Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI for short, is an old technology used in all sorts of modern musical machines. From keyboards to launchpads and everything in between, this mega list features some of the coolest Arduino MIDI controller projects out there. All you need to get started is an Arduino and some buttons.

1. Simple Arduino MIDI Controller

We couldn’t make a list of Arduino MIDI controllers without including our own project! In this tutorial, I will provide detailed instructions on how to create your own MIDI controller. Using an Arduino, a breadboard, and two buttons, this project can easily be completed in an afternoon.

With a definition of MIDI, complete code examples, and clear circuit diagrams, you should check out this build guide as a general tutorial for everything Arduino MIDI related. See our DIY tutorial. !

2.UNTZ instrument

Created by experienced Adafruit designers, this project is a clone of the ever popular Novation Launchpad. Featuring an 8×8 grid of 64 backlit buttons, this project is not for the faint of heart.

Admittedly, it’s probably cheaper and easier to just buy the real deal, but as a project, it’s pretty cool. What’s even cooler is that Adafruit has generously provided a list of materials and building instructions along with plenty of clear photos.

You will need a laser cutter to make the case, but a 3D version is available from Thingiverse Electronic Grenade.

3. 3D printed MIDI mixer

Created by YouTuber Evan Cale, this project showcases an impressive range of sliders and watch faces. Using the Arduino Pro Micro at its core, this device is capable of controlling just about any parameter you can give it.

Even though there is no build guide, the video gives a reasonable overview of every aspect of the build. With schematics, code, and 3D files, you should be able to recreate your own pretty easily.

4. MIDI Foot Controller

Designed to control guitar effects pedals, this YouTube «Workshy» MIDI foot controller has a number of impressive features. With four function buttons, multiple banks, a seven-segment LED display, and the choice of latching or momentary toggling, this impressive build has more than enough features to keep you busy even when your hands are full!

There is no assembly tutorial, but Arduino code is provided. Wiring some switches shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, and our guide to Arduino displays should help you choose the right display.

5. MIDI Drum Machine

While this project is technically Arduino compatible and not a «real» Arduino board, this project is simply too cool to rule out. This project, again from Adafruit, uses a capacitive touch sensor and a set of 16 NeoPixel LEDs.

An excellent online build guide is provided, but this build involves some complex metalwork and 3D printing.

However, there is no reason why you could not replace metal with plastic parts.

6. MIDI Piano

This is a cool guide from the creator of YouTube Electronic Projects. This original project uses cardboard and paper clips to create a completely custom Arduino powered MIDI keyboard.

Don’t be discouraged by the small amount of wiring required, you can easily reduce this by making the keyboard smaller. Follow the clear maker tutorial video above and you’ll be making music in no time!

7. Arcade push button controller

Straight from YouTuber Simon McKinnon, this MIDI controller uses arcade buttons to control music! Although this model «only» has six buttons, it would be easy to expand it.

Not only did the author provide an excellent written manual, but they also redesigned the plastic container as a chassis.

Music in the style of Stranger Things only makes this project cooler. Good job, we say!

8. Advanced arcade button controller

This Arduino MIDI controller tutorial from avid music maker «fraganator» takes the concept of arcade buttons a step further. Not only did the author implement 12 buttons arranged in a 4×3 array, but they also included four rotary controls and two faders.

There’s no limit to what you can achieve with this controller. The owner wrote a great tutorial along with written instructions and nice clear photos, and provided cutout templates to create your own case — no 3D printing required!

9. Ableton MIDI controller

Designed specifically for Ableton Live, this controller doesn’t have the fancy frame or buttons found on many other projects.

Created on the Starfire Technology YouTube channel, this stripped-down project is a great way to learn the basics. With just a few lines of code, you can build this simple controller without even soldering anything (although you should probably learn how to solder anyway).

10. Wooden musical machine MIDI

This impressive project was done ugly by a YouTuber. With a beautiful oak and walnut body, 40 arcade buttons arranged in an 8×5 grid and containing various other buttons and controls, this project is definitely a big one.

Working on the Arduino Mega, this project is somewhat different from others. Like the MIDI piano described above, this unit produces notes. Designed so that even beginners can create tunes that sound good, this is one cool looking controller.

With the exception of the code, the assembly guide covers the physical manufacture of the device and the reasons for making certain decisions.

What Arduino MIDI controller are you using?

These projects show how creative you can get with Arduino. While most of these controllers should work with any digital audio workstation (DAW), most of them will work best with Ableton Live’s beat-matching and song-skip capabilities, so be sure to check out our Ableton Live Guide if you haven’t already.

Check out our Arduino beginner’s guide if you’re new to this awesome device, and don’t forget to read our board buying guide for help choosing your MIDI controller. brain!

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