What is Bluetooth MIDI service?

What is Bluetooth MIDI?

Bluetooth MIDI is a wireless technology that enables MIDI devices to connect and communicate without cables. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, which is an industry standard protocol for transmitting music performance data between electronic instruments, computers, smartphones and other hardware.

Bluetooth MIDI allows MIDI data to be sent wirelessly between devices over Bluetooth connections. This eliminates the need for traditional 5-pin MIDI cables by enabling MIDI communication through wireless Bluetooth links. It provides users the freedom and flexibility to control MIDI equipment from anywhere within Bluetooth range.

With Bluetooth MIDI, MIDI data can be transmitted wirelessly between music apps, synthesizers, digital pianos, MIDI controllers and more. Devices equipped with Bluetooth MIDI capabilities can connect and talk to each other without being physically tethered. This allows for wireless control of MIDI instruments, wireless MIDI routing and wireless MIDI networking.

History of Bluetooth MIDI

Bluetooth MIDI was first introduced in 2014 when Apple implemented the Bluetooth MIDI standard in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. This allowed iOS devices and Macs to connect via Bluetooth and send MIDI data between music apps and devices (Source).

The MIDI Association, a non-profit organization that promotes MIDI technology, played a key role in developing and adopting the Bluetooth MIDI standard. In 2014, the MIDI Association officially adopted the Bluetooth MIDI specification and added it to the MIDI 1.0 spec (Source).

In 2016, Google added support for Bluetooth MIDI in Android 8.1 Oreo. This allowed Android devices to also connect to MIDI devices and music apps over Bluetooth. The adoption by both Apple and Google helped establish Bluetooth MIDI as a universal wireless MIDI standard (Source).

How Bluetooth MIDI Works

Bluetooth MIDI uses the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol to wirelessly transmit MIDI data between devices. BLE was introduced in Bluetooth 4.0 and is optimized for low power consumption. The MIDI data is transmitted using the Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) which defines how two BLE devices send and receive standard data.

To connect two devices using Bluetooth MIDI, they first need to be paired. The pairing process involves the two devices establishing a link, generating and exchanging private encryption keys to secure the connection. Once paired, the MIDI data can be transmitted between the two devices. The MIDI data is sent over GATT using the MIDI over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE-MIDI) profile which defines how the MIDI messages are formatted and transmitted via BLE.

On the receiving device, the BLE-MIDI profile is used to decode the MIDI data and pass it on to the appropriate MIDI application or synthesizer. The latency of Bluetooth MIDI depends on the BLE chipset and implementation but is generally quite low, in the 10-20ms range for modern devices. This makes it well suited for musical applications.

Overall, Bluetooth MIDI provides a wireless method to transmit MIDI data between devices using BLE. The pairing process and BLE-MIDI profile enable two devices to securely connect and exchange MIDI data with low latency.

Benefits of Bluetooth MIDI

Bluetooth MIDI offers several key benefits that make it an appealing wireless protocol for musical instruments and audio gear. Some of the main advantages include:

Wireless flexibility – Bluetooth allows MIDI devices to connect wirelessly over short distances, removing the need for cables. This gives musicians and producers more flexibility in studio setups and live performances. They can move around freely without being tethered. (https://thomasgerbrands.medium.com/the-truth-about-bluetooth-midi-54a3dc633052)

Portability – Bluetooth MIDI controllers and instruments can easily be battery powered, making them highly portable. Musicians can take their gear anywhere without worrying about power sources or cables. This enables mobile music production and performing.

Easy to set up – Bluetooth pairing is a quick and simple process, allowing MIDI devices to connect wirelessly in seconds. There is no complex configuration needed. Users can get started playing and creating music right away.

Limitations of Bluetooth MIDI

Bluetooth MIDI has some inherent limitations compared to traditional wired MIDI connections. The main limitations are:

Latency Issues

Latency refers to the delay between sending a MIDI message and the sound being produced. Bluetooth introduces additional latency compared to wired connections due to data packetization and wireless transmission time. According to CME Pro, Bluetooth MIDI latency can range from 20-40ms which can make it unsuitable for live performance situations requiring tight timing.

Limited Range

The effective range of Bluetooth MIDI is limited, usually up to 30 feet or 10 meters, though obstacles can further reduce this. By comparison, wired MIDI using 5-pin DIN cables can work at ranges of up to 50 feet. The limited wireless range of Bluetooth can restrict mobility and device placement.

Audio Quality Concerns

Bluetooth audio transmission can sometimes suffer from compression artifacts, noise, and interference compared to wired connections. While the impact is minimal for device control data, it can degrade audio quality for instruments sending high fidelity stereo streams over Bluetooth MIDI.

