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  • Best 5-Pin MIDI to USB-MIDI converter?

    Best 5-Pin MIDI to USB-MIDI converter?

    To be able to get my MIDI keyboard's data into a computer. I purchased this one a few years back, a sort of generic version, and super-cheap ($6.99!). USB and 5-PN IN and OUT:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ACGMOA6?tag=thez9k-20

    I tested it a bit at the time - it worked (I was a bit surprised!). I got note on/off, and that's as far as I went. Then recently, I learned about the VB3 plugin demo download, and I had an old Mac-Mini laying around (32 bit OS), with GarageBand, so I tried it, and was having fun with this awesome clonewheel sound, playing from my old DX7.

    But of course you get bored in no time when you don't have 'hands-on' control of the drawbars, rotary, etc., and poking with a mouse grows old quickly. So I played with mapping some of the controllers to different functions (the 'learn' mode is cool), and that's when all heck broke loose. Every time I moved a controller, I'd get stuck notes, and weird noise, and sometimes had to reset the whole thing. I tried another MIDI keyboard, same thing. Maybe the old Mac-Mini couldn't keep up with the data dumped by controllers?

    So my next test was to download a MIDI data analyser onto my Linux machine (KMidimon). And that showed random note on/offs being sent along with controller information. I doubt that two different keyboards had this issue, and I did see some reviews of people claiming that the CC (Continuous Controller) data messed with this device.

    So.... I thought I saw it in an earlier thread, but couldn't find it in a search - can anyone recommend a reliable 5-Pin MIDI to USB-MIDI converter to get my keyboards connected to GarageBand or other computer programs?

    TIA - NTL2009

  • #2
    Roland UM-One Mk2

    https://www.roland.com/global/products/um-one_mk2/

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    • #3
      I like my M-Audio MIDISport and have never had a problem with it either driving MIDI devices or receiving signals from them. I have the 2x2 unit but they make a 1x1 unit as well. Also no problem with new drivers when I moved from Windows 7 to Windows 10 (big mistake, but that's a story for another day.)

      http://www.m-audio.com/products/brow...idi-interfaces
      Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Steinway AR Duo-Art 7' grand piano, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico grand piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI, Allen MADC-2110.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the inputs. Oddly, after checking those on Amazon, the reviews aren't much better than the cheap Chinese knock-offs like the one I have. OK, I know, the Amazon customer reviews can be flaky, especially for speciality stuff like this that also does get used by less knowledgeable people (way to many people 'complain' that the cables are 'reversed' - they had to connect MIDI-IN to MIDI-OUT! DOH!).

        https://www.amazon.com/Roland-UM-ONE...and+UM-One+Mk2

        https://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Midis...+MIDISport+2x2


        But this unit from FORE got much higher reviews (91%/2% 5/1 star - and they look legit):

        https://www.amazon.com/FORE-Interfac...ct_top?ie=UTF8


        Anyone have experience with the FORE Adapter?

        Now I just came across this (midiplus Tbox2X2 USB MIDI Interfaces), looks like a 2 MIDI IN/OUT merge to USB, for about the same $$?

        https://www.amazon.com/midiplus-Tbox...ct_top?ie=UTF8

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        • #5
          Amazon user ratings have been declining in usefulness because of the gaming of the system. I can't speak to the quality of the MidiSport 1x1 since I don't own one but it is always curious when most of the negative reviews for a product do not have the "Verified Purchase" statement on them. I don't even know why they allow such reviews. Just like on Trip Advisor (where I've seen that a high percentage of negative hotel ratings are from people with just one review) you have to read any negative reviews very carefully to see if it seems credible or even applicable to the product you are considering for purchase.

          As with all things computer, poorly written software, incorrect or corrupted drivers, bad registry entries (in the case of Windows) and a hundred other issues can affect whether a given piece of hardware will work when you plug it in. And the MIDI hardware makers are not perfect either but since both MIDI and USB are both serial protocols, it's not rocket science to translate between them.

          Have any utility programs (MidiOx, etc.) been loaded that might re-direct the MIDI output of a program to the wrong port? Did a DAW program mess around with the MIDI ports or drivers? I once had MidiOx mess up an old Windows XP machine and even deleting MidiOx would not fix the problem.

          On my laptop I have used at least 7 different programs under both Windows 7 and 10 with the MidiSport 2x2 and they all worked just fine but I am very careful what programs I load on that machine and am not using any independent MIDI utilities at this time.

