CME WIDI versus Yamaha MD-BT01

Mac iOS to MIDI
Connect iOS and MacOS to MIDI

What is the Yamaha MD-BT01?

Around the same time CME released its WIDI BUD, Yamaha released the MD-BT01 and UD-BT01. Of course the exact release dates are different. That said, it was around 2016 all these devices where introduced to the market.

As WIDI technology took wireless MIDI a step further, today the Yamaha MD-BT01 can be best compared with both WIDI Master as well as WIDI Jack. At the other side, looking at USB MIDI, it is best to compare CME WIDI Uhost versus the Yamaha UD-BT01.  

Before we compare both wireless MIDI solution to each other, let's look into the Yamaha solution itself first. Next, you can read more about the similarities and the way Bluetooth MIDI in general can seriously improve your workflow. After this, you will get a complete overview on why today you call CME WIDI the premium Bluetooth MIDI solution that delivers advanced wireless MIDI technology for all MIDI devices.

Yamaha MD-BT01 and Quicco Mi.1

The Yamaha BT-01 is an ODM model of the Japanese Quicco M1. This means it is exactly the same product, only it is manufactured under the Yamaha brand. This actually means, that Yamaha did not develop this product itself, it only purchased the technology from the clever people of Quicco.

MIDI 5-PIN DIN to iOS and Mac

Actually, the MD-BT01 is more or less a solution for iOS and Mac. As those operating system implement Bluetooth MIDI as a standard, with the MD-BT01 you can wirelessly connect your iOS device (iPhone, iPad) or Mac computer to MIDI instruments that offer the traditional 5-PIN DIN MIDI ports you all know for decades.

Therewith the Yamaha MD-BT01 is basically a replacement for the USB to MIDI cable. It solves the issue of complicated interfaces and cables that you need to connect your computer or mobile device to your MIDI instruments. 

It is actually nothing more than this. It is mainly a solution for iOS/MacOS to 5-PIN DIN.

Of course, this functionality is offered by CME's WIDI technology as well. Even in a more advanced manner.

More about that later, let's look more at the similarities first...

Compare WIDI to Yamaha
WIDI Uhost

Bluetooth MIDI on iOS and MacOS

Apple is the original developer of Bluetooth MIDI. After it was introduced this technology was optimised together with the members of the MIDI association to create a standard that can be implemented by any manufacturer. Smart engineers from Apple, Microsoft, Roland, Yamaha, CME and Roli have worked on improving the Bluetooth MIDI ever since.

As you might understand Bluetooth MIDI is not a priority for companies like Apple. As they focus on consumer technology, like audio over Bluetooth, MIDI over Bluetooth has some limitations that are valid for any Bluetooth MIDI adapter in the market.

Latency

The latency performance between a Bluetooth MIDI adapter and iOS/MacOs is limited do to the Bluetooth connection interval that is subject to Apple's internal architecture of its operating systems. 

The "intervals" are not the same as "latency". You can better compare it to "buffer size". On iOS it is 11.25ms minimum. On macOS it is 7.5ms minimum.

These intervals can cause latency and jitter due to the limitation of that buffer. This has zero to do with your Bluetooth MIDI adapter. No matter if it is the Yamaha MD-BT-01 or your WIDI Master. That limitation is in the design of Apple's operating systems.

That said, there is an exception. With WIDI you can do much more then only pair with iOS/MacOS operating systems and replace your USB to MIDI solutions. You can pair two WIDI devices directly to each other. This pairing process is fully automated. Simply power the devices and you can instantly exchange any MIDI message between the two pieces of MIDI hardware.

With this direct instrument-to-instrument setup, you can achieve the shortest latency today when using Bluetooth MIDI. It can be as low as 3 milliseconds measured between two WIDI devices. Without cables. And even without computers.

Manual pairing

Another limitation of iOS and MacOS is that the operating system will not allow you to automatically pair your Bluetooth MIDI adapter. Assumably for security protection of consumers, Apple will force manual pairing of your Bluetooth MIDI device. 

This means that every time you start your wireless MIDI setup, you will need to process the manual procedure to connect your devices.

WIDI Uhost

The one and only way to bypass these limitations is to expand your operating system with the Bluetooth MIDI super dongle by CME. WIDI Uhost will allow automatic pairing and optimal latency/jitter performance according to the standards of a dedicated Bluetooth MIDI developer like CME. This is truly superior to that from a ODM developer like Yamaha or a consumer developer like Apple....

Bluetooth 4 (BLE4) vs Bluetooth 5 (BLE5)

When comparing WIDI Master with BT-01 the main difference is that the BT-01 implements Bluetooth 4 (BLE4) compared to WIDI Master implementing Bluetooth 5 (BLE 5).

