MIDI Designer Pro X: The Legacy Continues

MIDI Designer Pro X: The Legacy Continues

MIDI Designer Pro X was released on NAMM Thursday (January 25, 2024) and is available in 175 countries in English, French, Spanish and Italian.

MIDI Designer Pro X (MDPx) is the culmination of over a decade of relentless iteration. In 2012, we launched MIDI Designer Pro, which we relaunched in 2016 as MIDI Designer Pro 2. MDP2 was critically acclaimed as the only professional-grade MIDI controller built for iOS from the ground up. In that decade, we have released over 80 updates to the App (changelog). Our Community has grown and our library of user-created content covers over 300 MIDI targets from all parts of the music-making world. In 2024, we take a significant leap forward with MDPx: MDPx elevates the user experience to new heights on iPad and Mac, but particularly advances the usability for iPhone users. A new subscription model — Premium — allows even more users to use the App in their music-making and discover MIDI Designer for themselves.

Download MIDI Designer Pro X on the Apple App Store

What’s New

Pricing and Premium versus Free

MIDI Designer has been a one-time purchase since launch in 2012. The sticker price was a bit of a shocker, especially for iPhone users. Before MDPx, users had no way to explore the App for their particular use-case without fully committing. All of this changes with MIDI Designer Pro X.

MIDI Designer Pro X is free to download. Most core and even advanced functionality familiar to MIDI Designer users is available without Premium. Users who wish to take full advantage of MDPx will want to subscribe to Premium. Users can choose to activate Premium for just their platform or for all platforms. Users can subscribe on a monthly or yearly basis, unlocking Premium functionality for:

  • Mac/iPad/iPhone
  • Mac Only
  • iPad/iPhone
  • iPad Only
  • iPhone Only

Here’s the breakdown by feature set:

Feature Without Premium With Premium
Professional-Grade MIDI Controller for iOS & macOS Yes Yes
Controls Types (Knobs, Sliders, XY Pads, etc.) All All
All Connection Types (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB) Yes Yes
Access to Community Layouts Yes Yes
Full MIDI Spec Support Yes Yes
Control Relationships (Supercontrols & Subcontrols) Yes Yes
Superpowers (Ableton Link, Loopers, etc.) Yes Yes
Maximum Number of Controls per Layout Unlimited Unlimited
Maximum Banks/Pages per Layout (iPhone) 1/1 8/48
Maximum Banks/Pages per Layout (iPad) 2/2 8/48
Popup Panels No Unlimited
LED Colors Choices (per Page & Control) No (Basic Green Only) Unlimited
Page Textures and Color Choices No (Default Gray, Basic Texture) Unlimited combinations

Improved iPhone Experience

We’ve overhauled MIDI Designer’s UX on iPhone. This extensive rework greatly expands discoverability, usability and power. iPhone now fully supports portrait orientation and allows for better use of screen real estate.

Most importantly, however, iPhone users can seamlessly use all layouts including those originally designed for iPad and Mac. Users will find that without requiring any adjustment or changes.

iPad Layout on iPhone Landscape

See this YouTube short for a quick look into iPad layouts on iPhone

For a deeper look at the iPhone interface for MDPx, see this video:

Spaceship Theme and Display Version Options

In MDPx we’ve introduced our first Global Display Version — Spaceship 🛸 — that can be pieced apart and used with other Display Versions. Spaceship contains four toggles — tick marks, numeric indicator, fill, and handle — each of which may be turned on or off. This can be applied to the entire layout and to indivual controls. And what’s more: Control Display Version Options can be applied to the theme for MDP2 — Glow — as well as Classic which we rolled out with the original MIDI Designer Pro. Talk about a reboot!


Improved File Management

We’ve reworked all file operations on all platforms to allow users to save and load from anywhere in the iOS filesystem without leaving the App. In addition, the Image Manager now has the full Photo library capabilities iOS users expect.

Users also have the ability to resize layouts to portrait or landscape orientations.

New: MIDI Designer Meters

We’ve released MIDI Designer Meters, a new, headless VST/AU. This plug-in sends VU meter RMS or Peak signals back to MIDI Designer via host automation. Unlimited instances in your DAW + the Meter control in MIDI Designer make this a very powerful tool to represent audio feedback in your layout.


MIDI Designer Meters were created in conjunction with Audiodevs and are available immediately at:

Improved Experience for All Devices

  • Now available for all users without special purchase:
    • Automatic Cloud Backups via Dropbox, now standard for all users.
    • Integration of the Streambyter Plugin is now standard for all users.
    • Addition of Pickers, Image Panels, Custom Images and Meters
  • Behind-the-scenes enhancements to ensure the future viability and support of MD.
  • Lots of UI refinements and fixes that we never got to do to control features and functionalities.

