Unify Manual

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MIDI Monitor

Unify's built-in MIDI Monitor plug-in is a simple utility that helps troubleshoot MIDI issues by displaying MIDI activity. It's easiest to use in an Instrument slot, but can be used anywhere in Unify, as it passes MIDI messages through unchanged.

To understand MIDI data flow in Unify, see How Unify processes MIDI data.

Instantiating MIDI Monitor in Unify

MIDI Monitor can be inserted or swapped into any plug-in slot in Unify.

In an Instrument slot

MIDI Monitor was originally designed for use as an instrument plug-in. Click on the “ops button” (concentric circles icon) in any INST layer's instrument box, and choose “Swap: All Instruments > Built-in” and select “MIDI Monitor” from the menu.

This provides a quick way to check on the MIDI stream that would be seen by an actual instrument plug-in in that slot, but because it doesn't produce any sound, does not allow you to correlate MIDI messages you see to sounds you hear.

In a MIDI-effect slot

Since the addition of MIDI-effect slots on INST channels in Unify v1.x, you will often find it more useful to add an instance of MIDI Monitor to the MIDI-effect chain on an INST layer. Click the brown add effect icon (plus sign in a circle), choose “Add > All Effects > Built-in” and select “MIDI Monitor”.

You can also put MIDI Monitor instance(s) into MIDI layers, and drag it around to see how various other MIDI plug-ins affect the MIDI data stream.

In an Audio-effect slot

Unify does route MIDI to some audio-effects (see How Unify processes MIDI data). If you want to put an instance of MIDI Monitor into an audio-effect slot, you can do so, but because it's considered an “instrument” it won't appear in the “All Effects” menus. You will thus have to add it to one of your audio-effect plug-in subsets, as described below.

Adding MIDI Monitor to plug-in subsets

If you find yourself using MIDI Monitor a lot, you may want to add it to one or more of your personal plug-in subsets. See Defining subsets for quick access to your favorite plug-ins.

User interface and functions

MIDI Monitor's user interface is divided into a fixed-height Filtering area at the top, and an adjustable display area below. The entire window is resizable by dragging the lower-right corner or edges, to make more space for the display area.

The display area lists MIDI events as they are received, one per line. Each event is displayed with

  • Time in milliseconds (relative to when MIDI Monitor was first instantiated, OR the last time the Clear button was clicked)
  • MIDI Channel number (for events which have an associated channel number)
  • Text description (see below)

The Clear button at the top right clears the display area, and also (starting in Unify v1.3.x) resets the time relative to which MIDI event-times are displayed.

The MIDI Ch pop-up menu lets you select whether MIDI Monitor shows incoming messages on all MIDI channels, or only one selected channel.

The five check-boxes in the Filtering area allow you to specify whether or not certain types of MIDI events will appear in the display:

  • System-Common and Real-Time
    • Certain MIDI controllers (especially older Yamaha keyboards) produce a continuous stream of MIDI control and timing messages, which were used for synchronization with older MIDI sequencing hardware. It is useful to suppress display of these messages, in order to monitor e.g. note/CC data.
    • Note the MIDI System-Common message category also includes System Exclusive messages, which are typically very large, and used for device-specific functions.
  • Note on/off events correspond to MIDI keys going down and up
    • Every note-on has a note number (nn) in the range 0-127 (middle C = 60)
    • Every note-on also has a velocity, also in the range 0-127, where 1 is very soft and 127 is very loud. Velocity value 0 is a special case, and is used by some MIDI controllers instead of a note-off event.
  • CC or Continuous Controller events are most commonly associated with control sliders/knobs
    • Every CC message has a CC number (0-127) and a value (also 0-127, min to max)
    • Many CC numbers have associated “standard interpretation”; this is indicated where applicable
    • Some CC numbers are traditionally used for special functions, rather than indicating actual continuous controller activity. For example, CC#0 is used for bank select, and CC#32 may also be used to extend the bank selection to a 14-bit value (aka “sub bank”). Unify is quite capable of interpreting even these “non-CC” messages to e.g. control Macro knobs, and furthermore, several commercial MIDI controllers (notably the KORG nanoKontrol) use such “non-CC” messages in this way.
  • Pitch Bend
    • Check to display MIDI pitch-bend (pitch wheel) messages.
  • Aftertouch
    • Check to display both Channel Pressure (mono aftertouch) and Polyphonic Aftertouch messages.


We recommend that you do not leave MIDI Monitor in a patch indefinitely, because the amount of text will build up over time, consuming extra memory and possibly bogging down your CPU.

Further reading

midi-monitor.txt · Last modified: 2023/05/08 18:59 by