There are now so many options as a modern musician in how we can play, practice, perform, transcribe, and compose music.
At times, it seems overwhelming with the choices available. It might also be daunting to figure out which cables to use, and what connections you may need.
In this article, I will be covering how to connect your keyboard or digital piano to a computer or a smart device, and reasons why it opens many new exciting opportunities as a musician.
Digital pianos now include USB, MIDI, and Bluetooth options available to you.
That is where I’d like to come in and help you with what would make sense to you and your needs as a modern-day musician.
I ask you to make yourself comfy, with a beverage of your choice, and read on through to how you can start opening new ways of making music!
Getting The Right Equipment
Connecting your digital piano to an external device is a relatively simple and straightforward process once you have all the necessary equipment.
Firstly, you will need a cable that plugs directly into your keyboard.
Depending on the model of your keyboard, this is either a MIDI to USB cable converter or USB type A to B cable.
Both cables make it possible to connect your keyboard to a computer, Android, or Apple device in order to transfer MIDI data.
Most modern keyboards feature a USB Type B port, while some older keyboards and pro-grade instruments use a MIDI connection (dedicated MIDI In/Out ports).
You may notice a USB Type A port in your keyboard, but this cannot be used for transferring MIDI data, you can only insert a flash drive to save recordings onto using your keyboard’s internal sounds.
Take a look at the table below to understand what cables and adapters you’ll need to connect your digital piano to a smart device:
Connecting to a Computer
Connecting to a computer is very simple as you’ll only need one cable in this case.
1) If your keyboard has a USB type B port (aka USB to Host), you’ll need a USB A to B cable such as this one.
Plug in the B-end into your keyboard, and the A-end into your computer’s USB port.
2) If your keyboard doesn’t have a USB Type B port, it will most probably use the traditional 5-pin MIDI In/Out ports.
All you’ll need in this case is a MIDI to USB interface. You can purchase one on Amazon or in your local electronics store for less than $50.
The iConnectivity mio has proven to be one of the most reliable MIDI to USB interfaces out there.
The USB A end will go to your computer’s USB port, while the MIDI In end of the cable will go to the MIDI Out port of your keyboard and MIDI Out end will go to the MIDI In port.
You might be wondering why we’re connecting an In end to the Out port and vice versa.
There are still many keyboards that only feature MIDI In/Out ports; typically with older models. A lot of modern ones will feature both MIDI and USB type B ports.
Connecting to an iOS or Android device
It becomes a little more complicated here, because mobile devices don’t have a full-size USB port, so you will need to purchase an extra adapter to be able to use USB A to B cable or MIDI to USB interface .
Alternatively, you can try to find a single cable that’s able to connect directly to your keyboard and into your mobile device, but this will not always be possible since some of these cables simply don’t exist (or very rare).
Feel free to comment below if you are not sure which cable to use for your device, and we can help you out!
To Connect to an iOS Device
The Lightning to USB Camera adapter is able to connect to your iOS device through a USB A to B cable (or MIDI to USB interface) in order to connect to your keyboard.
Connecting this way is a reliable solution, however a more bulky method as you need two cables.
If you just need a Lightning connection, you may also use the Lightning to USB type B connector.
The pros of using this approach is you only need one cable, less bulk to deal with, and you are saving more money.
However, this method is not as reliable as using two cables, plus those single cable solutions can be quite hard to find and they tend to break easily.
To Connect to an Android Device
With android devices, connecting your digital piano will follow the same process as connecting your iOS device. However, the big difference is that you will require a different type of cable as the Lightning Adapter is not compatible with Android devices.
If you’re trying to connect your keyboard to an Android device, use either:
1) OTG (aka “On-The-Go”) USB type A to Micro USB adapter (if your Android device uses a microUSB port).
2) OTG USB type A to USB type C adapter (if your device features a USB type C port).
In either case you will still need a USB A to B cable (or MIDI to USB interface in case your keyboard has MIDI In/Out ports), which you’ll plug into the keyboard. The other end (USB-A) will connect to one of the adapters above.
Alternatively, you may want to consider buying a USB type C to B cable, which will allow you to connect to your Android device (if it uses USB type C port) without needing a second cable (USB A to B).
I wasn’t able to find a single cable that would provide a direct connection between microUSB port and USB type B port (or MIDI In/Out).
Enabling Bluetooth MIDI Connectivity
If you want to connect your smart device wirelessly but your digital piano doesn’t have Bluetooth, there are tools out there that can help you do that.
For digital pianos that have dedicated MIDI In/Out ports you can use Yamaha’s solution, the wireless MD-BT01 adapter.