Download MIDI Designer Pro X on the Apple App Store

Elevating the MIDI Designer Legacy

MDPx adopts the legacy of MIDI Designer Pro 2 — enriched by over 12 years of development and 80+ updates — ensuring a seamless transition packed with exclusive MIDI Designer features:

  • Solid MIDI Communications Infrastructure: Over 10 years of development, ensuring reliable and robust MIDI interactions over Network, Bluetooth and USB.
  • Active Community of Authors: A vibrant ecosystem supporting legacy and current music synthesizers, sound engines, DAWs, and all MIDI-controlled devices.
  • Extensive User Layout Library: More than 320 layouts for over 70 manufacturers, contributed by the community.
  • Comprehensive Support: Whether you’re just starting or tackling complex MIDI implementations, with the Community we are here to assist.
  • MIDI Designer’s ‘Superpowers’: A suite of powerful features exclusive to MIDI Designer that we have developed over the last 10+ years. These include:
    • Ableton Link and Link Control Loopers
    • Supercontrols and subcontrols as the basis for many features:
      • Snap sub to value over time
      • Sequential subs
      • Subcontrol chaining
      • Button groups (radio buttons) with Bounceback™
      • Steppers
      • Live Transpose
      • Group Presets
    • Named Ticks
    • Simplified Sysex Messages with variables and bit changers
    • Snap to Value
    • Global Presets
    • Pedalboards
    • Popup Panels (Show/Hide)
    • Enable/Disable Controls
    • Two-up Page Layout for iPad/Mac

MIDI Designer's Superpowers

Download MIDI Designer Pro X on the Apple App Store

Loyalty Benefits

MIDI Designer Pro X values its long-standing user community. As a token of appreciation, legacy users are entitled to special benefits:

Everyone who purchased MIDI Designer Pro 2 prior to our switch to subscription on January 25, 2024 will have lifetime access to all existing features before the 10.0 update.

See What About Me? for more details

What, when, where? Requirements, Release Date and Availability


  • Requires macOS 13.0 or later with Apple Silicon chip.
  • Requires iOS 16.0 or later. Compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
  • Available in English, French, Italian and Spanish.


MIDI Designer Pro X was released in 175 countries on the morning of January 25, 2024, coinciding with the NAMM Winter Show where MIDI itself turned 40. Exciting times!

Download MIDI Designer Pro X on the Apple App Store
MIDI Designer Pro X by Confusion Studios

Update coming to MIDI Designer Pro X Subscription Policy

We have heard your feedback.

We will be updating our subscription policy to honor commitments to prior purchases.

However, Dan is off the grid this weekend and enjoying some time off from the big push for Pro X.

Standby for an update next week. No subscriptions should be charged for prior users before that point as prior users originally had a free year.

Update from Feb 20, 2024

Our users have spoken! We changed policy on this topic as of 2024-02-20: All users who purchased MIDI Designer Pro (2012-2017) or MIDI Designer Pro 2 (2017-2024) prior to our switch to free + subscriptions on January 25, 2024 will have lifetime access to all existing features before the 10.0 update.

This change is already live on the App Store since 10.1.0.

Thanks for your patience and understanding. Please see our official announcement to learn more.

MIDI Designer and StreamByter

MIDI Designer Pro 2 provides a flexible, customizable MIDI control surface.

StreamByter, by Audeonic, provides processing of a MIDI data stream.

Working together, they provide a complete MIDI processing and control solution.

Example use combinations
– SB decodes a SysEx status dump from target hardware into individual MIDI commands for display in MDP2
– SB remaps MDP2 controls to different target addresses (e.g., one set of controls for part and master effects)
– MDP2 provides control of SB channel cloning / remapping
– SB provides advanced relationships for MDP2 controls

StreamByter is built in to MDP2 as an in app purchase for input and output processing.

For more advanced processing, add the stand alone version of StreamByter, for looping output back to input.

MIDI Fire adds other tools, such as flexible MIDI routing, with multiple StreamByter modules.

See more about StreamByter.

See MDP2 layouts using StreamByter.

If you need help, post your question on our Q&A forum

Using MIDI Designer Pro in the Background

In this video I demonstrate how to use the midiLFOs app to automate the “Dictator” control in Turnado. In order to achieve more rhythmic CC modulation, I sync midiLFOs to the clock on my BeatStep Pro, while using MIDI Designer Pro in the background to constrain the CC values coming from midiLFOs to 8 values instead of 128. The result is that the position of the Dictator changes every 2 beats in time with the sequencer.

For more info on the “number of ticks” option, check out the Working with Controls chapter in the manual!


Making a Shared Layout Work for You

There are tons of great layouts shared by the community, but let’s face it: everyone’s setup and workflow is just different enough to keep things from working perfectly every time. While importing a layout is pretty easy, you’re likely to run into issues if you’ve made changes to the default midi settings in your software, apps or hardware synths. Things also get a bit complicated when you’re sending MIDI notes and messages on multiple channels to different programs or devices.

