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MIDI muddle

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MIDI muddle

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:08 am

Just scanning the Novation Launchkey Mini report in the latest issue and was staggered to read there are two TRS to MIDI wiring standards!

I am grudgingly accepting of the 3.5mm jack for space and probably reasons of economy but always assumed it would be wired in the most logical way? Tip and ring data, sleeve pin 2 shield.

Why would anyone do differently?

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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby BigRedX » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:13 am

IMO the only acceptable MIDI connector is the XLR.

Anything different should be converted to XLR where ever possible.
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:24 am

BigRedX wrote:IMO the only acceptable MIDI connector is the XLR.

Anything different should be converted to XLR where ever possible.

Fair point Red but XLR3 does lend itself to confusion with audio.

You could say the same about DIN but who has DIN audio connections these days? The stock plastic DIN plug IS a feeble thing and it would have been vastly better had they used the 'B' style 240dgr metal DIN with a locking collar.

Personally, if I were setting up a 'studio' with a gang of MIDI kit I would settle on RJ45. Rugged, 4 times redundant wires (or run power down 7/8) and cheap as chips...AND they are a data connector to boot! (always fit boots)

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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby Wonks » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:35 am

Don't forget 2.5mm TRS jacks for MIDI on IK Multimedia products.

According to the MMA, both methods use DIN Pin 2 as the S connection, with the difference being whether DIN Pin 5 is T and DIN Pin 4 is R, or DIN Pin 4 is T and DIN Pin 5 is R.

https://www.midi.org/articles-old/updat ... din-cables

There is technically only one 'Standard' for the cable as the MMA finally got round to publishing a standard for DIN to TRS cables, in Aug 2018, with DIN Pin 5 to T, DIN Pin 4 to R and DIN pin 2 to S.

Previously there was no standard, and hence the confusion.
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:13 pm

ef37a wrote:Personally, if I were setting up a 'studio' with a gang of MIDI kit I would settle on RJ45.

Sorry Dave, the RJ45 wouldn't be a safe or fool-proof option when there is so much Ethernet equipment about in studios these days.

While there are still a few hi-fi manufacturers using 5-pin DIN plugs, it's vanishingly unlikely that any would be found in a normal studio these days, so I think the DIN plug for MIDI is an acceptable choice.

I agree with you about plastic-bodied plugs -- but metal DIN plugs are commonly available and widely used. I also share your desire for a locking plug in professional applications , and there are both bayonet and screw-locking versions of the DIN which could have been employed... But to be practical, when was the last time a MIDI cable fell out of your keyboard or interface?

H
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:30 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
ef37a wrote:Personally, if I were setting up a 'studio' with a gang of MIDI kit I would settle on RJ45.

Sorry Dave, the RJ45 wouldn't be a safe or fool-proof option when there is so much Ethernet equipment about in studios these days.

While there are still a few hi-fi manufacturers using 5-pin DIN plugs, it's vanishingly unlikely that any would be found in a normal studio these days, so I think the DIN plug for MIDI is an acceptable choice.

I agree with you about plastic-bodied plugs -- but metal DIN plugs are commonly available and widely used. I also share your desire for a locking plug in professional applications , and there are both bayonet and screw-locking versions of the DIN which could have been employed... But to be practical, when was the last time a MIDI cable fell out of your keyboard or interface?

H

I was speaking about me personally Hugh. I would not be running to any 100+ channel ethernet audio kit!
I have the plugs, the cable and the crimp tools you see.

What I should have said about the 240 DIN was, it would have been a good idea had they fixed on a connector that was not then common for audio? Locking or otherwise.
Then of course, DINs of both sorts have been used for DC power. Can't bloody win!

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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby BigRedX » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:27 pm

ef37a wrote:
BigRedX wrote:IMO the only acceptable MIDI connector is the XLR.

Anything different should be converted to XLR where ever possible.

Fair point Red but XLR3 does lend itself to confusion with audio.

