Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 1, last updated 6/25/2013
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1.5.2.3 Drivers
A driver is a program that allows a peripheral device such as a printer or sound interface to
communicate with your computer. When you attach an external sound interface to your
computer, you have to be sure that the appropriate driver is installed. Generally you're given a
driver installation disk with the sound interface, but it's better to go to the manufacturer's website
and download the latest version of the driver. Be sure to download the version appropriate for
your operating system. Drivers are pretty easy to install. You can look for instructions at the
manufacturer's website and follow the steps in the windows that pop up as you do the
installation. Remember that if you upgrade to a new operating system, you'll probably need to
upgrade your driver as well. Some interfaces come with additional interface related software
that allows access to internal settings, controls, and DSP provided by the interface. This extra
software may be packaged with the driver or it may be optional, but either way it is usually quite
handy to install as well.
1.5.2.4 MIDI Keyboard
A MIDI keyboard is required to input MIDI performance data into your computer. A MIDI
keyboard itself makes no instrument sounds. It simply sends the MIDI data to the computer
communicating the keys pressed and other performance data collected, and the software handles
the playback of instruments and sounds. There exist MIDI keyboards that are a combination
MIDI input device and audio interface. These are called audio interface keyboards.
Consolidating the MIDI keyboard and the audio interface into one component is convenient
because it‟s easier to transport. The downside is that features and functionality may be more
limited, and all the functionality is tied into one device, so if that one device breaks or becomes
outdated, you lose both tools. Standalone MIDI controller keyboards connect either to your
computer directly using USB, or to the MIDI input and output of a separate external audio
interface. MIDI keyboards come in several sizes. Your choice of size depends on how many keys
you think you need. Figure 1.5 and Figure 1.6 show examples of USB MIDI keyboard
controllers.
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