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USB vs. MIDI Keyboard

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
What is the difference between a USB Keyboard and a MIDI Keyboard? Thanks.
post #2 of 10
i do not think they are mutually exclusive adjectives. USB is a type of connection between the hardware device and the computer. MIDI (according to dictionary.com) is a digital music format (i imagine akin to mp3 or aiff, though i'm not very familiar with MIDI).
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
It didn't really make sense to me, but I thought that during Steve Job's demo of GarageBand he kept saying that it worked with both MIDI and USB keyboards.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally posted by Nobody Special
It didn't really make sense to me, but I thought that during Steve Job's demo of GarageBand he kept saying that it worked with both MIDI and USB keyboards.

MIDI is just a protocol that sends messages between sequencers, instruments, synthesizers, etc, telling them what to do. Type "MIDI protocol" or something into google and a bunch of reading material will show up.

You need a MIDI interface, which will have inputs for the MIDI cables and either sits in a PCI slot or connects with firewire/usb/whatever, if the keyboard doesn't have a USB connector.

To the application, however, it's just all MIDI, regardless of the connector.
post #5 of 10
Giant is correct. You will need a MIDI interface. You won't be able to plug a USB keyboard directly into your Mac (I don't think, it's never worked for me). Get a MIDI interface, they aren't that expensive...I believe they have them at all the Apple retail stores, and I'm sure you can find them online.

By the way, MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.
Come waste your time with me

In a world without doors or walls, there is no need for Gates or Windows
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Come waste your time with me

In a world without doors or walls, there is no need for Gates or Windows
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post #6 of 10
You can connect a MIDI keyboard directly through USB, using its onboard connector.

I own an Edirol PCR 30 midi keyboard. I connect it to my computer via the included USB cable, and it shows up in the Audio MIDI Setup utility program, at which point, it is available for use in any program that hooks into Core MIDI. I think Steve's diffentiation between MIDI and USB was for people that might have a synthesizer or electric piano with MIDI around the house. Those people will need to hook up to a MIDI interface before plugging in. But any of the Edirol or Midiman/m-audio keyboards with USB will work with GarageBand.

This page on Apple's site has some examples of said keyboards for sale.

-imago dei
post #7 of 10
If the keyboard has a USB cable, you can connect it to the USB port on your computer without a MIDI interface. If the keyboard only has a MIDI cable, you need a MIDI interface to plug it into the USB or Firewire ports.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for explaining this. I'll mention you in the liner notes of my sure to be multi-platinum first album.
post #9 of 10
I'll say "thanks" as well, as this was a question that until now was on my mind too.
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Aldo is watching....
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post #10 of 10
hi all,

Just a point of clarification here.

When a keyboard or any other MIDI device has a USB connector, this means it has a hard wired internal MIDI interface.

The rational for this is that USB can carry power and in turn power a low voltage device like a keyboard. It also makes for super simple plug and play without a lot of cords or additional extra MIDI interface.
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