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Thread: USB MIDI without a computer?

  1. #11
    ppp Pianississmo OregonJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momboc View Post
    What keyboards are you trying to connect?
    I have several - for example, a Roland RD-2000 and a Yamaha PSR-EW400. The Yamaha only has USB-MIDI. The Roland has both USB-MIDI and 5-pin DIN. I'm looking for a generic solution, not a device-specific one.

    I refuse to use a computer to act as a USB host for this simple task. But, the more I think about it, a Raspberry Pi might be the ideal solution. Some fairly simple Python code could get two USB-MIDI devices to talk to each other. Yes, it is technically a "computer", but it eliminates most of the drawbacks of using a conventional laptop in live situations (knocking/tripping over, being stolen, extra stands/cables/power supplies/space, constant OS upgrades breaking things, random latency issues, crashes, etc, etc...).
    Hammond E-182
    Yamaha Electone HE-6, PSR-EW400
    Roland RD-2000, X-10
    Alesis QS8.2, Korg MicroX

  2. #12
    p Piano John Kinkennon's Avatar
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    Check out the USB audio interfaces with MIDI via USB and the MIDI merging devices from MOTU (as an example) for an up to date perspective on MIDI over USB. The old 5-pin connector is a dinosaur as MIDI via USB is at least 200 times faster than the old 31250 bit rate that allowed a throughput of one MIDI transport per millisecond, give or take. There is really no excuse for latency over a couple of milliseconds with current, updated, PCs or Macs.

    I've run wireless MIDI between Raspberry Pi Zero's with promising results as well. My experience is with organ consoles running Hauptwerk. I design my own encoders and decoders and my current console connects four keyboards, pedals, stops and pistons, plus organ status and control information, all on a single USB cable. That one cable and power goes to a remote audio interface and speaker power control relays. No huge snake to remote this console.

    EDIT: OregonJim, I see you are living nearby. Look up my contact info on the web site below and come visit sometime.

  3. #13
    p Piano John Kinkennon's Avatar
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    To get back to the original question, the Raspberry Pi approach might work well. The keyboard USB would have to be class compliant -- no custom drivers. With the $10 price tag I'd set up one Pi Zero for each keyboard with an OTG adapter so each Raspberry Pi can present a MIDI host port. Then each PI converts the MIDI packets to TTL in and out at either 31.25k or 115k. Cross-connected they should work.

    This is kind of the reverse of the usual USB-MIDI adapter cable that connects to computer host ports. In this case the connection is to a pair of device ports which is harder. Seems like someone should have this on the market...

    EDIT: Here's the Kenton USB host device -- pricey for two of these: http://www.kentonuk.com/products/ite...usb-host.shtml
    Last edited by John Kinkennon; 12-27-2017 at 06:49 AM. Reason: add link

  4. #14
    pp Pianissimo KC9UDX's Avatar
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    I run all my Pis headless. I can VNC in from a "smartphone" if I have to. But usually I use an Amiga 2000. I don't normally need to do that, and if I used one for converting USB to proper MIDI, I don't think I'd have to.

  5. #15
    p Piano KOC62's Avatar
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    There may be other solutions, like using a Teensy3x processor that is much smaller than a Raspberry Pi. This hardware could certainly do it. However, I'm not fully conversant with what exactly this midi - usb interface is to accomplish. I would need to learn the technical details for me to explore this midi-usb interface further.
    e.g. http://codeandlife.com/2016/01/17/mi...ith-teensy-lc/

    Peter.

  6. #16
    p Piano John Kinkennon's Avatar
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    That's a nice link to a really clear MIDI-USB project, KOC62. The Teensy is a super easy connection as a MIDI device. I recently spent a few hours looking for a simple way to do a host port on a Teensy as opposed to the device port. I came up empty at the time but any day now we might see a host port (OTG) on a Teensy.

    I see that the iConnect4+ has a host port but here again the cost high for this application. https://www.iconnectivity.com/produc...nnectmidi4plus
    Also their 12 port audio interface has a host port and looks exciting for VPO organ builders wanting to put both console MIDI and multichannel audio on the same computer. BTW both of the iConnectivity devices can also remote MIDI via ethernet -- a whole 'nuther subject that will continue to gain popularity.

  7. #17
    mp Mezzo-Piano Momboc's Avatar
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    A Bomebox should do want you want (and more)

    USD $245

    https://www.bome.com/products/bomebox#
    Last edited by Momboc; 02-13-2018 at 04:08 AM.
    My modular, MIDI controlled, software driven virtual 'organ' thread is here: http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...l=1#post427320

  8. #18
    ff Fortissimo Tim_at_Jonas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kinkennon View Post

    EDIT: Here's the Kenton USB host device -- pricey for two of these: http://www.kentonuk.com/products/ite...usb-host.shtml
    For Kenton in the US, we go to perfectcircuitaudio.com If they don't have it, we order direct.

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