          Let us know what you end up buying and how it works for your applications.
          Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Steinway AR Duo-Art 7' grand piano, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico grand piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI, Allen MADC-2110.

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          • #6
            I have found the "mio" MIDI-to-USB cable very reliable, allowing me to use my VPO console with Windows 8.1, which cheap cables failed to do. Made by iconnectivity of Canada.

            John Reimer

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            • #7
              I would trust iConnectivity, MOTU, Roland, Yamaha, and anything built into a quality audio interface. Try looking at sweetwater.com or musiciansfriend.com for what they are selling before picking a no-name brand off eBay or Amazon. I have good personal experience using the Yamaha UX16 and MIDI interfaces included with audio interfaces from RME, MOTU, Presonus, and Focusrite.
              http://www.nwmidi.com

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              • #8
                I had several students who have had issues with the Midi Sport interfaces and the eventual solution was to change them for something more reliable. However, I should state that this was maybe six or seven years ago, and all in one general location. Maybe there was a duff batch imported into the UK, or even some knock-off copies? I used one years ago and that was OK, so who knows?

                Since then I've always recommended the Roland and, even allowing for the vagaries of Amazon reviews, 74% at 5* isn't too shabby. John's hit the nail on the head with the word 'quality'. Pay a bit more for that, it's worth it in the end. I did break my own advice a couple of years ago and bought a Chinese one, I needed it in a hurry and it was the only one in the shop. Same problems as described by NTL2009. Binned very quickly and replaced with the well-behaved UM One MkII.
                It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
                Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
                Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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                • #9
                  I have both original Roland UM-1s and current MkIIs, and they 'just work'. Rock solid on Windows, Linux, MacOS with Hauptwerk, GrandOrgue, and several DAWs. Never tried anything else because I've never had a reason to do so.

                  --- Tom
                  Rodgers 660 with additional analog rack sets (practice), 36D/C in digital conversion, Yamaha CVP-107

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                  • #10
                    UPDATE: I ended up buying the iConnectivity Mio since it was mentioned and the only one in stock near me:

                    http://www.guitarcenter.com/iConnect...I-Interface.gc

                    Seems to work fine, no more random note ON/OFFs with Continuous Controller changes.

                    So Thank You all for the recommendations.

                    BTW, I had a little fun programming the drawbars on the VB3 plugin to respond to the MOD Wheel on my keyboard. You can scale the response (and direction) of each drawbar to MOD Wheel changes. I set the drawbars with the MOD Wheel at zero, and then can have drawbars move in-out individually as I push the wheel back-forth. For example, you can have the 1' DB go from 0 to 4 as you take the wheel from zero to full, have the 2' DB go from 2-6, have the 4' DB go from 8-4 (opposite direction!), etc. It's pretty wild, and you can get a wah-wah type effect by rolling that MOD Wheel as you play.

                    A little like what he is doing here:

                    How To Play Hammond - Wah Wah Effect - from Lachy Doley's ONLINE HAMMOND COURSE:

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAyS4Qu2Hfc

                    "Hours of fun!" :)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by John Kinkennon View Post
                      I would trust iConnectivity, MOTU, Roland, Yamaha, and anything built into a quality audio interface. Try looking at sweetwater.com or musiciansfriend.com for what they are selling before picking a no-name brand off eBay or Amazon. I have good personal experience using the Yamaha UX16 and MIDI interfaces included with audio interfaces from RME, MOTU, Presonus, and Focusrite.
                      I endorse the above comments having both the Yamaha,Roland units and an M-audio unit that works but the latter I believe is usb1.
                      I need to find an equivalent to midiox that is x64bit compatible.
                      Help.!

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                      • #12
                        Just my two cents worth.... I tried the silver-cable type mentioned NTL2009 mentioned first -- found it hopelessly undependable. For a few years the M-Audio Midisport was the only thing available locally (Guitar Center, Greenville SC) -- tried it next. It worked poorly -- each unit would last only a year or two @$40, and I constantly had to reinstall Sonar to keep sequencing along. Then somebody told me about the UM-1 (also @$40) and it was goodbye to all that -- it works and works and works with no trouble. Have heard many complaints about the Midisport as well. 40 bucks may seem a little steep but the great satisfaction sequencing brings is more than worth it.

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