There’s something about having a bit of hardware in front of you that can open up a whole new world of creativity. Having some physical faders and buttons to play with is so much more tactile and exciting than just constantly moving the mouse around in a DAW. Here’s how to add a MIDI controller to Logic and map the buttons and knobs to do whatever you want so you can level up your workflow.
How to add a MIDI controller
Most of the time, MIDI controllers will be basically ‘plug and play’. That means you just connect the output of the controller to your computer’s USB port and it should automatically recognise it and start working straight away.
If not, you can try resetting the MIDI drivers by going into Logic’s MIDI preferences. You find this in Logic Pro ➞ Preferences ➞ MIDI and pressing Reset All MIDI Drivers.
Once you’ve got everything setup and your MIDI controller working, it’s time to put all those knobs and switches to good use.
How to map MIDI controls
Many MIDI controllers are automatically supported by Logic which means that the controls will already be assigned to certain controls within Logic.
Controllers like this AKAI MPK249 will automatically map to Logic – but you may want to change what the knobs do.
Buttons control on-screen buttons, knobs control on-screen knobs and faders control on-screen faders. Simple stuff. Except in the case of if your controller only has one fader, in which case it will just control the mixer volume for the channel strip.
But what if your device isn’t automatically supported or you want to control something different with those knobs?
To assign a midi controller’s specific knob or fader to a parameter, press ⌘+L to enter “Learn Mode”. In this mode, click on any parameter you want to move and adjust the knob or fader you want in order to control it.
Once you’ve assigned the control, the knob will continue to change that parameter even after you leave learn mode.
This can be really useful for things like EQ filters where you can now have constant control over the low and high pass filters for example.
You might also want to try mapping each of the knobs on your controller to a different parameter on your synth plugin so that you get full hands-on control of your synth, leaving you freer to experiment with your sound, like you might with an actual hardware synth.
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