The MIDI connector allows audio equipment and music software to communicate with each other.MIDI uses a digital communication protocol to transmit messages between devices.">

MIDI connector - Everything you need to know !

The MIDI connector allows audio equipment and music software to communicate with each other.
The MIDI connector allows audio equipment and music software to communicate with each other.

MIDI connector

A MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) connector is a digital communication standard that allows electronic musical instruments, audio equipment, and music software to communicate with each other.

It is widely used in the music industry to connect and control various devices, such as keyboards, synthesizers, MIDI controllers, sequencers, drum machines, computers, sound modules, audio effects, and more.

MIDI connectors can come in a variety of shapes, but the most common are five-pin DIN
Circular DIN Audio/Video Connectors All male connectors (plugs) of this type have a circular outer metal frame with a diameter of 13.2 mm, with a keying that prevents connection in an incorrect orientation.
connectors. There are two types of five-pin MIDI connectors :

MIDI IN connector : Used to receive MIDI data from other devices.

MIDI OUT connector : Used to send MIDI data to other devices.

Some MIDI devices may also be equipped with a THRU MIDI connector, which is used to retransmit MIDI data received from the MIDI IN connector without modifying it. This allows multiple MIDI devices to be daisy-chained together while maintaining the same sequence of MIDI data.

The MIDI connector uses an asynchronous serial protocol to transmit digital data, such as note messages, program control messages, controller messages, mode change messages, and more. This data is transmitted as binary signals that represent musical events and control commands.

MIDI : the principle

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) works on the principle of digital communication between different electronic musical devices such as keyboards, synthesizers, MIDI controllers, computers, and other audio equipment. Here's how MIDI works :

MIDI : the messages

In the MIDI standard, messages are units of data that allow different electronic musical devices to communicate with each other. These MIDI messages carry various information about actions performed on a device, such as notes played on a keyboard, modulation movements, program changes, and more. Here are some common types of messages in the MIDI standard :

  • On/Off Note Messages :
    Note On messages are sent when a note is played on a keyboard or other MIDI instrument. They contain information about the note being played, the velocity (strike force), and the MIDI channel on which the note is sent.
    Note Off messages are sent when a note is released. They indicate the end of the note and contain information similar to that of Note On messages.

  • Control Messages :
    MIDI control messages are used to change the parameters of a MIDI instrument or effect. For example, they can be used to change the volume, modulation, panning, etc.
    These messages contain a MIDI controller number (for example, the volume control number is 7) and a value that represents the desired setting for that controller.

  • Program Change Messages :
    Program change messages are used to select different sounds or patches on a MIDI instrument. Each message contains a MIDI program number that corresponds to a specific sound on the device.

  • Synchronization Messages :
    MIDI Sync Messages are used to synchronize MIDI devices with a common sync clock. They include Start, Stop, Continue, Clock, etc., messages to coordinate the timing of different devices in a MIDI setup.

  • Messages from Sysex (System Exclusive) :
    Sysex messages are special messages used for exclusive communications between specific devices. They allow MIDI device manufacturers to send custom data for configuration, firmware update, and more.

MIDI : the advantages

The MIDI protocol offers several significant advantages in the field of electronic music and music production :

Universal interconnectivity : MIDI is an open standard that is widely adopted in the music industry. This means that MIDI devices from different manufacturers can communicate with each other, providing great interoperability between instruments, controllers, software, and other MIDI equipment.

Flexibility in sound creation : MIDI allows musicians and producers to manipulate and control a wide variety of sound parameters in real-time. This includes manipulating notes, sounds, effects, volume, modulation, and more, providing a lot of creative flexibility in creating music.

Easy recording and editing : MIDI allows you to record musical performances as MIDI data, which can be edited, modified, and reworked at will. This allows artists to fine-tune their music, make adjustments to arrangements and performances, and create complex musical sequences.

Reduced resource consumption : MIDI data is light in terms of bandwidth and system resources. This means that MIDI performances can be run on computers and devices with relatively modest hardware specifications, making it an accessible option for a wide range of musicians and producers.

