Congratulations, you’ve got your MIDI keyboard!
The only problem is that you want to connect the MIDI device to your PC. How do you do it?
We’ve got the answers and all the guides you may need. Let’s begin below!
Three Ways to Connecting MIDI Keyboard to PC
What You Will Need:
- USB cable.
- USB ports.
- USB output.
- USB adapter or USB connector.
- USB host.
- Bluetooth Connectivity
In this article, we have rounded up the top three ways you can connect a MIDI keyboard model to your PC.
Here are the options and steps for each one of them:
Option 1: USB Cable Connection for Your USB Port
The first option is pretty straightforward. It’s the simplest and fastest route, too!
All you need is a USB cable, your PC, and the MIDI keyboard.
Prepare your MIDI interface and MIDI keyboard and connect them together first with MIDI cables.
After you’re done with that first step, you can connect the MIDI interface to your PC.
And just like that, you’re all set up!
Option 2: Use Audio Interfaces
Most people wouldn’t think of using an audio interface, as you can connect the MIDI controller directly to a PC.
Using an interface is simpler, faster, and easier for older MIDI keyboards with limited USB port options.
If you have an older MIDI keyboard, this option may be the one for you!
It’s also a great idea to use an interface if you’re doing vocals and playing a musical instrument simultaneously.
This way, you can record multiple audio signals without any issues!
Being able to record multiple audio waves at the same time is highly prized. You save on time and manpower with that MIDI connection.
For the audio interface, there are multiple options to connect your MIDI keyboards and gain MIDI connectivity:
Use your MIDI cables
This isn’t a popular method anymore, but it works for older MIDI keyboards! Simply connect your interface to your own computer with a driver.
- Start up the MIDI input.
- Connect a MIDI keyboard of your choosing to the audio interface’s MIDI input.
You’re all set up! Get a virtual instrument, a physical one, or record vocals along with the audio tracks.
Use a MIDI hub
If you don’t know what a MIDI hub is, it’s a little box that has multiple inputs for multiple MIDI hardware.
If you happen to have a MIDI hub, just follow these steps. Otherwise, this option is not the necessary one to take.
A MIDI hub is useful if you have multiple MIDI devices that you want to use all at once.
If that’s not the case for you, save yourself the ports and complex connection! You have to figure those out with your PC.
Use two cables for a USB port instead.
However, if you do need a MIDI hub up and running for the sake of your audio system, simply connect the MIDI hub to the computer first.
Connect the MIDI keyboard to your MIDI hub before using the MIDI signal.
Use a USB connector and DAW
Connect the MIDI keyboard using a USB cable (or printer cable) and set up your audio interface as well.
Load up any instrument to play with the MIDI signals using a USB connection!
This one is the simplest procedure to do. Use the other two options only if you have an older MIDI keyboard or multiple MIDI devices.
A MIDI hub also helps if you have limited USB ports or MIDI ports for connecting MIDI keyboards.
Option 3: MIDI In/Out Port for MIDI Connectivity
Now you can use the MIDI in/out port and cables!
You either need to use a power adapter or a 15-pin male connector to connect to either the USB port (MIDI to USB) or the 15-pin sound port.
This route is also pretty simple and fast!
As soon as you’re finished plugging the MIDI cable “in” into the MIDI cable “out” port, you’re set up and good to go!
The Guide to Connecting a MIDI Keyboard or MIDI Interface to a Mobile Device
Okay, now you know how to hook everything up to your PC.
But what if you don’t want to use your Mac or Windows? What if you want to use your iPhone or Android device instead?
We’re here to tell you that MIDI ports, digital pianos, and mobile devices do GO TOGETHER!
For mobile devices, it can be a little trickier to handle your MIDI controller. However, it’s not impossible!
First, you have to take a look at what kind of port connection your phone has.
- For most Android devices, a USB-C port is the most common USB type you have to consider for your connection. However, you might also encounter other, older ports, like a micro-USB port and cable here and there. Mini-USB ports may also be possible for the connection.
- For iPhone users, you only need the Lightning ports. An easy connection will be established straight away with that USB interface.
Your MIDI keyboard and interface will have their own types of connection. This is where you need to buy an adapter in order to connect directly from MIDI to USB.
After you plug in the adapter, you can then connect the MIDI keyboard and MIDI interface to your mobile phone!
Why Isn’t My USB Keyboard Connecting to My Laptop?
The short answer: the computer is probably not recognizing the device in the first place. However, there may be other problems at play.
Let’s troubleshoot by doing the following:
Method One: Troubleshoot Your Hardware
Yes, and we mean troubleshooting it on your device. Look for the troubleshooting tab first!
The troubleshooting tab on your Windows can be found on the Hardware and Device option.
As soon as you troubleshoot, you can find possible solutions to get your USB MIDI keyboard or digital piano to work with your computer.
Method Two: Reset Your USB Cables
This can jumpstart your hardware to recognize your keyboard.
Uninstall your USB controller/s before restarting the Mac or PC. After you restart, you can reinstall one cable at a time.
If You’re Using Mac OS
Start from zero. If you’re on a Mac, uninstall all drivers and reset all permissions and devices.
As soon as you’re done, you can repair and reinstall the latest drivers you have for Mac OS.
That should let your USB keyboard connect to your Mac laptop again.
If it’s still not working, try out different USB ports or use a USB hub. Connect and disconnect before testing the device to see if it’s working.
Frequently Asked Questions with MIDI Keyboards
We try to offer a comprehensive list of solutions, but we understand if you still have some questions.
Let’s answer some frequent queries below.
How Do I Assign Sounds to MIDI Keyboard in GarageBand?
