The Best MIDI Interfaces for PC / Mac / iOS and More

The Highest Rated MIDI Interfaces

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Even after decades, MIDI is still relevant as ever; even new MIDI controllers have brought back the 5-pin connections and the ability to control other hardware. Bands like Periphery run their rigs with metronome synchronized patch switching via MIDI for their live shows.

We have selected the best MIDI interfaces for connecting your computer, tablet or even phone to your other MIDI gear. This guide includes products ranging from 1 input to a 4 x 4 I/O configuration.

Note that these interfaces are class compliant so you'll be able to use them with iOS or Linux too - make sure you read the "Things to Consider" section if you plan to use one with an iPad/iPhone.

Also here's one 'weird trick' that might save you some time with many of these interfaces. The In/Out cables are often labeled in a way that's technically correct but confuses a lot of users at first. The MIDI cable marked as 'In' should go into your keyboard's 'Out' port and vice versa.

Without further ado, here's the best MIDI intetrfaces for PC / Mac / iOS and More.

The Best MIDI Interfaces

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

Wireless

Yamaha MD-BT01

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 700+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$55
Yamaha MD-BT01

Cons

  • Only iOS and macOS supported
  • Problem with app support for firmware updates. iOS only firmware updates via app

Pros

  • Convenient wirefree experience
  • Uses MIDI power
  • Latency is there but not too bad

The Yamaha MD-BT01 is Bluetooth MIDI adapter that allows you to wirelessly connect to midi gear via the old school 5-Pin DIN midi connectors. So for example you can hook this up to a Yamaha DX7 and use it as a MIDI controller and a sound module. It's a pretty nifty and convenient little device and since it sips its power from the midi connection itself, there really are no wires required. Keep in mind that that some MIDI devices don't provide power and these won't work with the MB-BT01.

It's made to work with Mac and iOS devices and that's what I used for this review. Windows and Android users have been able to get it working too but its not officially supported by Yamaha and seems a little hit and miss. The adapter uses the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) MIDI standard which was released by Apple in 2015.

You connect the MD-BT01 to the MIDI IN and OUT of your MIDI gear. There are directional arrows to indicate which of the two connector ports connects to which but for those who've connected MIDI gear before they really don't help much since usually the MIDI IN connects to the MIDI OUT on the other side. That's not the case here as the brief 'manual' does point out so the 'in' arrow does actually go to the MIDI IN and so forth. Once your connected and switch your MIDI gear on the light should flash and you're ready to connect.

An important point to make here is that BLE MIDI is NOT the same as 'classic' Bluetooth that you would normally use for music playback. You can see some frustrated users leaving negative reviews because they didn't realize this. Yamaha don't really make this as clear as they should in their very brief instruction 'manual' either but it is there. Instead of looking to make a Bluetooth connection in the usual place you need to use the 'Audio MIDI Setup' app on macOS or on iOS you need to load up a compatible app to get the connection going. There are a lot of compatible apps in iOS including Garageband and even a dedicated third party connection app called 'midimittr' that is well regarded for connecting.

Yamaha MD-BT01 connected to a Boss SY1000 Pedal for use with the a Looper app
Yamaha MD-BT01 connected to a Boss SY1000 Pedal for use with the a Looper app

I connected a number of my MIDI devices with the unit and they all connected reliably and worked well. My trusty old Ensoniq SQ-80's polyphonic aftertouch flowed through perfectly to apps that can use it like Moog's Animoog Z. The weighted digital piano came through on Garageband quite smoothly and I struggled to tell whether any latency was due to unfamiliar resistance of the keys or BLE MIDI. Even a multieffects pedal worked for controlling the 'Loopy' app. It also works well for transmitting MIDI 'system exclusive' messages which is often something that can trip up MIDI adapters.

Some people have reported issues with 'jitter' - random small changes in latency. In practice I haven't experienced this as an issue and most owners don't have problems. However if you're an especially precise player or looking to use this for percussion then it could be a good idea to trial BLE MIDI before committing your entire setup to it.

Minor jitter issues aside, this is a good piece of gear that helps you reduce your cable clutter.