There are a couple of great features available in MIDI Designer Pro that make it easy to adapt layouts shared by other users to fit your own needs, or to repurpose your own layouts when needed.

Renumbering Controls and Changing Channels

This is the tool I’ve personally found most useful in making layouts my own. In design mode, you can tap on a page tab to open the Page Properties tab, and then click on the Controls icon at the bottom to display some useful control actions. The top button allows you to renumber controls and/or change the channel associated with that page. If you just need to assign a different MIDI channel, you can simply select the new channel number and tap the “Channel Only” button. If you need to reassign the CC numbers for the page’s controls, you can do that as well by choosing a starting number and clicking “Unused Only” to avoid numbers already assigned elsewhere in the layout, or “Sequential” if you want to ignore existing assignments.

Check out the section on Page-Wide Control Actions in the manual for more info.


If you are using multi-page layouts, choosing different colors to visually separate controls into groups can be useful or even necessary. Of course, a layout’s original creator may have sprinkled colors throughout a page’s controls that don’t really suit you, so luckily there’s the option to remove custom colors, also found on the Controls view of the Page Properties tab.

It’s easy to quickly define the look and feel of the controls in your layout using the Page Properties Pane, with options for choosing the background color and texture, LED color, and highlight color for each page.

Combining Layouts

When you open a layout from an external program or from the Config -> Actions panel, you are given the option to append the new layout to the one currently loaded. This is a great way to combine multiple shared layouts, or to build onto an existing layout. Just be sure to save the combined layout once you’ve made the necessary tweaks so that it can be recalled for later use.

Apple, what have you done!?

Introduction of Swift
On June 2, 2014, Apple announced a new programming language, Swift.

This is exciting news from a developer perspective. It means we’ll be able to add new features and functionality faster. In addition, new code will more bug-free and flexible going forward.

Obsolete Devices
Swift will only be supported from iOS 7 onwards. This means that you’ll have to upgrade to an iPhone 4S or better, an iPod touch 5G or better, or an iPad 2 or better.

iPad 1 users and others running iOS 5 and iOS 6 will continue to have unrestricted access to MIDI Designer 1.6, the most powerful MIDI controller for iOS.

Onwards, Upwards
This is a very exciting period for software development on iOS, and we’re looking forward to sharing what we’re able to do in Swift in Version 1.8 of MIDI Designer Pro*.

* MIDI Designer Lite and MIDI Designer 12 will continue to be updated for existing users.

MIDI Designer Lite on Vacation

Note from 2014-10-07: MIDI Designer Lite is back!

MIDI Designer Lite Icon

As of July 20, 2014, MIDI Designer Lite—the ad-supported version of the most powerful MIDI controller platform for iOS— is officially on vacation. The other light version, MIDI Designer 12, went on vacation a week earlier.

We’ve had overwhelmingly positive reviews for Lite (92% of 300 reviews are 4-stars or above). Our last review leaves off on a high note:

Last Review of Lite in Italian

Having multiple versions of the same App is confusing. Therefore, we will only be offering MIDI Designer Pro at this time.

Existing Users of MIDI Designer

MIDI Designer Lite has nearly 200,000 users who will continue to use the App, receive upgrades (simultaneously with MIDI Designer Pro), and be able to unlock to remove the Lite Bar. For existing users of Lite, your experience will not be altered in any way.

The same goes for existing users of MIDI Designer 12.

We think we’ve accommodated all of our users in this change, but you can always get in touch with us with questions, problems or encouragement.

New Users of MIDI Designer

Except by special arrangement (e.g., press inquiries, App giveaways), we will only be offering MIDI Designer Pro to new users at this time.

MIDI Designer Pro has received glowing reviews from leading industry publications (including DJ Tech Tools, Recording Magazine and Sound on Sound) and is used on stage and in the studio by professional and amateur music-makers as varied as Todd Rundgren and Shadow Child. Our first-rate Community shares layouts for top-flight gear from Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Line6 and many more.

MIDI Designer Pro

dream | create | play

Why do you force us to buy an iPad!?

MIDI Designer XW FantasyWe posted a fantasy version of our MIDI Designer XW layout on the MatrixSynth lounge the other day (link to Facebook post | link to repost on the blog).


One potential user from the Netherlands wrote, “Why always iPad only. So sad” and then, later, “I simply like multiplatform. So programmers not forcing people to use a specific device/brand. There are a lot tools which are able to output ‘any’ OS.”


Here’s how you imagine the development process:

If cross-platform development were this simple


MIDI Designer development started in 2010, about two months before the first Android tablet was released (the Samsung Galaxy). It was a sunny Summer day, and I remember taking my mountain bike to Best Buy in New Jersey where I picked up my first iPad 1.

