Anushri with usb keyboard
  • Just coming to the end of my build. I would like to use my Anushri with an Akai LPK25 usb keyboard and the rack mounting kit to make a sort of mini mini Moog. My main problem is that I have no idea how to connect the usb keyboard to the Anushri. Any suggestions?

  • You need a USB MIDI host. Someone mentioned this project.

  • There´s some non-fyi alternatives too, Kenton makes one, the Teenage Engineering OP Lab is another one.

  • I have been very successfully using my raspberry pi with a $5 USB MIDI cable as a standalone USB host device. If you know nothing about linux or SSH it’s a real pain tho. But once you’ve got it setup, it just works as soon as you power up.

  • Having read over some of the older threads, it seems there are no easy answers to the problem. Kenton and iConnect make solutions, but they are bulky and not cheap, which goes against the mini mini concept. The other diy routes using arduino (or Raspberry pi) seem to involve a lot of investment in kit and learning time, out of proportion to the end result. And as I am building this for a friend who will be using it mostly for live performances, simplicty and reliability are essential.

    Seems a pity, as usb looks like taking over, at least in the lower end of the market. I am now looking at the Alesis Q25 and Miditech keyboards as solutions. Anybody had any experiences with these?
  • Miditech stuff tends to be very good.

  • @bleo Hello, do you have link about raspberry pi as a standalone USB host device please ?

  • I bought the Alesis Q25 for my new dsp-Twist.

    Reliable and cheap.

  • I just use an old iPad and the MidiBridge app, connect camera connection kit, and plugin your NanoKontrol or Akai or what have you, and a cheap usb-midi cable to Shruthi. Works like a charm! No diy though :-)

  • @mrdrbobo This sounds interesting. Forgive my ignorance of all things Apple but how do you connect both the USB controller and the USB-MIDI interface to the camera connection kit simultaneously?

  • A powered hub?

  • If you want to power anything over USB a powered hub might be a good idea…

  • Get an old iPod (cheaper than iphone) and it will work too.

  • Please note that a powered hub might not actually deliver sufficient power to also charge or even power an iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device.

  • There are species of powered hub that will. Thinking Nanopad + Nanokey here or Qunexus? Presumably MIDIBridge acts as a USB host? There is a website out there describing hacking the Nanopad to have a real MIDI interface. Has anyone done this for the Nanokey?

  • Airplane mode and a full charge has plenty of power unless the iDevice is old and the battery is on it´s way out.

    Some googling might reveal if there´s hubs that charge too.

  • No powered hub necessary. See pic.
    Nanokey-usb > hub
    Shruthi > Midicable-usb > hub
    hub > cam conn kit > iPad
    Thats all. I was surprised really how simple this solution was, given there are only a handful of expensive devices (Kenton) that can do this. And everybody has an old iPod, iPhone or iuPad lying around, right?

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  • Thanks for this – very interesting! Might have to ask Santa Claus for some ‘Appleware’! Is the iPad to camera connector a standard Apple item or a third party? I like the look of the Genome MIDI Sequencer on the iPad – I presume this will work with MIDIBridge?

  • Camera connection kit is standard apple accessory.

    Don´t know about the Genome Sequencer, but I would guess it would work

  • You don’t need MidiBridge at all when you just want to send notes (from seqencer, arpeggiator, or DAW) from iPad to Shruthi. Just a camera connection kit and a cheap midi-to-USB cable. You can find both for a few dollars on eBay.
    MidiBridge is only needed when you want to do sprecial tricks, like in the case of my pic above: route incoming midi data from USB port X to outgoing USB port Y.

  • I would want to input from MIDI or USB connected devices. Reading up on MIDIBridge it seems to function as a programmable and routable patch bay as well as a USB host.

  • I just tried whith my ipod touch4 ( IOS6 ) and this Camera connection kit( for ipad) and unfortunatly it doesn’t works ipod says : “This Accessory Not Supported by iPod Touch”.
    Maybe with a more recent ipod and IOS7 it works .. ?

  • Yes, the camera connection kit needs IOS7 to work with iPhone/iPod touch.

  • Just tried with an older iPad2 (30pin) with iOS6 and the out-notes from MidiBridge are very much delayed. The cause of this could be iOS6 , or the cheap 30-pin CCK. If iOS6 is to blame, it means you need at least iOS7, and thus, if you want to keep it small, you need an iPod touch 5th gen (w lightning connector).

  • Dear Santa….....

  • Had never problems with my iPad (3. gen.) and the original 30-pin CCK. It worked with older IOS versions as well. But for iPhone/iPod touch you need IOS7.

