For 15 years, CME has been working on a practical solution for wireless MIDI, the company says. Now CME has announced the WIDI Master. The little adapter adds wireless Bluetooth connectivity to any MIDI device, without the need for a computer. Is this the wireless MIDI breakthrough we’ve been waiting for?
CME WIDI Master
First, the name. “WIDI” is obviously short for Wireless MIDI, but it also sounds a bit like WiFi, which could very well be intentional. But the WIDI Master uses Bluetooth 5.0. It plugs into the DIN MIDI input and output ports of any MIDI device and communicates either with another WIDI Master or with any BLE MIDI enabled gadget, such as a current iOS device or Mac or wireless MIDI controller. For connecting two MIDI devices to each other, you’ll need two WIDI Masters; for connecting one device to something else which already has Bluetooth MIDI built in, one will suffice. If you’re running Windows, you can add the CME WIDI Bud to your system, which adds BLE MIDI capabilities to Windows computers.
CME claims that the WIDI Master automatically pairs with any Bluetooth MIDI device and has low latency due to the directly embedded BLE MIDI protocol. The company also says that the adapter’s customized antenna design and automatic panic mode make for a secure, reliable connection. We’ve seen some very interesting Bluetooth MIDI controllers recently, like the Orba, GripBeats and Skwitch. With MIDI Master, you could potentially use them wirelessly with any traditional MIDI device.
The adapter does not require a power supply and draws all of its power from the device’s MIDI ports. It’ll be interesting to see how well this works in practice. Some other manufacturers’ similar solutions are rumoured to have problems with insufficient power when used with certain MIDI devices. If CME can make it work reliably, this power-via-MIDI approach is definitely very convenient.
Price and compatibility
The CME WIDI Master is compatible with WIDI Bud, Bluetooth MIDI controllers, iPhone/iPad/iPod touch (iOS 8 and up) and Macs with Bluetooth 4.0 running macOS 10.10 and up.
So here’s the catch: The adapter isn’t actually available yet. CME says it will go into production when 1000 people want it. If you decide to offer your support by filling out the form on the company’s website, you’ll get the WIDI Master for USD 39 when it comes out, instead of USD 59.