Bluetooth MIDI Supported Devices

Many popular music gear and tech brands have started supporting Bluetooth MIDI in their products. Here are some of the keyboards, controllers, iOS apps and other devices that currently offer Bluetooth MIDI capability:

  • Casio keyboards like the Casio CT-S1, CT-S400, and LK-S450 when paired with the Casio WU-BT10 Bluetooth MIDI adapter (https://www.fullcompass.com/prod/601368-casio-wu-bt10-bluetooth-midi-audio-adapter-for-ct-s1-ct-s400-lk-s450)
  • Korg keyboards like the Korg EK-50L and Korg D1
  • Roland keyboards like the Roland RD-2000 and Roland VR-1HD
  • Akai MPK mini mk3 keyboard controller
  • Alesis V and VI keyboard controllers
  • Arturia KeyStep and KeyStep Pro controllers
  • IK Multimedia iRig BlueBoard Bluetooth MIDI pedalboard
  • Roli Lightpad Block MIDI controller
  • Teenage Engineering OP-1 and PO-Series pocket operators
  • Yamaha YC61, YC88, and YC73 keyboards
  • iOS apps like MC Pad, touchAble, and MIDI Designer Pro

As more music hardware and software companies continue to adopt the Bluetooth MIDI protocol, the list of compatible devices keeps expanding.

Bluetooth MIDI Use Cases

Bluetooth MIDI opens up many new possibilities for wireless control and communication between devices. Here are some of the most common use cases:

Live Performance

Musicians can use Bluetooth MIDI to connect keyboards, synthesizers and other instruments to their laptop without cables getting in the way. This allows for greater mobility and interactivity during live shows. Many modern keyboards and synthesizers like the Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 have built-in Bluetooth MIDI capability.

Music Production

Music producers working in a home studio can place their MIDI keyboard or controller anywhere in the room and maintain a wireless connection to their DAW thanks to Bluetooth MIDI. This removes cable clutter and allows more flexible studio setups. Devices like the CME WIDI Jack add Bluetooth MIDI to traditional wired gear.


DJs can use wireless Bluetooth MIDI controllers like the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3 to manage their mix without being tethered to their laptop. This allows greater mobility behind the DJ booth. Bluetooth MIDI also allows syncing additional gear like lighting or visuals wirelessly.

Bluetooth MIDI vs Other Protocols

Bluetooth MIDI has some advantages and disadvantages compared to other wireless MIDI protocols like Wi-Fi MIDI and wired protocols like USB-MIDI.

One of the main benefits of Bluetooth MIDI is that it does not require an existing Wi-Fi network like Wi-Fi MIDI solutions do. Bluetooth can create a direct peer-to-peer connection between devices without relying on a router or internet access 1. This makes it simple to use with portable devices and in live performance settings.

However, Wi-Fi MIDI protocols like RTP-MIDI can have lower latency compared to Bluetooth since they use Wi-Fi’s higher bandwidth. This can result in more responsive performance when using virtual instruments 2.

Compared to wired connections like USB-MIDI, Bluetooth MIDI provides the convenience of wireless control without cables. However, Bluetooth may be more prone to interference and connectivity issues versus a direct wired link.

Overall, Bluetooth MIDI offers a good balance of simplicity, reliability and wireless flexibility for many MIDI applications. It’s a convenient option for wirelessly connecting keyboards, synthesizers, DAWs and mobile devices 3. Bluetooth is a smart choice when a direct peer-to-peer wireless connection is desired without requiring Wi-Fi or cables.

Future Outlook

The future looks bright for Bluetooth MIDI technology. As the specifications continue to evolve, we can expect to see improvements in areas like latency, range, and bandwidth.

Latency in particular is expected to decrease dramatically with Bluetooth LE Audio. This new Bluetooth audio standard promises reduced power consumption and most importantly, ultra-low latency down to just a few milliseconds. This will make Bluetooth MIDI feel almost instantaneous.

Range is also likely to increase as new Bluetooth versions extend the possible distance between devices. This will allow musicians to freely move around a stage while maintaining a solid Bluetooth MIDI connection.

In terms of adoption, we should see Bluetooth MIDI become standard across keyboards, synthesizers, DAWs, and other music gear over the next few years. As more devices add native support, the need for separate Bluetooth MIDI adapters will decrease.

New use cases for Bluetooth MIDI will emerge as well. For example, broadcasters could transmit MIDI cue information to remote camera operators over Bluetooth. Or exercise instructors could use Bluetooth MIDI to sync lighting and cues during classes. The possibilities are wide open.

Overall, Bluetooth MIDI brings wireless convenience to music production and live performance. As the technology continues to evolve, it will cement itself as an indispensable way of transmitting MIDI data wirelessly.


Bluetooth MIDI allows electronic musical instruments like keyboards, drums, and controllers to connect wirelessly to computers, tablets, phones, and other devices. It offers convenient, cable-free operation for music production, live performance, DJing, and more. Bluetooth MIDI has some latency which may not work well for applications requiring precise timing. But overall it provides reliable, low-latency performance for most use cases.

Bluetooth MIDI is ideal for mobile music creation and live performances where being tethered would be inconvenient. As Bluetooth specs improve, latency should decrease making it suitable for more demanding applications. We will likely see more and more MIDI devices add Bluetooth functionality alongside traditional connections. Wireless MIDI allows greater freedom and flexibility when making music.

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