Can You Play A MIDI Keyboard Without A Computer?

I have seen many MIDI or Synthesizer devices used when connected to a computer. So can they work independently?

by Derrick Reeves | Updated: August 13, 2021

Playing a MIDI keyboard by itself is impossible, isn’t it? 

It is NOT! You can play your MIDI keyboard without a computer. It's possible to connect the sound of your keyboard with a sound generator. And you won't need any special skills for this task. We'll show you how easy it is to do that in this article. 

This article will teach you everything about playing a midi keyboard without a computer. It is easy and fun! 

Playing With The Help Of An External Synth Or Sound Module 

The MIDI keyboard is a type of digital musical instrument and it's been around for decades. Many artists love to play with a computer, but it's not mandatory.  

When you're not using a computer, the best way to make your MIDI keyboard or controller sound by itself is by connecting it to a sound module (external synthesizer).  

This is a small device that plugs into your keyboard, and then plug your headphone or speaker to the module's audio output so you can hear while playing.  

With this setup, you'll be able to perform live sets or don't want to have a computer constantly hooked up and running. 

Some MIDI keyboards have a built-in sound engine. You could just plug it in and play on your keyboard as if you were playing an acoustic piano or other instrument, without any computer at all! Most modern MIDI controllers also include this feature. 

Playing With The Help Of An External Synth Or Sound Module 

What Is A Sound Module (External Synthesizer)?  

A sound module is an external synthesizer that can be used with a MIDI keyboard to make it easier for people who don’t have a computer. It can work as both an audio instrument and/or MIDI device. 

It has an analog or digital output as well as the ability to control other sound modules through CV/Gate signals. A pitch-bend wheel and modulation lever are available for use. 

Sound modules can be used by musicians, composers, or any musician who wants to have a MIDI controller at their fingertips as well as the ability of an audio instrument in order to make music.  

There are many different synthesizers on the market. They come with pre-programmed sounds that range from drums, piano, strings, brass, woodwinds, and more that can be used to make music or practice. 

Sound modules differ from general-purpose synthesizers in that they are designed to be used with other instruments, such as a MIDI sequencer.  

The sound module generally includes connections for external control devices like foot pedals or expression controllers and outputs for sending audio signals to an amplifier, PA system or recording equipment. 

Some common uses of Sound Modules include: 

  • Adding sounds to live performances (e.g. drum loops, background chords).  
  • Creating music with electronic drums or percussion sound modules. 
  • Playing a MIDI keyboard without a computer. 

Why Should People Connect It to the Computer? 

Why Should People Connect It to the Computer 

There are many reasons why people would want to connect their MIDI keyboard or controller. The computer can help with editing, recording and playing the sound module. Software instruments (VSTs) can be used as well for a much more expansive range of sounds than what is available on an analog synthesizer alone.  

You also don’t have to worry about latency. 

It’s also worth mentioning that a sound module can be used as an effects processor with the computer.  

Because of this, people who want to use MIDI keyboards or controllers in their live performances should consider getting one because it will make playing music easier and more comfortable for you.  

The process is straightforward and can be done in a matter of minutes. Here is a quick guide: 

  • Connect MIDI output to a computer’s USB port.  
  • Install necessary drivers on the computer.  
  • Download and install a virtual piano player or virtual piano player or DAW software. 
  • Launch the software and choose the MIDI input.  
  • Play a sound on your keyboard and you will see it light up in software. You are ready to go! 

Conclusion 

The MIDI keyboard is a versatile tool that can be used in many different ways. It’s great for playing live music, composing original tracks or even just having fun with friends and family. 

It can produce sound by itself when you don’t have a computer connected. All you need is to connect it with a sound module. 

Now that we've learned what this means and how to do it, feel free to try out your new skills.  

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