A MIDI keyboard is a device that has a variety of controls (buttons, faders, and so on) as well as different key numbers. Although a compact and simple instrument like the best 25-key MIDI controller may be ideal for you, there are times when you need something more complicated. Imagine the sound you could make if you used two of these keyboards at the same time.
The additional MIDI gear can help bring your performance to the next level during concerts, music creation, and studio recordings. It will give you a lot of new control options and allow you to make sounds you couldn’t before.
You’ll learn how to connect a MIDI keyboard to another keyboard in this guide. Although it may appear difficult at first, reading the following paragraphs will show you that it’s as simple as connecting an external device to your keyboard.
How to Connect Two MIDI Keyboards
Before we get into the connection process, it’s important to say a few words about the types of connectors used by MIDI keyboards. They use MIDI and USB interfaces to transfer MIDI signals. When it comes to MIDI connectors, there are three types of them:
- MIDI IN. It gets all the incoming MIDI messages.
- MIDI OUT. It is responsible for transmitting data from the keyboard to the other unit.
- MIDI Thru. It can give you the opportunity to hook up more than two MIDI instruments at once.
So, before making a connection, note that you will have to use two MIDI cables. You should also be aware that the link may only be made with the MIDI IN and MIDI OUT ports of both keyboards. Finally, ensure that both devices are disabled.
Master and Slave Keyboard
When connecting two keyboards together, the first thing you need to do is to define the main and the secondary (master and slave) keyboards. The main one should include all the presets that you are going to need during the work as it will be sending a signal to the secondary one. However, the main keyboard doesn’t necessarily have to be the better one: it should be the one that is easier to control. You also may hook up a footswitch to the main keyboard if you want to obtain a possibility to vary the secondary keyboard presets.
Output and Input
Next, such connections must be made: MIDI OUT of the main keyboard must be hooked up to the MIDI In of the secondary keyboard.
Now you need to choose the MIDI channel for each of them. Of course, you can choose one for them both, but it would be much better if each keyboard had its own channel. You may even assign them to several channels if your instrument has this functionality. It is possible to accomplish so using two methods:
- Set a Global MIDI Channel
- Set MIDI channels in various combinations
Data for Transmission
You must now decide what data the secondary keyboard should receive from the primary keyboard. You can also specify which of the two keyboards should perform which functions. A good example is the use of two pedals. It’s possible that you won’t be able to use them both at the same time. Especially if you can’t use your left foot in the same way that you can your right. Only one pedal can be connected to the keyboard, and it can be set to send data to the second controller.
As you know how to connect two MIDI keyboards, you should also be aware of how to use them for sound creation. So, the first thing you need to do is create a collection of programs on a keyboard that you have chosen as your main. If you would like to send notes from the main keyboard to the secondary keyboard, you may try to use them with the combination of extra voices. It’s also possible to set the MIDI to send information independently of the programs. If everything has been done correctly, you should be able to control one keyboard from another without having to change the synth settings on either.