How to make a midi-to-usb cable

Written by donna armstrong | 13/05/2017
How to make a midi-to-usb cable
Connect your MIDI device to any computer with a USB port. (usb 2 image by Bosko Martinovic from

Musicians need to connect MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) devices to record, write sheet music and perform other tasks. Because a MIDI plug is wired and controlled differently than a USB, to make a MIDI-to-USB cable, a MIDI controller with microprocessor is required. These controllers make it easy to create a MIDI-to-USB cable.

Locate and purchase a MIDI controller for the MIDI device you need to connect to the computer. MIDI controllers are available for a wide range of instruments. These controllers come in various sizes. The smaller controllers are about the width of a flash drive and are perfect for this application. The larger controllers can be used; however they are heavier and cumbersome. MIDI controllers or interfaces are made for MAC, Windows and Linux computers. Make sure the device you purchase is made for the operating system you run. Most of these controllers or interfaces have external controls that allow users to adjust pitches, use equalisers and perform other tasks while the cables are connected. A controller can be made from a blank circuit board and microprocessor.

Attach the MIDI cable to the input ports on the connector. MIDI cables have two plugs (one male and one female) on each end of the cables. Plug both plugs from one end into the controller. Plug the female plug into the male port and the male end into the female port.

Connect the USB cord to the USB port on the MIDI interface.

Connect the MIDI device and turn it on. Plug the other end of the MIDI cable into the device. Connect the USB to the computer. The computer will detect new hardware. Most MIDI controllers have plug-and-play software; however some will require you to run a set-up disk that is provided with the controller.

Test the connection to the computer and adjust the input levels from the interface on the controller or the software interface on the computer. Once these are set, you can perform the task you desire.

Things you need

  • MIDI cable
  • MIDI Controller
  • USB cable

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