What Is a MIDI Keyboard? Things You Need to Know about This Powerful Tool

You’re interested in a MIDI keyboard but you don’t know much about it. Don’t worry, we’ll give basic information to you in this guide. Let’s check out!

by Hazel James | Updated: June 30, 2021

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Nowadays, the demand for the MIDI keyboard is so popular among musicians as well as music producers. However, many people don't know what a midi keyboard is.

Today, we will help you learn some ultimate things about this tool.

Let’s get started!

First, you should know what MIDI means. MIDI is the abbreviation of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It first appeared in the early 80s and adopted by every major manufacturer until now.

MIDI is an industry-standard protocol for swapping information between electronic musical instruments and suitably equipped computers.

What Is a MIDI Keyboard?

Briefly, a MIDI keyboard or MIDI controller is a device that allows the connection of electronic devices, specifically laptops, with specialized software so that users can adjust the sound to follow their requirements.

More detailed, this audio device is a device with synth-style or piano keys, including knobs, buttons, wheels, and sliders that help users control when they use. All audio data from midi will be transmitted externally by peripheral devices and supportive software.

The MIDI keyboard controller may look like an organ at first, but it is a device that adjusts sound, not produce sound.

Commonly, MIDI controllers have 25, 49, 61, or 88 keys with lengths ranging from 20' to 50'. In addition, we can see other types such as 32, 37, 73, and 76 keys.

How to Connect a Midi Keyboard

To use your Midi keyboard, you need to have a computer or laptop to connect.

Most digital pianos and keyboards have a standard five-pin connection. A MIDI controller keyboard can be connected to your computer in the following ways.

MIDI Connects to USB

MIDI Connects to USB​

If a USB port available on your computer, you can use it to connect to your MIDI keyboard.

Especially, this is the fastest and simplest to make your MIDI keyboard work if you use a laptop.

You don’t need to download software to use it because most USB interfaces are simple, you just plug and play.

I advise you to go with a believable name brand as they already have drivers so you can download them on the internet.

Drivers are often necessary for usage with DAWs. If you use Pro Tools to work with MIDI, you need to have drivers too.

MIDI Connects to MIDI

Some interfaces have five-pin MIDI in. What do you need in this case?

All you need is a five-pin MIDI cable to connect with another five-pin MIDI. You can buy this cable at any music store and it’s usually three meters in length.

Remember this!

Make sure that you connect MIDI IN to MIDI OUT when you use this way.

The data flows in and out, MIDI has the same work as audio, so you must connect it in the right manner to permit that flow to happen.

MIDI Connects to MIDI​


Do you know this, most new MIDI keyboards, as well as new digital pianos, are USB controllers.

Use a USB to connect a keyboard is a straightforward way to set up. The thing you need is a standard USB cable.

I highly recommend you to investigate this way first because it’s cheap, easy and reliable.

Depend on the keyboard, you may have to set up a driver or change the MIDI settings if the keyboard has both USB and five-pin connections.

Final Words

Well, a MIDI keyboard, for many home studio owners, is not strange. It seems to be an integral part of the studio setup.

I hope that the beginners’ basic guide today will help you who want to find out more about MIDI controllers.

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Thank you for reading!