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Android App Controlling External Midi Instruments

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by CallDon, May 18, 2010.

  1. CallDon

    CallDon Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I am looking for something like what has just been released for the iPhone(crap). There is a cable running from the phone to the MIDI input on your midi instrument/keyboard. The midi-file is uploaded to the phone. The app plays back midi files, controlling the midi-keyboard thru the midi-cable. (This is not a midi file player that plays midi files on the phone.)

    I have a palm Pilot that will do this. There is a cable from the Palm Pilot to the keyboard instrument and the software program on the palm pilot. I used to let my Palm Pilot play back piano files (me playing) for gigs and also, Bach organ files on the church organ.

    I don't want to by an iPhone just for his application. So is there any similar Android app/cable combination or is there another way to do it?


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  2. jrbflk

    jrbflk Lurker

    Yeah, I'm looking for something like this too. In addition, I would like something that can play an mp3 link with a midi file. That way it can play backing tracks for my band and control my pedal board through MIDI cc messages. Any hope?

  3. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?

    Most (all?) Android phones do not support USB host mode unfortunately. It's a huge problem and a terrible decision by manufacturers to do this. It's been a requested feature since 2009 with over 2500 people asking for it.

    So unless the device you are connecting to recognizes Android as a controller (which I dont think any do other than PCs/Macs) it basically it leaves you with only the option of Bluetooth or WiFi to communicate with other devices.

    There are cables out there that do bluetooth->serial conversion. But I do not know what kind of latency is involved. This cable itself may even need to be recognizable as a midi controller.

    Here's one page I found where a guy hacked something together:
    MIDI over Bluetooth, Part I: Hardware

    Actually looks like the guy has a whole series on it: MIDI over Bluetooth, Part VI: Reducing Cost

    Looks like a fun project to be honest, and maybe it's worth emailing him to get him to sell the things ;)

    Doesn't look like it's something a simple app can handle yet though.

    This is one area that Apple has been kicking Android's @$$ over the years:

    MIDIPad Turns Your iPad Into A Multi-Touch MIDI Controller Synthtopia

    There was a guy who hacked his Nexus one to work as a host though but it involved opening up the innards of the phone and soldering. Bit of an advanced hack, that.
  4. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?

  5. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?

    Just as a followup, I was just talking to a friend about this recently and one of the great things about Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) is that you can use the tablets as a USB host.

    I'm expecting to see great thing very soon in this space :)
  6. CallDon

    CallDon Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'm glad this thread is still around. I just ordered a Nook Color and my phone is an Evo3D. I would love to have the ability to run a midi cable from either directly to a midi piano or (at church) the midi ins on the church organ, which is what I did with my Palm Pilot. I would use the Evo or Nook to send the signal to the instrument for playback.

    And you are correct in that Apple is kicking Android's @$$ over this. I have the device, it would be so easy to have it send the play signal to a midi instrument. Record the files, upload them to the Evo or NC, go to the gig, plug in the usb-to-midi cable and press START on the software.

    Something like the Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer except for Android. A usb-midi interface is easy, I have 2 or 3 of them setting around. But we need the playback software to simply play back the midi tracks.

    Keep us informed if you find any more news.
    alostpacket likes this.

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