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  1. #1
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
    I want to connect a Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard to a Mac and use Garage Band.

    I obviously need a MIDI to USB cable, but when I do a search for that, a lot of different cables show up priced anywhere from a low of around $7.00 to $40.- and more, but when I then read some reviews and discussions, it seems people have a problem to actually get the combination GarageBand, MIDI and external MIDI device to work.

    Question to the group....Is anyone using a Mac/GarageBand with an external MIDI keyboard and has that working properly?
    Which specific MIDI to USB cable are you using?

    This is something my son wants to do - I'm not that familiar with MIDI, so maybe I'm not providing all the info needed to get a recommendation.

  2. #2
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    I can’t say I’m aware of a simple midi to usb cable for this, if there is its new to me.

    I have a midi keyboard (the din plug out) and I need to use my midi box which is usb in to my Mac, and midi cables (in/out) to the keyboard. Before I had this large rack mount one I used to have a small 1x1 midi device that worked. But I think it was like 75 bucks plus the cables.

    I think now there’s keyboards which are usb without the need for the box

  3. #3
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    I think most people tend use simple 1x1s like this one: M-Audio USB-UNO MIDI Interface - Long & McQuade Musical Instruments

  4. #4
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    Thanks for the comments.

    I see a huge selection on amazon.ca
    Starting at rock bottom prices like this one:
    Robot Check

    But then when I google, people seem to have no end of problems getting Midi on a Mac to work with those.

    I assume there are only a few IC's that do the conversion, so other than the quality of the construction they all should work the same.
    I was hoping someone in the forum had actually tried one - I guess I need to be the guinea pig here.

    PS: This seller actually specifically mentions OS X in the description
    Robot Check
    Last edited by krs; 01-20-2020 at 06:29 PM.

  5. #5
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
    Groovetube's Avatar
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    Some of those other cheaper brands I don't really know, so I can't comment on them, they may work. I have had extensive experience using m-audio small ones (like the 1x1s) since early 2000s, and I currently use a rack mount 8x8 by motu. They're all well recognized brand/devices. Never had any real issues and used them with GarageBand, logic, and several other DAWs.

    EDIT: Let me add. Ive used midi a lot back in the 80s, between devices live, midi has always been a bit of a nightmare, with sometimes going through the 'song and dance', turning devices on off, being important which one you did first etc etc. Im amazed it has survived as a standard for this long. So my gut tells me, get name brand stuff. It may still give some issues, but I so far (knock on wood) have done well with the units Ive used. Sometimes a keyboard department at a reputable music shop can help best.
    Last edited by Groovetube; 01-20-2020 at 07:12 PM.

  6. #6
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    Your Mac's Specs
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    Also check that you won’t need a midi in (I usually connect both in/out cables for computer control of my keyboard) as well. That robot is only midi out, which can work for most simple controls of softsynths, it most simple midi boxes will have both in/out.

  7. #7
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    I did a bit more research since I posted earlier.

    The really cheap MIDI to USB cables/converters seem to have a 50/50 success rate based on the reviews.
    Some people comment that what they bought works great and the next person posts a review for the very same item which says it doesn't work at all.

    But I have the feeling that some people may not connect the MIDI cable properly connecting the MIDI-in on the cable to MIDI-in on the keyboard when they should be connecting MIDI-in to MIDI-out.

    In any case, it seems once you hit the $C 20.- plus price point, reviews become much more positive.

    This particular unit caught my eye at the $C 20.- price point
    Robot Check

  8. #8
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groovetube View Post
    That robot is only midi out...........
    Why do you think that?
    It shows two DIN plugs - would that not be one MIDI-in and one MIDI-out?

  9. #9
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    Assuming I’m looking at the right one you posted. It’s hard to tell as the pics don’t show the din jacks on it.
    But the description says 1in/out. So it appears (but I’m not 100%) it’s only midi in to the midi device and one out to computer. That may be enough for what you want to do, (simple control of software synths and recording midi notes) but midi boxes in general, are usually bidirectional, with both midi in, and midi out from the keyboard to the midi device, and the other side is the usb into the Mac. (There’s also midi thru but that’s for when you daisy chain midi devices). Example having the midi notes recorded in say GarageBand play back using the sounds in the keyboard. It’s an important distinction.

    You need the other midi cable to have the Mac speak back to the keyboard. If you want or need that functionality. Honestly I’ve never really seen the cheap ones with only one direction (out from keyboard to Mac).

  10. #10
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
    Groovetube's Avatar
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    Your Mac's Specs
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    And yeah midi as I said is frustrating at times. The biggest issue is generally getting the controller (keyboard whatever) handshake with the target device (Mac in this case). There are a number of settings as well to set, and if there’s issues you have to wrap you head around how midi communicates.

  11. #11
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    Your Mac's Specs
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    https://www.amazon.ca/M-Audio-USB-Mi...572940&sr=8-20

    This is the more recent updated version of the midi interface I used for years. Most I know use this one, or similar. You’ll notice, that the midi cables going to your keyboard, has both in and out.

  12. #12
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groovetube View Post
    Assuming Iím looking at the right one you posted. Itís hard to tell as the pics donít show the din jacks on it.
    But the description says 1in/out.
    Yes, I saw that in the description, but I assumed it was a typo and should read 1in/1out

    The picture shows two DIN plugs and also 2 cables coming out of the "DIN" side of that module.

    81TN3Ib1w-L._AC_SL1500_800.jpg

  13. #13
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    Ok that has both directions then. You’re good on that front. I asked a studio tech who’s opinion I trust, he said the cheapo ones these days generally work as well, they didn’t use to.mileage will vary but he seems positive about it. I’m a bit superstitious on midi so I use the better ones but I have pro studio sessions running so a bit more mission critical.

  14. #14
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    I don't want to go for the cheapest one either, but the price differential from a low of around $5.00 to over $100.- seems rather ridiculous.

    There can't be that many different chips for that MIDI to USB conversion since it is a pretty specialized functions.
    What I gathered so far from a bit of research tonight is:
    1. People who have the cheap units that didn't work and took them apart found that there wereplaces on the board inside for components that just were not there. They claim that's why it didn't work (possibly), but the manufacturer could have also used a multi-purpose board.
    2. There seem to be a number of iterations of the IC's used - makes sense - and some vendors claim they use the latest version which makes the whole unit more stable.

    So my guess is that many of the really cheap ones possibly use older versions of the IC's - with amazon, I can just send it back at their expense if it does not work.
    Just a lot of hassle, that's all.

  15. #15
    MIDI to USB Cable for Yamaha PSR-640 Keyboard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groovetube View Post
    Robot Check

    This is the more recent updated version of the midi interface I used for years. Most I know use this one, or similar. You’ll notice, that the midi cables going to your keyboard, has both in and out.
    Good Grief!!!

    When I was looking for the IC used for the MIDI to USB conversion, I just came across that same unit being sold in Germany.
    For Canadians it's $C 113.-
    For Germans, after taking out the VAT, the price is only 28 Euros or $34.04 Cdn.
    M-Audio USB Uno USB-MIDI-Interface – Musikhaus Thomann

    Just shows again that price and retailer costs don't necessarily have a relationship.
    I think that is true especially for amazon.

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