How to Use an External Sound Card to Play MIDI Files on a Laptop

Written by serm murmson
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How to Use an External Sound Card to Play MIDI Files on a Laptop
You don't need to plug headphones directly into your laptop if you have an external sound card. (Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Laptops are convenient computers for their portability, but they sometimes lack sufficient audio hardware. External sound cards or audio interfaces are great additions to a laptop, especially if you are involved in music production. Even Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) files can be played through sound cards through use of the standardised General MIDI sounds. It is fairly easy to hook up an external sound card to your laptop for use playing MIDI files.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Laptop
  • External sound card
  • Headphones or speakers

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  1. 1

    Install any corresponding drivers that came with the sound card. You may need to download these from the manufacturer's website if you do not have an installation disc.

  2. 2

    Connect the sound card to your laptop. Most external sound cards have USB connections.

  3. 3

    Open the media player which you will use to play the MIDI file.

  4. 4

    Configure your media player so that the output device is the external sound card and not your laptop's internal sound card. In most media players, this can be done through the Preferences menu.

  5. 5

    Connect headphones or speakers to the external sound card.

  6. 6

    Play the MIDI file in your media player. It should play through the external sound card into the headphones or speakers that you have connected.

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