How to connect a musical/midi piano keyboard to the computer so that you can work with various music software, including recording software such as Cubase, Reason, FL Studio. You can also easily download or transfer midi song files between your PC/Mac and your music keyboard.
Table of Contents
- Why Connect a Piano Keyboard to a Computer/Laptop?
- Various Methods to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to a Computer
- MIDI to USB Interfaces
- Midi to Midi (via MIDI Cable)
- USB to USB (via Standard USB Cable)
- Buying Various Cables & Interfaces
- Music Downloading Software
- Do you need an amplifier to hear the sound?
- Videos that Demonstrate How to Connect and Check the MIDI Connection
- Sites for Downloading MIDI Songs
Why Connect a Piano Keyboard to a Computer/Laptop?
Because you can get much more out of your keyboard.
- Work with various recording software
- Work with music instructional software
- Learn to play songs using midi files: On the other hand, if you are keen to learn to play one of your favorite songs, just download the midi file for that song from the internet and then onto your Yamaha electronic keyboard. And you are ready to use that song.
- Work with music notation software
- Take backups of your music: Have you been recording your own songs on your Yamaha keyboard? It would be a good idea to store them on the computer if you have several of them.
It’s convenient from a storage perspective and it’s to distribute it if need be.
- Download additional sounds and styles
Various Methods to Connect a MIDI Keyboard to a Computer
Before you can try out either of the above listed options, you should first connect your MIDI keyboard (be it Yamaha, Casio, Roland or any other brand) to the computer.
Keyboards have evolved over the years (several new types of ports have sprung up), and based on that the method of connection varies. The USB to USB is the easiest and the most common (found in most recent keyboards)
Lets take a look at the various ways to connect a digital music keyboard to a computer (or a laptop).
MIDI to USB Interfaces
This is the easiest way to connect to a computer (especially laptop), assuming the computer has a USB port.
These USB interfaces are usually Plug-and-Play, so no further software configurations are required (certain software may require you to download drivers, readily available from the manufacturers website).
Checkout more midi keyboard controllers here…
USB-to-Midi cables (or midi interface) are available to make the connection between computers and midi keyboards. By using an optional accessory like a midi cable to make the midi connection, you can make your music keyboard communicate with your PC.
Midi to Midi (via MIDI Cable)
Most older keyboards and Digital Pianos (and the pro ones) have MIDI in and out ports. If your keyboard has midi ports (but no USB), buy a soundcard (audio interface). There are some soundcards that come equipped with MIDI ports. You will need to buy a MIDI Cable separately.
While making the connection, make sure the cables are connected from IN to OUT, and from OUT to IN.
USB to USB (via Standard USB Cable)
Most latest keyboard models come with a USB MIDI port, in which case all you need is a standard USB cable (connect’s directly from the keyboard’s USB to the USB port of your PC or laptop.
Buying Various Cables & Interfaces
Most users also buy a Midi to USB cable (or the appropriate cable) when they buy a new digital piano or keyboard, so that they can work with their laptop / computer.
In general, MIDI and audio interfaces from reputed brands offer more features and better speeds (low latency). Brands like Roland, Alesis and M-Audio have great products with excellent documentation and support features.
Music Downloading Software
Now you know that you can take your user songs stored in the flash memory of your Yamaha and pack them on to your computer. You can download/transfer your favorite songs from your computer to your Yamaha midi keyboard.
But to be able to transfer the songs from your computer to the keyboard’s FLASH ROM, you will need to use Music software that will let you do such tasks.
“Yamaha Musicsoft Downloader” software is one such application, which usually comes bundled along when you buy your keyboard instrument.
Do you need an amplifier to hear the sound?
It depends on what sort of setup you are looking at.
Once the digital piano keyboard is connected to the computer properly, and the DAW software recognizes it, ideally you should be able to hear the sound from the computer. If you are doing just to see how the connection works, you could use the computer speakers or even use some good headphones. But if you want to do some serious music work, you need to get good pair of speakers (monitors).
USB MIDI Cables & Interfaces
Videos that Demonstrate How to Connect and Check the MIDI Connection
Most first-timers face this problem where the software doesn’t recognize the digital keyboard and whatever they play on the piano is not heard / recorded in the recording software.
Before you can start using the various music software, you will need to be sure that your keyboard is connected properly to the computer.
If for any reason the connection check gives an error, ensure that the MIDI-In of the interface cable is connected to the MIDI-Out of the Yamaha keyboard and the MIDI-Out of the interface cable is connected to the MIDI-In of your Yamaha keyboard.
Another method is to use the “Connection Check” feature within the software which tests whether the connection is working properly.
Here are some videos to help you out.
Once you launch the application, you will find the “File transfer utility” within this software that will let you do the transfer.
Under the “Electronic Musical Instruments” section, you will find the Flash Memory and the System Drive locations of your Yamaha keyboard.
The System Drive shows the User Song locations (Song locations 103 to 107), whereas the Flash memory shows you everything that is stored on the Flash memory (Song locations 108 onwards) of your Yamaha keyboard. It also shows information like how much free space is available on your Flash memory.
Sites for Downloading MIDI Songs
You can download songs from various sites. One such popular place is the www.music.yamaha.com site from where you can download your favorite songs and store it on your computer.
