How to Use a USB Connector for Audio on a Yamaha Synthesizer

Written by chris anzalone
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How to Use a USB Connector for Audio on a Yamaha Synthesizer
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Many Yamaha synthesizers, such as the MOTIF, MO6 and MO8, have USB ports that allow you to connect your synth to your computer. These ports serve multiple purposes, including the transfer of saved audio files, integration with digital audio software and MIDI control. This last feature allows you to transmit digital music notes to your computer using your favourite music software. Just pick an instrument sound, play your Yamaha synthesizer and listen as the notes play back on your PC.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • USB A-to-B
  • Computer
  • Digital audio software

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  1. 1

    Connect a USB A-to-B cable (sometimes included with the synthesizer) to the back of your synthesizer. Some synthesizers have a single USB port, while others (such as the MO series) include two ports labelled "To Device" and "To Host," along the back panel of the synth. If your synthesizer includes two USB ports, plug your cable into the square USB-B port, or the "To Host" port. The "To Device" port is reserved for transferring recording music files.

  2. 2

    Connect the opposing end of your cable (the rectangular "USB A" side) to an available USB port on your computer. All USB ports feature an image of a trident directly above. You can also find the symbol on the cable.

  3. 3

    Open a digital audio program on your computer. Yamaha USB connections use MIDI control to generate audio through a computer, so you must use a program with MIDI compatibility. Most digital audio workstations, like ACID, Cubase, GarageBand, Logic, Pro Tools and Sonar, include MIDI compatibility, and free options also exist (see Resources).

  4. 4

    Set up your Yamaha synthesizer as an input device. Most audio programs include input set-up as part of the "Options" or "Preferences" found among your menu bar options. Open your "Options," select your "MIDI" or "Input" options from the list and choose your Yamaha synthesizer from the list of available inputs. You may first need to install a Yamaha software driver on your computer, using an installation CD-ROM included with the synthesizer.

  5. 5

    Create a MIDI track using your software. In order to produce notes, your Yamaha synthesizer requires a digital instrument track (a type of recording layer) with which to work. Locate the "New Track" option on the menu bar and select "MIDI" from the track options. For example, in Cubase you can find the option under the "Project" menu. In GarageBand, Pro Tools and Logic, you can find it under the "Track" menu. In Sonar, you can find it under the "Insert" menu. Your track will look like a horizontal bar spanning the screen.

  6. 6

    Assign an instrument sound to your MIDI track. Instruments typically appear under the menu bar (such as in Reason and Cakewalk), on the digital mixer (such as in Logic and Pro Tools) or on the main project window itself (such as in GarageBand and Mixcraft). Select an instrument from the list and adjust the settings (such as volume, panning, echo and other effects) to your liking.

  7. 7

    Play your Yamaha synthesizer. The notes you play will transmit directly to your computer. To record, just click the "Record" button on your software window.

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