Saturday, March 14, 2009

MIDI Connectors and Cables

If you are building your own MIDI cables, or equipment that will connect to MIDI, here are some handy references:

Shavano Music Online has a handy page that explains how to wire MIDI cables. Note a few things: (1) The pins are numbered in a funny order. Pin 2 is in the middle, and pins 4 and 5 are adjacent to it. The outermost pins are numbered 1 and 3. (2) Cables are always wired straight through; there is no crossover. (3) Cables use male connectors on both ends. Equipment always uses female connectors. (4) Contrary to the instructions on the Shavano page, the shield in a cable should be connected to pin 2 at one end only, to avoid ground loops. Leave it unconnected at the other end.

Remember, when wiring MIDI connectors on equipment, that the pinout is the mirror image of the cable connectors.

Mouser part numbers for MIDI connectors:

  • Switchcraft female panel mount connector, solder lugs: 502-57GB5FX
  • Switchcraft male cable connector, crimp connection: 502-05BL5MX
  • Deltron male cable connector, solder lugs (I haven't tried these): 174-2511


Tomáš Valůšek said...

This "funny pin numbering" has its historical reasons. DIN connectors were used for audio connections, and had originally only three pins at positions where pins nr. 1, 2, and 3 are. Pins 4 and 5 were added later for connecting stereo devices. A single DIN cable was always able to connect audio devices bi-directionally.

Dave Cornutt said...

Thanks for the info, Tomas. Was the original 3-pin DIN connector the same as what we now use for XLR mic connectors?

Tomáš Valůšek said...

XLR and mono DIN connector differ generally in size and DIN never had a "lock" to hold connector firmly in place. More info can be found on Wikipedia - about DIN connectors and about XLR connectors. BTW, XLR has also "funny" pin numbering :-)