Once you launch the Yamaha Musicsoft Downloader application, you can access the memory locations of both your computer as well as your Yamaha Digital keyboard.
You can use the “Add File” button in the software to initiate the File transfer.
The Keyboards display will show the word “Com Mode” which means file transfer is in progress between the computer and the Yamaha music keyboard.
If you transferred the song from the computer to your Yamaha electronic keyboard, you can select the newly added song and play it as you would play any other song on your Yamaha midi keyboard.
How to Connect Digital Piano Keyboard to Laptop Computer…
I am having issues connecting my Gem RP800 Digital Piano to Laptop Computer using MIDI USB. I have a Gem RP800 Digital Piano and I want to connect it to my laptop so that I can do some recording stuff on my laptop using CakeWalk software. I bought a MIDI/USB cable for the same, but the problem is that the connection does not seem to work. Is it that the midi connection does not work on a laptop? I don’t have a spare PC to try out the connection. Besides, my Gem RP800 digital piano is too heavy to move around, so can’t take it to my friends place either. Any suggestions why my Gem RP800 Digital Piano is unable to talk to my laptop? – by Jeremy (Melbourne, Australia)
For the first time i tried to connect my Casio piano to my toshiba laptop through USB cable. The laptop recognized it, installed the driver, but wont let me use my paino as a recording device. It lists my piano as a unspecified device. My piano wont even show up on my audio recording program such as Audacity. HELP? 😀
Easy to understand Video showing MIDI connection using a USB MIDI Interface, a computer and a music keyboard – Tosy
Beginners will find this video extremely useful; it cannot be explained any simpler than this. Here the video shows how a midi-enabled music keyboard is connected to a computer using a USB MIDI interface. I really like the simplicity of this video! – Mark (Melbourne, Australia)
Here is a nice video that shows how to connect your MIDI Keyboard to your computer using a M-Audio Uno connector. It looks fairly easy to use, though I don’t use this particular software. I use FL Studio to do all my sequencing work, and my MIDI Keyboard connection to my computer works perfectly fine. – BlueRidge (Hungary)
Here is an easy to understand “How to Connect midi controller to computer” video. Though it uses an m-audio midi controller keyboard, you can still use it to connect any other midi-keyboard, even if it is an arranger like Casio or Yamaha. Enjoy the video! – Sejal (Chicago, US)
Here is another video showing how to make a midi connection. It is for a Yamaha keyboard (looks like a Tyros) and a Windows Vista computer. Surprisingly, he did not test it in the end. He could have played a few notes on the Yamaha tyros and checked it on the computer. – Dan (Dublin)
I have a Suzuki GP-7 Baby Grand Digital Piano, and want to save my original recordings. However, the piano only came with an old style floppy disk drive, that isn’t compatible with anything anymore. What’s the easiest way to save my recordings (hopefully to my laptop)? and what software, hardware, or level of sophistication do I need? Thank you in advance for your advice on my Suzuki GP-7 Baby Grand Digital Piano! – Heather (US)
Regarding Roland BK-7m…Anyone out there owning Roland BK7-m? I’m having a hard time figuring out how to WRITE (SAVE) a key of a song – all the other parameters (tempo, style, instrumentation etc.) save OK – but when I write (save) it, next time I recall the setup, a different key of the saved shows up (the last key of whatever I played right before loading the saved song). Anyone? – Pat
Midi instrument connection…I have the following midi instruments which I would like to work them together : midi accordion, a Yamaha midi keyboard, an Orla midi workstation and an amplifier. The Orla lets me change the midivoices in addition to the midi accordion voices a,d add a rhythm section to the midi accordion. If i can have these instruments talk together it would give me a great joy. If it is better my e-mail is email@example.com, perhaps an e-mail or a wiring diagram would be a great help. – Steve P.
My Casio CTK 3000 music keyboard won’t work with PC
by: Fabio (Alassio / Italy)
Hi to everyone, My Casio CTK 3000 music keyboard won’t work with PC! I’ve just bought a new Casio CTK 3000 Keyboard, the Keyboard. is smooth enough for me and sounds fine but…there is NO WAY to make this Keyboard working with my 3 PC’s (two with WinXP and one with Win 7); I followed step-by-step the user’s manual but even if the Keyboard is “recognized” by Win there is NO software that let me see arriving notes from my Keyboard. : What is wrong? I’ve checked almost any free/trial software in the web and also tried with Cubase 5.1 but with no-success at all. Is my Casio CTK 3000 Keyboard broken or else? Let me know…thank you! Fabio
MIDI Connection by: Ian
I don’t think the Casio would be broken, it is probably the drivers that may not be up-to date. You can check on the Casio site if they have any updates regarding the drivers for Cubase.
Connect Technics KN6000 to REASON 5
Hi i have a technics kn6000 and have a midi in/out cable. i am trying to connect up to my reason 5 software however it will not recognize the instrument. it keeps coming up as failed to add control surface and going round in circles. by: wes (midlands)
can you help
Connect Digital Piano to Cubase
I know that Cubase may not recognize the midi device in case you power them up after you have started Cubase. I have experienced this, and need to restart Cubase to make it working. So basically, if you forget to switch-on the digital piano before launching Cubase, and then decide mid-way that you need to use the digital piano, then Cubase is not going to recognize the new device. You need to exit Cubase and restart it so that the digital piano can be found.