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Bluetooth LE MIDI

MIDI over Bluetooth LE (low energy) allows the Motion Synth to wirelessly control (via MIDI commands) audio software running on a macbook (e.g. Ableton Live, Logic, or GarageBand on OSX).

Some users may find Bluetooth LE MIDI to be a more convenient form of wireless control than ad hoc or conventional (infrastructure) WiFi. In some situations it may also be more resistant to wireless interference from mobile phones and wireless networks.

PLEASE NOTE: Bluetooth LE MIDI requires a mac running Yosemite (OS X 10.10) or above and an iOS device running iOS 8 or above is required to use Bluetooth LE MIDI. Also, older iOS and mac devices may not include Bluetooth LE (low energy) capability. It may be possible to upgrade older macs to support bluetooth LE via an inexpensive bluetooth USB dongle. Macs from 2012 onwards typically include bluetooth LE.

Version 1.1 and above of the Motion Synth app has beta support for Bluetooth LE MIDI. Apple's implementation of Bluetooth LE MIDI is relatively new and has some issues, but we think we have found solutions to the primary issues people experience (see the troubleshooting section).

Follow the instructions below to setup use of Bluetooth LE MIDI via the Motion Synth.

Bluetooth LE MIDI connectivity to windows PCs is not natively supported, however there are app/server combinations that attempt to achieve this, as well as a variety of alternative wireless and cabled connectivity options for windows PC users.

Bluetooth LE MIDI - Direct connection with the Motion Synth App

If you have any difficulty when trying to implement the steps below, first complete these troubleshooting steps.

Problems with Bluetooth appear to arise when existing pairings and configurations interfere with the creation of new pairing, and these troubleshooting steps describe how to delete previous pairings and configurations.

Please Note: Your mac must be running Yosemite (OS X 10.10) or above to use Bluetooth LE MIDI, and the OS X instructions below refer to terms specific to Yosemite. In addition your iPhone or iPod touch must be running iOS 8 or above.

Some users have noticed that WiFi interferes with bluetooth LE MIDI. If you are experiencing high latency, try turning the WiFi on your mac and iOS device off.

First Pairing OR Reconnection:

- To get started, locate and launch the Audio MIDI Setup application (in Utilities). Combine the COMMAND and SPACE keys to search for Audio MIDI Setup via Spotlight, as shown below. You may want to place a shortcut to Audio MIDI Setup in a convenient location for future use.

- After launching Audio MIDI Setup you want to access the MIDI Studio window. If the MIDI Studio window is not visible, go to Audio MIDI Setup > Window > Show MIDI Studio.

- Double click the Bluetooth icon:

- This will open the “Bluetooth Configuration” window as shown below.

If you are pairing for the first time, you may see no devices listed here.

If you have previously paired, once you open the Motion Synth app you may see the 'Connect' button appear immediately in the “Bluetooth Configuration” window. If so you can skip the next two steps and proceed with pressing the 'Connect' button.

- Within the Motion Synth App, click the “BLUETOOTH” button in the lower left corner of the Key Screen:

- Within the “Local MIDI Service” window, switch on “Advertise MIDI Service”:

- In the Bluetooth Configuration window of your mac, you should see your device appear. Click “Connect” to initiate pairing (or simply to reconnect).

If you are pairing for the first time, you should see pairing dialog windows on both your iPhone and Mac. First agree to the pairing on the iPhone, and then enter the code (supplied by your mac) on your iPhone. Then agree to the pairing on your mac.

If you have previously paired your iPhone and your mac, but the “Connect” button is not appearing to the right of your iPhone's name Bluetooth Configuration window of your mac, try turning your iPhone's bluetooth off and then on. This should caused the “Connect” button to appear.

- After successful connection, your iPhone/iPod will be listed with a Disconnect button. You can now receive MIDI messages from the Motion Synth App within your mac/macbook music software of choice.

In your MIDI input settings for your software, your iPhone/iPod will likely show up as '[name of device] (Bluetooth)'. Ensure that you have your iPhone/iPod selected as a MIDI input source. There is no need to select your iPhone/iPod as a MIDI output destination.

Disconnection (IMPORTANT):

When you have finished playing, DO NOT click the 'Disconnect' button to the right of your iPhone listing in the 'Bluetooth Configuration' (MIDI Studio) window on your mac/macbook (shown in image above).

Instead, simply (1) leave bluetooth on or (2) switch off bluetooth on either your mac or iPhone (or both), or (3) dismiss the Motion Synth app to background (or quit altogether).

By using method (1), (2), or (3) your iPhone will be recognised as offline in the Bluetooth Configuration window, and when you you reverse method (1), (2), or (3) the 'Connect' option will become available, and clicking the Connect button should immediately re-establish the connection.

If you press the 'Disconnect' button, you may have to repeat the troubleshooting and setup steps again.

NOTE: Bluetooth LE MIDI will switch off automatically if no MIDI data has been transferred for some time. If you are having trouble re-establishing a connection, make sure that MIDI data is being sent after you press 'Connect'.

Troubleshooting connectivity issues:

If you are having any bluetooth pairing problems you should complete steps (A) and (B) below, namely the removal of previous bluetooth pairings and the generation of a fresh bluetooth configuration file.

