Knot lets you use your USB MIDI keyboard to control your hardware synths - without a computer

Intech Studio Knot
(Image credit: Intech Studio)

A USB MIDI controller is the perfect foil for your computer-based DAW setup - just plug it in and you should be good to go - but what if you want to use it with your hardware synths and it doesn’t have any standard MIDI ports?

The usual workaround is to use the 5-pin ports on your computer’s audio/MIDI interface, but this involves turning on your PC or Mac, and you might want to keep that out of the equation.

In this use case, Intech Studio’s new Knot could be the solution. Described as a ‘standalone USB MIDI host’, this dinky box enables you to plug in your MIDI controller on one side and transmit/receive MIDI to/from your hardware instruments on the other. There are also three LEDs that provide visual feedback.

Knot can be powered either by a DC adapter or USB-C, and sends/receives MIDI data via its two 3.5mm TRS jacks. You can switch these between the A standard used by the likes of Korg, Make Noise, IK Multimedia and Line 6, and the B standard used by Arturia, Novation, 1010music and Polyend.

The plan is to keep Knot updated with new firmware (it’s an open hardware project) which can be installed by pressing the mode button while the device is connected to a computer. 

Knot is currently available for the early bird pre-order price of $89. If you order now, your unit is expected to be dispatched by 12 December. A single USB-C to USB-A cable comes included.

You can find out more and place an order on the Intech Studio website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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