Bluetooth MIDI Is Here And Why It’s Important For You

A new way to enter MIDI

Greetings! My name is Mike Green, Music Product Specialist at Zivix, we make the jamstik+ portable SmartGuitar & PUC+ wireless MIDI link. I’m primarily a guitar player, and in my 15+ years of musical composition, MIDI has enabled me to write and record quickly. In full disclosure; I’m a lousy keyboardist. The jamstik+ and Bluetooth MIDI’s availability for Windows 10 has revolutionized what used to be a point-and-click endeavor. Now I can use virtual instruments in Cakewalk’s SONAR software controlled by the jamstik+ digital guitar so I can enter in data wirelessly via Bluetooth MIDI – using the guitar skills that come most naturally to me.

Tracking MIDI with the jamstik+ in SONAR Platinum

Jamstik+ & SONAR Platinum is a killer combo for the studio.

A hit with pro and amateur musicians, the jamstik feels like a traditional guitar neck and works with your favorite MIDI apps and DAWs.  Music notation, composition or accompaniment is easy with the Jamstik+ and Sonar Platinum Edition.

The jamstik+ is a great MIDI controller, and my favorite bundled virtual instruments in SONAR are:

  • Strum Session 2: This was an added bonus I did not expect, a built-in guitar modeller! Overall, I’m very impressed with the simple UI. There’s a plethora of modifiers to make your own presets with, and even a chord-finder as an added benefit. Make sure to take a listen to the short track I made featuring the “acoustic” preset (video is at the top of the blog post).
Using Strum Session’s Chord Finder with the jamstik+
  • Cakewalk Sound Center: This Soft-Synth includes a nice variety of tones.  There is a limit to what parameters you can tweak for each sound, but most of these sounds are good right off the bat.  

Make Sure Your PC is Bluetooth 4.0 Compatible.

With recent updates in the Windows 10 OS, SONAR’s DAW takes advantage of using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) to connect Bluetooth enabled MIDI devices. Now, almost all operating systems have this capability, so the performance is only going to get better from here, and more controllers will start “Roli” ‘ing in (haha). Check the specs on your PC (look for Bluetooth in Device Manager) to see if your PC is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible. If not, you can always try various BLE Dongles like this one by Asus.

Connecting is easy

  1. Pair to Windows 10
  2. Open SONAR
  3. Enable your MIDI Device In/Out Check-boxes in Preferences
  4. Select your Soft-Synth
  5. Play!

Use the PUC+ To Connect Other MIDI Controllers via Bluetooth

I should also mention if you’re looking to connect an existing MIDI keyboard, check out the PUC+ Wireless MIDI interface. It’s an easy way to cut the cables from your rig (for your electronic drum-kits, keytar, or even syncing/switching effects on our DAW). After seeing more and more innovative controllers at Winter NAMM 2017, one thing is clear — BLE MIDI isn’t going away anytime soon.

Keep An Eye Out For More Bluetooth Instruments

With the rise of mobile music apps, we are seeing the need for cool controllers that fit the lifestyle of musicians. In Jordan Rudess’s tech talk at NAMM, he put a strong emphasis on tablets being expressive instruments—with one drawback: no tactile feedback on the glass.  This is where controllers like the Jamstik+ come into play. A portable, configurable controller in a guitaristic form-factor. Stay tuned for more from Zivix this year!

Learn more at jamstik.com

Zivix is currently running a promo deal with Cakewalk users for 10% off your order on jamstik.com – Make sure to enter discount code: SONAR10 at checkout!

Published by

Mike Green [Zivix]

Mike is a guitarist/producer hailing from Minneapolis, MN. His initial dive into scene was his first metal record "Silence is Our Canvas" in 2009. He attended college at McNally Smith College of Music while playing with several original and corporate bands. Soon there after came touring, composing, and coordinating events. Mike's current groups are Audiyo Element (Rock/Hip-Hop), Ions and Atrophy (Instrumental Metal), and 8-bit composition project Dinbot. His musical path lead to involvement in the making of jamstik+ and PUC+ MIDI devices from Zivix, a music and technology company from Golden Valley, MN. Follow Mike on Instagram @mjgmusic

4 thoughts on “Bluetooth MIDI Is Here And Why It’s Important For You”

  1. Just tried this with a yamaha MD-BT01 dongle. MIDIBerry sees the device on windows buy SONAR does not pick up the midi devices? what version of SONAR Platinum do I need. I have March’s update….

    thanks
    Phil

    1. Hey Phil – Thanks for reaching out.
      Just downloaded MIDIBerry and am testing with my PUC+ MIDI link to connect my keyboard to BLE & Sonar with success (as I do not have Yamaha’s MD-BT01 with me).
      I think the order you are connecting these devices may be causing that result.
      Start from scratch and try this:
      1) ‘Forget’ any previously paired Bluetooth MIDI in your Bluetooth Devices
      2) Reboot Windows (for good measure)
      3) BEFORE opening Sonar, open up MIDIBerry and then pair to your device in Bluetooth Menu. (MIDIBerry Input and Output should populate at this point)
      4) Now open Sonar and check your Prefs and enable In/Out in MIDI Devices
      5) Insert Soft-Synth Track & Play

      I am running Latest Version 2017.03 (23.3.0.51) Sonar Platinum.

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