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MMD > Archives > May 2002 > 2002.05.02 > 11Prev  Next

Connecting a Computer to a Player Piano
By Pete Knobloch

I am also interested in this.  In looking at Mike Ames' article
at, "MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital
Interface", I see that he used the Octet UM0 board to interface the
MIDI data to the solenoids.  Are these boards still available from

About one month ago I looked at a friend's orchestration that used
the UM1-BB board from the Octet Design Corporation.  This board was
designed in 1996 or 1997 as far as I can find out.  Because this
orchestration has never worked in its life, I looked into getting it
working as a favor.

My first question was how is the board configured?  My friend said he
had no idea.  We looked for the configuration software and documentation
but couldn't find it.  I tried contacting them at
and didn't get any response.  Their web site didn't include any
information about these types of boards.  My friend got in touch with
Octet and they said they didn't support that product any more.  Does
anyone know if this is true or did he just talk to the wrong person?

This board is a great product.  From what I see in a marketing
pamphlet, this board has 127 lines that can be programmed to be 127
inputs or 127 outputs.  You can configure the board by sending MIDI
commands to the board using special software.  This allows you to
define what MIDI command or channel is used to control anyone of the
127 lines.

Someone on MMD, who I don't remember, introduced me to the site.  It might be Willy van der
Reijden (020312 MMDigest) since there is a link to his description on the MIDIO128 web site.

This MIDI board is a design that is similar to the UM1-BB board
and contains very few components.  It does need programming of a
PIC16F877-20 from Microchip but the part is only about $10.00 in
quantities of 1.  The problems being that I don't really want to build
one, just buy one with similar capability.

Two questions:

1. Does anyone have the software and some documentation for programming
the Octet UM0 board?  We could use this to continue the effort of
getting the orchestration to work.

2. Are there other manufactures that supply a MIDI interface board?  If
it can be configured, then this would be a plus.  And what is the cost
of the board?

Pete Knobloch (Tempe Arizona, USA)

 [ Laurent Corey's firm, Octet Design Corp., was sold following his
 [ death in July, 1999.  The MIDI products that Laurent designed for
 [ mechanical music instruments, including the UM series products,
 [ are now produced and sold by MIDIator Systems, San Diego, CA,
 [  The phone number given in Mike Ames'
 [ article is 619-223-9000.
 [ The UM1 circuit board is shipped with a default configuration
 [ for playing linear MIDI files such as piano rolls.  The UM1 may
 [ be configured for special requirements using a software utility
 [ program supplied on a floppy diskette with the circuit board.
 [ Some technical information about the UM1 series is posted at
 [  -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 2 May 2002, 15:34:00 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Computer, Connecting, Piano, Player

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