Using USB controller with Midihub

I have a USB-out midi controller (Korg nano) that I’d like to run through my Midihub and wondering what you are using to interface. I’ve looked around and the only reliable Midi Host I’ve seen that would do this is the Kenton Midi Host Mk3. I’ve seen other simpler 5-pin to USB adapters but they seem be mostly to go from 5-pin to a computer. I was told that you need a midi host to go from USB to 5-pin.
Anyone using other equipment or methods? Thanks.

hey, Sam,
check out recent topic here and older one here

yeah, you do need more than an adapter.

What you need is usually called USB MIDI Host. There are a few options:

Kenton MIDI USB Host - Kenton MIDI USB Host mk3 MIDI Interface | Reverb

DoreMIDI USB MIDI Host: Doremidi Usb Midi Host Box Midi Host Usb to Midi Converter | Reverb

Rio MIDI USB Host: Rio MIDI USB Host Interface White | Reverb

ExcelVally USB to MIDI OUT: MIDI USB DIN Converter Host Board Module Real MIDI Out Port | Reverb

Aside from the Kenton they’re all generic brands but the technology is very simple so any of them should do the job fine.

I only needed USB to MIDI Out so I bought the Rio and it works great. And it was only $36 :clap:

If you need two-way data transfer (USB to MIDI Out and MIDI In to USB) then go for one that has that feature.

Note that all of these options require power. Some require 9V DC but others, like the Rio, will run off any USB charger adapter or power bank. Very handy!

If you’re handy with electronics you could build your own with Teensy or other similar microcontroller.

Or piece one together from Hobbytronics parts:

USB Host £18: USB Host Controller Board V2.4
Software (preinstalled0: USB Host - MIDI device software
MIDI Breakout £10: MIDI Breakout Board

I was going down this route until I saw the Rio for $36 on Reverb. Once I received it I relegated the DIY approach to a “someday” project :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Thanks a heap for this awesome response!


Hey, Sam, did you watch this from loopop?
Quite a good clarification I think.

Before you commit to a decision on which route to take, it’s maybe worthwhile considering whether you want to connect your USB controller to Midihub via MIDI DIN (which a number of the above do) or via Midihub’s powered USB socket.
That approach allows maybe more scope (extra devices, routing, leaving the DIN sockets free, etc)

I did see that video, which is why I was considering the Kenton, as all of loopop’s other links were out of date.
How would I use the Midihub’s USB? Do you mean if I plugged the midihub into a powered USB hub that would connect up the USB signals?
I should have mentioned that I have a DAWless set up. I pre-program my midihub so I can have a slimmed down tabletop for performances without laptop.
Thanks for the input.

Can only speak for myself, Dan:

like you I almost never use a DAW (except when I get to straight recording),

BUT I have a number of devices which are USB only, so when I’m connected (DAWless) to my Mac, I’ll use a MIDI patchbay to connect devices to the Midihub USB ports (and also the Midihub to itself when I need to loopback),

so, for me, when looking at a setup for the times when I want to lose the Mac (and maybe mains power), it was a natural move to consider a headless rPi†. That way I can replicate a set-up for which I’ve spent time doing mappings etc.

Not saying that’s a better set-up than others mentioned above and elsewhere, just that it’s worth sketching out what you might put together.

† Now got a Pisound attached too, so almost spoilt for choice (early days with that)

I use the Korg with the Kenton into Midihub fine. It works with no problems

I use Arturia Minilab mkII, through the Kenton Midi USB Host mk3, into the midihub, works great.

A pricey little box for what it does though, the kenton, especially as I had to pay extra customs charges to get one imported. My note would be that if I could have guessed that my requirement for USB midi controllers over MIDI would grow, then I would have researched MIDI routers designed to interface multiple USB devices.

However saying that, I am successfully running two MIDI devices via a USB hub into my Kenton, and that works well, not sure how many I’ll be able to connect that way. Note that a non-powered USB hub doesn’t work for this purpose, as it doesn’t supply enough power for multiple devices, but I picked up a cheap used powered USB hub and it works great.

So: Multiple Devices => Kenton => Midihub

Having the MIDI monitor function on the midihub made this experiement very easy to debug and test, saves a lot of head-scratching that does : )

from mk3 manual (pdf):

You can use the MIDI USB Host mk3 with a USB Hub in order to connect up to four USB devices to the MIDI USB Host. We recommend using a powered hub (one with its own power supply)

Presumably it works like

  • USB devices IN → DIN port OUT and
  • DIN port IN → USB devices OUT?
  • (and DIN port IN → DIN port OUT?)
  • but not USB devices IN → USB devices OUT?

ie. you can’t connect a Midihub as a USB device and expect a USB controller to talk to it?
(probably be a routing nightmare if it did)

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4 devices! That’s great : ) Doesn’t say that in the manual I’m looking at, but makes sense that if the USB hub is merging the MIDI signals from 2 devices that it would merge more than 2. EDIT: Oh now I see it, their website links to both the MK1 manual and the mk3 manual, I will send them an email about that, very confusing! Until now I have only ever seen the mk1 manual : o

If the Midihub and controller are both connected to a USB hub as devices, they would not hear each other unless the host (a computer that the USB hub is connected to, or the kenton) is doing that processing. Doesn’t mention anywhere that the kenton would do that, think it unlikely.

From the kenton website:

The MIDI USB Host mk3 now has… two further modes:

Standard mode (LED Green):

MIDI data received at the MIDI In socket is sent to the USB device and MID data from the USB device is sent to the MIDI Out socket.

Merge 1 mode (LED Amber):

MIDI IN does not go to USB device but instead is merged with MIDI data coming from the USB device which is then sent to the MIDI Out socket.

Merge 2 mode (LED Red):

MIDI IN data is sent to the USB device & is also merged with MIDI data from the USB device which is then sent to the MIDI Out socket.

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That’s useful info.

Think we need a Definitive Guide to Connecting Stuff, with diagrams showing the routing categories!


Absolutely YES !
There are several hints in different threads here that it is very easy to expand the midihub with a simple Midi Host running on a Pi or Arduino, but there is no real explanation for Dummies (like me i.e.) who are not familiar with that kind of stuff.
I need a simple and affordable way to connect USB Midi devices to the Midihub additional to the existing Midi Ports.
At the moment I help myself with a laptop and MidiOx, but I want a much smaller footprint and get rid of the PC.
A clever, cheap, small and reliable way to expand the Midihub with 4 more USB IN and OUT Midi devices would raise the fantastic Midihub to a new Level.
So, IMHO we need a detailed step by step instruction for how to built this device , or (what I would prefer cause I am nearly blind) a source to buy a prebuilt one.


I just want to push this thread upwards because my setup grew and I am running out of outputs. Most of my devices have both, classic wired Midi and USB Midi. The Laptop+MidiOx solution is working but is much too large in size and price. (and always causing trouble with noisy ground loops on the audio side of the synthie world).
I found quite a lot of How To´s in the www , but most of them require a lot of experience and knowledge about Linux and the handling with Raspies or Arduinos that I don´t have.
The internal USB Midi routing inside this blackbox is also unclear to me, it seems to connect everything to everything ?
A detailed guide of how to expand the Midihub with 4 USB Midi devices with graphical presentation of the possibilities would be really helpful for an old man like me.