Hello there! I now own 6 WIDI Masters, 1 WIDI Jack, 1 WIDI Bud Pro, and 1 TP-LINK BlueTooth 5.0 Dongle (type UB500). I use Windows 10 and Cubase 12.
I compared the Latency between the WIDI Bud Pro and the TP-LINK UB500 — not scientifically, but just by playing. I think the latency between WIDI Master and WIDI Bud Pro is slightly better than between WIDI Master and UB500, but it’s ever so slightly, it’s really hard to tell. In both cases, it’s absolutely usuable without any problems at all.
Next, I tried to determine whether I’d rather use the WIDI Bud Pro or the UB500 Dongle to connect my synthesizers to Windows 10/Cubase 12. First of all, using the WIDI Bud Pro is very easy and will work with earlier Cubase versions as well. Setup your WIDI Masters, put them into slave mode, and that’s it. Cubase now sees a MIDI Interface called „WIDI Bud Pro“ and that’s all there is to know. BUT, it’s only a single MIDI Port, and you’ll have to assign your synthesizers/keyboards/devices different MIDI channels to tell them apart. Not a big problem, I think, especially since it’s so easy to use.
With the TP-LINK UB500 BlueTooth 5.0 Dongle, things are more complicated, and it’ll work only with DAWs that support the new WinRT protocol (Cubase 12 does, earlier versions do not). It has one GREAT advantage, though: each synthesizer/keyboard appears as it’s own MIDI Port in Cubase, which makes it unneccessary to change MIDI channels! If you assign the WIDI Masters unique names via the WIDI App on your mobile, Cubase 12 will even use those names automatically! That’s fantastic, but there’s a catch: While Cubase 12 can talk to BlueTooth MIDI devices like the WIDI Masters just fine, it only does so if you pair them WHILE Cubase 12 is running. After exiting Cubase 12, it will NOT remember those devices and will not reconnect automatically next time. It SHOULD do that, because the devices remain paired in Windows, but Cubase does NOT remember. Instead, you’ll have to un-pair and re-pair them again in Windows, each time you start Cubase 12, which is a big hassle… especially if you have many WIDI devices like I do. That’s a Cubase 12 bug, and I hope that Steinberg will fix it soon.
BUT for the time being, I found a workaround: There’s a free utility called MIDIBerry. Pair your WIDI Masters with Windows ONCE, and then open MIDIBerry and leave it running right before you start Cubase 12. Like magic, Cubase 12 will suddenly remember the devices, and you will not have to re-pair them again. The MIDIBerry Window must stay open for this to work, and it must be on the same screen as Cubase. But it can stay behind the Cubase Window at all times, so this it not a big problem.
I suppose, MIDIBerry does something on OS-Level to activate the paired devices that Cubase 12 does not do, and if it is that, then Cubase will be able to do it as well at some point in the future.
By the way, you do NOT need to install those KORG BLE drivers if you are using Cubase 12 on Windows 10. Just MIDIBerry to keep the connection up; or nothing, if you don’t mind re-pairing each time. I think the KORG BLE drivers are only necessary if you use a DAW that doesn’t support WinRT. You also don’t need the KORG BLE drivers if you use the WIDI Bud Pro instead of a generic BT dongle; neither do you need any BlueTooth drivers in that case. CME’s manuals could be a bit clearer about that, because it can cause quite some confusion.
In summary, I’m pretty happy with my new shiny WIDI setup. I’ll just need another four WIDI Masters, at which point my setup will be 100% DIN cable free 🙂