Updated: Aug 17, 2020
There are plenty of MIDI cables out there in the market, at many different price points.
Recently, we purchased a bunch to MIDI cables from Thomann and other platforms just to find out which one is best for consumers.
In our tests, all MIDI cables worked as they should - cable quality was not a problem. Unlike audio cables where different cables can sound different to the discerning user, MIDI cables are used to simply send data (1s and 0s) from one point to another.
Most of the cables had with moulded straight or right-angled plugs at each end and there's really nothing much to tell apart from the design, length options and price point. These cables are the sssnake SK366-03-GRN Midi, Manikin-Electronic Midi Cable 0,5 straight/angled and the Pro snake Midi-Cable 0,5. The fact that the heads are moulded means that if the connection breaks (bad solder maybe?), there is really no way to repair it except buying a new one. Among these cables, we find that the sssnake cables are the most value for money for the low price point and the color and length options. We purchased the 30cm cable at GBP 1.70. There is the 1m option as well which goes for GBP 2.99, which is still way below what the other cables cost.
These straight plug cables will not work so well if you are hard-pressed for space on our pedalboard and cannot use a straight plug. That is where the adjustable right-angled cables come in handy (like the OneControl), although at a much higher price-point.
CME WIDI Master
Price: USD 39 (Pre-order price) / USD 59
Pre-ordered directly from CME. Coming soon. We'll review this product once it arrives so do check back!
We're excited to try this, but they are only just about to ship out the pre-orders in batches. If you are using a pedal-board then you probably won't need this. This would be useful if you had a rack on the back-stage and could do with just a MIDI controller up front.
Update: We have done the view here.
Cordial CFD 0,6 AA
Price: GBP 4.11
We like this cable because the connector plugs can be opened and re-soldered if anything breaks. The fact that the connectors (Rean) are fully made of metal further adds to the feel and quality of the product.
One issue we had with MIDI cables is that they do malfunction (broken connection somewhere, perhaps). It might seem rare, but it happens. If your MIDI devices are not responding to your MIDI controller, do that that into consideration as well. The good thing about the Cordial is that it uses REAN connectors which can be taken apart to be checked, or re-soldered with another cable if necessary.
Rockboard FlaX Plug MIDI Cable 30 cm
Price: GBP 6.50
Good effort in trying to design something useful and different, but I feel that the cable would do much better without having those flippable cable-support hinges. Bonus if they can reduce the price more without having to manufacture those hinges.
I decided to cut away the hinges on mine, and the result is a MIDI cable that offers the flexibility of usage in any orientation. As long as I do not pull the cable out by the wire, I think it should be ok. Without the hinge, I now have full freedom of motion with less space taken up. At GBP 6.50, this was a no-brainer.
One Control Midi Hammer Cable 30
Price: GBP 14.90
(No longer available on Thomann)
When we bought this cable, we had the impression that the plug could be rotated around. GBP 14.90 seems like a fair price for that. However, it was to our dismay to find out that the design only allowed flipping the cable up or down. The Rockboard FlaX would make much better sense with a much cheaper price.
Rockboard Flat MIDI Cable 60cm Black
Price: GBP 2.60
This cable has the flattest plug of the lot, but with some disadvantages. If your MIDI ports are close to each other, it is likely that the plug orientation will block or get in the way with the other ports. I'd only get this if I checked beforehand to make sure I won't face such issues.
We tried cutting away the head so we'd have more room but, nah. We did use this for our NAMM 2019 boards though.
DIY cable with Switchcraft Plugs
Price: ~USD 30
We bought this plugs from Element14 sometime back and soldered our own cable. These plugs are great - feels very solid and you can rotate the head to suit your setup. These features do come at a price though, and it's not the flattest of plugs. If you can afford it, go for it. If not, I think the Rockboard FlaX has better value.
Manikin-Electronic Midi Cable 0,5 straight/angled
Price: GBP 6.10
Nothing much to say about this. Feels like your standard HOSA MIDI cable with a right-angled plug at one end. Pricier than other similar options though.
Pro snake Midi-Cable 0,5
Price: GBP 3.38
Similar to the Manikin MIDI cable, but at a lower price point and 2 right angled plugs.
The sssnake SK366-03-GRN Midi
Price: GBP 1.70
Again, similar to the Manikin and Pro Snake MIDI cables, but with 2 straight plugs and an even lower price point.
And that's it from us! We hope this blog post helps you make a better buying decision when getting MIDI cables.
Keep making awesome music!
The Morningstar Engineering Team