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I have a "Fore" USB-MIDI converter and I suspect it is not properly handling the 1-byte MIDI messages that my Windows PC-based sequencer is sending. The codes are 0xf8 (timing code), 0xfa (MIDI start), and 0xfc (MIDI stop). The converter seems to generate a bogus note-on event to its MIDI-out for almost every 1-byte message it receives. The bogus note-on event uses the velocity value and status byte from a previous note-on event, using the velocity value as both the note code and velocity value for the bogus note-on event. This of course causes hung notes.

If I route the sequencer to an internal MIDI device (i.e., Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth), there are no hung notes. If I put the converter in loopback mode (connect MIDI-out to MIDI-in) and capture MIDI in data on the PC (using Windows mmeapi MIDI in "driver"), and print out all the MIDI data received, I can see the bogus notes:

[0xfa, MIDI start code sent from sequencer]
MIDI in: 90 54 54 <-- bogus note
MIDI in: 90 35 54 <-- first real note
...

So I bought another USB-MIDI converter of a different brand (Wersi). It does the exact same thing. In fact, it looks like it uses the exact same PCB and housing (same oval cross section, length, and bright red LED). It even came in an identical box.

Any ideas where to go from here?

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    Picture of the converter might help. If it has something that looks a bit like a teble clef but isn't one, then just throw it away & buy one with a name you've heard of, or at least from a music store not eBay for a fiver.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 18, 2023 at 16:52
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    ah, Google found it - seems to have a lot of advertising on social media & available only from the finest retailers… those named after Brasilian rivers, or rhyme with meBay ;) I'd send it back & get one from at least a musician's box-shifter - thomann.de/gb/… I really don't know who is making this chip-set, but you'd think they'd be able to get it right by now - it's not like there have been any major advances in midi transmission protocol in the last 35 years :\
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 18, 2023 at 16:55

1 Answer 1

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Should I turn this into an answer… perhaps so…

It seems to be that someone, somewhere made a couple of million of these chips a decade or more ago & didn't know how to offload them, until Amazon & eBay came along.

People buy these things for a fiver - then fail to send them back & report the sellers when they don't work because they're too cheap to really care about having to deal with the return. It seems the latest incarnation of these, they've now upped their packaging & started selling them at $£€20 not 5. Can we spell 'scam'? These are the same people, hidden behind a myriad offshore guises, who will sell you a 16TB SSD for $£€ 70.

This technology was perfected in the late 80s. There is no excuse any more to still be selling this stuff.

What you really need to do is send it back, report the seller for a product 'not to expectation' or 'not fit for purpose' [these are legal terms in the UK - your territory is likely to have something similar.]

Then buy one from a music store, or online musical 'box shifter' who will at least stand by their products, and have very probably tested them first. One box shifter I would trust in the UK/EU is Thomann. They came from nowhere a few years back, but seem to actually be keeping tabs on what they sell & are building a reputation. For the US, Sweetwater has a similar, and much longer-lived, reputation. This is not to discredit smaller presences online, just that if someone is shifting this much stuff, all in one 'genre', then they probably have their act together.

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    Thanks Tetsujin. I got them both on Amazon, closer to $15. I'll return the new one, but too late on the old one. You're right - I should report the sellers, or at least post a review with my findings. Looks like closer to $40 for something from Sweetwater with a brand I've heard of (Roland). Feb 18, 2023 at 21:56
  • If they're from a proper musical box-shifter like Sweetwater or Thomann, you can probably get away with the cheapest they sell - if it didn't work, they'd probably have pulled it from sale by now. They have reputations to live up to… which is why you can usually trust them to either sell you the right one, or quickly fess up & replace anything that wasn't up to spec. 'AmaBay' sellers just run away & set up another shop with a different name. They're often off-shore so no-one can touch them legally. Different trust levels entirely.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 19, 2023 at 9:35

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