Sometimes it can be really hard to be sure if your MIDI keyboard controller or other your USB-MIDI interface is working correctly, particularly if you are using it with complicated software. My suggestion is to separate the two things! Test that the hardware is working OK first. Use your computer’s control panel then test the device with a MIDI diagnostic tool. Once you can see the MIDI device is working you know that you need to work on the software configuration. Tip: Make sure you install, connect and turn on your MIDI controller first, then start up the software you want to use. Some software just won’t find devices if you turn them on after starting up the software. The video below will take you through some testing basics, then read on for links and more information.
Which Diagnostic Tool?
If you are using Windows, then download MIDI-Ox, it’s a fantastic piece of software that shows the stream of MIDI data on your screen so you can check every key, fader, pad and wheel on your MIDI keyboard and be sure they are all working OK. Download it here:
Then if you want a step-by-step guide on how to use it, this page on the M-Audio support portal is great, with easy to follow screen shots. Although it is referring to an M-Audio device you can use this software with any MIDI keyboard or interface.
If you are on a Mac then the SNOIZE MIDI Monitor software does a similar job and they have nice documentation on their site on how to use it.
What If The MIDI Keyboard Isn’t Working?
If you still think the keyboard is not connecting correctly, then there is a useful post here on the Numark site which will help you to troubleshoot your plug and play device. Especially in Windows the native drivers can be missing or corrupted and may need to be re-installed.
If your device is not plug and play then you will need to go to the manufacturer’s site and download the correct drivers. NEVER do a ‘google search’ for drivers – there are lots of dodgy sites out there which will try to tempt you to download all kinds of things from them. Instead, go to the official site of the manufacturer of your particular device and navigate to their support/download page directly. The best manufacturers (Alesis, M-Audio, Numark, Roland, Korg, Samson etc) have telephone support as well, so take advantage of it. But do work through the above steps first!
4 Top MIDI Controllers
We have tried all the following controllers, they work really well and if you have any problems then the manufacturer’s give fantastic support. As an added bonus, they all work on PC, Mac and iPad!
4 Great USB-MIDI Interfaces
Already got a nice keyboard, but no MIDI connection? Then you could get one of the following MIDI interfaces and soon be hooked up to your favourite MIDI software