How to Test a MIDI Cable

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A MIDI cable allows you to transmit notes from one MIDI music device to another. For instance, you can connect a MIDI keyboard to a mixer or a MIDI synthesizer to a hardware sequencer. However, you will need to ensure that your MIDI capable device works properly in order to transmit notes properly. MIDI cables can short out or cease functioning, just like any type of audio cable, for a variety of reasons.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 MIDI Devices
  • Select two MIDI devices that you will use to test your cable. You should use one transmitting device, such as an instrument and one receiving device, such as a hardware sequencer or computer. Note that if you use a computer as your receiving device, you will need a MIDI-to-USB converter in order to plug in your cable.

  • Plug one end of your MIDI cable into the "MIDI Out" port of your transmitting device. You should see the words "MIDI In" and "MIDI Out" written above each appropriate port on every MIDI device, so just look for the words.

  • Plug the other end of your MIDI cable into the "MIDI In" port of your receiving device. You now have a direct line from your transmitting device to your receiving device.

  • Turn on both MIDI devices, and verify their readiness to send and receive signals. You may need to select a "MIDI" option from your menu if you are using a MIDI keyboard or synthesizer to transmit. Open a digital audio program that accepts MIDI signals if you are using a computer to receive.

  • Begin sending MIDI signals from your transmitting device to your receiving device. You can do this by pressing keys on a MIDI keyboard, clicking buttons on a drum machine or playing sequences on a synthesizer, depending on the device.

  • Check to see that your receiving device picked up the signal. If so, you have a fully functioning MIDI keyboard. You probably have a defective MIDI cable if all of your connections are correct and the signals fail to transmit.

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