I keep seeing a lot of confusion online about what it takes to connect a USB based MIDI controller to synths or grooveboxes, with some people recommending the wrong gear or just giving bad advice. A lot of this centers over the difference between a USB MIDI Host and a USB MIDI Interface cable:

Unlike regular 5 PIN MIDI, which lets you connect MIDI devices to each other directly, USB MIDI works very differently. A USB MIDI based device cannot connect to other USB MIDI devices directly. USB MIDI devices can only connect to USB MIDI hosts. So, for two USB MIDI devices to speak with each other, you need a USB MIDI Host to route communications back and forth.


This video looks at 3 different USB MIDI Host configurations: 
1. Standalone
2. Raspberry Pi
3. Computer based hosts. 

As a “bonus”, I also explore using Bluetooth to connect to devices with 5 PIN connectors using a relatively inexpensive Bluetooth MIDI bridge from Yamaha, with an iPhone or iPad serving as a host.

Here’s a timeline of the topics covered in this video:

0:00 USB MIDI problems
1:00 Regular 5 PIN MIDI
1:30 USB: host & device
1:50 The device problem
3:00 Host vs. interface
3:40 Standalone hosts
5:00 Plugging it in right every time
6:30 Hooking it up
7:20 Using Raspberry Pi
7:50 BomeBox & others
8:20 Computer as host
9:50 Manipulating MIDI
10:10 Wireless MIDI
11:50 More MIDI tips

Hopefully this video will help clear the issue up!

2 Comments

  1. Great Tips and Tricks video. I learned alot. Keep up the great work and Video’s

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