The MD-BT01 connects directly to your piano’s MIDI ports and enables Bluetooth connectivity, which means you can exchange MIDI data with your smart devices just as you would if your piano natively supported Bluetooth.
Need Something a Little More Advanced?
Alternatively, you may wish to use an audio interface (with MIDI ports) to connect to your computer or smart device. That way you can use one device for both MIDI and audio signal.
This is a more advanced approach that is more expensive, however, you will have access to extra connections for microphones and other instruments.
If you don’t any additional connections, you may simply want to use a more economical, portable MIDI interface like the IK Multimedia iRig MIDI 2.
This gives you the option of using Lightning, or USB connections. This interface includes a package of free applications including iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano.
Do I Need to Install Any Drivers?
When connecting your digital piano to your PC, you may be required to install drivers in order for your device to work.
To quickly explain to you what a driver is, this is basically a software that allows for your digital piano to communicate with the computer’s operating system.
The driver allows for the computer to accurately send and receive data from the hardware device, which is the digital piano in this case.
Driver installation typically depends on the type of digital piano you are using, so please refer to your keyboard’s manual on any drivers you may need.
However, most digital pianos are plug and play meaning you need not worry about having to manually download and install these drivers.
When connecting to your iOS or Android device you will not have to worry about drivers as these typically do not require them.
You have now successfully connected your digital piano/keyboard to your computer/device! You have opened a world of possibilities on your journey to creating and performing music.
You will be able to use digital sheet music (no more heavy music books, or loose leaf pages!), notate your own scores, record compositions, edit ideas, record other instruments (guitar, drums, violin, etc) using your digital piano, and learn songs through Apple/Google apps!
Use Your Keyboard as a MIDI controller
Now that you have connected your keyboard to your desired setup, it’s time to learn a little about MIDI.
MIDI is the information read by your computer, translating notes and CC (Control Change) data into music.
For example, you may play a legato phrase on your piano, then repeat it the second time with staccato notes.
The computer recognizes the change, and represents the legato or staccato articulations as CC data. From your computer/device, you can adjust these expressions and articulations, and creatively change the way your phrase plays.
MIDI differs to audio, as we have control over the notes and CC data. If you accidentally record a MIDI phrase with incorrect notes, you can adjust these via a piano roll screen on your computer or device.
Audio is recorded information that has limited control over any adjustments you want to make.
You are able to cut, fade, raise/lower the volume, slow/speed tempo with recorded audio files, but with MIDI you have more control to change notes, the way they are expressed or articulated, dynamics, velocity, and modulation.
Both audio and MIDI files are very useful to a musician, and being able to work with MIDI will open up more possibilities with your music.
Now that you have the whole world of possibilities to make, learn and enjoy music, it’s time to talk about the apps and software that will allow you to do that.
You can use your digital piano as a MIDI controller to control various apps that we’ve split into 4 different categories below.
Before we go into any more details, take a look at the apps within each category that we recommend, and which, in our opinion provide, have the best quality and functionality.
Teaching Apps (Learn how to play):
- Flowkey: Learn Piano
- Playground Sessions
- Piano Marvel
- Piano Chords, Scales Companion
- Simply Piano by JoyTunes
- Piano Tutor for iPad
- iReal Pro
Digital Audio Workstations (make, mix, and record your own music):
- Logic Pro X
- Cubase 10
- FL Studio
- Ableton Live
- Pro Tools 12
- Digital Performer 9 X
VST Plugin (Explore extensive high-quality libraries of virtual studio technology plugins):
- Pianoteq 6
- Addictive Keys
- Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
- Native Instruments Kontakt 6
- Synthogy Ivory II Grand Pianos
- EastWest Quantum Leap Pianos
Notation Apps and Interactive Sheet Music Apps:
- Finale 26
- Sibelius Ultimate
- Sheet Music Direct PlayAlong
- PiaScore – Smart Music Score
Learn How to Play
Connecting to a DAW or piano app through your computer/device can greatly help you to learn music theory, chords, progressions, and learn your favorite songs.
The apps available to you vary from beginner to advanced – you can even learn songs without knowing how to read sheet music!
Flowkey is an excellent app to learn songs on the piano in a short amount of time, suited to your skill level. Flowkey is available on the computer and any smart device, and can also brush you up on your music theory skills, as well as practical skills.
Once in the app, you can choose through a wide category of music to learn, including classical music, pop hits, and film/TV/game music.
The app lets you connect your piano keyboard and tracks your progress as you play. Lessons begin with the basics of piano playing including posture and hand position.
As you progress, Flowkey teaches you songs with four chord progressions, as well as major and minor chords.
