[LAD] [semi-OT] midi snakes using CAT5?

Raymond Martin laseray at gmail.com
Sun Nov 1 16:56:35 UTC 2009

On November 1, 2009 10:47:44 am Jörn Nettingsmeier wrote:
> hi everyone!
> i'm playing with my shiny new BCF2K, and i'm going to use it some
> distance from my machine, so i'm going to try a midi link instead of USB.
> what is the maximum length of midi chain that you have used without
> problems? i read somewhere that no more than 15 meters are recommended,
> which strikes me as pretty short even if it's unbalanced.
> my idea is to abuse a cat5 cable as a triple midi loom - do you think
> that could work? pinout would be as follows:

15 meters is a recommendation based on typical cables used in a simple system.
Data corruption ensues somewhere after 15m, depending on cable quality, EMI,
and so forth. I would imagine a CAT5 as having better shielding and IIRC runs 
for that are advised to somewhere up to 50m. Different frequency ranges though,
so signal loss/degradation per meter may vary.

Usually you need a buffer/booster box for any regular MIDI cable runs greater 
than 15m.

You can also use professional microphone cables for MIDI with DIN plugs. That
might get you a little better EMI rejection and hence a longer run also.

A CAT5 cable should work, as long as the pairs of signal/grounds are really
twisted together. Hum and crosstalk may be a factor otherwise.


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