Of course, with the pace consumer technology develops, the difference in performance between BLE 4 and BLE 5 is quite relevant. Leading to lower latency and wider range performance for WIDI Master. That said, looking at the limitations of iOS/MacOS Bluetooth connection interval, this will be your weakest link when looking at latency and jitter performance.

That said, when Apple upgrades its Bluetooth MIDI technology, you will surely benefit from the possibilities and performance of BLE 5 over BLE 4.

WIDI Master with Korg Kronos and Kronos Remote app for iPad

Powered vs Unpowered

Both WIDI Master and MD-BT01 can connect to 5-PIN DIN MIDI terminals that deliver 3.3v or 5v power on the MIDI OUT terminal. This means both adapters can function without an external power supply. At the same time they are only compatible with MIDI instruments that follow the MIDI DIN standard as set by the MIDI association.

WIDI Master Compatibility

Together with the Community of MIDI Enthusiasts, CME created an open source compatibility list for WIDI Master. This means all people that tested MIDI instruments with WIDI Master add the devices to this list for reference.

WIDI Jack with external power option

As CME is dedicated to the development of Bluetooth MIDI, you also can go for WIDI Jack. Basically, WIDI Jack is a WIDI Master. The internal firmware is exactly the same. The main difference is that WIDI Jack offers you an external power option via an additional usb-c port.

This way you can add a USB power bank and add Bluetooth MIDI to devices that are not compatible with Yamaha MD-BT01 or WIDI Master. This is not only useful for MIDI devices with unpowered MIDI ports, but also for instruments with only MIDI IN ports.

Besides this, WIDI Jack is available with different optional cables. This way you can also use it with TRS MIDI devices and the more rare 6-PIN DIN MINI as used on Yamaha's Reface series. With WIDI Jack you can add even the rarest MIDI instruments to your wireless MIDI setup. 

WIDI Jack and Red Pipe

WIDI Jack with the Redpipe electronic bagpipe

Detachable Design

One of the major differences between WIDI Master and MD-BT01 is its design. First of all, WIDI Master has been created by the community. It is a thing that is called crowd creation and it is based on product development and validation with the power of the community in its centre.

One of the outcomes of the development debate within the Community of MIDI enthusiasts, was to create a detachable design. By doing so, you can use WIDI Master only with the large adapter. As power is derived from the MIDI OUT port and all technology is placed in the main adapter of WIDI Master, this part can fully function as a standalone solution.

Keytar to EWI

Why is that useful? Well, consider this. When you play keytar or an electronic wind instrument, like the Yamaha WX5, you do not want to have the sub adapter - that is not connected to a MIDI IN port - bungling around. That is quite annoying.

That is why, upon request and together with the community, the detachable design of WIDI Master was developed and implemented.

Electronic Wind Instrument Wireless MIDI

Yamaha WX5 with WIDI Master detachable design

Host vs Role Automation

As said before, the MD-BT01 implements BLE 4 and WIDI Master implements the superior BLE 5 technology. Also, the Yamaha MD-BT01 is actually only a solution for DIN-5 MIDI to iOS/MacOS.

To be more precise, the MD-BT01 can only function as a secondary device (peripheral). It will always need that iOS or MacOS device as the primary host (central) to operate. It totally relies on your operating system or computer to function.

Instrument to instrument

This is one of the unique selling point of WIDI Master. CME’s solution can function fully standalone. Therewith you can pair two vintage synths or your keytar with a keyboard. Without computers.

This is possible because the WIDI Master can fulfil a central role. In Bluetooth terms that means it can switch between the central role and the peripheral role. It can function as a host to any other device. At the same time the MD-BT01 is only a peripheral and cannot become a central.

So, the MD-BT01 can only connect with iOS and MacOS. It will always need that operating system and you will need to rely on that computer to operate. At the same time WIDI Master offers this as well, but you can also pair two pieces of MIDI hardware directly.

Automatic paring

Actually, here is where the fun part starts. When pairing two WIDI devices, you will enjoy automatic pairing. No need to manually set things up or make connections via Bluetooth settings in your operating system.

When connecting two MIDI instruments, you simply plug and play. Just power on both WIDI devices and they will pair automatically in seconds and you can play almost instantly.

BLE MIDI

WIDI Master direct Instrument to Instrument solution

Advanced Wireless Connectivity

Here is where the long term objective is unfold for WIDI technology. As a small innovator the CME team focusses entirely on the development of Bluetooth MIDI technology.

Together with people like you, with the community in as the epicentre of innovation, we want to deliver Bluetooth MIDI to any MIDI enthusiast and make it available to any MIDI device.

Wide compatibility and advanced connectivity are key elements for the further development of Bluetooth MIDI.

