Categories: Hardware Prototypes/Non-Commercial products

Submitted by:Jay Hurley

24 May 2023

Elevator Pitch


Finally an electric bass guitar to MIDI converter with low-to-no latency, tight enough for live performance.

Product Description


The Hurley Research MidiBass is built on our prototype audio-midi processor device. The MidiBass feature accepts analog input, typically from an electric bass guitar, and outputs MIDI NoteOn and PitchBend events in such a way as to eliminate the usual latency experienced with traditional converters.

How It's Innovative

With MidiBass, the NoteOn events are transmitted immediately upon playing the note; there is no delay while waiting for the algorithm to determine the pitch of the note. This allows the midi triggering within a handful of samples of the bassist plucking the string. The usual FFT or other methods of determining pitch, which take at least one full period of the fundamental frequency of the input, are not needed, allowing MidiBass to trigger equally fast independent of the fundamental pitch of the note. This means that, for 5-string bassists, playing all the way down to low D, C and B, where the MIDI conversion latency is unacceptably long, typically at least 30 milliseconds and often much more, is eliminated allowing for tight, reliable play-ability which is essential for live performance as a bassist.

See MIDI Innovation In Action

Most Inspiring Use Cases

I built MidiBass specifically for my own use case. In our act, we have only two musicians, both of us play several instruments. It's a bit like live looping but not exactly. One aspect of the style is the bass lines are typically synth based, to give the hip-hop/rap heavy bass feel. As a bassist, I wanted a way to perform these lines, live. Unfortunately everything commercially available that I tried ha grossly unacceptable latency, that increased withe lower pitch notes. The bass is supposed to be the tightest sound in the mix, so how can I use an instrument that has serious delays? So I built this device to solve my problem. The most compelling use case is a live performing bassist that needs the amazing timber of synth.

Expansion Plans

The hardware platform supports several other features worth mentioning. As a Bluetooth and USB enabled device, the connectivity options are rich. Ultimately the device will be useful for many in-studio and live applications... anywhere audio and MIDI need to come together, or where a MIDI stream needs to be processed, altered, or routed. Bluetooth connectivity allows real-time configuration of the system from any phone. In our show, the device also serves as the main sequencer, producing all live MIDI tracks, provides interactivity to extend or curtail sections. Also we have a feature we call "JTA" for Jazz Theory Assistant, that takes MIDI in, for instance from a keyboard soloist, and maps any "wrong" notes to correct notes, based on a configuration which is setup simply by playing the correct notes in a single chord to an alternate MIDI channel, where the configuration chord could naturally be stored in the sequencer, allowing a musician to follow jazz changes that otherwise would be too difficult, at least for a struggling musician like myself! . This feature was another option for submission to the contest but we went with MidiBass.


I use the device live already, so that's kind of commercial, but if anyone that hears about it through this contest is interested in the project from a commercial perspective, we're open to discussions. My plan is to continue to refine the device and use it live for some time before investing in a product launch program.