But it does allow me to use the same cables for all my audio and MIDI connections so I don't need any specialised ones. Since the late 80s all my live rigs have used XLRs exclusively for making semi-permanent MIDI connections. Anything with DIN (or other) connections was converted at the equipment end if possible or in the case of rack-mounting gear XLR connections on patch bays.

In 30 years of using this system I cannot recall as single instance of connecting a MIDI input or output to an audio one.
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby BigRedX » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:34 pm

[quote="ef37a]Personally, if I were setting up a 'studio' with a gang of MIDI kit I would settle on RJ45. Rugged, 4 times redundant wires (or run power down 7/8) and cheap as chips...AND they are a data connector to boot! (always fit boots)

Dave.[/quote]

RJ45 is probably OK for the studio where the gear is unlikely to be repatched with any regularity. However for live use most of the plugs and cables are not sufficient rugged to withstand regular gigging. The connection between my Line6 BassPod and Floorboard used to last about a month at most with 2 gigs and 1 rehearsal as week. Swapping to supposedly gig hardened plugs and coilable cable reduced the failure rate to just under a year if I looked after them.

On the other hand, I have balanced XLR leads that I made myself in the early 90s that have have been seriously gig abused but are still working perfectly.
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:39 pm

BigRedX wrote:
ef37a wrote:
BigRedX wrote:IMO the only acceptable MIDI connector is the XLR.

Anything different should be converted to XLR where ever possible.

Fair point Red but XLR3 does lend itself to confusion with audio.

But it does allow me to use the same cables for all my audio and MIDI connections so I don't need any specialised ones. Since the late 80s all my live rigs have used XLRs exclusively for making semi-permanent MIDI connections. Anything with DIN (or other) connections was converted at the equipment end if possible or in the case of rack-mounting gear XLR connections on patch bays.

In 30 years of using this system I cannot recall as single instance of connecting a MIDI input or output to an audio one.

No, I dare say you are very careful but I was speaking generally (I recall, years ago seeing a big Mother PA amp with speaker outs on XLR3!) I don't even think MIDI into a line input would do much harm (mic could be loud!) and tother way even less of a problem but stuff just would not work and a lot of time could be wasted sorting it out?

Re RJ45: As I said, a personal idea and yes, just indoors and as I say, I got a lot of the kit!

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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:01 pm

ef37a wrote:
BigRedX wrote:IMO the only acceptable MIDI connector is the XLR.

Anything different should be converted to XLR where ever possible.

Fair point Red but XLR3 does lend itself to confusion with audio.

And with lights..... :headbang:
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:36 pm

BigRedX wrote:In 30 years of using this system I cannot recall as single instance of connecting a MIDI input or output to an audio one.

Oh no... now you've invoked The Curse.... :lol: Expect whispy curls of smoke and rude language sometime soon... :lolno:
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby The Elf » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:04 pm

The minijack for MIDI should have been strangled before it started.

It's utterly ridiculous when you consider how much gear has minijacks on it for CV and audio now. Given that many people still can't even grasp the difference between audio and MIDI it's going to lead to confusion - especially if the number of 'How do I convert MIDI to audio?' conversations I've had are anything to go by...

Too late for regrets, but there will be tears.
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:24 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
BigRedX wrote:In 30 years of using this system I cannot recall as single instance of connecting a MIDI input or output to an audio one.

Oh no... now you've invoked The Curse.... :lol: Expect whispy curls of smoke and rude language sometime soon... :lolno:

Damned Lampies, the don't even know which way round to use their XLR cables....... :headbang:

The Elf wrote:The minijack for MIDI should have been strangled before it started.

It's utterly ridiculous when you consider how much gear has minijacks on it for CV and audio now. Given that many people still can't even grasp the difference between audio and MIDI it's going to lead to confusion - especially if the number of 'How do I convert MIDI to audio?' conversations I've had are anything to go by...

Too late for regrets, but there will be tears.

At least they'll be masked by the escaping magic blue smoke :D
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby N i g e l » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:30 pm

I like 5pin DIN, especially when the plugs shell is 1 piece metal instead of being two 1/2 shells.