(A) Delete existing pairings on your computer and iPhone/iPod touch

Any existing pairings of your iPhone to the computer you wish to pair with can interfere with a Bluetooth LE MIDI connection. Before setting up a Bluetooth LE MIDI connection, as described below delete any existing pairing of your iPhone with the computer that will be receiving the MIDI signals.

Assuming that your computer is a mac or macbook, this must be done in three places: (1) Bluetooth Preferences (Mac OSX System Preferences), (2) MIDI Studio (Mac OSX System Preferences), and (3) Bluetooth Settings (iPhone Settings).

(1) Delete existing paring in Bluetooth Preferences (OSX)

On your Mac, go to System Preferences, then Bluetooth, and if there is an existing pairing for your phone, delete it.

(2) Delete existing paring in MIDI Studio (OSX)

On your Mac, in the Utilities folder, find Audio MIDI Setup, and within the Window menu, unsure that Show MIDI Studio has been activated. Within the MIDI Studio, find any existing Bluetooth LE MIDI connection for your iPhone and delete them (select the icon, then press the delete key).

(3) Delete existing paring in Bluetooth Settings (iOS)

On your iPhone, go to Settings, and then Bluetooth. If there is an existing prior bluetooth connection to your mac under 'My Devices', tap on the 'i' symbol to the right of the device name and select Forget This Device.

(B) Reset the bluetooth configuration files on your mac

OSX appears to store configuration info for all the bluetooth devices it pairs with, and these configurations seem to interfere with new Bluetooth LE MIDI connections.

These configurations can easily be cleared by generating new default versions of these files:


The * symbol in the second file indicates that its filename on your computer could have a unique ending (eg letters or numbers). If 'bluetooth' is included in the filename you should refresh the file using the steps below.

(1) You can locate by starting at your Macintosh HD folder, and then going to Library, then Preferences.

~/Library is a hidden folder, and the easier way to locate this file path is to navigate to Finder > Go > Go To Folder and then paste in the path ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/

(2) Before completing the next step, ensure you have a time machine backup of your system or at least your valued personal files; the next step should be very safe but you should always take this precaution when altering system files.

(3) Copy and*.plist files to your desktop folder (in case you need them again) and delete the original and*.plist in their original locations (/Library/Preferences/ and ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/).

(4) After deleting and*.plist in the step above, reboot immediately.

When you reboot, OSX will automatically create a fresh version of and*.plist that do not include your bluetooth configuration history. If you are using other bluetooth devices you can now re-pair them normally.

Now that you have completed steps (A) and (B) above you are ready to establish a new pairing by following these steps.

Additional troubleshooting tips

Some users have reported that they needed to reset their PRAM or turn off 'Handoff' functionality on both their mac and iPhone before Bluetooth LE MIDI would work properly.

Resetting PRAM is simple and quick to do, and here are the steps.

To turn off Handoff on your iPhone or iPod touch, go to Settings > General > Handoff & Suggested Apps. Then turn off Handoff.

To turn off Handoff on your Mac, go to System Preferences > General, and then uncheck the Allow Handoff setting.

iOS apps that can assist with Bluetooth connectivity:

If you have completed all the troubleshooting steps but are still having difficulty establishing a connection, ensure that your iOS device and mac are Bluetooth LE-capable.

If you think your devices are compatible, but you are still having issues, try rebooting both your mac and your iOS device.

If rebooting does not work, try testing whether running either of these background Bluetooth MIDI LE apps allows you to establish a connection:

You may find that, after initially establishing a connection via MIDI LE, the MIDI service advertised by the Motion Synth App can be recognised by your mac.

Although the creator of the midiLE app has made their app free, if you make use of it please consider making a donation on their site to support them in their ongoing development of the app.

Bluetooth LE MIDI for Windows PCs:

Matthias Frick has created MIDI LE FOR WINDOWS (BETA). Although he has made the app free, if you make use of it please consider making a donation on his site to support his ongoing development of the app.

Adding Bluetooth LE to an older computer

We successfully added bluetooth MIDI LE capability to a macbook pro (early 2011, OSX yosemite) using a IOGEAR Bluetooth 4.0 USB Micro Adapter (model number GBU521).

We booted with bluetooth off, inserted the IOGEAR Bluetooth adapter into one of the USB ports, and then turned on bluetooth (via bluetooth icon in the menu bar).

We were able to immediately advertise and pair from the Motion Synth app by following these steps.

However, using this USB Bluetooth adapter did not allow our previous pairing to be recognised automatically after it had been disconnected. To reconnect, we had to perform troubleshooting step (A) prior to pairing again following these steps.

WARNING! Bluetooth interference in live venues

Bluetooth connections to laptops and iOS devices can get 'drowned-out' by other wireless signals from mobile phone in live venues. The bigger the crowd the bigger this problem becomes.

In this scenario it might be better to use a MIDI cable (eg iRig MIDI) from your iOS device to the MIDI-receiving gear, or an iPhone cable to send MIDI to your laptop over USB.

public/bluetooth_le.txt · Last modified: 2022/03/12 03:20 (external edit)