• Wish list
  • Choose your store
    All countries
  • 0

Thomann's Cool Online Guides: MIDI Interfaces

3. Interface Technologies

There are 3 kinds of MIDI connection - MIDI In, MIDI Out and MIDI Thru. Physically they are round, 5 pin female sockets, identical to the old DIN audio format, but wired differently - you must use a MIDI-specific 5 pin male to male cable.

  • MIDI In – this port accepts MIDI data into the device, so you might connect to this port on a sound module from the MIDI Out port of a keyboard or computer interface for example.

  • MIDI Out – this sends MIDI data out of the device – most often a keyboard or a computer controlling a sound module.

  • MIDI Thru – largely unused these days due to the prevalence of multi-port interfaces, it sends out an exact copy of whatever data arrives at the device’s MIDI In. This allows you to chain MIDI devices together, so for instance, you could play two sound modules simultaneously from a single keyboard – in this instance the MIDI Out of the keyboard would go to the MIDI In of the first sound module, whose MIDI Thru would then be connected to the MIDI In of the second sound module; whatever you play on the keyboard now goes to both modules.

Computer MIDI interfaces these days generally come with multiple MIDI Outs, and so no chaining is really required as you can connect and address each sound module individually. The sequencer software running on the computer then allows you to route from your keyboard to whatever MIDI Out(s) you wish. This is both more reliable and offers greater ‘bandwidth’ than chaining via MIDI Thrus.

Let’s look at a couple of example setups:

Traditional keyboard to sound module MIDI connection:

Each MIDI port can contain up to 16 channels of independent MIDI information. This means that you could be playing a different instrument on each MIDI channel, or different sounds on different channels of the same instrument, providing it is ‘multitimbral’. In the arrangement above, the first sound module could be set to respond on Channel 1, and the second sound module on Channel 2. The keyboard could then switch between the two modules by changing its MIDI ‘send’ channel.

Computer-centred setup - keyboard to sequencer to module:

Computers do not usually have MIDI built in, although you may find a simple MIDI In/Out interface provided on onboard soundcards. To equip your computer to control any amount of MIDI gear, you’ll need to attach a hardware MIDI interface – the main subject of this article. These provide up to 8 ports, and you can stack them to provide even more if you need them. Typically, the interface will connect to the computer via USB.

In recent times, manufacturers have started to bypass the MIDI interface by providing USB sockets on their keyboards, sound modules and controllers - this allows you to connect your keyboard directly to the computer without the need of a MIDI interface. When coupled with the fact that so much of the sound generation traditionally done by sound modules is now done inside the computer, it did seem like the days of external MIDI modules were numbered. However, hardware still prevails in the areas of simplicity, tactile response and reliability, and it’s always handy to have sockets available for any older gear that might turn up in your studio - rumours of the MIDI interface’s decline have been largely overstated. That said, a USB equipped keyboard and a computer full of sounds may be all you’ll ever need, but then there’s a lot more going on over MIDI than simply playing sounds…

Your Contact People
Phone: +49-9546-9223-30
FAX: +49-9546-922328
Question!
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Behringer CMD Studio 4a worth 179 €.
Which pop due is known for hiding their faces with costumes?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
One of our Fans
Hey I just love getting all my musical equipment from you, Thomann is the greatest!!!
ben.xxxley162@gxxx.com, 12.03.2017

MIDI Interfaces overview

(2)
(2)
Feedback

Found an error or want to give us feedback about this page?

We're looking forward to hearing from you and aim to solve any problems as soon as we can.

cancel