Updated: Dec 6, 2020
3.5mm or 6.35mm TRS MIDI is getting more popular, evident in many MIDI devices from Chase Bliss, Meris and Morningstar (The MC3 MIDI Controller has 4 3.5mm MIDI Outs, and the MC8 has 4 6.35mm MIDI Outs).
Getting a custom DIN5 to TRS cable might be expensive. In this article, I will show you how to make your own DIN5 MIDI to TRS cable.
I bought some cheap DIN5 MIDI Cables from Tayda Electronics, along with some 3.5mm TRS plugs. I would't recommend the TRS plugs from there though. The metal feels flimsy and soft. There are definitely some better quality TRS plugs out there, but I'll just use this as an example.
Firstly, cut the MIDI cable in half. We can make 2 DIN5 to TRS cables with this.
Next, strip the wire to expose the coloured cables inside.
There are 5 pins on the DIN5 plug, and hence 5 coloured cables. We need to determine which colour connects to Pins 4 and 5 on the DIN5 plug.
According to the MIDI standard, Pin 5 carries the MIDI Data, while Pin 4 carries power. If you are planning to control devices with alternate wiring standards (Chase Bliss takes Data on Ring, and Tip is left unconnected, while Meris takes Data on Tip). For this example, we'll wire it according the MIDI standard.
Using my trusty digital multimeter, I determined that the Yellow wire connects to Pin 5, while Green connects to Pin 4. All the other pins can be left unconnected. The cable ground should be left unconnected as well.
EDIT: The cable ground should be connected to the TRS ground if it is going to be connected to the controller i.e. MIDI sender.
I cut away the cable sleeve, along with the other cables except Yellow and Green.
Yellow cable is soldered to Tip while Green is soldered to Ring, to follow the MIDI standard.
I added electrical tape for some isolation.
There you have it.
We're using the cable with the 3.5mm TRS Out from our MC3 MIDI Controller to send MIDI messages the they Strymon Timeline.
The cost for this project is as such:
1 x MIDI Cable = USD2.89
2 x 3.5mm TRS Plugs = USD0.32
Shipping via DHL Express = USD9.60
Shipping takes the bulk of it but if you can source for the components locally, or order in bulk, the shipping per item will be much lower. With the components above, I can make 2 DIN5 to 3.5mm TRS cables.
Keep making awesome music!
The Morningstar Engineering Team