How to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to Your PC: 3 Ways You Can Do It

How to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to Your PC: 3 Ways You Can Do It

If you’re setting up a small recording studio in your personal space, you’ll have to walk to connect the required music devices. the most important tool you’ll ever need for mixing and editing sounds is a midi keyboard. Unfortunately, only a few beginners know how to connect their midi keyboard to their PC and other smaller devices like their smartphones and iPads.

this connection is not difficult to establish as long as you know the type of connection port it comes with, as well as the best connectivity options for it. In this guide, we will walk you through the details of how to connect midi keyboard to pc, whether you are using a mac or windows system.

Reading: How to connect midi to pc

connectivity options

To connect a midi keyboard to an audio interface or a computer, you need to figure out a few things. The first is to determine the type of output connector the keyboard has before narrowing down your choice.

In the past, the traditional midi keyboard came with two different types of output, but modern designs, like the travel midi keyboard, come with an additional third output for your onboard sound. Our focus here will be on the most popular type of connectivity options that a midi keyboard is likely to possess. and include

  • usb ports
  • bluetooth connectivity for wireless connection
  • midi in/out port

keyboard midi input/output

How to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to Your PC: Different Options ExplainedThe MIDI input connection port refers to a cable port with 5 pin connectors located at the back of the keyboard. These types of ports were used with hi-fi cables in the 1970s but were adopted for MIDI devices when they surfaced in the 1980s. However, manufacturers began making custom MIDI cables as their popularity grew

Although these types of connectors have become the standard for midi connectivity, they still have some flaws that gave rise to usb ports on midi keyboards. one of them is that the data flow in this type of cable is always in one direction. that means it flows from an “in” midi jack to an “out” midi jack.

This ensures that you always have to find a way to establish a connection between both ports for the free flow of sounds to occur.

keyboard usb ports

It’s easy to find out if your midi keyboard comes with a usb output or not. if you do, the port will be placed on the back of your keyboard. this type of outlet is likely to be a usb type a port. this means it will be flat and rectangular.

With this usb output, you should be able to connect your midi keyboard to your pc or mac laptop using a usb type a or b printer cable. that’s not all, the presence of the port should also allow you to connect your midi keyboard to other smaller devices, such as an ipad, as long as it has a lighting connector

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the ports of your device

well, the number of midi input ports you’ll find on the back of your midi keyboard controller depends on the layout of the keyboard. traditional midi keyboards have three ports including: a passthrough port plus midi in and midi out ports.

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on the other hand, modern midi keyboards have additional usb ports that support usb connectivity and easy connection with external devices like ipad and pc

connect a midi keyboard via usb

How to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to Your PC: Different Options ExplainedConnecting your MIDI keyboard to an external portable device such as a computer or an iPad is possible if you have the right tools at hand. To be able to establish this connectivity over a USB connector, you need to ensure that your keyboard has a USB interface else this won’t work. Your USB port will be pinned to the back of your keyboard and is often flat like those found in your laptop.

one of the best usb-midi cables is the mio iconnectivity cable. This usb-midi cable also has a din-midi interface and is ideal for both mac and pc.

Now that you know what this port looks like, let’s show you the equipment you’ll need to connect a midi to a computer.

what you will need

As stated above, you’ll need a few items to set this up. and this includes

  • a usb connector that matches your usb port
  • a computer
  • midi keyboard

how to connect

follow these steps to connect your midi keyboard to an external device like your computer

  • get a usb connector that fits the usb host of your midi keyboard. if your keyboard has a type-a host, get a type-a cable and so on.
  • turn on your computer and the keyboard at the same time
  • then plug the type-a end into your keyboard, while the type b end will plug into your computer’s usb port. this is possible because both ends of the usb cable cannot be the same
  • launch the pre-installed keyboard software and you will be taken to a configuration page where you will select the keyboard model in use, and redone with the connection aspect .

you should know that not having a usb port does not mean that a connection cannot be established. There is always a way out as long as your keyboard comes with a midi input/output or even a bluetooth connection. more on these steps later.