If you want to assign sounds from your MIDI keyboard to GarageBand on your computer, you need to use the AUSampler software.
This sound module works for two things:
- The GarageBand Musical Typing Feature
- An external device, like a MIDI keyboard attached to a computer
In order to assign a sample for individual keys for a MIDI keyboard, all you have to do is open up the Sampler on GarageBand.
There, you can find the AUSampler.
- Click “Add Sample.” Open it and use the Subtract button to delete the “Sine 110 Built-In.”
- Choose which key range from your keyboard you want to assign to the sample.
- You can also choose to assign samples to all keyboards. You can hook up the MIDI keyboard to GarageBand and start from there.
- Bring up Smart Controls and Plugin Slot. Next, choose either the Stereo or Mono option from the AUSampler.
- Add a sample by opening up the audio software and plugging it into GarageBand.
- Like before, you also use the Subtract button to delete the Sine 110 Built-In option.
- Choose the key range and key from your digital piano and establish MIDI notes by repeating the process for the rest of the piano keyboard keys.
Congratulations! You have successfully completed the samples for your digital piano on GarageBand.
Do I Need to Install Drivers?
Yes, you do need to install drivers as they are required for the MIDI keyboard to work efficiently.
Essentially, installed MIDI drivers can help you in utilizing multiple keyboards or instruments at once while working with the interface.
Make sure to install the MIDI drivers before you start working for the best results.
Why Should You Connect A MIDI Keyboard to Your Computer?
Connecting with a computer MIDI keyboard is a must for those who want to use more software (like Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and FL Studio).
You can use other features that wouldn’t have been possible with one device or one instrument.
Can You Use Bluetooth Connectivity to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to a PC?
Yes, you can! After all, a wired connection doesn’t fit with these days’ easier, more modern times.
- First, make sure your equipment can handle a wireless connection first. You can look at your MIDI keyboard. Turn on Bluetooth connectivity from there.
- Now, go to your PC and turn on Bluetooth as well.
- For the Mac, it may be in your System Preferences. If your device is Windows, it may be in your Devices.
- Search up “Audio MIDI set-up” into either your Finder on Mac or search bar on Windows.
- The MIDI studio will be called up, and you can configure your settings from there!
Maybe you’ve struck out, however, and your keyboard isn’t Bluetooth-compatible.
If you plug in a MIDI Bluetooth adapter, it will establish a Bluetooth MIDI connection!
Here’s how you can establish that MIDI connection, too:
- Use a Bluetooth adapter. Plug it into a power adapter.
- On the other end of the Bluetooth adapter, use a USB-type cable and connect it to your MIDI keyboard’s USB port.
- Turn on your PC’s Bluetooth.
- Finish set-up!
A Guide to the MIDI Keyboard
Okay, you may have been reading all of this – but do you even know what a MIDI keyboard is?
To jog your memory and give you a refresher if you are a newbie to the concept of digital pianos and the MIDI keyboard, let’s dive into the guide below:
What Does MIDI Mean?
MIDI is short for “musical instrument digital interface.”
Simply put, a MIDI makes it easier for electronic musical instruments to establish a connection with computers and other hardware.
MIDI controllers are one of the most POWERFUL tools you can have if you want to make your own songs.
If a musical instrument isn’t compatible, it probably is with MIDI.
You have to remember MIDI doesn’t really transmit audio signals.
Instead, when you connect a MIDI keyboard, it has information that will only translate to audio when you have an onboard sound sampler.
What is a MIDI Keyboard?
A MIDI keyboard is basically a MIDI controller in the form of a digital piano.
You can send over MIDI input and MIDI data to computers, other musical devices, and any MIDI-compatible instruments.
You can connect a MIDI keyboard to your PC using a USB port and USB cable or the 5-pin MIDI connector.
You can also connect it to a computer with DAW, a sound module, or a digital piano.
The Benefits of a MIDI Keyboard
Here are some benefits of a MIDI keyboard and MIDI connection that you may not have thought about!
These are benefits for your computer, software, and sound system:
- Come back to your work any time – The MIDI keyboard is entirely saveable, so you can experiment with your sound for a long, long while and come back to your PC later. Plug back in and play!
- Ease of modification – Do you need to manipulate or sample more sound than you thought? Your answer lies in one direction: the MIDI keyboard. Assign samples and easily change and create sounds with your software!
- More choices – With experimentation and sound freedom comes inevitable variety.
When you are connecting a MIDI keyboard, you get access to synthesizers, electronic instruments, and digital samples.
As a result, to connect to a MIDI keyboard is to connect to a world of sound. Play around with it!
Let’s Wrap It Up
Let’s summarize our main points before we end our article and let you go to tinker with your MIDI keyboard.
There are three ways you can connect your PC to your MIDI keyboard:
- USB ports
- Audio interfaces
- MIDI in/out ports
In addition, you could also use Bluetooth connectivity!
Aside from the PC, you can use USB output, MIDI ports, and the USB host to connect your MIDI keyboard to a mobile device.
- If things aren’t working, uninstall and reinstall drivers – especially if you’re on Mac!
- Yes, drivers are a must. Install them to get proper functioning for your MIDI data.
- You can assign samples from your MIDI data to GarageBand.
Connecting a MIDI keyboard to your PC via MIDI ports, USB-type ports, or Bluetooth is quite helpful – especially if you want to play around with more sound and software.
You’ve made it to the end!
That’s a wrap for our MIDI connection problems. We hope we guided you well on how to connect MIDI ports to computer outputs.
Whether this jogged your memory on what to do with your digital piano or acted as a refresher for your first MIDI keyboard, we hope you found this article helpful!
We’ll see you in our next guide!