In MIDI, numbers are neutral, so the conversion is a matter of simple massage. I would direct you to the MIDI tutorials in Max as a good way to understand and master the basic concepts. Choosing "Max Tutorials" from the Help menu an scrolling down to the MIDI section will show you all of them. I strongly suspect that looking at them will help you not only answer your question, but the next 4 or 5 questions as well.
Ok, thanks for your help. I've looked over all the tutorials and understand most of it. The one thing that still eludes me though is how to get the numbers from the controller to play a midi note. I've got them routed down from my controller into select then I'm missing something to change them into midi. Is it a sig~?
Ultimately I want my controller to play a simple synth (which I've already built)so once I can this sorted I should be fine.