How do I connect my iPad so I can use it as a MIDI controller?


I tried today, but couldn’t get anything going…
I use Lemur on my iPad as a MIDI controller and was hoping to continue doing so.
Is there some trick I’m missing to get the MIDI module to accept MIDI from an iPad or iPhone?



how are you connecting your iPad to the SSP?

Hi, Bert!

Using a lightning to USB cable.
I tried connecting to both the left-most and centre USB ports.

what other devices or software do you use the ipad with lemur with, as MIDI controller, using this cable?
The cable is the normal lightning - USB charger cable, correct?

I’ve used the Lemur/iPad to connect to a Nord G2 (going via an iRig MIDI converter or dongle or what ever it’s called). (I actually got the SSP to replace the G2:- )

Mostly though, I’ve been using it wirelessly to connect to Max on my laptop…

you can do the same with the SSP, see elsewhere in the forum, people have used a USB-MIDI cable with the middle port of the SSP so they can connect old-school DIN5 MIDI cables. You could connect the SSP via midi cables with your iPad this way.

to plug the iPad via USB directly into the SSP’s middle port you have to figure out how to make the iPad take on the role of USB MIDI device (not host). The SSP is the USB host, so the iPad has to play the device role. Hardware wise this should work because the iPad is a device anyway when you connect it to the PC or Mac, but on the iOS software side I don’t know if the lemur application is able to make the iPad behave as USB MIDI device (not host). If the iPad can take on the role of a USB MIDI class compliant controller then it should work.

Thanks Bert!

The converter I used was just to take the USB side of the iPad cable into the DIN world. Nothing else going on there (when connecting to the G2). So, I’m assuming it should work as a class compliant device even without the converter. And I believed I can’t be the only one using an iPad to send MIDI data…

What you are sort of suggesting would be to use a converter to DIN, then covert back from DIN to USB, which seems a bit excessive:- )

Are there some sort of CC restrictions, coming in to the SSP? I seem to recall something about that… But perhaps that has nothing to do with it…

unless your iPad can act as a class compliant MIDI device when you plug it into the middle usb port on the SSP, that would be the only solution at the moment, until I have time to add MIDI to the far-right USB device port on the SSP.

if you plug in your ipad and there is a popup showing the iPad is detected (just like a normal MIDI controller would) then it should work. You need to set the CC numbers in the MIDI module on the SSP. See info about that in the software update notes where the MIDI module was updated the last time.

I didn’t know a pop-up was supposed to appear! (Nothing appears in this case, obviously.)
OK, I guess a raw iPad-over-lighting-to-USB approach won’t work at all.
A pity, I have no other USB controllers that can do what an iPad can do, so a bit stuck now.

How would adding USB to the far-right USB port help? I don’t think I’ve seen iPads/iPhones connect to those kind of ports?

I guess getting an adapter for Din-MIDI to USB, (as mentioned elsewhere in the forum: Would be the only, if cumbersome, way to go?

it might work with that special USB-lightning cable that apple sells, I’m using that to record from the SSP into my iphone. But no idea, you have to try it and see what happens.

the far right port on the SSP gives you USB audio (up to 24ch) so you can record into your ipad/iphone. Once I add MIDI support on that port, you could send MIDI to and from your iPad using that port. You will still need that special USB-lightning cable that has a USB port on it.

yes, that should work, according ot other people here in the forum.

Well, for the sake of completion – control it is now working:- )

I’m running Lemur on an iPad, connected via Lighting/USB to an iRigMIDI 2 and via MIDI straight to the Roland UN-One going in to the centre USB port on the SSP.

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Hi, Bert!

Follow-up question - did you guys ever get around to implementing MIDI on the far right USB port?

as was mentioned at the beginning by Bert.
the SSP is acting as a usb midi host, not usb midi device - this is normal for the ‘computing end’… e.g. your pc/iPad/Mac all works as midi hosts (only).

you cannot connect any usb midi host to usb midi host.
the suggestion to go via midi din, is a simplification… as usb host ->midi din are freely available.

there are a few ‘routers’ (and similar) that allow you to connect usb host to usb host, without the need to go via midi din.

to complicate the matter the usb host side of the SSP is used as an audio interface, so in the past, it’d not be possible to use as both a usb midi host and use audio interface.

however, the last release of the SSP image, use a newer firmware, which supports ‘gadgets’, which allows for a usb host to be use in multiple ways simultaneously.
so this would now be possible.
however, its not been setup… and also the MIDI module would need updating to support this additional input source.
(though, my midi modules would be able to use it if it was configured)

alas, I’ve not had time to look into the configuration required and to see if the relevant kernel modules required for gadget support are present in the image.

(in my setup, midi is going via a midi router so I dont actually have this issue… so its not been a big thing, and I dont to iOS music, where I can see its more important)

Thanks for clarifying!
The reason I asked is that I seem to remember something about it “becoming possible in the future”. And it’s a pity there is no “plug and play” option available, as iPad and their ilks are incredibly handy as endlessly configurable controllers (Lemur or other OSC apps…) I thought maybe the “middle” USB port had some sort of future as a controller port or something like that…

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possibly in the future, I guess meant its technically possible… which as I mentioned above it is.
but its still dev effort to go from possible to done :wink:

btw: previously the 2 usb A ports had different ‘capabilities’, the last update did change this… they can be used interchangably e.g. both for midi, or either for network and other for midi etc.

but this is nothing to do with acting as a usb device which always has to be done via the usb b.
that has always been the case… its part of the usb standard, in fact why we have usb A vs usb B, didn’t plug hosts into hosts, or devices into devices.
(of course, usb-c has changed this… though the limitations still exist, just not in the cable :wink: )

Would of course make the most sense if it was possible to designate an iPad as a device inside the iOS system for cases like this. Alas Apple is no longer cares about user convenience or flexibility.

not really… they see an iPad as a computer… and computers are always the hosts.

really its just a quirk of usb midi… usually this host/device makes sense with usb, its just odd with midi because its a bi-directional protocol… so its more ‘peer to peer’.
… so yeah, manufactures are not going to worry about usb midi quirks, when in practice this is pretty niche … compared to printers, monitors, hard drives :wink: