Connecting MIDI to

Our Palm-to-MIDI interface
We have a MIDI interface designed specifically for your Palm. This interface is available here while suplies last. It converts any Serial HotSync Cradle or Cable into a MIDI-out interface that you can connect to any electronic music instrument (requires full RS2332 serial signal, some handhelds require special cables to meet this specification). There are some low cost handhelds that include ONLY a USB port instead of a full HotSync connector, like the Palm Zire, preventing anyone from making a serial cable and preventing a MIDI connection of any kind.

Using a serial connection from your Palm to your MIDI hardware.
Handhelds come with a variety of connectors for "HotSyncing" with your desktop. Most older handhelds have a serial port. Most newer handhelds have a special port that can handle USB and Serial (all Handspring Visors are like this, and all Palm's with their "Universal Connector") and a few handhelds like the Palm Zire are USB only. To make a MIDI connection you need a Serial HotSync cable which you will have to buy seperately (unless you are using an older handheld from several years ago). There is currently no way to connect a USB only handheld, like the Zire, to any MIDI hardware.

Many MIDI keyboards, sound modules, samplers, and synthesizers also allow for serial connections (this is different than the usual large round 5-pin MIDI-In and MIDI-Out ports). This type of serial port is a smaller round 8-pin port usually labelled "serial", "host" or "to host" on the MIDI hardware. This additional port is intended for a direct connection to your computer (as opposed to another MIDI device) and will often have a Mac/PC switch next to it.

To connect the bottom of your Palm handheld to the "to host" serial port on a MIDI device you will need either a Serial HotSync Cradle or Cable. These HotSync cables/cradles end with a somewhat rectangular 9-pin connector. To make one of these cables fit in the round "to host" port on your MIDI hardware you will need "Macintosh Serial Adapter" which was included with the Palm Serial Cradle for their universal connector, but can be found separately also.

The "To Host" port will usualy have a switch associated with it. This switch should be set to "Mac" (or set to PC-2 if you are using a handheld that cannot send serial data at 31250 baud). Consult the manual for your MIDI hardware for any special settings that it may require to receive serial data from a computer.

Most electronic music products from the 90s have the "to host" serial port. Most hardware today has replaced this with a USB port and you will have to use a MIDI interface instead of a direct serial connection. If you're interested in portability, take a look at the Yamaha MU-5, Yamaha MU-15, Yamaha QY-70, and the Roland PMA-5 or newer equivilent models; all are about the size of a video cassette, run on batteries, have the serial port for easy connection to your Palm, and have headphone jacks. We recommend the MU-15 as it is the least expensive and has good sounds. We own several!

Using other MIDI interfaces with your Palm.
With the HotSync cradle/cable as described above, you can plug into a number of older (pre-USB) Serial MIDI adapters made for the Macintosh. We have succesfully plugged Palm handhelds into interfaces from Opcode (like the "Professional Plus" 1-in/3-out MIDI adapter) to drive MIDI hardware. Such an adapter has the small round serial port and full sized round 5-pin MIDI ports to connect to other MIDI hardware.

There were also some small third party MIDI solutions designed specifically for the Palm platform. Several web sites will either sell you handmade interfaces or show you how to build your own. Check out Widget Australia, MicroTools Inc., Geoff Smith's Page, Tom Zerucha & Pete Moss, and Sound Ventures.

| main | store | help | contact | hardware | software | resources | credits |