You can use Flowkey as a free trial and decide for yourself whether or not you want to continue using it before you pay for a monthly or yearly subscription.
Skoove is a fun way to learn piano for beginners using popular soundtracks from movies such as Game of Thrones, Pirates Of The Caribbean, James Bond, Amelie, and hit songs from Adele, John Legend, The Beatles, Coldplay, and other popular artists.
The app is available on the computer and through the App Store. You can try it for free, or subscribe to one of their plans.
The lessons teach with the “Listen, Learn, Play” method, which is a great way to train your ear and your sight reading skills. Each lesson uses an excerpt from a well-known song to teach a musical concept.
Available on computer, android and iOS devices, Piano Chords, Scales Companion is piano chords and scales dictionary.
This app focuses on identifying chords and scales, which is helpful for piano students, and a great resource for orchestrators and arrangers brushing up on harmony.
There is also a handy chord progression builder that allows for you to experiment with different progressions.
There are over 1500 chords and 500 different scales, so you have a lot to learn from.
The app is MIDI compatible and all you have to do is connect your digital piano to your device of choice and you are good to go.
If learning with a piano teacher, it is a great idea to let them know which apps you are using so you can make the most of it! Your teacher will be able to guide you and make achievable piano goals for your needs.
Make and Record Music
Now that you are getting familiar with software applications, and have connected your keyboard to your computer/device, you can now create your own little recording studio set-up in the comfort of your own home!
With a knowledge of MIDI usage, you are opening new, exciting ways to make music. You will be able to customize a set-up that makes the most sense to you.
You can keep a digital piano into a computer/device set-up, or eventually add MIDI controllers, synth pads, synthesizers, speakers… the possibilities are endless!
A great entry-level DAW to start working in is Garageband, which comes free with every Apple computer or device. The software allows you to create loops, and audio/MIDI recordings to edit, arrange, and mix your own song.
Garageband is great for producing compositions, tracks for a small ensemble, or generating ideas through the use of Apple loops. This is a good basis for learning to write and mix your own songs.
If you want to unlock some more advanced features using an Apple set-up, you can purchase Apple’s Logic Pro X.
Note this is only for Apple only, and not compatible for Windows desktops, and costs $199.99 on the App Store.
A DAW is a hefty upfront price, but usually a great investment if you plan on continuing to write and record your own music.
There is a great advantage in owning Logic Pro X, due to the fact that it is owned by Apple – if the OS upgrades, so does the DAW, making it compatible with Apple’s latest Operating Systems (currently on Mojave).
Generally, in the DAW world of music, we should wait about 6 months before updating our computer’s operating system so that other DAW software can catch up with compatibility. With Logic Pro X, it updates together with Apple’s OS.
Another popular DAW is Cubase 10, compatible on both Mac OS and Windows.
This is another advanced DAW where you may want to invest in to have access to advanced features including detailed expression maps, macros, and logical editor presets.
Other popular DAW applications include FL Studio and Ableton Live. Both of these are great to develop your music production skills, and are popular with electronic music composers.
In the audio production world, Ableton Live is one of the most popular DAWs due to the attention to detail that it provides.
Apart from being able to record and mix audio tracks, you can also use Ableton Live for your on-stage performances. It’s actually quite popular amongst DJ’s as it can be used for matching tempos of dance songs and fixing timing problems.
One of the most popular and most widely used DAWs across the world is Fl Studio. Previously known as Fruity Loops, Fl Studio is a great audio workstation for creating beats and recording music.
Loaded with several powerful VST plugins, Fl Studio allows you to access different sounds from the built-in plugins ranging from synths, to keyboards and bass sounds.
You can also create and design your own specific sounds and tones, though you will no doubt need a bit of time and patience to achieve this.
As an Fl Studio user myself, I can attest to the simplicity of using my own MIDI controller with this DAW.
However, Rome wasn’t built in a day and it will no doubt take some practice in order for you to fully realize the potential of this amazing software.
Fl Studio is used by some of the most well-known producers around the world including CashMoneyAp, Martin Garrix, Boi-1da, TM88 etc. This should let you know of the potential you can unlock if you take the time to properly learn how to use this powerful DAW.
Connect to External Instrument Libraries (VSTs)
As mentioned above, you can change your acoustic piano sounds into other traditional or electronic instruments, and sound effects.
You can take advantage of countless great VST plugins that provide you with top notch quality sounds of upright pianos, grand pianos, vintage pianos, and actually any instruments (guitars, violins, drums, etc.) you can imagine, as well as synths sounds.
How does one do that?! With the use of VST (or Virtual Studio Technology) plugins!
