Electric Keyboard / Digital Piano – Input, Output, Jacks, Connectors Explained

Electric Keyboard Connection – Find out the uses of all the input and output jacks, connectors that are available in electric keyboards and pianos nowadays. Learn about the various connections available on your digital keyboard, including those for power adapter, headphones, foot pedal and Midi.

Digital Piano & Keyboards: Ins / Output / Jacks / Connectors

Ordered or planning to order a digital keyboard? You will definitely want to check this page out as it tells you what are the various connections available on your board,

Keyboards and Digital Pianos have a number of inputs and outputs which you can use for various reasons.

Electric Keyboard Connection They also have options for expansion and to write to external storage devices like Floppy disks, CDs, and smart cards.

You can send the output of your keyboard to Headphones, Speakers, Amplifiers, and Mixers. You can connect Microphones and other electronic instruments to the Keyboard’s inputs.

You can also find connectors for external Pedals and MIDI.

Let us have a quick walk-through of these keyboard connections.

Power/DC-In Jack

The most important one is the connection to the power adapter. Without it, your keyboard won’t start (there are some models that work on batteries). This is where you will connect the power adapter – an important keyboard accessory needed to power up Yamaha keyboards. Read more here on power adapters and batteries for Yamaha keyboards.


Video showing the various jacks/connections available on
Yamaha Digital Keyboards

HeadPhones

This allows you to do two things. You can plug in your headphones or you can take the output to an external system like your stereo/external amplifiers. The most common use of this Jack for most students is to connect headphones so that you can practice without disturbing others.

You will use this output often as you will connect your headphones here. On most of the keyboards this output is named as Phones/Output as you can connect this output to an external stereo system as well but if your keyboard has a dedicated audio output besides the phones output, you should use that to connect to external amplifiers.


Electric Keyboard, Electric Keyboards

Line Out (Output)

You can use the audio Output connector to connect your keyboard to an external amplifier. This output is also known as Line out/Audio Out or just Output on some instruments. This Output usually has two connectors, one for the left and one for the right channel.

Audio In

You can connect a CD player or an external sound module to your keyboard/Digital Piano using this input. This input is also known as “Line in” on some instruments.

Sustain Pedal Jack

: This jack allows you to connect an optional sustain pedal (like the Yamaha FC4 or the FC5 pedals).

If you are a beginner, you may want to ask “What does it Do”?

Well, the purpose of connecting an external sustain pedal is so that you can emulate the right pedal/damper pedal of a real acoustic piano.

This is a great accessory to have if you are keen to take piano lessons and hope to graduate to a real piano sometime in the future.

On some keyboards, this is also known as the ‘Assignable Jack’. You can use this jack to connect a Pedal. A pedal can be used for a lot of reasons depending on your keyboards capability but the most commonly used pedal is the sustain pedal. On some keyboards this will be labelled as Damper or sustain.

Microphone

Lot of keyboards now feature a dedicated microphone input in addition to the standard keyboard connections. The microphone input lets you add voice or any acoustic instrument to your music thus making your keyboard a mini recording studio. In some models, besides the normal effects like reverb, you can add special effects like the vocoder to your vocals.

MIDI

Use this to connect your Yamaha digital keyboard to a computer. The possibilities are endless once you are connected to computer as you can use a variety of music learning as well as music composition software.

You can connect your instrument to other digital devices and to the Computer using MIDI. MIDI has already been covered in another section, click here for more details.

Host/Computer

Some keyboards can be directly connected to the Computer using the connector called “to host” or “Computer”. You will need to install a software called the “driver” which comes along with the keyboard.

External Display Monitor

You can connect you keyboard to large external display monitors or TV. Useful for other people to see the lyrics/notations of the music being played.


Yamaha Digital Keyboards, Installation and Connections

Yamaha Keyboard Reviews

FAQ – Questions

What accessory jacks, ins & outs are commonly available on beginner electronic keyboards…I am planning to buy a used Yamaha PSR Keyboard. I know it has jacks to connect headphones for private practice. And it also has a slot to connect a foot pedal (sustain pedal). What I wanted to know is that if the PSR-350 has slots to connect to external keyboard amplifier or to a stereo system? I also presume that you can connect the Yamaha PSR 350 Keyboard to a computer through midi slots. Do I need to buy anything extra here to be able to make this connection between the PSR keyboard and the computer? – Ted

Answers:
Hi Ted, All Yamaha PSR keyboards can be connected to external speakers, amplifiers or music systems. Your Yamaha psr-350 will have ‘Headphones’, or ‘Phones/Output’ connector that can be used to make the connection to external music systems/speakers. Check the MIDI page on how to connect your Yamaha PSR 350 keyboard to a computer – Anonymous

The jacks/output you are talking about comes in almost all the music keyboards. Midi connectors are quite common. You have an output jack which can go either to your to headphones or to your home stereo system or to external amplifiers. Even sustain pedals jack are quite common but I’m not sure if it is available on each and every music keyboard – Mac

Beginner keyboards will commonly have the sustain, MIDI, headphones and OUT function (usually shares one slot). If its an old keyboard, you can bet the MIDI connection is going to be through the MIDI In/Out jacks and probably not through USB. On most recent keyboards, you’ll have a USB slot to connect to a computer and also to portable USB storage devices. Some keyboards also have mic input, and/or the ability to connect an mp3 player – Suresh

Summary

It’s important to know the capabilities of your keyboard and how it can work with external keyboard accessories if you have to make the most out of your instrument. This page is sort of a quick guide to help you understand the various jacks/slots and their uses. Power Adapter is something that you will use as soon as you get your piano keyboard and maybe the headphones as well in some time. The Foot pedal and MIDI is something that you may not need immediately unless you intend to learn using a piano learning software, in which case you will have to use the MIDI slot. Foot pedal is especially useful for students who are keen to learn piano songs on. I hope it was easy to understand the installation and the connections on Digital Keyboards.

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2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Brian Wilson December 28, 2016 at 5:04 am

    I want to buy an affordable electronic keyboard and like the LCD display feature and lighted keys. However, the display seems a little small for me to read. What is the most affordable model with the largest display? Or, what low end models allow me to plug in an external monitor to make it more readable?

  2. Reply
    peter January 9, 2018 at 1:44 am

    hi , does the jack socket for headphones on an old yamaha also double as a microphone outlet ?

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