Smallest options to host midi usb? Like tiny?

Hopefully its okay to ask here but after looking through tiny usb host boards on hobbytronics? But figured i cant program them i am starting to loose my mind find anything really small, idealy a little board or cable thing that can act as usb midi HOST.

Looking at the options, i have a mi cvpal (non host) and i have an ipad and no hardware sequencer. So i should keep the little pal.
But i am much more of a key player than sequencing guy and have a midi keyboard (has also usb) on top of my epiano.

So without buying another darn midi cv interface…isnt there anything super small foorprint, idealy usb 5v powered or even bus powered so i can plug it in for keyboard use and out for ipad use?

Ansible and earthsea will also just let me use the keyboard but not the ipad.

Ideally i would love to throw the whole midi board of of the keyboard (its completely open…i just love to see mechanics and hate cheap design) and swap it for a cv board like i think doepfer had in the past (OEM?) the keys go to a common ribbon cable, i think maybe even the same as eurorack and to the controll board and from there to power/midi board. I doubt however that would work at all :smiley:

Its an icon nano keyboard btw… when out of its enclosure its pretty sweet and has nice weigthed action.

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have you considered a Keystep?

I cant force myself to those kind of keys sadly. And i totaly dont like to pile up gear. Given i have a beautifully butchered midi keyboard i should use it :smiley:
But besides that…it would be indeed most logical. I just wouldnt enjoy playing it…wich again is a bad idea

ahhhh I see. For what it’s worth, this pianist doesn’t really mind even small synth-action keys anymore, given that even semi-weighted MIDI keys don’t compare to most pianos.

Does said keyboard not have 5-pin DIN out for some reason?

Ah right, i saw you mentioned classical music education.
I am no pianist at all. Just can express the best with something between piano and epiano. And really never liked organ/synth action.
The epiano is just a hohner pianet. So pretty basic action.
I miss the action the mellotron m400 i had owend for a while. Those wooden keys that push back…perfect

The midi keyboard has din yes. The pianet not, its an old passive circuit actually
You can use two of those to turn a USB MIDI Host (iPad) into a USB MIDI client (for use with Ansible, etc).

Does that help?

Edit: topic category for this would be “Equipment” ideally.


I don’t have one of these yet but I think your best bet would be to consider the “mio4” from iConnectivity.

Oh i see… both rather a hassle. Also i see this morphed indeed to equipment topic and i dont mind if you mods want to merge it into the newbie questions at all.

My original intention was to think about a tiny diy programmed board or a kit to hack the keyboard, thats why it was in tech.
There are usb host boards with midi capability that are as big as half a credit card…assume they arent plug n play.

Also i think bus powered and being host is probably impossible, but who knows. Before i spent big bucks on midi boxes i would probably just get another midi cv interface. The 2cable thing is interesting but would again limit to 2 host devices. But i ll relook into that

Hmmmm you mentioned the um one too elswhere.
While totaly monome offtopic i wonder;
Midi keyboard din out to roland cable din in, usb to ipad (cck) midi din out to usb B cable into non host midi cv (cvpal)

Probably i should simply test that, but in case someone knows it wouldnt work please let me know.

I realise how much i dislike midi :smiley:

How about this:
It does usb host and device, and there is a kit you can build so it works with midi din as well…

Something involving a pi zero might be the way to go. Cheap and low power!

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Yes i had similar idea

I just dont know if its really all i would need as Host plug

Acording this review it seems to do the trick!?
„I purchased one of these with the MIDI Device software option so I could use a USB-based Korg MIDI controller with MIDI DIN-5 (without a laptop). It just required a small enclosure, a MIDI socket, power supply, and a couple of 220Ω resistors. Worked perfectly. This is the simplest USB-Host solution for MIDI I could find for the money.“

But i might give this up…since ios integradtion is low on my priority and just get Ansible and hope its future will have more suprises concerning midi or even just type/crow related

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I bought a RPi with a view to getting this done. using this site.

my final plan was to enclose the PI & CVPAL in an enclosure so I could plug USB in and get either USB MIDI or CV outs. all driven from the same 5V I was using to power the synth. I even got someone to make a custom Firmware on the CVPAL so that it mapped CC74 for using with a seaboard.

my issues were on mapping the ports so that on boot up they remained mapped and CVpal sometimes acts funny with some MIDI drivers.

I shelved this but I want to get it working for summer so I can bring my Phenol & Roli Blocks on holiday.

whilst I was failing to progress this, I spoke to retrokits at SB18 and they have this which might end up being a good solution. but wouldnt work with CVPal…

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If it does what they say it does, with pre-installed software, it really is: it acts as a host, spits data out over serial. That’s it. A Pi is massively overpowered for this simple task - the problem is finding something with a USB host chip, not needing a small computer :slight_smile: The documentation for the previous version outlines what configuring it looks like; however, if this is too much code/configuration/electronics, I understand.

You would need to wire up a five-pin DIN plug and also a pair of resistors, as per the midi spec, for an output. If you want it to be bidirectional, MIDI spec suggests an opto-isolator on the input IIRC.

It is about the smallest, DIY solution to the problem. Basically, making USB Host devices is not nearly as trivial as clients, and this is why such conversion boxes are thin on the ground.

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Now would someone make one for me :crazy_face: i dont dare haha

Thats why it was in tech.

Maybe someone wants to do one for him/herself and can wire/prepare a 2nd one on the task?

If not its fine. I will somehow find a good solution.
Also powering i think makes this a bit home-bound, if it cant be powered via an extra 5v usb or by the bus connection

Yep saw RK one. Sad to hear it wouldnt work with cvpal. But it would help my po33. Still another box to wabble with

Kenton make just the thing (as they usually do!!)

EDIT: I use their Thru5 live to sync between my gear and Andy’s gear and keep everything in time and playing the right thing. I’ve never had it hang up on me and it’s pretty bomb-proof. I also work in a studio that has a Juno 60 connected up to the DAW midi with one of their specialist boxes which works flawlessly. Big love for this company

I know you didn’t want that, but at that price range I would consider taking a step back and get one of these and additionally have eg. modwheel and pitchbend to cv.

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Jap only heared great things about it,
Might just do that for home and cvpal/ios for mobile


Considering a RPi, I wonder if that’s possible to power more than 2 devices, or if it might damage the rpi.

It’s technically possible to draw 600mA, but tweaking the /boot/config.txt you can reach 1.2A with a proper power supply (2A), have you ever tried that?

UPDATE: just found this helpful article More Power For Raspberry Pi USB Ports | Hackaday
however, any experience on that it’s also welcomed

UPDATE 2: Seems like the boot param is deprecated Raspberry Pi Documentation - The config.txt file
All RPi (not sure from which version onwards) have 1.2A limit by default

After making sure a RPi is safe to connect devices, I was looking how to connect devices.

I had found these two projects,

  • GitHub - BlokasLabs/amidiauto which uses a /etc/amidiauto.conf to customize connections, otherwise defaults to connect everything together
  • Raspberry Pi as USB/Bluetooth MIDI host this one is a step by step tutorial on how to connect everything together with udev rules + custom scripts (one to connect, another to display them on a ssd1306)

I wonder if there’s some web app project that uses WebMIDI to let you make the connections in a graphical way. That way you can startup a webserver on the RPi and connect with your smartphone to design connections.