VSTs, otherwise known as samples, or sample libraries, are pre-recorded notes, sounds and phrases that have been programmed into a plugin to be played by your keyboard.
You can create multiple instrument tracks, and compose a string ensemble, or perhaps an entire orchestra! You can also learn about different electronically produced sounds, including many different synthesizers and effects.
Let’s take a quick glimpse at some sample libraries that can be beneficial to your music-making.
Firstly, we’ll discuss Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2, a powerful synthesizer which includes 14,000 sounds, a Sound Match feature that instantly locates related sounds, and an audio import option which allows you to import your own recorded snippets as a sound source – just to name a few!
This powerful plug-in is ideal for any modern musician wanting to explore music production, synth-based samples.
Although you can record your digital piano into a DAW as an audio file, when it comes to MIDI, you will still need a piano VST, as your digital piano acts more of a MIDI controller to send notes and CC data to your computer/device.
An excellent piano library is Pianoteq 6, a virtual copy of the Steinway & Sons D and B models.
This VST includes advanced tuning tools, the ability to save presets, and a playlist that stores your recorded MIDI files that you can use for playback (such as for generating ideas, etc).
Note that there are some sample libraries that cannot operate without the use of a sampler.
Native Instruments Kontakt 6 is a must-have sampler for a modern musician’s setup.
It is the industry-standard for hosting the biggest selection of sampled instruments that also comes with its own library of over 55GB in sampled sounds! Kontakt 6 can act as a basic sampler, or go as in-depth as creating your own sampled instrument.
Once you purchase some sample libraries, (eg. Spitfire, 8Dio, or CineSamples), they can then be opened via the Kontakt window.
Simply create a new software instrument track and open Kontakt in the instrument input selection.
You will be able to choose from various options including Mono, Stereo, 5.1 Sound, etc, but generally you will want to open a Stereo track of Kontakt. These other options are there for specific soundscapes for your project.
With all this technology arising and various ways to play and create music, there is no need to handwrite/read paper versions of sheet music (if you choose not to).
You can easily search and find the sheet music you want, edit it, play along with it, turn pages using your digital piano pedals, (be sure to check your digital piano’s manual that you can do this), and much more.
PiaScore – Smart Music Score is an app available for iOS which makes storing sheet music, and reading it accessible in one large portable library!
No need to carry heavy books and loose pages of sheet music around when you can have all this at your fingertips.
You can browse and edit sheet music digitally, and then erase practice markings on your score not applicable anymore.
Some of its features include vertical screen scrolling with an adjustable speed (no page turns!), smart browsing that makes it easy to tab to the first and last pages without flipping through each page, easy management of scores by tagging composers/artists in a category filing system, and even face gesture page turning with the new iPhone X and iPad Pro.
For the purpose of creating notated sheet music, Sibelius, Finale 26, and MuseScore are great applications.
You can try a free trial of Sibelius Ultimate before purchasing for the full price.
Sibelius is the next upgrade from Sibelius First, which features scores up to 16 instruments and you will have access to sharing up to 20 scores online with Sibelius Cloud Sharing.
Sibelius Ultimate is the full version with unlimited instruments, custom parts and house styles (for how you want your scores to look like).
Finale 26 is the most recent version of Finale and starts at $99 for student educational discount, or $600 outright. Be wary, Finale is a little more complicated to use for a beginner learning notation on a computer set-up but presents a more slick design.
Don’t fret – if you have Sibelius but wish to cross grade to Finale (or vice versa), you may purchase your new notation software for a discounted price.
Another beginner-friendly app I recommend if you’re struggling with learning sheet music would be MusicScore. It’s free and excellent for beginners learning sheet music, and students.
MuseScore has a supportive, active community who are willing to learn and teach beside you. It is simple to use and can export XML, MIDI and audio files into other programs such as Finale/Sibelius, or straight into your DAW (GarageBand, Logic Pro X, Cubase, etc).
Not only did you buy a digital piano, but it seems like you have your own studio set up right at your fingertips!
Music technology shouldn’t be a daunting, scary thing, but something to look forward to learning about the possibilities that come with it.
I hope you’ve had as much fun as we’ve had teaching you about the exciting ways to create music once you connect your digital piano to a computer or smart device.
If you have any further questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you!
You might also like:
How to Record a Digital Piano [Audio & MIDI] – Step-by-Step Guide
Best MIDI Keyboards: An In-depth Look At the Market
The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Digital Piano
Picking the Best Way to Learn Piano Today (The Definitive Guide)
I got the px-870 what do I need to connect to Chordana play for piano and playground sessions app?
