Review: Zivix PUC+ for Bluetooth Midi Wireless

I’ve been a fan off wireless MIDI for a while. I built a few prototypes and I still use some of the devices I made. I might have found a replacement: Zivix just came out (fall 2015) with a wireless Midi transmitter, called the puc+ (puc plus), that is using Bluetooth LE (BLE) to exchange Midi information between any Midi device and a computer (Mac) or iPhone/iPad. This review is for the puc+. Zivix made a previous version called “puc” a couple of years ago (after a successful Indiegogo campaign). It was using a Wifi dedicated network connection. The new device is definitely more useful.

(By the way, you might have found this page doing a google search on puc+, puc plus or puc. Product names with special characters (+) are not search engine friendly…)

 PUC+ top Continue reading

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M4L: Max for live patch for better guitar solo

Max for Live using Pitch Bend

When using a keyboard to play guitar, you have to use Midi Pitch Bend (Pitchbend or PB) quite often to emulate the effect of bending a string on a real guitar. The problem is that PB affects the sound synthesizer, not the Midi notes. Modifying the synth sound means that every note currently playing will be bent. On a real guitar, it’s generally the highest note that is bent, and sometimes the second highest if you keep pushing on the string, far enough to hit the second string.

So I programmed a small Max for Live (M4L) patch for Ableton Live to let me bend one note only, even when playing chords.

If you use Live, this will mean something to you. Keep reading.

The device is made of two patches. The first is a little program that will identify the highest note and pass it to the second patch. The second patch receives notes sent by the first one and passes them to the synth.

To install, you have to place the first patch in front of your synth in you guitar (or other instrument) track.

Sending patch in front of synth

Sending patch in front of synth

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VC-1: Volume control for guitar using Arduino

As explained here, here and here, the VC-1 is a volume control for guitar (or bass) that can use a potentiometer, a variable analog signal or a Midi command to change the output volume.

VC-1-closeup

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Akai MPK261: One more thing using Sysex…

In a previous post, I explained how to control preset changes on the mPK261 using SysEx commands. In this post, I explain how to get the MPK2 series to show some tricked pad colors.

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MIDI Experiments: Arduino as master

Arduino as a Midi master

The previous two posts explained how standard MIDI can supply some current at 5 Volts if implemented according to the MIDI standards. In this post, I go a little further and explain how an Arduino, set up as a MIDI device, can power a second Arduino using a standard MIDI cable.

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MIDI experiments: Stealing power for an Arduino

In the previous post, I explained a simple circuit that will indicate if a MIDI OUT port can provide 5 Volts and a little bit of current between pin 2 (ground) and pin 4 (+5 Volts). Not all MIDI devices are wired that way. Some leave pin 2 disconnected (bad) while others connect it to chassis ground (often the same as circuit ground) and a few use a micro-controller pin as a false ground (!?).

What if 5 Volts is available?

Here’s an old Arduino Duemilanove hookup to to my Akai MPK261:

arduino-midi-power

If you have sharp eyes, you will see the power LED lit right beside the Arduino word. Continue reading

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MIDI experiments: A simple MIDI tester

While doing some research to build a simple MIDI tester, I started to study the “real world” MIDI electrical specifications out there. I also experimented with various MIDI equipment and measured some voltages.

A simple MIDI tester

MIDI specifications imply that a MIDI OUT circuit always provides +5 Volts, on pin 4, in reference to circuit ground, present on pin 2. Pin 5 carries the actual MIDI signal and switches from +5 volts to zero Volts, referenced to the ground present on pin 2.

To test if a MIDI OUT circuit adheres to the specs, I use this simple circuit:

simple-midi-tester-1 Continue reading

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About MIDI connections: Identifying the Midi pin numbers

A short article to help identify MIDI pin numbers in all those circuit drawings  and photos on the internet. Continue reading

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My ultimate versatile MIDI connection board: Versatility is the key

My Ultimate Versatile Midi Connection Board

I work with Midi, a lot. I often have to plug equipment for testing instruments, circuits and interfaces. I often need to connect more than one device to a computer or micro-controller. So I decided to build the ultimate versatile MIDI connection board that I could modify, tweak, and install permanently if needed.

MIDI-Board-assembled Continue reading

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Akai MPK261 (MPK2 series): Controlling the controller with SysEx

In this (very) technical post, I explain a method that will give you better control over the behavior of your Akai MPK2 series keyboard (tested on an MPK261). The goal is to be able to select one of the 30 “presets” stored in the keyboard on demand, without touching a button on the controller. A side benefit is that you can create an infinite number of presets and store them on your computer, and reload them in the MPK as needed.

  • Part 1: What needs to be sent to the MPK2 series?
  • Part 2: How to send a SysEx Message to the MPK2 Series?
  • Part 3: Going further
    • Part 3.1: Creating more Presets
    • Part 3.2: Managing SysEx libraries
  • Conclusion

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