The MIDI Forum

  1. Andy
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. Thursday, 08 December 2016
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I have a lot of old MIDI equipment that was recently given to me by a retired music teacher. I have a lot of interest in it, and would like to make a MIDI synth. It does not need to be high quality or sample based, but I want to know how to implement a MIDI decoder in hardware.
(By the way, I'm not asking you to build it for me; I just want to know where a good document is. I want to do this project on my own. Nothing more complex than simple logic IC's, so don't tell me about those MIDI generating IC's.I have chosen the 7400 series ICs. Such as 7400PC )
I know that MIDI is just digital signals representing instruments, so I'm thinking something like this.
i.stack.imgur.com/8MkkW.png" alt="http://i.stack.imgur.com/8MkkW.png" />
Yeah, it's not a technical diagram. But basically, I want a really excellent guide to how MIDI works. What the signal contains and so on. I have an arduino ready to act as a PWM generator, and I have tested it. It just needs to generate simple waves (like square waves, NES/Famicom style).

Does anyone know a concise, easy to understand documentation for the MIDI standard? Something like what would be in "The Art of Electronics" (the textbook) if it talked about MIDI at all. Something that a beginner could understand, preferably. I mainly work in analog technology, so this has been a new experience for me.

Thank you.
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Andy Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Sorry about the image.I will repost the image.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. # 1
Clemens Ladisch Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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The specification itself is freely available.

For a somewhat easier to understand documentation, see the archived copy of a mirror of Jeff Glatt's website at https://web.archive.org/web/20150906103303/http://www.blitter.com/~russtopia/MIDI/~jglatt/tech/miditech.htm .

As for your decoder: MIDI is too complex to be decoded by a bunch of logic ICs. You need a microcontroller (even a tiny 8-bit one would do). If you already have an Arduino, that is what you should use.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. # 2
Jan Kučera Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Maybe it would help to note that the MIDI is just a serial bus/UART. You can build UART with 74xx (see e.g. http://6502.org/users/dieter/uart/uart_0.htm) but I agree if you have Arduino in, just connect it to it's serial port.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. # 3
Paul DeRocco Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Clemens is right: do it in software on the Arduino. However, not all UARTs can be programmed for 31250bps, so you may have to add an external one. Or just buy a USB to MIDI converter and forget about hardware entirely.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. # 4
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