Hey Joseph, it depends on what you want to connect it to. If it’s your laptop/computer, all you need is a USB A to B cable. The Chordana play app is available for iOS and Android devices, what cable you need will depend on the device you’re connecting it to. Check out the table in the beginning of the article and let me know if you found the one you need.
I would use a ipad ios. I asked someone at lvmusic if I could use a Lightning to USB B cable and they said that that would not work for chordana play for piano app they said I had to get a USB A to B cable + Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. Is this true?
I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work (reviews on Amazon confirm that), but just to be safe you can use the “USB A to B cable + Lightning to USB Camera Adapter” as an alternative. Either one should work.
Thank you for the quick response. And thank you for all the reviews! Your review on the px-870 is the best review of it out there and the one that sold me on it! Thanks and keep up on the great work!!
Thanks for the quick response! Thank you for all your reviews, your review on the px-870 is the best one out there and the review that sold me on it! Thanks and keep up the great work!
Thanks for the kind words, Joseph. I hope you enjoy your PX-870!
Please can someone help me…
I need to replace my ageing Technics (top end at the time) digital piano and do not want to replace it with a Yamaha, even its top CLP685. My current piano has a four-track sequencer that I use and need all the time but all new pianos have no more than a two-track sequencer. Everyone tells me that with modern apps and connectivity multi-track inbuilt sequencers are no longer necessary but no-one has actually told how I can do it externally.
This is what I need to be able to do that my current sequencer does for me:
· Record a track that I play on the piano;
· Synchronise the first note of that track with the metronome;
· Play that track on the piano while recording another track
· Play that track back with the metronome so that the first note of the second track synchronises exactly with the first track and where it needs to come in and/or count in the first track on the metronome so as to know when the second track needs to come in;
· Repeat with subsequent tracks;
· Be able to play those tracks back at an altered tempo – faster or slower;
· Save individual or multiple tracks;
· Not clutter up my sitting-room with expensive external hardware and software when all I want to do is the above.
I cannot believe that manufacturers such as Kawai and Roland have abandoned their multi-track sequencers without there being out there an easy and low-cost way of doing it externally that fulfils the feature that they have dropped. I can’t believe, also, that my needs are in some way peculiar or marginal and of such low demand that justify their abandoning this feature.
Given what I have specified above, are you able to tell me definitively what I need in order to do what I can so easily do now and how I go about doing it?
You are almost my last hope of getting a proper answer to my question. I do hope that you will be able to help.
Regards and apologies for the length of this
Hey Andrew, yeah, it’s not very common these days to find a digital piano with a multi-track MIDI recorder (2+ tracks), though there are a few that comes to mind.
You mentioned that you want to replace your older piano but don’t want to replace it with a Yamaha. Does it mean that you want to avoid this brand whatsoever? They actually have a few pianos with multi-track MIDI recorders including the Yamaha DGX-660 (a 6-track recorder), all Yamaha Clavinovas except for the CLP-625 (a 16-track recorder), the Yamaha P-515 has one as well.
Roland HP and LX series have a 3-track MIDI recorder. Casio PX-360/PX-560 have a 16-track MIDI recorder.
You don’t necessarily need a digital piano with a multi-track recorder to achieve the things you want to achieve.
All of that can be done via a DAW running on your computer, you’ll just need need to connect your instrument to it via MIDI ports or USB type B port depending on what your instrument has.
I’m soon going to publish a post where I explain in detail how to record a digital piano in MIDI and audio format, so stay tuned!
Hi nice article. I get curious so I tried to connect
Roland XPS-30 to android phone via MIDI In/Out. ORG 2020 app worked only for App to keyboard but keyboard to app didn’t. Weird.
Another post on this excellent website discusses the different types of digital pianos including portable, console, entertainment, and stage. We are debating between console (e.g., Yamaha P-45) and entertainment (Yamaha DGX-660). It is for my daughter, who is age 7 and has been taking lessons for 2.5 years. So far, she has used a Yamaha PSR-78 (49 key entertainment type), but her teacher has been encouraging us to get an 88 key model. We expect the next unit to be her practice piano for 2-3 years. She likes the creative aspect of the entertainment type, but by far the primary purpose of the “instrument” is to learn to play the piano. In comparing these two models, we wonder about the degree to which laptop apps can provide the teaching and entertainment part that the 660 has in comparison to the 45? If most of the teaching, synthesizing, producing, etc., elements of the 660 can be covered by connecting the unit to a laptop and installing apps, perhaps it has little advantage over the 45? Of course, the apps cost money and take extra time to install and learn in most cases. It would be super helpful if you could comment on these issues. Thanks for providing this excellent website!
