Is it OK to connect midi controller via USB?

After shopping midi controllers and buying a used M-Audio Axiom 61 1st Gen on ebay for peanuts it just occurred to me that most of the controllers come with a driver for the OS and can be connected via USB.

Do people using Cantabile for performances ever connect the keyboard to the PC via USB? My intuition says use a solid midi interface and don’t rely on USB drivers the keyboard maker supplies.

All I can say is- I don’t. Windows gets real flaky real fast with USB inputs. I run my controllers into the MIDI ins on my Fosucrite. That also means I need a merger but it’s worth it to have everything only on one USB input. I don’t know that you’d ever have issues, a lot of people don’t. But doing it via MIDI is rock solid.

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Yeah, I’m with @FredProgGH on that one: I only connect one trusty USB Midi interface that has sufficiently stable drivers; all my keyboards get connected with boring old MIDI cables.

I’m happy with my iConnectivity interfaces (MIDI4+ for my studio, MIDI2+ and mio2 for live) - nice and stable. Wouldn’t risk that by trying to connect different keyboard USB drivers.

Plus, I use only 2 USB ports on my live laptop - one dedicated to audio, the other for my MIDI interface (plus other stuff via USB hub on my larger rig).



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Same here: only one MIDI In on my babyface. The lower keyboard (KX88) has a merge function inside so the upper keyboard can easily be plugged there (different MIDI channel).

If I use a second machine as hot standby its the same: one MIDI in on RME Multiface. MIDI routing (and switching in case) between PCs, keys, audio-mixer and voice live is done by a traditional MIDI hardware mapper (atm miditemp but an arduino solution is ready to go next days btw).

A hot swop in case of a crash (never happened so far!) from one machine to the other just takes a second.

So: good old MIDI everywhere

Regards, humphrey

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I’ve been working with 100% USB midi for many years. I’ve never had a problem caused by USB drivers. I currently have 2 keyboard controllers, a breath controller, a Voicelive Touch and a Babyface Pro all plugged into a single powered USB hub.

Thanks for the answers - good to know it’s possible to go 100% USB midi like BigTwisty and not have issues but I think I will stick with one USB for audio and the second for MIDI like Fred.

Like Torsten- I only use one for both :wink: (The others do external storage and peripherals.)

All my devices bar my faithful MIDI only Roland FC300 connect directly via USB connections.

No problems noted so far other than my Line6 Helix does not connect with a USB lead of 6M length. 5M is fine! All other devices are happy with 6M lead length!

The basic principle of connecting via USB has to be fine as we are all connecting USB MIDI and Audio interfaces, so I do not see why connecting keyboards etc directly wouldn’t work so long as computer is powerful enough to handle all the devices and the device drivers are well behaved.

Same here. 100% USB MIDI, no probs. On my laptops, I run audio interface, and my main keyboard directly into laptop, Key 2, pedal/switch board, any additional controllers, and usb mouse into a USB hub connected directly into laptop. Works great. I had my worries as @FredProgGH about usb port assignments with Windows. but the USB powered hub has cured those worries. I am also rock solid with USB.

My issue was that I would assign keyboards to specific virtual inputs and next time I’d boot up they’d all be assigned to different ones. Plugging into the same physical port made no difference. At the end of the day all I had to do was swap usb cables around until everything lined up again but still, that’s a layer of hassle I don’t need. That happened on at least two different computers too. I guess if you run into a hub that deals with it though!

One of these days I’m going to get all Jordan Rudess and run everything from a single controller just using a ton of splits and patch changes.

I went through that as well. What a PITA! In the hub, I can put any controller into any slot without problems. It really made a big difference. I still use MIDI cables on any ancient keyboards without USB ports.

That’s the ticket! I totally agree.:smiley:

EDIT: My beard is much better than Jordans. At least I have that on him. :rofl:

Been there, done that, got too confused and distracted by all the splits and switching and moved back to two keyboards.

Besides, more fun playing piano on a fully weighted 88 keys and organs / synths on a lighter touch board above…




I used to have the same driver assignment issues until I figured out what was happening. Certain drivers, like the motif drivers, allow C3 to grab them even if the keyboard isn’t present. If you then plug in the keyboard after you open C3 the driver forces a 2nd instance to open. As long as you make sure everything is pluggedin before starting C3, and turn off the audio engine before unplugging things and turn it back on after plugging them back in, you should have no problems.

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Definitely wasn’t that in my case. Keys were always plugged in before opening a DAW and this happened with Sonar as well.

I use MIDIBOX 4x4 (midi/merge/thru-4in/4out) for more than 2 years without any glitches (WIN10-64bit). Very versatile device. You can find it on different web site for about 50$ US.

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Isn’t that just another usb MIDI interface? If you have to get MIDI into your C3 PC anyway you may as well take advantage of the power distribution and native drivers.

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What Fred said.
I absolutely will not use USB for connecting keyboards.

No worries about USB here.

I was using a pair of keyboards plugged straight into my laptop - no problems at all. For this year’s bigger gigs I’m running up to 6 keyboards connected through a powered USB hub.

I don’t even need power supplies for my USB-powered keyboards - one cable for each keyboard and I’m done. The inputs appear already named, so it doesn’t matter which ports they are plugged into - Windows just finds them.

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