midi cable extension

i mistakenly bought two 1ft midi cables. not really much use to me! rather than return / ditch them i bought a 50ft roll of telephone cable for $6 from lowes with a plan to splice the midi cables and insert some extra wire between the two connectors, making the cables custom length to suit my needs.

if you have a decent quality wire stripper you can just cut the cable and then strip the outer plastic without harming the wires inside. if you don’t have that kind of stripper, you can remove the outer sheath with a knife. i did both, just to show you how it looks each way.

once the outer sheath is removed you need to strip away some of the coloured plastic from the internal wires from each of the two “midi pieces” you just created. an eighth of an inch should be fine. do the same with the telephone cable.

you DON’T need to match the colours from the midi cable to the telephone cable, but you DO have to match the colours from each midi-cable-piece, so make sure that, say, midi-piece-1’s red wire is connected to midi-piece-2’s red wire, regardless of what colour of telephone cable connects them.

in the end, i made these connections:

midi-piece-1 red to telephone cable red. to midi-piece-2 red
midi-piece-1 yellow to telephone cable red. to midi-piece-2 yellow
midi-piece-1 black to telephone cable red. to midi-piece-2 black

what i did was get all the cables ready, connect one connector to my alesis percpad’s midi out, and connect the other connector to my behringer bcr2000’s midi input. i connected the bcr2000’s midi output to my computer’s midi input, and loaded up a software drum sampler (in this case drummix beta from bluenoise plugins http://www.bluenoiseplugins.com/plugins/drummix/ ). i then proceeded to join the two connectors together, via the telephone cable, and test the percpad until the midi signal was being sent to the behringer and then on to my computer. once i was getting sounds triggered from the percpad to make it to the computer i stopped – midi connectors don’t need all of their five pins to transfer data. usually three is enough.

at the end of the slideshow there’s a little video showing the connections and successful drum triggering. this is very encouraging for me as now i know i can have my electronic drum kit set up quite a distance away from the DAW, and not worry about the data not making it the distance. i have effectively just created a 51ft midi cable and everything works fine! :-)

the music you can hear is just a piece i’m currently working on. it’ll probably end up being a verse and a bridge somewhere.

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