The Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer is a small hardware interface that facilitates MIDI data transfer between an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and another MIDI device.
The Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer is a small hardware interface that facilitates MIDI data transfer between an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and another MIDI device. Besides providing a portable and easy way to back up keyboard and effect settings via SysEx (System Exclusive) data, one of these devices coupled with the MIDI Mobilizer is an easy way to record and play back song ideas, create music or give external controllers access to an iPhone app’s onboard sounds.
The MIDI Mobilizer, which is barely larger than a matchbook, plugs directly into, and is powered by, an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch’s 30-pin port. Two special 5-foot cables — with MIDI plugs on one end and 2.5mm TRS plugs on the other — connect to a pair of tiny connectors (one for MIDI in and one for MIDI out) on the Mobilizer, allowing it to easily interface with any MIDI gear. The Mobilizer’s MIDI In and Out LEDs illuminate to indicate the presence and direction of data transfer.
The MIDI Memo Recorder app (a free download from Apple’s App Store) provides all of the functionality required to get up and running. Besides recording and playing back MIDI data (including notes, controllers, SysEx, etc.) with one millisecond accuracy, the application’s organizational architecture is logical and intuitive, making it easy to store and recall synth sounds, effect patches, song ideas, etc. Song ideas can easily be imported into any major sequencer and vintage (MIDI-compatible) synth nuts will love having the ability to store and organize all of their SysEx data in a common place.
A guitarist that uses the Line 6 POD xt/Live/Pro (or any other MIDI processor, for that matter) for their performance rig can fly to a gig, walk onto the stage and load all of their presets into the rental gear in seconds without ever opening up their computer. My only real complaint with the Mobilizer is that several current devices (of which many, including the POD X3 Live and POD X3 Pro, are ironically manufactured by Line 6) rely on USB instead of MIDI for SysEx data transfer and are therefore not compatible with the Mobilizer [With firmware version 2.01 — available for free at the Line 6 website — presets can now be stored and recalled via MIDI SysEx. — Ed.].
MIDI Memo’s e-mail feature makes it easy to transfer MIDI data to the user’s computer to be imported into a workstation or to a collaborator on the other side of the world. The data is sent as a Standard MIDI File (SMF) that can easily be opened in most Mac and PC DAWs or if MIDI Memo Wi-Fi access is enabled, any computer on the Wi-Fi network, via a unique URL, can access the MIDI Memos.
I’ve been carrying and using the MIDI Mobilizer for several months now, and I absolutely love it. I’ve found it to be a device that fills a gap that I never knew existed; I didn’t realize the need for it before I began using it but now I can’t imagine being without it, and its usefulness will only grow as its supported application list increases.
The brilliance of the MIDI Mobilizer isn’t that it allows you to do something that you weren’t able to previously do - that’s not the case. What it does do, though, is allow you to do a whole lot with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that previously required a computer and a MIDI interface. Both it and its compatible software are completely affordable, making it a nobrainer for anyone that routinely deals with SysEx data, is in need of an extremely portable MIDI controller or sound source, or that simply needs an easy way to use MIDI to capture a song idea.
Contact: Line 6 | line6.com
Russ Long is a Nashville-based producer, engineer, and mixer and PAR’s senior contributor.