Artisan µMIDI Control System

Artisan µMIDI Control System


The Micro-MIDI (also known as µMIDI or uMIDI) Control System) has some other very specific usages in addition to adding MIDI capability to a pipe or electronic organ.  While it is apparent from the pictorial drawings below that it will supplant all of the functions of a pipe organ or electronic organ relay, that fact leads to another important usage.

Today’s technology is gravitating towards what can be called a Virtual Classic Pipe Organ (VCPO) or Virtual Theater Pipe Organ (VTPO).  Companies other than Artisan have expended a tremendous amount of time and effort to sample existing pipe organs of both the classic and theater type, and converted those samples back into digital pipe ranks.   The primary purpose of this effort is to  make the voice of the pipe organ available to many who cannot afford (or even contemplate) the installation of a real pipe organ.  A by-product of this effort has also been to preserve the sound of the pipe organ whose ranks have been sampled.

Products presently on the market that use digital voices imbedded in a computer, and a monitor to view and select the various organ functions are those presented by Hauptwerk, MiditZer, and J-Organ.  Others may appear in the marketplace as this technology evolves.

While these products allow the user to quickly set up MIDI keyboards whose output feeds into a computer, there is a next step in this process that allows the Virtual Organ to be controlled from a conventional classic or theater organ console.

Since the µMIDI Control System can provide that interface, it achieves the best of both worlds;  to have the finest in digital pipe organ voices obtainable at an economic cost, and to have the entire system incorporated into a standard organ console for the best ergonomics of playabiity.

Both products in combination provide a method to achieve a beautiful sounding organ at a cost far, far less than those being offered by major organ dealers.

Personnel at Artisan are available to consult on the myriad ways in which the above organs can be accomplished.

Typical Hardware Complement for a Non-MIDI Organ

The hardware displayed in the pictorial layout of adding MIDI to an older electronic organ or pipe organ is representative, but may vary according to the particular organ requirements.

Refer to µMIDI Board #1.

This shows 2 Input Boards indicating the connection of Stop Sense Switches and Pistons.  In actuality, a given organ might require more items of hardware than that shown, depending upon its number of stops and pistons.  The important thing to note here is that  stop and piston information is first in line to be converted to MIDI data so that it can be used to control the Combination Action.  In other words, the hardware and software used for the Combination Action must “see” the data from the stops and pistons so that it can set up the conditions for storing and recalling registrations of the organ.

Refer to µMIDI Board # 2.

This µMIDI Board is the first in the section that represents the Combination Action.  Again, depending upon how many stops and pistons there are determines the amount of hardware in this section.  There is a combination of 1 µMIDI Board and 1 Magnet Driver Board for each 32 ~ 48 stops.

Refer to µMIDI Board #3 and #4.

For the keyboards and pedalboard, each keyboard requires an Input Board in which to connect the 61-wire or 32-wire cabling.  The Input Boards can be daisy chained up to 4 boards, which would then connect via a 6-wire phone cable to a µMIDI Board.  Two µMIDI Boards are shown here being fed by 2 Input Boards each for better signal distribution.

Refer to µMIDI Board #5.

Up to this point, all of the mechanical hardware has been converted to MIDI data by the Input Boards and µMIDI Boards.  If there were no other requirements in the system, the data stream would have been fed directly from the output of µMIDI Board #4 to a Sound Engine for voice reproduction.  In this instance, a condition is shown that involves using the MIDI Data that has been generated for other MIDI devices.  Thus, a µMIDI Board that acts as a distributor, or splitter, is used to send the MIDI data off in other directions to serve other devices.

Refer to µMIDI Board #6 and #7.

While some MIDI data can be sent to MIDI devices without further processing, a synthesizer like the Alesis QSR requires the inclusion of 2 µMID Boards.  These boards contain software that provides coupling and relay information for the QSR.  Basically, a QSR or similar synth is “dumb” when it comes to voice and pitch information.  These two µMIDI Boards provide the necessary intelligence.


As can be seen, the µMIDI Control System follows a left to right flow of data.  This is a requisite for the best utilization of the hardware, and for the logical flow of MIDI data through the system.  While other configurations might work, it has been found that this layout produces the best results.

Typical Hardware Complement for an Organ w/MIDO Out

When an organ already provides MIDI Out data, it becomes a little easier to add external MIDI devices under the control of the Micro-MIDI System.  The objective is to augment the existing organ with additional digital voices or to drive some other MIDI device.

The MIDI Out signal may vary significantly from one organ manufacturer to another, so it becomes necessary to review the MIDI Specifications of a specific organ in order to understand the best use of the µMIDI hardware.  For the purposes of this pictorial, it will be assumed that the MIDI Out data is entirely of the Note ON, Note OFF type.

Refer to µMIDI Board #1.

If the organ has complete MIDI data available at its output, none of the hardware shown in the pictorial would be required.  A MIDI cable could be connected directly to the Sound Engine.  The Sound Engine, in turn, has its own internal relay that can take care of voice and pitch information as sent from the organ console.

Refer to µMIDI Board #2.

If the µMIDI Control System is to supplant, or provide for a Combination Action, there would need to be a series of µMIDI Board/Magnet Driver Board combinations.  It is assumed that the Note ON and Note OFF information is being provided as part of the composite MIDI data from the console so that the µMIDI System can act upon it.

If there is no MIDI data available for a Combination Action, it can usually be provided by wiring the Stop Sense switches and Pistons of the organ to a combination of Input Boards and µMIDI Boards; in the same way as for an organ without MIDI Out.

Refer to µMIDI Board #3.

In the same manner as for the organ that did not initially provide MIDI, the signal at this point may be distributed to other devices.

Refer to µMIDI Board #4 and #5.

These boards are identical to those required in the Non-MIDI organ to control stop and voice information for a synthesizer like the Alesis QSR.

Notice a line feeding off of the RJ-11 connector (serial output) of µMIDI Board #7.  Instead of driving a MIDI device, this same combination of µMIDI Boards can be used to control Rank Driver Boards for pipe organs.  Many organs are hybrid, either being pipe organs that need digital voice addition, or electronic organs that have pipe augmentations.


Midi Monitor is an excellent diagnostic tool for looking at midi output and sending midi input.

The Midi Monitor program lets you view a MIDI message stream in two ways. You can see a graphical picture of notes, controllers, and program changes, or you can view a text description of the received messages.


Download the setup program below, and run it. It will install the MidiMonitor program, and will put a shortcut in your start menu under Start | All Programs | Artisan Instruments | MIDIMonitor


Clicking on Start | All Programs | Artisan Instruments | MIDIMonitor starts the program. If you have more than one MIDI input device, a dialog will appear allowing you to select which MIDI interface to use.


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The Artisan Micro-MIDI Control System is an inexpensive way to utilize MIDI on traditional electronic or pipe organ systems.  Components allow the user to convert keyboards and switches into MIDI messages, or use MIDI to control devices such as pipe chests or sound engines.


Introducing_uMIDI.pdf (Click to Download)


uMIDI Manual.pdf (Click to Download)


To install the uConfig Micro-MIDI Configuration Program, download the following file to the desktop, or to a directory of your choice. Then, double-clicking the file name (to execute it) will install the Micro-MIDI configuration program on your computer. It is recommended that you remove previous versions before installing a new version.


Version A.3.1.6d

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