How to use a wireless network to transmit MIDI data between your iPad and desktop computer

MIDI iconWhen I was reviewing the rather excellent Chordion app for the blog, I mentioned that the app could be used in conjunction with a desktop DAW to transmit MIDI data to a synth track on the desktop system. Given just how good Chordion is for entering basic MIDI chord data, this is a very useful trick and something I’ve used regularly since buying the app to send MIDI data to Cubase 7 running on my iMac.

In response to my comment in the Chordion review, I received an couple of emails from readers asking how they could configure this ‘wireless MIDI’ link on their own system – in these cases though, it was with an iPad and a PC rather than an iPad and a Mac.

The request got me thinking that this might be a useful reference for newbie iPad (or any other iOS device) owners, so I thought I’d provide a little tutorial – for both Mac and PC users – here in the blog.

Before I get into the detail of ‘how to’, it is worth noting that this is not just something that (a) is useful for using Chordion or (b) useful just for sending MIDI data from iPad to desktop. First, there are lots of other apps that can be used to generate useful MIDI data worth sending to your desktop (V-Control Pro for example) and, second, it can be just as useful to be able to send MIDI from your desktop to your iPad (for example, from a master MIDI keyboard connected to your desktop, saving you having to re-patch its MIDI cables if you want to play a quick part in an iOS synth such as Thor or Nave).

So, if you think this kind of ‘wireless MIDI’ might be useful and you want to give it a go for yourself, how do you set it up?

The process is actually somewhat different on Mac and PC, so I’ll consider each separately. Depending upon your desktop platform of choice, follow the appropriate link below….

Part 1 Wireless MIDI between iPad and Mac

Part 2 Wireless MIDI between iPad and PC

Each part includes both step-by-step instructions and a short video demonstration. Good luck and happy networking :-)

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    1. John, this was great! Thanks for sharing. I have been searching for a long time for ways to create adhoc networks to lower latency. I tried connectify, but the free version essentially popups you to death to go pro and intentionally stops after around 10 mins. I tried mhotspot and it took forever and tried to install adware junk. I then finally found the perfect solution:

      The version from cnet is without adware and it works great with rtpmidi.



    2. David Foley says:

      Great topic and article, but I’d like to suggest something thing that may be of interest. You can connect multiple iOS devices to an OSX hosted MIDI Network without being limited to only 16 MIDI channels over the entire MIDI Network.

      Treat each Session as a duplex MIDI port with its own 16 MIDI channels. Treat each Directory connection to a Session as a physical MIDI cable connecting that device to a single duplex MIDI port on the MIDI network- NEVER connect more than one device to one Session unless you want that Sessions 16 MIDI channels shared between all of its connections. In other words, if you have multiple iOS devices, and you want each iOS device to have its own 16 MIDI channels over the MIDI Network, create a Session per device, enable each Session, then connect each one of those devices to its own Session.

      For example, if you have 1 iPad, 1 iPod and 1 iPhone, you could create three sessions called iPadSession, iPodSession and iPhoneSession. Enable all Sessions, and connect the iPad to iPadSession, the iPod to iPodSession and the iPhone to iPhoneSession, et voila, each iOS device has its own 16 wireless MIDI channels. Finding that out saved me a ton of headaches- I’m not as mobile as I used to be, so I truly welcome a wireless MIDI network like that! For quite the while it looked as though the MIDI Network was constrained to only 16 MIDI channels in total- so happy thats not the case ;)

      • Hi david,

        thanks for this. It’s not something I’ve tried but I’ll give it a go when I get a a bit of time to experiment.

        Thanks also for the kind words….. :-)

        best wishes,


    3. Thanks John, great and essential article !

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