Connecting a MIDI Player Piano to a Computer

    Why Connect a MIDI Piano to a computer?
    Hardware Considerations
    To Host Port
    Software Considerations
    Trouble Shooting a Computer Installation


Why Connect a MIDI Piano to a Computer?

There are several reasons you might want to connect your MIDI piano to a computer:

    Need to bypass the floppy disk drive.  This is particularly useful if the floppy drive is broken, or only proprietary files like early PianoDisc or Yamaha ESEQ files will play on your disk drive, and you would like to play standard MIDI files.  All Midi Players will play MIDI files from a computer.

    Create Playlists.  Instead of changing the floppy disk every dozen songs or so, you can copy your MIDI files to the hard drive on a computer and create longer play lists. Play songs in any order you want or organize your music by category, i.e., jazz, hymns, Irish tunes, etc.  A simple Jukebox software program will do this for standard MIDI files, like the vanBasco Karaoke Player in the software downloads on this site.  Sequencer software can also do this.  You would first need to convert any propriety file formats to standard MIDI files first. The dkvutil software has an ESEQ2MID program that runs in Windows.  Make sure that you have duplicate directories of the files you want to convert though so you don't mess up your originals!

    Use educational software.  There are programs available to help you learn to play the piano, or provide Ensemble sounds to accompany you while playing.  Check out the Band-in-a-Box and Home Concert software on the Music Software page.

    Record a song from your keyboard directly into an editing program.  Although any file you create by recording to a floppy disk or memory disk can also be edited, some find it more convenient to record directly into their Sequencing Software.  This may require the use of an interrupt (IRQ) on an IBM compatible PC.  Consult the documentation for your computer's soundcard.

    Control other MIDI instruments.  With appropriate software, you could use your MIDI Player to control the sounds coming from another electronic keyboard, drum machine, etc.

Connecting a MIDI Player to a computer requires BOTH consideration of the hardware and the software.


Hardware Considerations


Either a Mac or PC laptop or desktop computer can be used. MIDI data files are small and the utilities to copy them can run in something as old as DOS. 

A MIDI Interface is needed to connect the computer to the MIDI Player unless you are using a Yamaha instrument equipped with a TO HOST port.  


M-Audio USB Midisport Uno Midi Interface



The MIDI OUT on the interface would connect to the MIDI IN on the player, and the MIDI IN on the interface would connect to the MIDI OUT on the player.  If no data is being transmitted, reverse the MIDI cables.  Sometimes they are labeled, To MIDI In and To Midi Out.  If you are also connecting to another piece of MIDI equipment, like a tone generator, you would want a set of 3 MIDI ends, the third one being a MIDI THRU.

NOTE:  If you are also planning to do MIDI/digital audio recording directly from your MIDI Player and editing with your computer, you might want to consider the MBox from Avid which replaces the MBox2 from DigiDesign (same company).  Both interfaces have 2 audio inputs with phantom power (for use with 2 microphones) as well as MIDI In and MIDI Out ports.  They also come with Pro Tools LE 8 software for editing both audio and MIDI files and runs on both a PC or Mac.  You will need a fast computer, at least 2GB of ram, a recommended external hard drive for the audio data  Audio and MIDI cables may need to be purchased separately.




The TO HOST Port is a Connection Option found on Yamaha Instruments.


NOTE:  The TO HOST port was designed for Windows operating systems 3.1 through XP.  Starting with Windows 7 you must use a USB MIDI interface because computers in 2011 are no longer equipped with serial ports.

Disklaviers starting with the MarkIIXG models come equipped with a TO HOST port that eliminates the need for a MIDI Interface and MIDI cables.  The quality of the MIDI signal is identical to using the standard MIDI connections on the control box.  To connect to a Macintosh (older model with a serial port), all that is necessary is a standard serial cable (mini DIN 8-pin).  To connect to an IBM PC computer, you would use a standard serial cable with one end a mini DIN 8-pin connected to the To HOST port, and the other end either a D-SUB 9-pin or a D-SUB 25-pin to connect to the serial port on the computer.  Yamaha sells a cable (part number Yamaha CCIBM) for connecting PCs to any Yamaha product equipped with a To-Host connector port.



