The Android device has become so flexible today that you can use an Android phone or tablet with your favorite instrument like keyboard, guitar, a microphone or MIDI device. So, if you are wondering how to connect your MIDI keyboard to an Android device, you will find the detailed instructions here.
MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and it lets different musical instrument and computer or other devices to communicate with each other. MIDI can send messages to control volume or play notes.
The most popular controllers for studio and live musicians are the 49-Key MIDI controllers. This is better than 25-key MIDI keyboard controllers as more range is available. The size is also small, and so it is easy to carry around. You should invest in the best 49 key MIDI keyboard controllers.
Things you need
In order to connect MIDI keyboard to Android device, you should have the following things:
- The Android device must run Android 4.1 at least; however, Android 4.2 or later versions are preferred.
- Your device must support USB host mode. This feature is available in Google Galaxy Nexus, Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Nokia Android phones, Motorola phones, and other latest Android handsets.
- You need an On-The-Go Cable Adapter. This adapter will help to change the micro USB port to the standard USB port so that you can connect your physical keyboard here. Make sure you invest in a good MIDI adapter.
How to connect MIDI Keyboard to an Android device
Using the MIDI adapter, you should connect your external keyboards with the Android tablet or phone.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
- If your keyboard has a USB to HOST port, then you will require a USB TYPE A to USB TYPE B cable. You should connect the end of USB B to the keyboard’s “TO HOST” port. If the keyboard has a MIDI port, you will need an OTG adapter or a MIDI to USB cable. You should connect the MIDI end of the cable to the keyboard.
- Take the cable that you have connected to the keyboard and to the OTG USB A to Micro USB adapter or OTG USB C to Micro USB adapter depending on your device.
- Then connect the adapter’s Micro USB end to the Android device.
- At this stage, your keyboard should be detected automatically. However, if this doesn’t happen, then you should select the ‘cog wheel icon’ on the top right side of your device and then open MIDI/USB. Now the connection should be established.
Your keyboard will then show up in Synthesia or other apps. At this stage, go to the Musical Devices option on the Settings. On your keyboard’s Music Input screen, play the highest and lowest notes so that Synthesia knows the number of keys on your keyboard. Also, set up the keyboard to “local” so that the sound on your keyboard is muted and you can play music using the keyboard on your Android device.
Before you start playing you should set up the keyboard layout. For this, you need to open the notification drawer of your Android device.
You will see an item “Select keyboard layout”. Tap it, and you will see a list of keyboard layouts. You can choose the default layout or select one from the list.
You need to download a good app for playing music after you have connected your MIDI keyboard to the Android phone or tablet. You will find various MIDI apps on your Android device.
Synthesia is a popular MIDI app. But you can also download Perfect Piano, Wireless Mixer, TouchDAW, MIDI Melody & Digital Piano, MIDI Keyboard, Piano MIDI Legend, etc.
So, now you know how to connect your MIDI keyboard to an Android gadget. You can now experiment and play with it. The Android 6.0 comes with a new MIDI API called Marshmallow. This API makes it easy for app developers to create MIDI controllable apps easily.
The newer the device, the better your music will be. It will also be much easy to connect your device with your musical instrument. So, if you have a latest model Android device, then you will be able to your physical keyboard with it very conveniently.