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connect a midi keyboard with midi cables

How to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to Your PC: Different Options ExplainedTo establish a connection using MIDI cables, you need to be aware of how it works. With this type of connection, data flows in one direction and you can only connect one instrument at a time. This is different from Bluetooth connectivity where multiple keyboards can be connected via wireless networks.

Regardless, midi keyboard pros are particular about one cable model when recommending it to prospective buyers and that is the roland rmidi-b3. it is a cable with commercial quality connectors and can be used for mac or pc.

what you will need

here is the equipment you will need to connect your midi keyboard to a computer using the midi in/out port.

  • the midi to usb cable
  • your midi keyboard on
  • a usb adapter cable
  • a fully charged computer

how to connect

  • connect the midi “in” end of the cable to the midi out port on the keyboard and plug the midi “out” end to the midi “in” port on the keyboard. the connection must be done in reverse order to be successful.
  • plug the third end of your midi cable into your usb adapter
  • then plug the usb end of your adapter into the usb port which is on your computer
  • once a connection is established, you will be able to launch the midi keyboard setup on your computer to get everything working.

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The connection of the midi cables must be done in reverse order due to the flow of data between the computer and the keyboard. the computer first sends audio sound through the midi output cable. the keyboard receives the sound through its “input” port and modifies its sound before sending it back to the computer using the “output” cable.

Please note that it is important to get a good midi to usb cable for this purpose. check reviews before spending money on any cable.

however, if you can’t find this, you can also make these connections using an external audio interface. you’ll just need two cables for this, since the audio cable will have its own external port.

This type of connection is necessary when a USB port is missing from your traditional keyboard. Instead of getting a new keyboard with bluetooth or usb connectivity, you can employ this strategy to make sure your keyboard doesn’t become obsolete.

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connect a midi keyboard via bluetooth

For years, the standard way to connect a computer to a midi keyboard is through wired devices. however, midi keyboards that support bluetooth connectivity allow audio to stream over a wireless channel. To do this, you need to make sure your device supports bluetooth transfer.

what you will need

  • a midi keyboard compatible with bluetooth connectivity
  • computer with bluetooth capabilities
  • bluetooth midi adapter

how to connect

How to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to Your PC: Different Options ExplainedIf your keyboard has Bluetooth compatibility, follow these steps

  • turn on your bluetooth midi keyboard following its instruction manual
  • on your mac computer, go to “system preferences” and turn on your “bluetooth”. for windows, navigate to “devices” and turn on bluetooth
  • type “audio midi settings” in the focus of your mac and press enter. if you are on windows type the word in your search bar
  • this will open the midi studio and you can make the correct settings from there

however, if your keyboard doesn’t support bluetooth but your pc does, you can establish a wireless connection if you have a bluetooth midi adapter. follow these steps to do it

  • connect the bluetooth adapter to a power adapter and plug it into a wall outlet to turn it on.
  • at the other end of the bluetooth adapter, connect a usb cable and plug it into your usb port on midi keyboard.
  • locate your computer’s bluetooth and turn it on
  • once a connection is established, proceed to configure the settings in the midi keyboard settings menu.

a couple of words about daws

daws stands for digital audio workstations. and daws refer to software and apps that can manipulate, edit, and mix musical sounds. With daws, you can record, edit, repeat, and also add audio effects to create melodious music.

Regardless of whether you’re using Windows or MAC PC, one of these DAWs will work for you – Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Logic Pro.How to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to Your PC: Different Options Explained

final thoughts

While learning how to connect a midi keyboard to a computer, you need to be aware of the various ports this device comes with in order to connect it with the correct cable. in the case of the midi in/out port, you should be able to match the cable to the correct port by following the “in and out” label directly above the port.

Also, please make sure your pc system requirements are compatible with the keyboard, so you may have some problems when mixing sounds. In general, connecting midi keyboards to pc is not difficult and we hope you can do it from now on.

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