:::Virtual Studio Technology instruments and plug-ins are great tools to assist in your recording projects. VST plugins can create interesting effects and processes, as wel as mimic the sound of old analog synthesizers. Most VST instruments allow some form of control through Musical Instrument Digital Interface, by way of audio workstation software. Using a controller such as a USB MIDI keyboard, you can control parameters on your VST instrument. ::::::   MIDI Controllers come in many different shapes and sizes and colours. They have a large and varied range of uses in sound and a/v [audio/visual]. They are found everywhere - on stages, inside studios, on the go, at homes, clubs, bars, with live shows' crews, everywhere. ::::    MIDI Musical Instrument Digital Interface. :::::::  MIDI Hardware (Interfaces, Keyboards and Controllers) :::::      


Connecting a MIDI Keyboard Controller to a Computer

A MIDI keyboard connects to a computer for recording music.

How to Install a MIDI Keyboard

A musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) keyboard uses digital technology to send audio signals to another device for processing the sound, playback and recording. Resembling an electric piano, the MIDI keyboard can connect to a PC for altering the sound of the instrument, blending it with other audio sources and recording a final mix on the hard drive. Many computers are equipped with a MIDI port for a direct connection, or you can use a USB port on the PC with an adapter cable to connect it.

Connecting a MIDI keyboard to a PC will enable you to use a range of software and interactive features with the device. Connection is the first step before using the keyboard. It can be accomplished in a variety of ways depending on your available ports, software and type of keyboard.




Open the computer's CD-ROM drive tray to load the software CD that comes with the MIDI keyboard. Close the tray and wait a moment for the disc to start automatically.


Click the buttons as instructed on the computer monitor to install the MIDI software, and then restart the computer.


Locate the MIDI port on your keyboard. Most keyboards will have a MIDI in and MIDI out port located near the back for connection to the PC. The ports are circular and usually labeled clearly. If the keyboard does not have a MIDI port, it may have a USB port. Locate one of these ports for connection.



Determine the type of port you'll be using to connect the keyboard to the PC. Connecting directly to the soundcard on your computer requires a 15-pin gameport found on the back of your PC. Connect to your PC through a USB port if you have a MIDI to USB connector or a USB port on your keyboard. Some computers come with a pre-installed MIDI port.


To connect the keyboard to the soundcard, connect the 15-pin male connector to the 15-pin port on the back of your PC. Connect the 5-pin "MIDI OUT" connector to the "MIDI IN" port on your keyboard. Connect the 5-pin "MIDI IN" connector to the "MIDI OUT" port on your keyboard.


To connect the keyboard using a USB connection or MIDI to MIDI connection, connect one end of the USB or MIDI cord to the appropriate port on your PC. Connect the other end to the corresponding port on your keyboard.



Configure your keyboard depending on your particular software. If connecting through a USB port, you will generally not need to configure as your system will automatically detect the new device. If your PC doesn't detect the keyboard or nothing happens when the connector is appropriately attached, you will need to configure. Use the software that comes with your keyboard to install or download drivers from the manufacturer website and follow the installation instructions.

Open your audio workstation software. Make sure that your MIDI keyboard is configured to properly interface with the software. This can be done within your software's Options, Preferences or Devices menu. For example, in Cubase, your keyboard should be listed in the Device setup menu. Select it as the desired MIDI input device.


Open or begin a project that utilizes the desired VST instrument.


Open the VST instrument's window by selecting the instrument in your workstation. Often, the window can be enlarged by double-clicking on it where it appears in a specific audio track.


Open the VST instrument's drop-down menu. Each VST instrument is slightly different, but there should be an option that references "Control" or "Controlling" (sometimes this option is straightforwardly labeled "MIDI"). Select this option, and assign the desired MIDI channels and controls to the desired parameters. Typically, MIDI devices are prepared to send and receive messages on 16 channels, each of which has a number of controls corresponding to the keys and knobs on the device. Your VST instrument parameters will often correspond to these keys automatically, though you can change them within this menu. You should then be able to control your VST instrument using your USB keyboard.

Note: You can purchase a MIDI to USB connector cable if your keyboard does not have a USB port and your computer does not have a MIDI port. These connectors can be expensive but make for easy connection with little hassle. The other alternative is to have a MIDI port installed in your computer.


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