work, then, Yes, you can use MIDI cables and take the MIDI OUT from the Korg, connect it to the MIDI IN of your audiobox.  Then, you also do the opposite with a second MIDI cable going from the MIDI OUT of the audiobox to the MIDI IN of your Korg.  Now you have MIDI connections both TO and FROM your Korg, going into your computer via the audiobox.

Again, you need to remember that MIDI is NOT audio/sound.  It's just data that represents notes, timing, velocity, and other controller information.  There is no sound data in it.  The way you would use MIDI is to record the MIDI data for your performance into the computer (using the Korg to transmit MIDI from its MIDI OUT port to the MIDI IN port of your audiobox, and set the computer software to record the MIDI data from that MIDI IN port).  Then, you can edit that MIDI data on your computer to fix bad notes or timing issues or anything else you want to do with it.  When you "play" that MIDI data, in order to hear the sounds from your Korg, you need to have that MIDI data routed out through the MIDI OUT port of your audiobox which should be connected to the MIDI IN on your Korg.  You then need to make sure you have your Korg set to properly receive the MIDI data and play back the appropriate sound on the correct MIDI channel that is being transmitted to it (there are separate MIDI channels that can be transmitted across one MIDI cable and one set of MIDI ports).

Also, if you have software synths (such as VST instruments) in your computer, your Korg can act as just a MIDI controller that you can use to send your performance info into the computer and trigger sounds with those software synths.  If you are using the Korg in that way, and don't need to hear the Korg sounds, then you would only need the MIDI connections and not the audio connections between the Korg and the audiobox.

As far as order for connecting MIDI, it doesn't matter which gets connected first.  If you only have the Korg and the Audiobox, then you only need 2 cables.  OUT to IN and IN to OUT as described above.  OUT from one device goes to IN on another device, and vice versa.  It can get a little trickier if you have multiple MIDI devices, in which case you will either need a multi-port MIDI interface for your computer, or do some daisy chaining with MIDI THRU ports.

If you've never worked with MIDI before, then this can all seem a bit confusing.  But, spend some time with it and do some internet searching for more detailed articles and tutorials.  Once you play around with it and get it all working, it will soon make sense and seem fairly simple.

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