Hey George, you pretty much covered everything, so I don’t have much to add 🙂
It’s definitely a good idea to switch to a fully-weighted keyboard that will help your daughter build proper finger strength and technique.
You’re right that most of the features on the DGX-660 can be replaced by external apps that provide similar functionality. With that said, you won’t be able to expand the selection of built-in tones on the P-45. Yes, you can use VST plugins to get high-quality samples of virtually any musical instrument but they cost money, and you won’t be able to send the sound back to the P-45’s onboard speakers. But, in your situation, I wouldn’t worry about VST plugins or anything like that just now.
Just keep in mind that the P-45 has much fewer built-in tones than the DGX-660, the piano sound is also a bit less expressive. For a beginner, either of these pianos would be a good choice. The question is whether you want to have “all the fun” in one instrument or use several apps (depending on your needs) to expand the P-45’s functionality.
My digital piano has a USB type B on its back. So if I use a USB A to B cord and connect it to an OTG cord. Can I use the digital piano on my Android Phone?
Yes, that should work just fine, as long as there aren’t any incompatibilities with your phone.
All I want is to have some custom rhythms on my piano so play along with some rather uncommon music style (highlife from Ghana). I have a CGP 700. It is great but doesn’t have a rhythm editor and I cannot load user rhythms. I don’t want want to upgrade to the PX-560 or the PX-360 just to be able to use/load custom rhythms. So what can I do? I have been able to connect the piano to GarageBand on the Macbook. My question is, can I create some custom rhythms on the computer (with GarageBand) and have it play on the piano while connected (USB A to USB B) ? I like the speakers on the CGP 700 so I’ll rather have the sound come out of that. I hope I’m making sense. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
Hey Nana, since you cannot load custom rhythms into the CGP-700, the only way to do it that comes to my mind is to use a third party app that will send MIDI data (your custom rhythms) from your computer to your digital piano.
But since it’s MIDI rather than audio, the rhythms may sound different on your digital piano depending on which built-in sounds are used when playing that MIDI data.
The problem with GarageBand is that it can only receive MIDI data but it cannot send it back to your instrument, so you’ll have to use a different app for that, for example, Logic Pro X.
Another thing you can do is to render your custom rhythms as audio files and then simply play them back on the CGP-700 via a USB flash drive.
Also, you may want to check this article, for more information about MIDI vs Audio.
Lucas, thanks for your reply and for the good content you provide on this site. As a beginner piano learner, this site is super helpful.
Since GarageBand won’t send midi out, what other (mobile – ios/android) software can you recommend that can send midi to my CGP-700? A quick search points to beat maker 3, cubasis 2.
Will these, for example, be able to make rhythms (beats) on the app and sent as midi to my CGP-700 ((ipad pro [usb c] —> [usb b] CGP-700))? If that connection is possible, it would seem more affordable for me since Logic Pro X is only on the Mac and is costlier.
Another unrelated question: Do you know if android/ios version of chrome supports Web MIDI API? I haven’t found an answer anywhere. One of my lessons has a practice done in the browser (chrome) on the desktop. I haven’t had much success on mobile. Just wondering if you know if chrome on ios and android supports the web midi api. Thanks.
The apps you mentioned seem like a fine choice, they both support MIDI Out, and Cubasis has some virtual instrument sounds built in (with Beat Maker you’ll probably to purchase those separately in their sound store or create your own samples). With that said, I haven’t personally used them, so can’t comment on how they perform.
As for your second question, it seems that all modern browsers support WEB MIDI API, including their mobile versions. I did some research and came up with a few links that might be useful. Here there are:
I hope this helps.
Very helpful. Thank you.
Happy to help.
Lucas, I’ve seen the BandLab app both free on iOS and Android. Can I use it to create custom rhythms and send to my cgp 700 by midi to play out of the piano? It seems popular and free. Know anything about it? Sorry to bring up old thread.
Hi Nana, I don’t have any personal experience with this app, but hey, why don’t you just try it out, it’s free, so what have you got to lose? 😉
I bought a Roland FP-10 and i am trying to connect with usb b portal to my samsung (android) device. I bought an adapter from usb b (male) to usb a (female) I have te right cables, but my phone doesn’t recognize the piano. I’ve als tried different apps to test the connection.
I also tried to connect an IPhone but,the same problem appears. After trying to connect my laptop, the laptop recognized the piano, with an usb b (male) usb a (male) cable
Do you have an clue what the problem may be?
Thanks in advance
Hi Joep, what apps have you tried connecting to? Have tried Roland’s own Piano Partner 2 app? With most MIDI compatible mobile apps, you need to go to the settings of the app itself and choose your keyboard/digital piano there to make a connection.
