MIDI Synths and Arduinos

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MIDI, Synths and Arduinos
MIDI connectors1.jpg
Participants Dennis
Status Active
Niche Electronics
Purpose Use in other project
Tool No
Tool category

MIDI, Synths and Arduinos

MIDI connectors1.jpg {{#if:No | [[Tool Owner::{{{ProjectParticipants}}} | }} {{#if:No | [[Tool Cost::{{{Cost}}} | }}


I've got some Arduino Pro Mini's and some DIN5 connectors from Adafruit, so let's do something with it. Yay MIDI \o/. Some ideas:

MIDI enabled synth


Read the notes that are being transmitted from a keyboard or sequencer. Information about velocity and pitch bend would also be nice.

Sound output

Multiple possibilities here:

Arduino as synth

The Arduino is capable of producing sound on its own, so write/borrow some code and connect a jack connector to the Arduino and we're done.

Driving the Korg Monotron

I own a Korg Monotron and supposedly they are very easy to modify. It would be awesome to be able to play it with a decent keyboard.

Drive a sound chip

Yamaha OPL2 / OPL3

MIDI player / sequencer

Start with implementing MIDI out and go from there.


It is good practice and part of the MIDI spec to use opto-isolation for MIDI in only. I've seen examples without it, but I'm not taking any chances when it comes to connecting to other MIDI hardware. I've found a MCT2E optocoupler which seems suitable.

MCT2E Optocoupler.png


Got a protoboard and soldered 3 MIDI connectors onto the thing.



  • Yellow / blue for MIDI connector shield. Pin 2 is also connected to ground but via a low capacity capacitor. I used 220pf ones.

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