TRS MIDI Compatibility

Mini TRS Audio Jacks for MIDI Connections Compatibility Guide

Standards.  They offer us a means of ensuring compatibility by agreeing to all do things the same way.  But sometimes the technology gets ahead of the standards and we have some challenges to ensure compatibility. This is the case for Mini TRS Audio Jacks that are used to carry MIDI signals.  The MIDI standard had not defined how to map the parts of the MIDI signal to the connectors of the mini TRS audio jacks when these jacks first came into use. As devices have gotten smaller, however, manufacturers have gone ahead and defined their own mapping.  This has resulted in a few conflicting ways of doing the mapping, and as a result, some incompatibilities that are hard to predict until you get your equipment home and find it doesn’t work. Two primary standards have come into use for mini TRS audio jacks: Type A and Type B.  If you have two devices that use two different standards, you cannot connect them directly to each other.  But as always the industry has found ways to enable compatibility between these devices. You just need the right adapters and the knowledge of when to use them.

What Connection to Use

  1. If you have two products that use the same standard for mini TRS audio jacks, you can connect them directly to each other using a TRS cable.  Some products now can support both standards, and can be connected directly to either Type A or Type B devices.
  2. If you have two products that use different standards for TRS audio jacks, you must use two MIDI adapters and a MIDI 5 -pin DIN cable. Connect the Type A adapter to the Type A standard product. Then connect a MIDI 5-pin DIN cable to the adapter. Connect the other end of the MDI 5-pin DIN cable to a Type B adapter, then plug the TRS end of the Type B adapter into the Type B product.
  3. If you have one product with a mini TRS connection, and a second product with a MIDI 5-pin DIN connection, connect the MIDI 5-pin DIN cable to the second product, connect the appropriate (Type A or Type B) MIDI adapter to the MIDI cable, then connect the adapter to the first product.

TRS Cables and MIDI Adapters

You can purchase Type B MIDI Adapters and Mini TRS Cables from the 1010music website.

Products That Use Type B Mini TRS Audio Jack Connections

  • 1010music Original Series 1 modules, Series 2 modules, Blackbox, MX4 and Euroshield
  • Arturia BeatStep Pro
  • Novation products

Products Compatible with both Type A and Type B Mini TRS Audio Jack Connections

  • 1010music bitbox micro
  • 1010music bitbox mk2

Products That Use Type A Mini TRS Audio Jack Connections

  • ADDAC System products
  • Arturia BeatStep (not to be confused with the BeatStep Pro)
  • IK Multimedia products
  • inMusic (Akai) products
  • Korg products
  • Line 6 products
  • little Bits w5 MIDI module
  • Make Noise 0-Coast

See the Technical Specifications below for more details about the connectors used by 1010music products.

If your device isn’t listed above, how can you tell if the mini TRS audio jack connector on your MIDI device is compatible? Compare the technical specifications below with those provided with the external device, or just try it out. Either it will work or it won’t. Attempting to connect with incompatible cables should not damage devices designed in accordance with the MIDI spec.

Technical Specifications

1010music modules introduced in 2019 or earlier and the 1010music blackbox use the following mapping. The diagram to the right shows the numbering of the pins on a MIDI connector and labels the connection components of a mini TRS audio jack. Older 1010music products are compatible with cables that use the following mapping of MIDI signals between female MIDI connectors and mini TRS audio jacks:

MIDI Signal MIDI Connector MIDI TRS Audio Jack 1010music Type B MIDI Adapter
Current Source Pin 4 Tip Tip
Current Sink Pin 5 Ring Ring
Shield Pin 2 Sleeve Not Connected

Check the documentation for your other MIDI devices to determine which standard they use. If they use the same mapping shown here, they are Type B. Otherwise, they are most likely Type A.

You can learn more about the state of the industry for MIDI mini TRS audio jack connectors at The MIDI Association website.

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