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Actually- Just getting USB controller –> USB H9 functionality was pretty awesome. 

Im going to put a tutorial here.:


Cost? Probaably $40-50


I had an old ‘BananaPi’ sitting around:

But any small board with more than one USB should do. Probably ANY of these: https://www.armbian.com/download/ Or any Raspberry Pi…which is very popular and well supported.

$37: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Model-A1-2GHz-64-bit-quad-core/dp/B01CD5VC92/ref=sr_1_3?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1493774679&sr=1-3&keywords=orange+pi

I put on a distribution of UBUNTU.  Note- a lot of bananaPI kernels were not setup for MIDI- it took me some looking.. but ARMBIAN (https://www.armbian.com/) distros are generally full featured. ANY distribution should work- the core MIDI element is called ALSA and is universal. But it needs to be ENABLED in the kernel’s compilation. 


I used : Armbian_5.25_Bananapi_Ubuntu_xenial_default_3.4.113_desktop



Standard installation as documented many places- print the iso to a 4GB SD card using win32diskimager

I plugged the PI into my network for headless setup- used putty to log in. The default user/pass was root/1234.. which is force-changed on first boot.

I then pressed ctrl-C and cancelled desktop-user setup. This disables the GUI, saving clock cycles anyway.

I then plugged in my H9 and my Beatstep via USB. NO MIDI CABLES NEEDED. It SHOULD work with ANY class compliant MIDI controller!

Then, enbling the MIDI was easy. Most of this is creditied to THIS GUY (https://stimresp.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/using-a-raspberry-pi-as-usb-midi-host/)

First I made sure I had all the ALSA  I needed:

sudo apt-get install alsa alsa-utils

Then, the command we are using is aconnect. type this to show all your possible connections:

sudo aconnect -i -o

If you get a weird folder-not-found error here.. your kernel has MIDI disabled. Use a different one.. or compile yourself. 

If it WORKS.. you should see your connected devices in plain language.. with the PORT numbers attached. My H9 was port 20, and the BeatStep 24.

To create UNIDIRECTIONAL connection.. just type:

sudo aconnect 24:0 20:0

Obviously you replace your port numbers with mine.

You can fully have bi-directional communication.. but like I mentioned it didn’t help. If you want it.. just reverse your ports.

Test it out- you should be passing MIDI to the H9! Setting up the H9 to behave is all covered in the H9 manual.  Which you should have done before starting this project 😉


One last step- to get your connection to start on cold boot. I used a cron job too. type this:

sudo su

crontab -e

then at the bottom, add your command (s). Mine were this:

@reboot aconnect 24:0 20:0

@reboot aconnect 20:0 24:0


Now you should have bilateral communication between devices on reboot, with no need for interaction from your side. Just make sure your devices are attached when you turn it on.


BOOM. Use anything you want. The Beatstep is great.. but there are ALL of those controllers that just have USB! 

I havent used any others.. but the controller would need to be programmable to send PC and/or CC messages not just notes. The x-touch mini should totally work- I have dug around its App. I have an MPD18 that works too… again using its windows app to program it’s output.




 –$60  https://www.amazon.com/Behringer-X-TOUCH-MINI-BEHRINGER/dp/B013JLZCLS

I havent tried this one.. but looking at it’s control software- it sends the right stuff. The H9, however.. does NOT, as far as I know. So the LED rings will NOT accurately represent what your preset is doing 🙁

–$99 https://www.amazon.com/Arturia-BeatStep-MIDI-Controller-Sequencer/dp/B00I88HPUO

I use this myself. ALL arturia controlelrs should work. They have a robust programming app. I have a MINILAB.. and the knobs and PADS are programmable.. (but not the keys).

Again- the knob function is limited here.. but a work in progress.


–$130 https://www.amazon.com/Akai-Professional-MPD18-Compact-Controller/dp/B002LNBG1Q

I also have an older MPD16- it does NOT work.. It only sends notes.. not PC/CC. But any NEWER MPDs should work, including this one, which I have, and works.


OK! That is that- for posterity. 

Now- if I can just work out the kinks.