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Chapter 2: Basics

MD for iPad Screen Overview

The first time you open MIDI Designer, you will see two sets of three pages on either side of the screen and a “more” button placed directly in the middle. The more button will display a set of other buttons that bring up more advanced pane, and give access to saving and loading presets.

iPad Screen Layout


1. more Button: The more button is the gateway to all MD features. When you are connected and playing your rig, it's small and unobtrusive, but it's the key to all the power of MD.

  • 2. Design Button: Enter Design mode from Play Mode.
  • 3. Config Button: Bring up the Config Pane for access to layout-wide parameters
  • 4. Log Button: Bring up the Log Pane for troubleshooting
  • 5. Accelo: Toggle accelerometer response in MD
  • 8. Page Tab Selectors
  • 9. Page Bank Selector (right)

By convention, the more button is rarely mentioned in this manual. However, on iPad, most functionality starts with more

MD for iPhone Screen Overview

Bottom Toolbar

iPhone Screen Layout
  • 1. Design Mode ON/OFF icon: Enter Design Mode.
  • 2. Presets: Browse different presets
  • 3. Config: Bring up the config panel to access layout wide properties.
  • 4. MIDI Log: shows the outgoing and incoming MIDI Data.
  • 5. Accelerometer: Toggle accelerometer response in MD
  • 6. Page Select
  • 7. Page Bank Selector
  • 8. Hide Button: Hide the bottom toolbar for more real estate
  • 9. Page Up and Down gutters.

On certain iPhone models, there is an additional pair of Page Up/Down buttons on the Toolbar.

Basic Concepts

Starting from Scratch: New Layout
Use Config → Actions → New to create a new layout


Controls are the basic building blocks of your layout. In MD, a control can be of two types:

  • Dynamic Controls: Respond to touch and can both send and receive MIDI messages. All types:
    • Knob
    • Slider
    • Crossfader (sideways slider)
    • Button
    • XY Pad
  • Decorative Controls:
    • Shape
    • Label
    • Panel

Each control has multiple display properties like LED color, name and label properties. In addition, dynamic controls have:

Dynamic controls can also be in more than one place in your layout via Control Copies.

MIDI Target

MD, like most MIDI controllers, does not itself produce sound. Instead, it controls one or more MIDI targets. A MIDI Target can be any hardware or software you can control via MIDI. Examples include:

  • Musical hardware including mixing boards, keyboards, MIDI guitars, electronic drums, and DJ consoles
  • Other iOS apps such as synths, DAWs, and effects
  • Software on other platforms, e.g., Ableton Live on OSX or Windows
  • Lighting for television and film via a MIDI-enabled console, e.g.: Ma Lighting

MMA MIDI Products List


Each MIDI Designer layout controls one or more MIDI targets. It consists of Page Banks containing Pages, and Pages containing Controls like knobs and buttons.

Layouts may be saved, loaded, and shared in a variety of ways.

Examples of layouts are a layout for the Roland JD-990, or a layout that a guitarist uses to get through a two-hour performance using MD.


Controls are organized into Pages

Pages have a name and other decorative properties including background color, background texture, and LED color for all controls on a page.

To switch between pages:

  • iPad: Press the Page tabs on the top of the GUI.
  • iPhone: Use the right and left arrow keys on the left hand side of the bottom tool bar, alternatively use single tap on the far right and far left side of your interface.
  • Across both platforms: Jump Buttons let you use a button to change pages.

iPad Only — MD uses a Two-Up Page Design, meaning that it shows two pages at once: one on the left side and one on the right side. Being able to display any two pages together makes your rig modular and flexible.

iPad Only — For some layouts, you may choose not to use the Two-Up Page Design. You can use the One Big Page feature to see a single page instead of two separate ones.

Page Bank

Pages of controls can be further organized into Page Banks. Each Page Bank can hold as few as one page, and a maximum of 6 pages.

In Play Mode, two principal methods may be used to change Banks: the Page Bank selectors and Bank Jump Buttons.


Presets represent all the values in your entire MIDI Designer setup. For example, a knob called “Sweep” might be set to 45° (or an outgoing MIDI value of 32). When you store a preset, that value is saved. When you recall a preset, all controls snap to the value they had at the time the preset was saved.

So your sweep knob would snap to 45° regardless or what position it's in, and that value would be sent out to all connected MIDI targets.

There are two types of Presets in MD:

  • Global Presets
  • Presets for Groups of controls

Chapter on Presets

Design Mode and Play Mode

Design Mode

Design Mode is used to create and modify your layout.

The main functions performed in Design Mode include:

    • Adding, deleting, copying and moving controls
    • Modifying control properties
    • Establishing relationships among controls
    • Adding, deleting, copying and moving pages
    • Modifying page properties
    • Saving, Loading, and Mailing pages

Play Mode

In Play Mode, your layout controls your MIDI target or targets and responds to external MIDI controllers.

Switch between Design and Play Mode on iPad:

  • Enter into “Design Mode” by pressing the Design Button (2).
  • A blue button will pop up saying “Exit Design Mode” with a lock next to it
  • To return to Play Mode, press Exit Design Mode.

To switch between Design and Play Mode on iPhone:

  • Enter into “Design Mode” by pressing the Design Button (1).
  • The Design Toolbar will come up, and the Design Button will now be blue.
    Design Toolbar, iPhone

  • Press the Design Button again to exit Design Mode.

Config Pane

The Config button brings up the Config Pane. The Config Pane contains MD-wide and layout-wide configuration options and actions. The Config Pane has the following tabs:

Config Pane
  1. Connectivity: all options for connecting MD to MIDI inputs and outputs: hardware, Wi-Fi and virtual
  2. MIDI: Options relating to realtime performance in MD, including Global Preset editing
  3. Actions: All layout-wide actions, including saving, loading and mailing
  4. Options: More layout-wide options for Play and Design Mode
  5. Pedalboards: All options related to Pedalboards in MD
  6. About: Version information and credits for MD

Log Pane

Sticky Panes on iPad

iPad Only — Press the red LED in the top right corner of a Pane to make it “sticky”


Pane, Not Sticky


Pane, Sticky


Panes are the small “dialog boxes” in MD for iPad:

  • Design Properties Pane (controls)
  • Design Page Properties Pane
  • Config Pane
  • Log Pane

Normally, when you touch outside of a Pane, it disappears

Press the red LED in the top right corner of a Pane to make it “sticky”

  • The green LED in the top right corner of a Pane indicates that it's “sticky”
  • You can move the Pane by dragging the title bar
  • The Pane will remain focused on whatever you were editing last. This is particularly useful in Design Mode for editing the same parameter for multiple controls.
  • Close the pane by pressing the (green) LED again
manual/02_basics.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/01 19:57 by jkhiser