Device Sync : MIDI allows for the precise synchronization of multiple MIDI devices, such as sequencers, drum machines, controllers, and effects, using MIDI sync messages such as Start, Stop, and Clock. This ensures precise coordination between the musical elements of a performance or production.

Parameter Automation : MIDI Allows the automation of sound parameters and control movements recorded in audio software and MIDI sequencers. This allows users to create dynamic variations in their music without having to manually adjust each parameter.

MIDI : concrete use

Let's take a DJ MIDI controller, such as the recent Hercules DJ Control Air+ or Pioneer DDJ-SR, among others. When the user switches a crossfader from one deck to another, a MIDI Control Change message is sent via USB
The USB bus is also said to \Hot pluggable\, that is to say that you can connect and disconnect a USB with the PC on. The system installed on the PC (Windows, linux...) recognizes it immediately. The USB has a very interesting feature : it's the mode standby when not using the device. Also known as \Power conservation\ :
to the host computer.
It is decoded and interpreted in real time by the piloted software, Djuced 40 or Serato DJ, in our examples. However, the MIDI message chosen by either controller brand is not necessarily the same to perform the same action, only the MIDI standard is common.
This implies that a controller is (more or less) attached to software. Here again, the user can intervene.
The MIDI jacks on the back of synthesizers often go in 3s
The MIDI jacks on the back of synthesizers often go in 3s

MIDI : the takes

The MIDI jacks on the back of synthesizers often go in 3s. Their meaning :

  • MIDI IN : Receives information from another MIDI device

  • MIDI OUT : Sends the MIDI data emitted by the musician or user through this jack

  • MIDI THRU : Copies the data received over MIDI IN and sends it back to another MIDI device

For example, Traktor by Native Instrument or Cross by Mixvibes know how to receive configuration information created by a controller manufacturer to adapt to it. The term mapping is then used. And if this information does not exist, the DJ should consider creating it using the software's MIDI Learn function.
To avoid this, it is therefore advi
The \Digital Visual Interface\ (DVI) or Digital Video Interface was invented by the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG). It is a digital connection used to connect a graphics card to a screen.
It is advantageous (compared to VGA) on the screens where the pixels are physically separated. The DVI connection so significantly improves the quality of the display to the VGA connection with :
sable to find out about the existence of these famous mappings before purchase, especially if you plan to use the controller with a software other than the one delivered as standard !

NOON : essential !

In a MIDI cable, only data about a musician's playing or parameter actions from buttons circulate. No audio ! So you can never talk about MIDI sound, but about MIDI data.
This data does not produce sound, but only gives commands to a sound generator, software or any other hardware compatible with the MIDI standard. And it is the latter who are then responsible for producing the sound resulting from the MIDI command sent.


Initial development (1970s) :
The initial development of MIDI began in the 1970s when manufacturers of electronic musical instruments were looking for a standardized way to allow their equipment to communicate with each other.

Introduction of the MIDI protocol (1983) :
In 1983, MIDI was officially introduced by a group of musical instrument manufacturers, including Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Sequential Circuits, and others. MIDI was unveiled at the Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) National Convention.

Standardization (1983-1985) :
Over the next few years, the MIDI protocol was standardized by the International MIDI Association, allowing for widespread adoption of the standard in the music industry.

Expansion and adoption (1980s) :
In the years since its introduction, MIDI has been widely adopted by electronic musical instrument manufacturers, recording studios, musicians, and producers. It has become the de facto protocol for communication between electronic music devices.

Continuous evolution (10s and beyond) :
Over the decades, the MIDI protocol has continued to evolve to support new features and technologies, including the introduction of the General MIDI (GM) standard, the addition of sysex (System Exclusive) messages, the expansion of MIDI channel capacity to 16 channels, and more.

IT integration (2000s and beyond) :
With the rise of computer music in the 2000s, MIDI was widely integrated into audio software, sequencers, and digital audio workstations (DAWs). It has become a central element in computer music creation.

Persistence and relevance (today) :
Today, more than 35 years after its introduction, the MIDI protocol remains an essential part of the music industry. It continues to be used by musicians, producers, sound engineers, and software developers to create, record, edit, and control electronic music.

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