10 Replies Latest reply: Apr 28, 2007 2:45 PM by HangTime
Luis Ortega Level 1 (0 points)
I am planning to get a Mac Pro and would like to know if you can connect a midi keyboard to a USB port on a Mac.
My current setup is that I have the midi keyboard connected to the gameport on the SoundBlaster sound card in my Windows PC. The connection powers the midi keyboard and I can record what I play on the keyboard into whatever sound recording software I am using.
Does the Mac pro have a similar approach? I can't tell if it has something like a gameport connection and if it would power the midi keyboard.
If I used a midi to usb cable to connect it to a USB port on the Mac Pro would that work, and would it power the midi keyboard as well?
If not, how do Mac people connect a midi keyboard that has a gameport connector to a Mac Pro for recording music? Would my midi keyboard become unuseable on a Mac Pro?
Could I install a PCI sound card on a Mac Pro and then access it that way? If I also have Windows installed on the Mac Pro, could I use a PCI sound card and use the midi keyboard when running Windows?
Thanks for any advice.
  • Christoph Drösser Level 6 (11,275 points)
    It would be very helpful if you could specify what kind of a keyboard you have.

    Does the keyboard have a USB out? Then it should work if you have the correct driver installed (people report problems with Yamaha and Casio keyboards though). If it has only a midi out, then you need an interface (probably what you call a "midi to USB cable, in fact it's a little box), again with a driver for the Mac.
  • Luis Ortega Level 1 (0 points)
    The keyboard is an Evolution MK 149. It only has midi connection.
  • Christoph Drösser Level 6 (11,275 points)
    Then you might take a look at M-Audio's Uno interface, it comes for around 50 dollars.
  • Luis Ortega Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the link.
    I notice that it says it's bus powered.
    Does that mean it powers itself or it powers the midi keyboard?
    It seems like a very basic unit, so why would a simple cable with a gameport connection at one end and a usb connection at the other not do the same thing, if you only need to connect one keyboard?
    What does the little box between the midi connector and the usb connector do that is different or necessary?
    I was wondering if any of the musicians here who connect a midi keyboard to a Mac do so only with a simple converter cable that has no other mechanical parts?
    Usb on one end and a gameport connection at the other end, about 8 inches long. That's what I currently have and use.
    Thanks for any advice.
  • Windham Hillbilly Level 4 (1,600 points)
    I've been using a simple interface for a while, and it's worked well for my simple needs.
    It is a Roland UM-1 USB Midi Interface, which is just a cable with a converter in the middle.
  • Christoph Drösser Level 6 (11,275 points)
    I don't think that a midi interface will power your keyboard.

    A simple cable won't do because the midi signal out of your keyboard has to be converted into something that a USB port can understand. There's processing involved, not just different plugs.

    Most modern MIDI controllers (that's the name for keyboards that don't produce their own sound) come with a USB out, so you really only need a cable, and you can provide power through the USB port.
  • Windham Hillbilly Level 4 (1,600 points)
    What Christoph recommends (M-Audio's Uno interface) is what you need. The UM-1 is the same type of interface, just another option.
    And like he says, it doesn't power your keyboard (I assume it has its own power supply). The interface is Bus-powered.
    There are a wide variety of interfaces available, if your keyboard has a standard MIDI OUT, and not a USB OUT. But the ones recommended are the minimum that you need.
  • Luis Ortega Level 1 (0 points)
    It looks like I will need both an interface connector and a power supply for my current keyboard as I don't have a power supply for it and it gets power from the usb conection.
    When the time comes, I will compare prices for a newer usb keyboard and an interface and power supply and see if it's worth it to just get a newer keyboard.
    Music creation on my keyboard is not a high priority for me in my video editing as I am not very good at playing music on it so maybe I can find a cheaper keyboard that is similar in price to the interface plus a power supply and can connect to the usb directly and get power from it.
    Thanks for your help.
  • HangTime Level 9 (50,490 points)
    Take a look at the first keyboard here:



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  • Christoph Drösser Level 6 (11,275 points)
    You might take a look at the Keystation 49e.