Award Winning DIY MIDI Projects

Maximum MIDI Here are a few do-it-yourself MIDI projects for your enjoyment.

If you think these projects are great, you might find my book Maximum MIDI: Music Applications in C++ interesting. You can read more about the book, and even order it online at the Maximum MIDI web page.

As time goes on, I'll be adding more projects, so keep checking back.

GOOD NEWS! Order eproms and programmed processors for the projects below. It's that easy!

Use Restrictions. Or, It's Not Quite Free

Here's the legal mumbo-jumbo. The device drivers and firmware provided on this site are copyrighted. They are not in the public domain. By downloading and/or building any of these projects you accept the following two conditions: You have a license to use this firmware and/or device drivers to build no more than two (2) of each individual project for your own personal use. You may not sell a commercial product based on the information provided here without the express written permission of the author.

If you are a manufacturer and are interested in marketing one of the projects shown here, contact Paul Messick for licensing information.

SK-1 MIDI Retrofit 8051 firmware is Copyright (c) Paul Messick, 1986, 1988. All rights reserved.
The DIY MIDI Metronome article, source code, and PIC16C54 firmware are Copyright (c) Paul Messick, 1992, 1998. All rights reserved.
The Serial Port MIDI Interface device driver, firmware, and test program are Copyright (c) Paul Messick, 1994-1998. All rights reserved.
The MIDI Viewport
TM is a trademark of Paul Messick and John Battle.
The MIDI Viewport firmware, display screens and circuit design are Copyright (c) Paul Messick and John Battle, 1989-1998. All rights reserved.
The MIDI Footpedal Controller article, firmware, and circuit design are Copyright (c) Paul Messick, 1998. All rights reserved.
This web site and its contents are Copyright (c) Paul Messick, 1998.


The Projects

Casio SK-1 MIDI Mod This project was originally a cover article in the August 1987 issue of Keyboard Magazine, "Build a MIDI Input for your Casio SK-1" by Paul Messick and John Battle, posted here with the kind permission of the folks at Keyboard.. Renewed interest in the SK-1 on Usenet, a moderate amount of greed, an altrustic streak yet to be stamped out by the Corporate Machine, and a desire to plug my book have made me resurrect this project.

The mod adds a MIDI input to the Casio SK-1 Sampling Keyboard. All of the electronics go inside the SK-1's case. This page includes instructions, pictures, and schematics for the mod. The information here is also useful for those who have the original kit.

PLEASE NOTE: The mod kit is no longer available. That is, I no longer have any of the parts or PC board for this kit, except for the eprom. Its gone. No more. Kaput.


DIY MIDI Metronome Back in 1992 or so, I designed this simple MIDI Metronome project and wrote a short article for publication in a national electronic music magazine. The article was accepted by the magazine, but was never published because somewhere along the way the publisher decided not to run DIY articles anymore. Bad for business, I guess. Interestingly, at about the same time their offices were flattened in a major earthquake. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Anyway, here's the original article. Enjoy!


Serial Port MIDI Interface Need a MIDI interface for your laptop? Out of card slots in your PC? Then build the Serial Port MIDI Interface.

When you are done building this project you will have a MIDI interface that: works with Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 (drivers included); requires no external power; handles full-bandwidth on input and output; is cheap and easy to build. This is not a sound-card cable, it is a high-performance MIDI interface. Accept no substitute.


MIDI Viewport The MIDI Viewport is an intelligent, battery-powered data analyzer for MIDI. Using its LCD display, you can see what events are being sent by a device, debug a recalcitrent MIDI rig, and see what your software is sending. With its cable test function the unit will determine whether a given cable will really work. And the built-in beacon function will force any receiving instrument to make sound by sending notes on all 16 channels.

In other words, the Viewport is like a copy of MidiSpy that you can put in your pocket and take on the road.


MIDI Controller Footpedal Want to have the ultimate source of controller data in the known Universe? Convert that decrepit old volume pedal that's collecting dust in your closet into a MIDI Controller Footpedal using this inexpensive, easy to build project.


Rare Silicon Data sheets (but no parts!) for rare, vintage analog synthesizer ICs. Covet ancient phat technology, fix your Prophet, or stare in awe. Your choice.


[fkr award]
The "fkr" Award

An Award! I've won an award!

As a youngster, I was a particularly pathetic, uncoordinated kid in gym class. Always picked last for the team. A permanent fixture in the outfield. Sad, lonely, and dejected.

Finally, after all these years I've finally won something. Let me announce, with overwhelming chest-bursting pride that I've been awarded the coveted "fkr" award. At the festive award banquet, Master of Ceremony Bruce Murray explained the origin of the award. "A hacker friend of mine used the term "fkr" to denote someone with quasi-shamanistic skills in hardware or software. You are certainly a fkr", he said.

You may interpret the award as you wish. But from this day forward I will hold my head up and look the Team Captains of the world square in the eye. Now I am a proud "fkr."