MIDI Foot Pedal to Multiple Machines

I use an FCB 1010 foot pedal to control Cantabile on my audio laptop when in my studio. This lets me trigger a few specific functions while playing live. The foot pedal currently goes DIN5 MIDI into my audio interface (RME UCX II).

I would now like to use the same FCB 1010 to also control two other machines when doing live video:

  • a Win10 desktop running OBS Studio that I use as a media server to show intro videos and slide show overlays, and

  • a Win10 laptop that controls an ATEM Mini video switcher.

Could anyone suggest a good approach for taking a DIN5 MIDI and duplicating the MIDI stream onto 3 USB lines going into three USB-A ports on three different machines? MIDI channel filtering on each of the USB outputs would be OK, but not required …

I’ve looked at things like iConnectivity boxes, but they all seem to provide multiple USB-A HOST ports that ?would not? work driving USB-A computer ports at the other end.

Any thoughts welcome …

Hi Clint,

Since you said any thoughts … I would use this :


plus 3 of these


my contribution, crude but effective :slight_smile:



As per @dave_dore’s suggestion: first a MIDI thru box to duplicate the MIDI stream in the DIN world. After that, you have the same stream on three DIN cables.

Now you need individual USB MIDI interfaces on your three target machines to get the DIN to USB. Of course, if any of these three machines already have audio interfaces with a DIN MIDI input, you can use that…

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I wonder why these MIDI Thru boxes are so expensive: Duplicating MIDI data in hardware is extremely easy! You only need as many output drivers as desired MIDI-Outputs and a few resistors (see schematic here):

I built a 4x4 box with some extras, based on a Teensy Board, which merges the incoming MIDI-Signals and signals of some additional components. Then the whole data stream is just forwarded to four MIDI outputs.

Making the outputs in USB instead of DIN shouldn’t be a problem either:

You only need someone with a soldering iron and some electric skills… :boom:


If you’re halfway decent with a soldering iron, there are MIDI splitter and merger kits available here.

Browse products by Deftaudio on Tindie

I’ve had very good luck with these by mounting on standoffs on a rack shelf with a PSU.


Fantastic everyone … thank you so much for opening various doors.

Had no idea about the DIY world and how well developed it is. Sounds enticing …

One issue with the MIDI Solutions Quadra Thru is the reliance on MIDI power. Seems to be an issue in maybe 10% of the situations (looking at the tail end of the Sweetwater reviews). I am looking at an externally powered alternative - the Kenton Thru-5 MIDI Splitter. Not as readily available, but looks like it may be more robust …

Picture of merger and splitter in rack. These were DIY and send DIN5 midi to various inputs of MIDI equipment. Not all of MIDI outputs are used, but they are wired to a back-of-rack marshalling panel for future easy access.

9V PSU on right feeds fuses at top which go to the splitters/mergers and also some DC-over-MIDI (Pins 1 & 3). All the on-PCB LEDs were mounted on the front of the rack to check functionality (Multi-colored wires from MIDI PCBs). To get MIDI into the PC, MIDISport 2x2 are used which can usually be found for $10-15 on a good day on e-bay. As much as possible, Midi DIN5 vs. USB is used until the last possible connection to PC. Suggest never mixing different types/brands MIDI-USB interfaces or DAC-USB interfaces so there are no driver problems.

The older Quadra Thru boxes only worked well with MIDI that was derived from 5V logic. The newer versions are designed to work down to 3V. This might account for the feedback on Sweetwater. Not sure how to tell an ‘old’ Quadra Thru from a ‘new’ one, though.

You could send a note to John at MIDI Solutions. He’s usually pretty helpful.

As far as the cost of Thru boxes and such: It’s mostly a matter of scale. If 100K people wanted a Thru box, the price could easily drop to $20-25USD. If millions wanted one, there would be six kinds of them on Amazon for $10. But creating a well-made, supportable product that probably won’t sell more than a few dozen each month – or year? – is another story. I’ve been doing it with niche music gear for 20 years, and it’s harder to make a go of it than one might think.


Another thought on the OP: Ethernet MIDI. I’ve been using rtpMIDI to link my laptop and ‘Cantabile PC’ together, and have found it to be a robust connection that handles removing devices pretty well – unlike USB MIDI.



So far the MIDI solutions has been working nicely in all of my usage scenarios; depends on the MIDI output driving the device providing sufficient current through the 5V output (and you can’t use it on devices that use the 3.3V version of MIDI out (typical for newer Teensy-based MIDI devices). Generally, power-via-midi isn’t specified in the MIDI standard, so YMMV…

If you’re interested in rolling your own, there is no need to use an Arduino/Teensy if you’re only interested in Thru and don’t need merging capabilities. Thru is a simple electronic solution without any processing needed. You can find schematics, PCB designs and BOM for a 1-to-5 solution here: MidiThru original | MidiSizer . Not MIDI-cable-powered, so should be more robust for your purposes.

I’ve incorporated pure electronic Thru capabilities based on the same principles in a couple of my DIY projects, and it’s been working flawlessly. Essentially, it’s just an opto-coupler-based input stage, plus two sequential inverter stages as output buffers for the thru signal to avoid degradation of the signal. All that sprinkled with some resistors to keep levels and currents where they need to be, adding a diode in input to avoid frying the opto coupler with incorrectly wired MIDI cables, and you’re done with the essentials. Now simply add the necessary parts to manage power supply, and you’ve got the whole thingy…

Not really difficult if you know your way around a breadboard and a soldering iron :wink:



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Well I am now intrigued by the rtpMIDI approach. All three hosts are on the LAN … never thought of putting the foot pedal on the LAN …

You can do it with iConnectivity but…
You’ll need the earlier MIDI 4+ as that is the only one that can connect to 3 computers / iOS devices with USB.
The Mio4 has 2 USB connections and the latest MioXM has only 1.
Don’t ask me why, I’ve begged iConnectivity to restore the USB connections in future products.
rtpMIDI does work ok on their devices but is just not quite as reliable on windows (using Tobias Erichsen’s driver) as USB is. USB connects instantly but rtpMIDI leaves you waiting nervously for all the handshaking.

I use the Mio4 on stage to run 2 identical rigs simultaneously (and switch over if there is a problem with one).

I have used RtP MIDI and it works well, with the only issue I have found with it is if you just connected the two laptops I had back to back with an Ethernet lead, you could never guarantee the connection would be established.

That may have been an edge case related to my specific combination of those two specific computers, but I solved it with a small £20 Netgear Ethernet switch. If you connected the laptops to the switch, it was always fine.

But if you have more than two LAN devices you will need a switch anyway! But I thought I would mention it just in case others are considering RtP MIDI and thinking of back to back network connections between two devices.

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Never knew those existed. They seem good value as well. Have saved the link to my MIDI bookmarks!

@ClintGoss I’ve been impressed with how stable rtpMIDI seems. Every time I think it’s ‘broken,’ it turns out that my setup has a flaw, not rtpMIDI. For me, it was a no-brainer: my system has Midas and Behringer digital mixers, and they communicate by Ethernet. I don’t trust WiFi for live gigs, so I added a cheap GB switch and hard wires a long time ago. The whole network runs static IP, so I never have to worry about missing devices – unless they unplug. Adding another PC to the mix was easy.

At one point I had 64 MIDI channels running on the network, and the latency was very low. (I’m still using 32 channels.)


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