Old 01-14-2017, 08:16 AM   #1
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Default External MIDI-Keyboard: Works only sometimes

Hello everybody,

I want to use my external keyboard to play and record MIDI. I am familiar with the steps I need to take but with the exact same settings it sometimes works and sometimes not ("not working" means that I play the keyboard but there is no sound and when I press record it only records an empty midi item).

Yesterday I had a case where I couldn't get it to work for a while and then out of a sudden it was there.
Today it seemed as if it was never going to happen. I browsed the forum, read a hint about restarting the system, did that and -voila- when I reopened REAPER and tried again it was there and working.

In other words:
I know that it can work. I just don't know why it sometimes does and sometimes not.

What could be causing this?
* Could there be something like an unstable connection (that is how it "feels")?
* What could be the weak points in my chain (wrong cable, driver, USB hub, etc.)?

I am using some kind of noname keyboard and some midi to USB cable that I once bought from Amazon and I connect the cable through a USB hub.

If I knew it was worth it I could change something, buy something new, etc.

Any ideas or opinions?


Just to be on the same side here is a little summary of what I typically do. Is there anything I am missing?

* Enable the keyboard at
Options > Preferences > Audio > Midi Devices : USB2.0-Midi
(that is the name under which my keyboard appears)

* Create a new track
* Load and activate a virtual instrument for that track
* Go to that track:
** Activate the button "Record Arm/Disarm"
** Activate the button "Record Monitoring: ON"
** Activate "Input Midi > USB2.0-Midi > All channels"
* Make sure that that track is active

In those cases where the keyboard is not working, the virtual keyboard is still working with no problem (after changing "USB2.0-Midi" to "virtual Midi Keyboard") and playing a midi item on a track has never been a problem.

As regards drivers I went to the device manager and it says that the device is working properly and the drivers are up to date.
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Old 01-14-2017, 09:53 AM   #2
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If that is one of those $1.99 MIDI to USB cables, that is pretty much guaranteed NOT to help your situation.

I have tried several and they all suck.
The polling routines for generic devices like that ar never going to be exactly reliable or consistent, so spend a little and save all the heartache.
Get some sort of a proper MIDI interface, either a separate one or invest in a Audio MIDI interface that has both a decent audio interface with "proper" ASIO drivers...... or as I said above, just a plain MIDI interface.
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Last edited by ivansc; 01-14-2017 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:57 AM   #3
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In general I agree to ivansc, but first thing I would do: do NOT use a USB Hub! Try to connect the midi to USB cable directly from the keyboard into the female connector at the backside of your PC.

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Old 01-27-2017, 04:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for your answers.

I never got any deeper into the topic because it is literally once every few months that I really connect the keyboard.

So my initial thoughts about buying a "proper midi interface" was that it is probably too much for me (too much as regards money and the need to collect information about what would be the right one).

Now I just tried a quick google search and was surprised that what jumps up as "midi interface" often doesn't look much different from the cable that I have. In other words: I don't really understand how I can judge which one is good enough.

Do you have recommendation for midi interfaces in a lower price range (up to 30 euros)?
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