Specifications

  • Number of MIDI Ports: 1 MIDI In, 1 MIDI Out
  • Compatibility: Bluetooth LE MIDI. Compatible with iOs 8 or later and Mac OSX Yosemite or later with Bluetooth 4.0 installed.
  • Power Supply: Powered by MIDI Connection
  • Size: 0.67"(W) x 2.63" (D) x 0.67"(H)
  • Weight: 0.81oz

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Gearank Daniel Barnett 85/100
Technology in Music Education Christopher J. Russell, Ph.D. 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Wired

iConnectivity mio

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 800+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$40
iConnectivity mio MIDI Interface

Cons

  • iConfig software clunky to use
  • 5ft cable might be too short

Pros

  • Plug and Play
  • No noticeable latency
  • Sturdy build
  • Affordable

The mio is a USB Class Compliant (plug and play) bus powered MIDI interface and a low latency and affordable option for the basic single device MIDI connections.

There's a free companion controller app called "iConfig" available for Windows, Mac and iOS that allows you to route and process MIDI in various ways as well as update the device firmware.

The plug and play class compliant interface is a great choice for future-proofing your setup.

The iConfig software is a bit complicated but is only used for more advanced features. SysEx messages may cause problems as well but that goes for many MIDI interfaces. One other thing is that the 5ft. cable might be too short.

Cons aside, the iConnectivity mio is great if you want a simple and reliable MIDI interface

Specifications

  • Number of MIDI Ports: 1 MIDI In, 1 MIDI Out
  • Compatibility: Class Compliant and compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS (via CCK/Lightning adaptor) and Linux
  • Power Supply: USB
  • Length: 5ft
  • Weight: 3.5 oz

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Youtube Tayvon Gwira 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

iConnectivity mioXC

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$50
iConnectivity mioXC
At publication time this was the Highest Rated MIDI Interface.

Cons

  • Does not include a manual in the package
  • Cable labeling might confuse users new to MIDI

Pros

  • Great compatibility and future proofing
  • Works well with mobile devices
  • Stable SysEX and MIDI transfers

The iConnectivity mioXC is a 1 x 1 USB-C MIDI interface that allows up to 16 channels of MIDI data to be transmitted to and from various devices. Thanks to the USB-C connection, it makes it easier to interface hardware synths with mobile devices running iOS or Android.

Equipped with a 32-bit ARM Cortex processor and well-engineered shielding, the mioXC provides stable data transfers for MIDI and SysEX information.

Thanks to constant driver updates and support, the mioXC runs great even on the latest (as of writing) Mac OS, Monterey. This allows it to bridge the gap between modern computer software and vintage synthesizers.

One thing that might trip up users is the lack of labelling on the MIDI IN/OUT. For veterans, this would be no problem to figure out but for those unfamiliar, the OUT cable goes into the IN port and vice versa.

Specifications

  • Number of MIDI Ports: 1 MIDI In, 1 MIDI Out
  • Compatibility: Class Compliant with MAC OSX, Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10
  • Power Supply: Powered by USB-C
  • Size: 5.71" x 0.98" x 4.41"
  • Weight: 5.9oz

Miditech MIDIFACE - 4x4

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$66
MIDITECH MIDIFACE 4X4

Cons

  • Not the most compact form factor

Pros

  • Multiple I/O enables complex setups
  • Up to 64 Channels with the included MIDI cable

Miditech is a company based in Cologne, Germany and have been making music gear for over 2 decades.

The Miditech MIDIFACE is a straightforward 4 in / 4 out interface and it is class compliant and will work with most major operating systems.

Its configuration allows up to 64 channels of MIDI via the included USB Cable.

Its simplicity and class compliance means it's a great hub for even for more complex midi routing. The class compliance ensures compatibility with many operating systems. It's important to note however that in my research, I've found a few people having trouble with specific Windows 10 updates though this seems to have been resolved as of this edition of the guide.

Still, if you're looking for a MIDI interface with multiple ports, the Miditech MIDIFACE 4 x 4 is a stellar pick.

Specifications

  • Number of MIDI Ports: 4 MIDI In, 4 MIDI Out
  • Compatibility: Class Compliant with MAC OSX, Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10
  • Power Supply: Powered by MIDI Connection
  • Size: 9.25" x 6.93" x 2.83"
  • Weight: 15.5oz

Things To Consider When Buying A MIDI Interface

What is a MIDI Interface?

Simply put, it's a device that allows you to connect MIDI devices, such as hardware synths and keyboards that use 5-pin MIDI jacks, to your computer or tablet.

