So what is this MIDI that started it all? MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. MIDI is a hardware/software combination.
The hardware is a MIDI cable. The MIDI cable looks like a 5-pin cable, but it is not an ordinary 5-pin cable. It is specially grounded and shielded for efficient data transmission, critical for music interpretation. It is an asynch serial x, with baud rate 31.25 kbaud. This is not a speed that can be created by the PC; hence, the PC controlling MIDI instruments must be fitted with a MIDI card. This sound card creates the special 31.25-baud rate. The interface is 10 bits - 1 start bit, 8 data bits, and 1 stop bit. These move at 320 microseconds per serial byte, in a current loop of 5 mA. The MIDI cable’s stated maximum length is 50 feet, but for optimal data transmission, 20 feet is the effective maximum. Most MIDI cables are 5 or 10 feet.