I was trying connect my FP-10 using USB cable and again via bluetooth with Cubase and Reason but failed…my laptop connects with the piano…but CUBASE or reason can not find it!!! I wonder how I solve this issue!!!
1. I have the same problem. My keyboard is a Yamaha CVP303, firmware v1.54. I have installed the USB MIDI driver on the computer. But when I use software like Flowkey, Simple Piano (on my computer installed in virtual Android Bluestack 5) they do not recognize it. same on note8 phone also does not recognize cvp303 (both via USB to Host cable and Midi fail to connect).
2. I want to upgrade the firmware from v1.54 to v1.80, I copied the system files to the usb and plugged it into the usb to device port, then followed the instructions to upgrade. But CVP303 also doesn’t recognize usb. The message on the display is ‘insert the installer card’.
What can I do?
Hi Lucas, thanks for your informative site! I refer to this PDF by Yamaha on iPhone/iPad connection: https://download.yamaha.com/migrated_files/57948.pdf
It says on page 4 that “
NOTE Audio signals cannot be transferred between the digital instrument and the iPhone/iPad. This means that audio signals created via your keyboard performance cannot be recorded to the connected iPad/iPhone.”
I wanted to easily record my piano performance to my iPhone but seeing this note – does it mean I have to record to my laptop instead right?
Hi Lovie, correct, in most cases, USB ports in digital pianos are only capable of transferring MIDI data and not audio. So you can either record your performance in MIDI and then play it back using third-party apps/VST plugins (in that case it won’t exactly be the sound of your instrument but rather the sound of whatever software you’re using) or you can connect your keyboard to an audio interface or portable audio recorder to record the sound of your instrument.
For more info on how to record your digital piano/keyboard please refer to this article.
Hi is it possible to play the Yamaha reface cp via usb or Bluetooth without the need of a daw?
Hi Charlie, the Yamaha CP doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity, and its USB port only supports MIDI. So in order to hear the sound of the Yamaha CP on another device, you’ll have to use its line out jacks. You can also connect a pair of headphones and listen through them.
Requiring the connection of a MIDI Alesis q88 or Avid Mbox. How would I connect both external USB devices to an Android device that could also power and charge the outputs of the external USB device? What I would like to do is use a USB MIDI keyboard to connect to either an Android cell phone, tablet or Nvidia Shield to power and run both devices simultaneously.
So, you’d like to connect both the Alesis Q88 MIDI keyboard and Avid Mbox to your Android phone/tablet at the same time and power them using the same device?
I have a rockjam piano keyboard, I need to know what type of cable I need to use my android tablet and where do I get one?
Hey Josephine, I’d need to know the exact model of your keyboard and laptop to be able to tell you what cables you need.
I too have a rockjam Rj561 …. and have already purchased a teaching app but not sure what I need to enable the interactive ???? I am wanting to hook up to my iPad
“TO CONNECT TO AN IOS DEVICE”
I have Yamaha CLP-635 and I purchased this cable to connect it directly to an iPad for using a piano learning app and it works awesome. It’s a less expensive and simpler method than what you show above:
Thank you so much for all the info on this site. It has been invaluable to me as our family navigates the process of learning piano!
Hi Madrona, glad you like the site. The cable you mentioned is mentioned in the article as well (in both the table and the “Connect to an iOS Device” section).
Thank you for your great article! I found here all needed informations.
Please consider adding the information, that in case of connecting a keyboard (or controller) via traditional MIDI OUT port, the keyboard needs to be powered separately with power cable/power adapter. This might be surprising to those, who got used to USB-powered keyboards, and for any reason decided to switch to using MIDI ports, ordered appropriate cables, but were not aware that MIDI ports would not power up their device. Moreover, most USB-powered controllers are being sold with no traditional power adapter attached (even if still equipped with power plug socket).
Hi Michael, I’m glad you found the article helpful. Thanks for the suggestion as well, I’ll make sure to address that in the article!
I connected the piano with the computer but when I click on one thing I hear a lot of noise. So how do I fix this problem?
Hi Musbahu, may I ask where the noise is coming from your device or your piano? What thing did you click when you started hearing that noise? MIDI connection doesn’t allow you to transfer any audio information, all it does is sends MIDI data (notes, velocity, pedal use, etc.) so it’s unlikely to cause any audio noises. But it’s hard to give you more information without knowing the specifics.
This article is great, thanks for sharing all this information!
I got few questions left though.
1. If the keyboard only has usb B, such as yamaha P45 ( I am considering buying that one, as a beginner), is there any way to have Bluetooth? I have been looking at usb dongle online but they all seem to be USB A.