MIDI Designer was originally written in Java (cross-platform) and called “VirtualThang” (see this article which shows images of VirtualThang in Java on OSX). The movement to iPad was gradual and development was slow as I learned Objective-C to make MIDI Designer for iPad. There were no other tabs at this time, and serious cross-platform frameworks like Titanium Appcelerator didn’t come to focus on mobile until 2012!

I was using early versions of MIDI Designer in my personal drum rig by February 2011. My brother, Mike Rosenstark, a.k.a. User #1, didn’t begin to take MD seriously until about September of 2011. That’s when he suggested I coordinate the initial launch for NAMM 2012.


User #1 and I headed out to NAMM 2012 expecting people to object to MIDI Designer on three grounds:

  1. MIDI Designer talks MIDI only, and doesn’t use OSC
  2. MIDI Designer doesn’t do “automap” — it’s a traditional MIDI controller
  3. MIDI Designer isn’t cross-platform

OSC vs. MIDI—On the first point, it turns out that adoption rates of OSC are not what we imagined. For smaller companies, it’s hard to find the development time and spare the cost to implement OSC. For larger companies, having hundreds of products to add OSC to is a huge cost as well. As we learned at the 30th Year Anniversary of MIDI, and continue to see every year at NAMM, <opinion>MIDI will not be supplanted by OSC any time soon.</opinion>

No Automap?!—Automap and related concepts are huge in the MIDI world. Our competitors at Touchable, LiveControl 2 (requires Lemur) and many other players use concepts that we refer to as “automap”. Automap is awesome and they seem to be doing quite well. However, there’s still a huge market for a “generic” (or “modular”) MIDI controller platform like MD, both for custom rigs and for creating “editors” for MIDI-enabled hardware and software.

No Android?!—We were shocked see ONLY iPads at NAMM 2012, and again in 2013. This year (2014), there were some Android Tablets, but excluding those that were integrated into a device, they were few and far between. Professional music manufacturers were still focusing on iOS. This will change over time, of course, but in 2014, iOS still dominates for Pro Music applications.

So what!? Make me a version for Android, now!

This Doesn’t Really Exist

MIDI Designer is written 100% in Objective-C, which means that it’s written exclusively for Apple devices. For this to change we would need to rewrite MIDI Designer, essentially from scratch, either:

  • In a cross-platform language like C++, using a cross-platform toolkit
  • For a cross-platform framework, like Titanium
  • Just make an Android version! How hard is this!?

None of these options are easy to do, and all would require a lot of development time. There are some technical difficulties to consider, relating to UI API differences, CoreMIDI/rtpMIDI availability on other platforms, and screen sizes on non-iOS devices (there are four general screen sizes for Android, and many more real sizes).

WILL WE RELEASE AN ANDROID/WINDOWS VERSION? Yes! We are confident that one or more of these three options is viable, and we’re currently exploring how best to translate the experience of MIDI Designer to other platforms. In the meantime, if you want MIDI Designer, an iPad 1 costs $99 on eBay. That’s cheaper than ANY Android tablet on the market. So there’s that…

For now, our main focus is on adding features to MIDI Designer for iOS. We’re expanding the platform that our users love and have dedicated hundreds of thousands of hours to. Will MIDI Designer be multi-platform in the future? YES!

Presets for Groups of Controls in MIDI Designer 1.6

New!—The manual entry on Presets!

Global (layout-wide) presets have been a part of MIDI Designer since the very beginning. In Version 1.5, we allowed you to assign global presets to buttons.

Layout-wide presets are great, but sometimes you want just a certain group of controls to snap to preset values.

This video covers all aspects of presets for groups of controls.

Some notes:

  • Channel Changers with Presets work just like Preset knobs, but they also change the channel of the subcontrol
  • Store Button Possibilities
    • No Store Button—The preset super automatically stores subcontrols’ values when the super changes values
    • Store Button Is Toggle—When the button is pressed, the preset super automatically stores subcontrols’ values when the super changes values. When the toggle is not pressed, no values are stored
    • Store Button Is Momentary—When the button is pressed, the preset super stores subcontrols’ values in the current slot
  • Recall Button Possibilities
    • No Recall Button—The preset super automatically recalls subcontrols’ values when the super changes values
    • Recall Button Is Toggle—When the button is pressed, the preset super automatically recalls subcontrols’ values when the super changes values. When the toggle is not pressed, no values are recalled
    • Recall Button Is Momentary—When the button is pressed, the preset super snaps the subcontrols to the values stored in the current slot

Note: Bug in layouts saving and mailing, see here, will be fixed in 1.6.2+.

If you’ve got questions that you think other people want to know the answers to, please ask in the Q&A forums.

If you’ve got other questions, please get in touch via Config → Actions → Email us or use the Contact Form.