I used to dislike Yamaha's bi-directional PC_keyboard_mouse connector (is that DIN?) as the first thing I have to do is plug in an adaptor. but now that mini jack MIDI is here, it doesnt seem so bad.

My guitar has an RJ45 but its not Ethernet. They do warn not to connect Ethernet in the manual.

Are the wireless midi adaptors all geared up for 5pin din ?
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby DGL. » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:33 pm

Creative used to use PS/2 style mini-din connectors on their Audigy breakout boxes and opinion is that if regular MIDI is staying as 5 pin DIN then these are the best option. Easy to find adaptors for as they are used to adapt AT keyboards to PS/2 connectors amd already a standard.
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby Adam Inglis » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:37 pm

BigRedX wrote:
ef37a wrote:
BigRedX wrote:IMO the only acceptable MIDI connector is the XLR.

Anything different should be converted to XLR where ever possible.

Fair point Red but XLR3 does lend itself to confusion with audio.

But it does allow me to use the same cables for all my audio and MIDI connections so I don't need any specialised ones. Since the late 80s all my live rigs have used XLRs exclusively for making semi-permanent MIDI connections. Anything with DIN (or other) connections was converted at the equipment end if possible or in the case of rack-mounting gear XLR connections on patch bays.

In 30 years of using this system I cannot recall as single instance of connecting a MIDI input or output to an audio one.


errma gawd I thought you were pulling the collective leg with that initial XLR comment!! I vaguely recall at the dawn of midi that XLR was a recommended connector (along with the usual 5 pin DIN), however the only thing that used it was the Voyetra 8!!?? Looks like we all should've been using it all along!
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby The Elf » Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:21 pm

Adam Inglis wrote:errma gawd I thought you were pulling the collective leg with that initial XLR comment!!
I long since made myself DIN=>XLR adaptors, so I can feed MIDI through a studio's mic lines. It's been a life-saver many times!
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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby ef37a » Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:03 am

The Elf wrote:
Adam Inglis wrote:errma gawd I thought you were pulling the collective leg with that initial XLR comment!!
I long since made myself DIN=>XLR adaptors, so I can feed MIDI through a studio's mic lines. It's been a life-saver many times!

Called "rationlization" Elf and it is something I try to encourage the more advanced noobs on forums to consider.

The 'studio' I developed for my son was a collection of gears of various types and eras, some of which he had used for many years. This included MD recorders and a Teac A3440, i.e RCA and unbalanced. I was slowly getting everything connected with 1/4" jacks. Some of the kit I modified and fitted TRS impedance balanced out on, some I made breakout boxes for.

Microphone circuits had to stay XLR of course. MIDI was brought up from a 2496 card to a breakout box on the wall, still DIN but at least EVERYTHING was DIN!

Noobs often ask if they should invest in a patch bay? My answer is, "get rationalized first and don't mix balanced and unbalanced kit".

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Re: MIDI muddle

Postby BigRedX » Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:26 am

Adam Inglis wrote:errma gawd I thought you were pulling the collective leg with that initial XLR comment!! I vaguely recall at the dawn of midi that XLR was a recommended connector (along with the usual 5 pin DIN), however the only thing that used it was the Voyetra 8!!?? Looks like we all should've been using it all along!

IIRC the original MIDI spec called for XLR connectors with the DIN alternative for low-cost equipment only. Unfortunately apart from Octave-Plateau all the manufacturers went straight to DIN including the Prophet 600 despite the fact that the XLR idea was Dave Smith's in the first place!

I dumped DIN as a gigging MIDI connector in the mid-80s when I bought my KX5 and discovered that the DIN connector had too much play in it to be reliable, and I kept getting missed and stuck notes, pitch bend and mod-wheel messages that did not reset to "zero" as the MIDI connection to the synth was broken and re-made at random.

Since I switched to XLR I've not had a single MIDI problem on stage that was caused by the connections between all the different devices that use it.
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