M-Audio isn’t the only game in town for affordable wireless MIDI. CME, the Chinese music equipment manufacturer distributed by Yamaha, has their own MIDI interface. And it looks like they might beat M-Audio to shipping a standalone MIDI interface — with a far greater range, to boot.

Both vendors are claiming “first” (which isn’t really true no matter how you slice it). The big difference between the CME gear and M-Audio’s interface and keyboards is range. CME promises “full duplex” and an 80 meter range, unobstructed (should be less indoors). Let’s see, convert M-Audio’s 30 feet to metric, and, uh . . . well, basically CME wins on range. Of course, if you’re not planning on bodysurfing while playing your keytar, that’s unlikely to be the main factor, so what I really want to do is take these two units head-to-head.

CME also gives us a detail M-Audio left out: how many adapter pairs can work at the same time. They promise a somewhat incredible 64 simultaneous pairs, which would be nice indeed.

Other than those issues, the CME piece is almost identical to the M-Audio interface: 2.4GHz spectrum, AA batteries, plug-and-play USB (meaning it should be class-compliant on Mac, Windows, and Linux). The two even look alike, although the CME unit is much less compact than M-Audio’s. In fact, I’m extremely interested in the fact that these came out at the same time — makes you wonder if some key component became available and CME and M-Audio both decided to jump on it. If you want a keyboard with wireless, M-Audio is still your only choice, though CME may follow suit.

I haven’t been this excited about two rival products since there were those two made-for-TV movies about asteroids hitting Earth. As soon as I can get both units in, I’ll be checking resistance to interference, latency, compatibility, reliability, and — out in Battery Park — outdoor range. Did I miss anything?

WIDI X-8 Product Page

Previously: boards, Wireless MIDI Interface, Full Details

  • Tom

    A much better name!

    Sure, Widi sounds a bit like widdly, which isn't ideal, but God knows it's better than MidAir.

    80m range would get you bodysurfing back to the mixing desk, on a good day…

  • mnc

    hey, have you gotten the widi x-8 yet? when is it supposed to ship? i ordered one months ago and am still waiting. what's the inside scoop from yamaha or cme about when these are actually going to arrive to vendors?

  • IR

    look like WIDI is an advertisement trick ("first" from CME đŸ™‚

  • rt

    I ordered one too and am still waiting, WHEN WILL THIS SHIP? Emails to cme go unanswered! What's the holdup? How many more months?

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Wireless MIDI: M-Audio Adds MidAir 37-key Keyboard, Standalone Adapter for your Keytar, DIY Projects()

  • Recently Bought widi X8 in Mar '07.

    The range is incredible and it follows my Yamaha WX-7 midi wind controller precisely.

    Get this unit people!

  • Raymond ffoulkes

    Could someone let me know whether you get a PAIR of these boxes for your money, or just the one? The sales information is not specific on this crucial point; and, no, neither CME nor their agents seem to answer emails!

  • Hi Raymond. I just heard back from CME's Australian distributor. You get a pair for the price. RRP: AU$399.

  • komega

    where can I buy one and have it shipped immediately??