Connectivity

Some MIDI interfaces come with "Y" cables: 2 MIDI connectors (1 In/1 Out) on one end and a USB connector. Some have multiple MIDI sockets and this is usually necessary if you want to connect multiple MIDI controller devices at the same time - an example would be connecting an Electronic Drum Set and a MIDI Keyboard to your computer. You can usually daisy chain MIDI output (receiver) devices through a single computer connection though.

There are MIDI Interfaces that are compatible with iOS devices, such as iPhones or iPads, with the use of Apple lightning cables. Any class compliant USB device can be connected to iOS devices via an Apple Camera Connection Kit or Lightning adapter - note that your iOS apps must use CoreMIDI.

Power

Many MIDI interfaces don't need additional AC power cables or batteries and can be powered via USB when plugged to a PC, Mac or Linux box.

Important information for iPad users: The iPad limits the amount of power available to USB devices so even though you can use Class Compliant interfaces with it you may need to use a Powered USB Hub (link to Amazon.com) to provide sufficient power. This does not apply if your MIDI interface has its own power adapter.

Class Compliant USB MIDI

Class compliant devices are plug-and-play devices that don't need extra drivers to work (although manufacturers often supply them anyway). Although theoretically any class compliant device should work with any operating system that supports them you may have trouble with older operating systems so if you don't have the latest version of your OS then check the compatibility information carefully before purchasing (or upgrade to the latest OS if you can).

Number of MIDI Ports (Input/Output/Thru)

MIDI devices come in 3 ports: In, Out and Thru. An interface with single MIDI In and Out ports is enough to connect one MIDI controller (i.e. keyboard) to a computer and usually you can also daisy chain to other MIDI receiver units (such as sound modules) using the Thru ports in these. If you want to use multiple MIDI controllers you'll generally need multiple MIDI Input ports to your computer. Also it can be easier to control multiple MIDI receiver units with each having their own dedicated port and this can also reduce latency when there's a lot of MIDI data flying around. Another reason to have more MIDI channels is if your sound modules don't have a MIDI Thru port for daisy chaining. Each MIDI port contains 16 channels.
 
While most users without really complex studio setups can make do with single in/out MIDI port interfaces, interfaces with multiple I/O ports are useful for studios with several different MIDI sources like analog synthesizers or rackmount gear with DAW-controlled MIDI switching and automation. If this is what your studio setup is like, the Miditech MIDIFACE should be worth checking out.

Best MIDI Interface Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the current edition was published on June 22, 2021.

We looked at all the popular and highly rated MIDI interfaces available from major American music gear retailers and short-listed the 23 most promising for detailed analysis. During this procedure we processed more than 11,000 individual review and rating sources from user and expert reviews and forum comments, using the Gearank Algorithm to produce rating scores out of 100 for each interface. We then selected the highest rated options to recommend above. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

I've had experience with recording MIDI instruments such as electronic drums and keyboard controllers throughout my career and having a dedicated MIDI interface definitely is a great choice for those working with USB Audio Interfaces that don't have one. While modern synths have USB I/O, older synths can work with modern setups with a good MIDI interface.

Contributors

Alden Acosta: Product research.
Daniel Barnett: Yamaha MD-BT01 Review.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Created by Gearank.com using photographs of the iConnectivity mio, Roland UM-ONE mk2, Yamaha MD-BT01 and MOTU micro lite.

The individual product images were sourced from their respective manufacturers' websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation except for Yamaha MD-BT01 connected to a Boss SY1000 Pedal which was photographed by Daniel Barnett.

Comments

What was the reason why they

What was the reason why they were no longer recommended? They no longer works? I bought a MidiPlus "MIDI 2x2 USB MIDI interface" running on Windows 10 and it doesn't work reliably. I'm wondering if this is related to the April 2020 Update? Would a future Windows 10 update fix this?

The MidiPlus Tbox 2X2 USB

The MidiPlus Tbox 2X2 USB MIDI Interface was removed from our recommended list because it was no longer available to buy.

Given that it uses USB class compliant drivers it's unlikely that a simple Windows update will fix the problem. If you are having other problems with Windows then reinstalling Windows 10 *might* fix it, but I can't guarantee that it will - there could be other software causes or even malfunctioning USB hardware.

If you want tech support you could contact the manufacturer - you'll find their email address on this page of the MidiPlus website.

Great comparative study, very

Great comparative study, very clear and what I have been looking for for’quite Some time. Don’t know why I didn’t find the article earlier.
Thanks a lot for your great work.

Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your appreciation of the work we do - remember to check with us first next time!