2. If connecting via bluetooth is possible, can it connect to more than one device at the same time?i.e. laptop and headphones
3.When using keyboard as a midi controller, can I still record the sound from the keyboard/digital piano, or I will always need a virtual instrument?
4. This article doesn’t mention anything about latency, which is something I’ve had problems with in the past, and was wondering if you have any article about it or any tips/requirements or anything we should take into account when buying a keyboard (or this only depends on the computer?in which case I’d love to know about optimal computer requirements to avoid it)
Many thanks in advance
Hi Carlos, thanks for your questions.
1) I’m afraid it’s impossible to enable Bluetooth MIDI on the P-45. Most Bluetooth MIDI adapters that I saw use either a USB type A port or MIDI In/Out ports, which the P-45 doesn’t have.
2) As far as I know, even digital pianos that have Bluetooth MIDI/Audio don’t allow you to connect Bluetooth headphones/speakers, that’s not what that function is there for.
3) You can record the sound of your keyboard, but you’ll need a different kind of setup for that unless your instrument supports audio via USB, which is not the case with the P-45 (the P-125 does have that though). Feel free to check out the ultimate recording guide on how to record midi/audio from your digital piano.
4) Well, latency may become an issue when you use Bluetooth, but it’s rarely a problem when you use MIDI over USB, as it’s a pretty fast connection unless there’s something wrong with your setup (e.g. forgot to install the necessary drivers).
Hi Lucas – fantastic article, thanks so much
Would you know the answer to this question – am I able to connect to a Roland Piano Partner 2 app from a Roland RP401 that I am thinking of buying?
This piano doesnt have bluetooth but can connect via wireless or direct connection to a device.
So I can make the connection but just wondering if Piano Partner will see my piano (as its not listed as a compatible device as far I can see – assuming because it doesnt have bluetooth
PS If I cant connect can you recommned any other apps that do the same thing as Piano Partner that would be compatible?
Hi Ian, you can connect the RP401 to various MIDI-compatible apps. Regarding this particular app, I’d suggest contacting Roland support to ask them about compatibility with Piano Partner 2.
Since the RP401 is one of their older models, it’s compatible with the original Piano Partner app, but it might also work the new 2nd version, even though the RP401 not listed as a compatible product here.
Can you tell me of the Yamaha P-125 and it’s ability to do Speedy Entry in Finale?
Hi Amanda, I haven’t tried it with Finale, so can’t say for sure. However, if I remember correctly Speedy Entry works just fine with virtually any MIDI keyboard. Since the P-125 also has USB MIDI connectivity, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with the Speedy Entry function.
That’s a very helpful guide. Thanks. I want to know if I can use the sound fonts on a digital piano as VSTs in a DAW so I can play a MIDI file in a DAW and record it. Thanks.
Hi Yi Ming,
I guess it depends on the digital piano, but I haven’t heard of a digital piano that allows you to do that. Many manufacturers use proprietary formats and stuff to protect their sounds and prevent other people/companies from copying them. Let me know if you find otherwise.
Hi! I’m wanting to start online tuition, however am struggling to work out a method whereby I can livestream from a camera whilst it showing a midi keyboard at the top of the screen for my student to see what I’m playing. Is there something like this out there?
I’ve just bought a USB B to Micro USB (single cable) with OTG functionality but it’s not recognised. Should I give up and go down the double cable option?
Really appreciate your help.
Hard to tell…Maybe the cable is broken, maybe the problem is with the device itself. What app are you’re trying to connect your keyboard to?
When you go to the app’s MIDI settings, your keyboard doesn’t show up there after you’ve connected the cable?
Hey I have casio cst300 digital keyboard, and I am currently using cakewalk as my daw. I have to connect my keyboard to my laptop( laptop is i 7 with 8gigs of ram )
Casio cst300 has a usb host micro usb connection and when i plug in the connection to my laptop with usb port
It gets detected by my laptop but at the same time when I on the keyboard with power adapter on ( not on battery) i get feeling of mild vibration through my laptop. Is it the case with all laptops. I am afraid if some thing happen to my machine so I did immediately disconnect from my machine. Do I need a audio interface or something through which I can connect my laptop to keyboard
Hey Sumant, could you clarify what kind of vibrations you’re feeling? Do you only notice them when the keyboard is connected to your laptop? If your laptop is made of metal, it’s not uncommon to feel as if there’s an electric current going through the case of the laptop when it’s plugged in (as opposed to running from the battery). Try unplugging the keyboard from the laptop and plugging the laptop into the wall socket for charging, do you feel the same thing?