We saw an early version of Bomebox in January of 2015 at NAMM. This is Bome Software’s first hardware product, designed act as the central hub for connecting all types of audio gear without an additional computer. Keep reading to find out more about this recently released device.
- Price: €199 (~$223 US)
- Manufacturer: Bome
- Availability: Now available (released late August)
- Key Feature: Connects and powers MIDI/USB/audio gear without a computer
When the BomeBox was first teased at NAMM 2015, Bome was still waiting on the device to pass various certification tests. It took much longer than expected – requiring changes to the unit itself to be able to be sold in the US and abroad. But at last in August, Bome’s founder Florian Bömers was excitedly able to announce that the BomeBox was available and shipping.
BomeBox’s Key Features
So what does this small box even do, and why should DJs, producers, and performers care? In short, the BomeBox is able to connect almost any type of gear together without a separate computer, and pass control messages back and forth. As an example, you’re able to connect a classic Roland synthesizer (MIDI) to a Midi Fighter 3D (USB) – with only the Bome Box between the two. Connecting USB-MIDI to 5-pin DIN MIDI devices is a breeze, with all ports forwarding by default.
But this is Bomes – so the functionality goes far beyond simple port forwarding. The BomeBox has the ability to run scripts on the MIDI data that it is receiving from every device in real-time. This all works in parallel with Bome’s MIDI Translator Pro software – which allows you to route and interpret MIDI messages in unique ways between software programs and hardware devices.
You need a computer to create the mappings to connect devices together in clever ways, but once those mappings are loaded onto the BomeBox, it’s a fully standalone operation.
Why Do We Need BomeBox?
When MIDI first was introduced to the public at the 1983 winter NAMM show, it was an extraordinary feat. Two collaborators, Dave Smith (then-president of Sequential Circuits) and Ikutaro Kakehashi (founder of Roland) designed and developed the MIDI interface together, allowing audio gear from different manufacturers to talk to each other.
The first gear to be connected? A Prophet 600 and a Roland JP-6 synthesizer:
Since 1983, the biggest change in the musical instrument industry has been the personal computer, and the development of devices that don’t connect to others via MIDI cable. There’s USB MIDI controllers, Ethernet control surfaces, tablet-based Wi-Fi devices, and much more – but they’re each designed with a specific use case in mind. The BomeBox bridges the gap, much as MIDI did in the early eighties, allowing all kinds of devices to talk to each other.
I/O + Technical Specs
The BomeBox might act as the central hub in future live performance/production setups, but the design is clearly focused on staying minimal and utilitarian. The most important part about the unit itself is naturally the inputs and outputs, which include:
- MIDI in & out with very low latency
- USB 2 Host (Type A receptacle) for connecting MIDI controllers, synthesizers, serial ports, USB Hubs, etc.
- 2x Ethernet 100MBit/s
- WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 GHz
- Power: uses approx 150mA, either
- via Micro-USB Type B: standard cell phone charger, or
- via Power over Ethernet (PoE): Ethernet In port
- Provides power for
- connected USB-MIDI devices (max. 1A)
- other daisy chained BomeBoxes via PoE Out (if powered via PoE)
- “HD Protocol” ready
- Dimensions: 121mm x 96 mm x 38 mm (4.8? x 3.7? x 1.5?)
- Weight: 180g
Versatile in Power
A helpful feature for portable rigs is that the BomeBox has versatile power solutions. As noted above – it can be powered over Ethernet, but also can use standard external battery packs – like the ones you might use to charge your cell phone when you’re away from an outlet:
The BomeBox also can send up to 1 amp of power on the USB Type A port, or be used alongside a powered USB hub if you have multiple devices (larger MIDI/USB controllers, etc) that need power via USB.
We’re excited to get a BomeBox here at DJTT and review it in the coming months. What would you connected together with one of these devices? Share in the comments below.
Awesome write up on the Bomebox!
I’m already totally down the rabbit hole with Bome Midi Translator and I can’t say enough how amazing the software is for creative musicians with lots of hardware. It does take a little getting used to, but their forums are very healthy and alive to get you up and going.
The way I have it set up now I just open up Bome and I have automated mouseclicks and keyboard commands to open up my DAW and load my template and start playing the sequencer while lighting up a Launchpad with a totally unique control scheme that I created from scratch in Bome, a livid instruments guitar wing, two Numark Orbits and a DJ Techtools twister. Also I have given momentary control over faders in the main mixer to a Hothand USB ring for this crazy thing I can only call “3d mixing”. It’s sweet to press a button on one controller and watch it effect the lights on all your other controllers through a program you can create yourself in Bome without real programming experience hah!
Originally my goal was to be able to just shut off the computer screen and just hold my guitar with controllers mounted all over it and basically “play” a DAW (Reason) like an instrument, simply because of Bome MIDI translator, that is now very close to reality for me. The Bomebox just adds an amazing new level of connectivity and flexibility to their already fantastic translator program. So stooked to see DJtechtools spot light on bome! The future is now!
What is the purpose of the Ethernet and WiFi functionality?
CDJ’s. Thats how the all the new ones and the 2000’s Nexus’s talk to each other.
There are a few companies that use RPT-MIDI over Ethernet. eg. Yamaha, Behringer, iConnectivity, Arduino…
And maybe in the future OSC.
I was thinking more along the lines of something like touch DAW or Lemur and Cubase or Pro Tools.
Lemur is midi/OSC and, if it’s possible to implement it through scripting, it will be an option for those who have a physical unit (ethernet).
I remember ask devs about OSC and they said “maybe in the future” so it could be a replacemenr for “the missing link”.
Also it could be interesting use this box as Ableton link hardware.
it’s a pity lemur’s performance and latency is tied to the framerate though. Stopped using lemur myself because of this.
Funny you should mention link support for the bomebox – you know something we dont? 😉
Nop only seems logical step in my world. Usually these things never happen and I remember where I from 😛
You can use Ethernet and WiFi to create long distance and wireless MIDI connections with high speed between computer/mobile devices and BomeBox, or between BomeBoxes. For example, in a studio from control room to recording booth, or in live venues or theaters to get MIDI data on stage without the need of a computer on or near stage.
There aren’t many things that I am want for, these days. This has made it on my list. Great little unit you’ve developed.
Thanks for clarifying.
to dive deeper into this question, because I’ve got limited Ethernet and Wifi syncing.
If I wanted to send the MIDI single from the Bomebox
Would I be connecting the Ethernet cables to a Router
I would like to go deeper into this question because I haven’t much experience using ethernet or wifi in music audio settings.
So one would take the Ethernet Out to Wifi Router (connected to a Modem?) and Pair the Bome to their computer via the same Wifi single?
You don’t need a separate WiFi router: the BomeBox has WiFi built-in, so it is your WiFi router. You can connect all your computers, other BomeBoxes, and other mobile devices to one BomeBox and they can all talk with each other wirelessly.
jesus god, yes.
It will be perfect for Ableton Link and midi translation. It’s possible to implement it with bmt or you need special firmware update?
It would require a firmware update. We’re currently evaluating to add Ableton Link support into MT Pro, and hence into the BomeBox, too.
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I think only the people who already use Bome MTP heavily understand just how elaborate setups one can accomplish with the BomeBox. Big ups to DJTT for spreading the love!
The price might seem a bit steep at first, but once you realize the amount of MIDI processing you can do with this (especially compared to the competition like midi solutions event processor etc) it will seem very attractively priced.
I was very interested on it due the lack of iOS devices for usb hub and charging… But with the release of usb 3 lighting adaptor and midi flow app I have more than I need for less bucks.
The script part is the most interesting part IMO.