Bluetooth MIDI instruments

Today there are also many MIDI devices that already implement Bluetooth MIDI technology. Think of the Genki Instrument Wave or the Roland AX-Edge keytar. 

As said before, WIDI Master can be both the central as well as the peripheral. Therefore, without the need of any operating system as a host (like the MD-BT01 needs), you can pair to any Bluetooth MIDI equipped device.

Also, it pairs automatically. 

Group Connectivity

This is where WIDI technology leaves Yamaha way behind. With today's firmware it is possible to create wireless WIDI groups of up to five (5) WIDI devices. The next step is to develop this group connectivity further and allow other Bluetooth MIDI devices, like your Bluetooth MIDI controller or iOS device, to become part of this group.

With group connectivity you can create 1-to-4 MIDI Thru and 4-to-1 MIDI Merg groups. Actually, you can replace simple (USB) MIDI interface functionality with Bluetooth MIDI groups via WIDI technology.

The idea is simple, you set one WIDI device as the central and 4 others as the peripherals and you can enjoy 2-way communication between the 4 devices and its central device.

This is just a first step....

Interested how this works? Go here and learn more!

MIDI Merge 4-to-1

Conclusion

When you are looking to replace your USB to MIDI solution for a Bluetooth to MIDI solution, both the Yamaha MD-BT01 and WIDI Master can serve this need. The main difference is that WIDI Master is fuelled by Community of MIDI Enthusiasts and fully dedicated to developing the Bluetooth MIDI standard.

Therewith WIDI technology and Bluetooth 5 are superior over any Bluetooth 4 solution. It delivers better performance when looking at jitter and latency. Also, you can benefit from automatic pairing and the detachable design.

Besides this, WIDI technology is a much wider solution. It allows instrument to instrument pairing. Without computers. And that functionality is expanded to standard Bluetooth MIDI controllers and the ability to create merge and thru groups for the more advanced MIDI enthusiasts.

In short, WIDI master delivers what the MD-BT01 does, only with a better performing Bluetooth technology in its core. Besides this, it widens Bluetooth MIDI as a solution with simplified automatic pairing and other benefits for direct instrument to instrument connections.

And for the more advanced MIDI expert, wireless WIDI groups are opening up a total new world for MIDI applications. This beats any Bluetooth MIDI device (like the MD-BT01) or your regular MIDI cable in opportunities and creative solutions.

That is why WIDI Master is your premium Bluetooth MIDI solution. Powered by the community and future-ready. And the most exciting development in the world of MIDI together with the current MPE solutions and the arriving MIDI 2.0!

Comparison CME WIDI Master vs Yamaha MD-BT01

Comparison

Yamaha MD-BT01

Yamaha MD-BT01

Product define

WIDI Community

Yamaha

Technology

Bluetooth 5 (BLE 5)

Bluetooth 4 (BLE 4)

BLE Role

Central and Peripheral + Role Automation

Peripheral only - Needs primary host (central) to operate

Compatibility

iOS/macOS + All (BLE) MIDI devices

iOS/macOS

Connection

Automatic

Manual

Groups

1-to-4 MIDI Thru & 4-to-1 MIDI Merge

None

Product form

Detachable Main & Sub connectors

Fixed

Range

20 meters / 65 ft

Not available

Yamaha MD-BT01

Yamaha MD-BT01

WIDI Community

Yamaha

Bluetooth 5 (BLE 5)

Bluetooth 4 (BLE 4)

Central and Peripheral + Role Automation

Peripheral only - Needs primary host (central) to operate

iOS/macOS + All (BLE) MIDI devices

iOS/macOS

Automatic

Manual

1-to-4 MIDI Thru & 4-to-1 MIDI Merge

None

Detachable Main & Sub connectors

Fixed

20 meters / 65 ft

Not available

What industry leaders say about us

I was lucky enough to be able to start working with a pair of prototype WIDI adapters from CME. They worked flawlessly and transparently. For example, I immediately had our flagship synthesizer, the Moog ONE, controlling and being controlled by our older MIDI instruments and vintage MIDI controllers.

Moog Music

CYRIL LANCE

CTO MOOG Music

CME WIDI Master is the first Bluetooth MIDI adapter that can perform as both a “peripheral” or “central” device, allowing fast, low-latency, and stable point-to-point wireless connections between any two devices.

MMA

TOM WHITE

Former President of MMA

I (Roger) have tested WIDI Master and found it to be well-designed, fast, easy to use and low-cost. Interestingly, CME have figured out how to get the latency down to as low as 3 ms, which is quite an accomplishment. In my test playing 3-note chords and melody with 3D MPE expression, I didn't perceive any added latency or delays normally associated with Bluetooth.

George Lynn Design

ROGER LINN

CEO RogerLinn Design

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