When using the TO HOST port, you must also use the CBX driver for your particular operating system when using am IBM PC.  These can be downloaded for free from the Yamaha website under Support and Downloads at  There is also one included on this website for Windows 98 called cbx.exe

The HOST SELECT SWITCH must be set to the appropriate position!

The HOST SELECT Switch appears on all models of Yamaha instruments equipped with a TO HOST port and it is absolutely necessary to set it to the proper position.  If you are using the TO HOST port, the set the switch to your computer type; MAC or PC2.  Only if you were using a NEC computer from Japan would you set it to PC1.  If you are connecting MIDI cables to the standard MIDI ports, set the switch to MIDI.


Software Considerations

The IRQ assignment for PCs only needs to be considered if MIDI IN is used for Recording data directly into the soundcard port on the computer.  Make sure there are no conflicts and that the proper drivers are installed for MIDI on your soundcard.  Remember, when using the CBX cable to install the  CBX driver!

When using Sequencer software, make sure you tell your computer where to look to find the MIDI inputs and outputs.  Usually this is done by selecting from the Options menu in the software.  Select the soundcard, or the MIDI interface, or whatever you are using for both MIDI inputs and outputs.  Also, make sure the MIDI options on the volume controls are turned up and that the Mute button is not checked.



Troubleshooting a computer connection to a MIDI Player

Why Don’t I Hear Anything? One of the most frustrating scenarios is correctly connecting the MIDI cables, MIDI interfaces, installing the appropriate software, etc. and nothing happens!  The simple answer is that somewhere in all that maze, the appropriate connection is not turned on.  Here are some things to check.

  Make sure the Host Select switch on the back of the Disklavier Control Box is set correctly for those models that have this feature.  If using a MIDI interface connected to the MIDI ports, choose MIDI.  If using the To Host port, set the switch to PC2 for a PC computer, or Mac for a Macintosh computer.

  Check the MIDI cable connections.  MIDI Out from one device always connects the other end of the MIDI cable to MIDI In on the other device.  Make sure the fine print on the connector does not read TO MIDI In or Out!  Try reversing the cables.

  There are usually several MIDI drivers installed on your computer - the soundcard MIDI Player, the Windows Media Player, the MIDI interface, etc. and you need to tell the program you are using which driver to use for MIDI IN and MIDI OUT.  You select MIDI Devices from the Options pull-down menu and choose the appropriate drivers.  If you are using a Yamaha CBX cable connected to the To Host port, make sure you have chosen the CBX driver.

  Your Windows MIDI Mapper properties may need checked.  Access these by choosing Control Panel, then Multimedia, the Properties to see what drivers are installed.

  Check that your soundcard has the MIDI turned on and the Mute box is not checked! Go to Control Panel, then System, and check the Sound, Video and Game controllers section.  Make sure Full Duplex is set “on”.  Some soundcards come with a Mixer.  Make sure the sliders in the Volume Controls are turned up and the appropriate Mute boxes are NOT checked.  Also in the Control Panel (Windows operating systems), click the icon for Multimedia Properties or Sound and Audio devices depending upon the operating system, and make sure the appropriate drivers are present.

  On the Midi Player Piano end of the connection, check to make sure that the appropriate settings are enabled for receiving and sending MIDI information.  For the Yamaha Disklavier, set the Piano Part to Rcv Ch=01 then set the Piano Receive Channel to Prg(All).  You may also want to set L=01 and R=Prg.  You may also want to set the Delay In=ON. 

  If you are sending data from your keyboard to your computer (recording) thru a MIDI cable instead of the TO HOST Port, be sure to set MIDI Out=KBD Out. Select the MIDI Out Channel so that Keyboard and pedal data is where you want them.  Half pedal data is usually sent on Channel 3 and Keyboard data and on/off pedal data usually on Channel 1.


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