MIDI Glossary

Baud : The speed at which data is transmitted. MIDI operates at 31250 baud (or 31.25 kilobaud), which means that a continuous stream of data of 31250 bits of information per second are sent. However, ten bits per byte are required, and three bytes for a MIDI message. That comes to about one thousand MIDI messages per second.

Binary : There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who read binary, and those who don’t. It is the basic ON/OFF system of all computer data at its deepest level.

Bit : BInary digiT, A single binary character.

Byte : 8 bits..

Chain : Connecting a series of modules or devices in sequence along a single MIDI line.

Channel : MIDI controls 16 channels. This allows 16 distinct messages to be sent to 16 different channel IDs. Note that any equipment set with ‘omni on’ will simply ignore channel numbers and respond to all messages. Drum units default to Channel 10. (CH) on a Zendrum.

Crossfade : See Velocity Split.

Crosstalk : When striking a trigger also triggers a nearby trigger accidentally. Adjustable on the Zendrum by setting the ‘noise floor’ (FL) value.

DIN connector : This is the most common plug/socket used for MIDI. It is also called a 5-way 180-degree DIN.

Event : Any transmitted MIDI message.

Exclusive Dump : Outputs SYSEX data. (Ed) on Zendrum.

Exclusive Receive : Inputs SYSEX data. (Er) on Zendrum.

Hexadecimal (hex) : Hexadecimal Base 16 counting (ordinary numbers are Base 10). Many MIDI software packages represent the MIDI data in Hex, which is far more compact than the native Binary.

Kilobyte (k) : 1024 bytes.

Noise Floor : The lowest number to accept as volume data from a trigger. Lighter hits are ignored. (FL) on the Zendrum.

Note : Used to assign what pad will trigger what sound, using standard MIDI default drum mapping. (no) on a Zendrum.

Omni : Makes an instrument reply to ALL MIDI channel signals

Poly / Polyphony : The number of different sounds that may be simultaneously heard. A unit with 4 note polyphony will cut the first note short if a fifth note is played on top of it.

Port : A physical socket like MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU.

Program change : Sends a message to change a sound set.

Serial : MIDI is a form of serial. It just means one bit must follow another, with no true simultaneous data.

SYSEX / System exclusive : Is data exclusively used by a single product. Usually containing massive amounts of customized and setup data. Zendrum’s exclusive identifier is 0X69.

System messages : MIDI messages that do not use a channel. They will be executed by all attached devices.

THRU : Provides a pass of what is received on the IN socket to allow multiple items to be connected.

Velocity Curve : Changes the ratio and ‘feel’ of trigger pressure to volume response. (rC) on the Zendrum.

Velocity Split : Defines where a sound changes to a different sound due to ho hard the trigger is hit.

Volume : In MIDI, there are 127 levels of volume. (UL) on the Zendrum will alter the max output (useful if chaining).

Word : A group of bits that is longer than a byte.