  • @lucchio: I do not have a Raspberry Pi Standalone USB Host Tutorial to link to. I should probably write one, eh? The steps are fairly easy. I used an awesome guide by @Mdashdotdashn to get started, then use an aconnect command in the autoboot file to send the incoming MIDI from the USB device (keyboard, padKontrol, etc.) out to the USB MIDI cable. It’s a slight pain to get it all working the first time, but once you do, you’ve got a USB host box that boots in 10 secs…. and CHEAP since a new $20 A+ version of the Pi just came out and would be perfect for this application!

  • I’ve been looking into this project
    It was developed with midi guitar in mind, but should work with any class-compliant device…anyway my USB host shield is on its way so I’ll let you know if I get it to work.

  • @bleo Thank you for these informations !
    I’m afraid that “ then use an aconnect command in the autoboot file to send the incoming MIDI from the USB devicee “ is already a problem for me
    I promise to try your tutorial if you write one :)

  • I actually had a nice discussion with @herrprof today about all this and he thinks he’s got a way around all this setup stuff. If that’s the case, we should be able to get everything set in an SD image, so all anyone would have to do is get that image on an SD card, plug in your stuff and gogogogogo!

  • Here is a little vid showing a Shruthi controlled by a Korg Nanokey via iPad with midibridge

  • @mrdrbobo Great demo – did you do it? I presume you could also merge a Nanopad with the Nanokey if you had a suitable hub?

  • @cnicht: Yeah I did the video. I made a new video to show you that you can connect multiple USB-midi devices in this way to the Shruthi. I now have a nanoKey and a nanoKontrol controlling the Shruthi.

  • @ mrdrbobo – excellent!

  • @bleo and @herrprof yes !! _” want plug in my stuff and gogogogogo” :)
    you will have at least one tester !

  • basically my idea is that youll auto mount every input to a soft thru in, and then automount every devices output to the soft thru’s out on boot, and its up to you what software you have in the middle.

  • @herrprof Maybe it would be interesting to add one of these and turn the Pi into a MIDI processor as well. :)

  • @herrprof There’s even a case.

  • Im already using my display for littlegptracker, but my phase 2 goal is plans to check this out

    Id love to use all the gpio inputs as simple on/off midi rule switches.

  • Well, if it’s of any interest, the Arduino + USB shield works, and was pretty cheap and easy..actually it’s been mentioned before in this thread
    Just got my old Numark DJ2GO controller talking to the Shruthi! Time to get a proper controller, I think.

  • Came across this in the midibox forums;
    its one of the most promising, but its too hard core for me to figure. :(
    Anyone know what the cost of this solution would be or what equipment is needed to set it up?

  • I could download the software and build it for you – I have the toolchain set up already.
    The next step to do would be flashing it to the core module. Which is super easy once you have the bootloader on it. For the bootloader, there is a detiled guide on the midibox website.


    edit: Already posted, looking for it :)

  • @TheSlowGrowth: what hardware is needed for this? From the forum, it looked like multiple boards were needed. I can solder up a pcb no problem, its all the firmware flashing and configuration editing that I have no experience in. (and to be honest, I’m not lazy but I don’t want to invest weeks of research and spend €€€s on test gear and programming hardware for such a small item)
    @busygirl: This really looks like a great solution, and judging from the interest when I did my first trawl of the ‘net, I would think that if he can get it into production, would be a great seller. But its one guy on his own time. That said, I would wait if I knew when there would be something solid. Or is he actually shipping?
    @herrproff: do you have the SD image ready to gogogogogo? I have been looking for an excuse to buy (invest) in a pi.
    @bleo: how do you connect from the pi to the synth serial MIDI connector?

  • The only hardware you need is the STM32F4 Discovery Board + some simple circuitry for the midi connections + a USB A to mini B cable + a usb A to micro B cable.

    That’s all.
    I could compile the firmware for you, so you don’t have to setup the compilers for it.
    Flashing it is done via some software from ST (its free) and once you flashed it, it has its own bootloader, allowing to send new programs via midi.

  • Thanks! I will head over to smashtv and order up the parts. Is there any way I can PM you?

  • Click/tap his name, then look on the left for “Send TheSlowGroth a message” -Don’t just post in the textbox on the right, he won’t see it. (That works similar to the facebook “wall”)

  • Hello ,

    I tried to run my Raspberry Pi, a Nanokey and this Logilink Usb/midi interface as an USB/Midi interface
    I use Raspian
    I installed QjackCtl
    I think it works roughly(see png attachment) but I get a message when i’m starting Jack audio connection kit:

    _Cannot lock down 82278944 byte memory area (Cannot allocate memory)
    22:21:40.514 JACK was stopped successfully
    22:21:40.536 JACK has crashed.
    22:21:41.098 Could not connect to JACK server as client. – Overall operation failed. – Unable to connect to server. Please check the messages window for more info.
    Cannot connect to server socket err = No such file or directory
    Cannot connect to server request channel
    jack server is not running or cannot be started_

    Does anyone has it managed to make it work with this configuration ?

