How to test your MIDI keyboard (PC and Mac)

Regardless of which type of cable you are using, there is a simple test you can do to ascertain whether there is an issue with your MIDI keyboard and / or your particular cable.

Windows Users:

First, simply download and install this small free MIDI diagnostic tool called MIDI-OX.

After you've installed it, plug your keyboard and cable in, turn the keyboard ON, turn your keyboard volume down to ZERO, and run the MIDI-OX app. Select Options > MIDI Devices and it will list all MIDI input devices in the top left panel.

Click on the MIDI input device that corresponds to your keyboard/cable (it will turn blue) and also click on one of the MIDI output devices shown such as Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth (this will turn blue as well) and click OK.

Note: This is very rare, but... if (when trying to select your MIDI input / output device) you receive an "Undefined External Error" message (or similar), google "MIDI-ox" followed by the exact error you are getting, e.g. "MIDI-ox undefined external error". This will bring up articles explaining how to fix the issue (which, in the examples I have seen, stemmed from errors in the computer registry).

Next, if your MIDI keyboard has its own sounds, make sure that your keyboard volume is turned down to ZERO so you can hear the sound coming from your computer.

Now check that the Main Output Monitor (within MIDI-OX) is being displayed. To do this, under the MIDI-OX menu items, find the 5th icon from the left (just to the left of the bright green icon). If you mouse over this 5th icon it will say "Main Output Monitor". Click it once to make sure what you are seeing is in fact the "Main Output Monitor".

Now play some notes on your keyboard and you should hear them.

You should also see some green and blue writing appear on the screen (in the black area).

If you don't see any writing on the screen when you play keys on your keyboard, the test has failed, in which case your options are as follows:

If you are using a MIDI-toUSB cable,

1. You could try a different MIDI-to-USB cable. We recommend buying a good quality one such as the M-AUDIO UNO (do not buy the really cheap cables on e-bay) OR
2. You could buy a MIDI keyboard that has USB 2.0 compatibility which would eliminate MIDI-to-USB compatibility issues (this is by far the most reliable option - see our Keyboard Info page for tips on what to look for when choosing a MIDI keyboard).

If you are using a USB 2.0 cable... you need a new keyboard, i.e. it's a keyboard fault.

If there is green/blue writing on the MIDI-OX screen, for each note you play on your keyboard, you should see ONE "note on" message (when you press the key) and ONE "note off" message (when you release the key).

If there are two "note on" / "note off" messages for each note you play, this is almost always a keyboard fault which is quite common in the poorer quality keyboard brands such as "Base" or "Meike". (Please avoid these brands as they are dreadful).

The only time two "note on" / "note off" messages might not be a keyboard fault is if you have a very fancy / high-end keyboard with lots of customizable settings, in which case it could be a setting on the keyboard. In this case, try to disable any unnecessary extra layers/pads on your keyboard (you'll need to consult your keyboard manual). If you don't have a copy of the manual, simply google it.

Mac Users:

To test your MIDI keyboard, first download and install a free MIDI diagnostic tool called MIDI-Monitor which is available HERE:

Similar to the instructions for Windows users above, the basic idea is; as you play keys on your keyboard, MIDI monitor will display details of the MIDI data it is receiving.

You should see ONE "note on" message (when you press the key) and ONE "note off" message (when you release the key).

All customers:

If the test does not work (i.e. no writing is displayed on the screen OR two "note on" / "note off" messages per note are displayed, you can be assured that the issue is not related to the Musiah software.

If you would like further assistance, please feel free to contact us directly and be sure to include the exact make and model of both your MIDI keyboard and (if applicable) your MIDI-to-USB cable/converter.