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  • I think the problem is that jack tries to allocate more memory than the pi provides or you are trying a setting (sample rate or bitdepth) which is not supported by the Pi internal audio device.

    As far as I understood, you plan to route only alsa midi so jack is not needed. At the moment you are just using the qjackctl gui to connect alsa midi ports what you can do as well with alsa command line tools (and probably put them in a script later)

    I also think you want to use the nanokey as input and the usb-midi interface as output. In your Screenshot it is the other way around.

  • Thank you @tabularasa ! Yes you have understood.
    I would like :

    IN : Nanokey or other usb controllers (usb)
    OUT : Logilink usb-midi interface ( 5 pin DIN connector )
    I find this about memory
    I think the connection in screenshot is ok. I know its strange but “IN” is on the right and “OUT” is on the left :)

    You say that i don’t have to start “jackd” if i just want connect the correct midi ports : Nanokey and Logilink usb/midi interface ? And i can try with alsa command line tools …

    I’ll try to look with your information ! Thank you :)

  • It works ! You were right jack is not needed .
    A friend of me ( thanks to him !) help me and i just use “aconnect” command .
    A very good link here

  • Thanks V’cent.

  • Will this work? What extra hardware (in terms of cables and connectors would be needed?

  • Interesting !
    Some information here :

    It seems that you have need to do this :
    And downloading software to the board with suitable programmer.

    It is not very very easy but it is possible !

  • @Lucchio That’s a great discovery! It seems you can buy the USB host with the midi host firmware preinstalled too!
    I actually just made an arduino usb midi host with this :
    It was quite simple. I want to use it in a Shruthi Keys.

  • That little board does look interesting! @shiftr- I used the same code when building my usb converter (wrote a bit about it here) – the one thing I had trouble with was getting the 5-pin midi input working, did it work for you?

  • No i don’t have to use a midi in. I also don’t think it will work since the Korg MicroKey i’m using doesn’t have a midi in (i think). (This might be the same issue you have?)

  • I was thinking that the din input would be merged with the usb input and sent to the din output, but what you’re saying makes more sense.

  • @shiftr It is no mine, it’s a @skee discovery :)
    Great if we can buy whith the midi host firmware preinstalled !

  • This is ripe for a nice tutorial on retrofitting this

  • As an aside, I found out I can use my iphone as a usb host converter with some midi plumbing apps, a camera connection kit, and a powered hub.

  • The Cerebel trail ended with a product that looked good in every way except the price. 119 .00 euros. Any thoughts on th Pi Zero?

  • It only has one usb port, so that might be a dealbreaker if you have to use a hub with it.

    This is kinda interesting though

  • I have to spend a few evenings to read all good advices through as I have ended up in the same corner …
    However, being a rookie when it comes to MIDI, I was a bit intrigued by cheap stuff from Chian. What does this gadget do actually?
    Chinese Usb-midi gadget

  • Brrrr…this is a MIDI interface-in-a-cable…these guys are known to be bad, as some of them drop clock or sysex. So what’s going might not be what’s coming out. Whats even worse: this baby does use the generic host OS driver. More stuff for real men, who are absolutely adventurous and have nerves of steel.

  • OK … ?! ... If it is too good to be true, it’s propably not true. Back to square one then. Or maybe not. I have to check all proposals in the thread.

  • More importantly, it connects to a computer / tablet / phone (“host”) ; not to a keyboard / controller (“device”).

  • So, someone already mentioned Cerebel. I will pick up a pre-owned one on Sunday at the fairly reasonable prise of €50.
    Else this guy seems to fix a lot of problems, even though the the full price is a bit high.

    I just dug up an old kbd I have had lying around. It’s a MIDISTUDIO-2 and that guy has a REAL MIDI-plug but it is too big.

  • ...not to forget this one (sorry about that)

  • Not knowing exactly what to ask I simply asked this
    “ I saw a recommendation in a synth forum that the USB Host Board – MIDI device, is a good way to hook up a MIDI-keyboard with USB-plug to a synthesizer with MIDI-input (5-pole DIN).
    > (
    > I just wanted to check with you if it is as simple as that or some programming is needed? Or exactly what modules are needed to get things working?”

    And I got this answer:
    “Yes, it is (almost) as easy as that. No programming is required, but you
    do need a 5V supply for the board and the board does not contain the
    5-pin DIN connections only a serial output.
    You can wire the DIN output connectors along with 2 resistors yourself
    or use our MIDI breakout board which has both IN and OUT midi
    connections (

    Hobbytronics Ltd”

  • mm that first link has a host of options
    they do look useful & cheap though.

  • You can order the whole enchilada from hobbytrobnics now:

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