I am looking for a 'cheap' digital piano that can output midi. I was thinking of the Yamaha P-45 or 155, but I was surprised to see that they removed the MIDI output.

I will be using this keyboard for research purposes, so I need to be able to record the midi signal by connecting it to my Mac and then using LogicPro. So I was just wondering. Is this in any way possible through its usb output? Perhaps this acts as a usb adapter for midi or so? Maybe I am totally wrong here though...


The "standard" method of sending MIDI data to or from computers is now via a USB cable, not the old type of MIDI cables. This has the advantage that all PCs have USB sockets, whereas MIDI cables usually needed some type of adapter at the PC end or a special MIDI or audio interface card.

A single USB cable can transmit MIDI data in both directions simultaneously, eliminating the possible confusion when connecting up two separate cables using physically identical plugs and sockets.

According to the manuals, the P45 and P115 both have MIDI-over-USB connectors.

  • I would not expect this to be a problem for an up to date Mac & a Yamaha keyboard, but there is a small chance of needing a specific driver for a specific keyboard. – Dave Feb 22 '17 at 18:00
  • 1
    The basic USB-MIDI functionality should be "class compliant" which means it should work without any special drivers. That has been the case since about 2000. (Note, confusingly, USB-MIDI is actually considered to be a type of audio class-compliant driver, even though MIDI and audio are totally different types of data!) However many manufacturers provide extra functionality which is not class compliant, and does need a specific driver. If you buy a new keyboard, the documentation should tell you if you need a specific driver, and where to download it from. – user19146 Feb 22 '17 at 18:32

Midi is nowadays mostly sent through USB. One disadvantage is that you can no longer abuse a line of your multicore stage cable for routing Midi (the current loop of the DIN cables is robust enough for that purpose).

Another disadvantage is the reason Midi used the current loop approach with optical isolation in the first place: if the keyboards are connected to analog hardware like mixers, the old Midi connections were safe against introducing ground loops.

However, if the keyboard has only Midi output, this is not really much of a consideration.


USB will work fine for your purposes, and should work with any DAW with no need for special drivers or other software; USB-over-MIDI support is standard on any recent OS.

The one significant drawback, which isn't a problem in your case, is that keyboards with only USB can only connect to a computer, not to another MIDI device. So, for example, if you want to use one as a controller to play sounds from another synth, then you could plug both devices into a computer and use software to route MIDI from one to the other, but you won't be able to leave the computer at home entirely.

(Note that a number of keyboards have USB host (type A) sockets like the ones on a PC, which makes it physically possible to connect the keyboard to another keyboard with a device (type B) socket. But it won't work. Those sockets only support storage, usually to back up patches or recordings on a flash drive. I believe the only current exception to that rule is the Korg Kronos.

So, if you're buying a keyboard, and want to be able to connect it to another piece of MIDI hardware that's not a computer, then the keyboard should either be a Kronos or have real MIDI ports.)

  • "keyboards with only USB can only connect to a computer, not to another MIDI device" - That is a basic limitation of the way USB works - it's nothing to do with MIDI specifically. When you connect any two devices with a USB cable, one of the devices is the "controller" of the link, for data travelling in either direction. Since a computer is an obvious candidate for being a "controller" device, almost all other USB devices are not designed as controllers, and if you connect two "non-controllers" together, nothing happens. – user19146 Feb 23 '17 at 3:24
  • Yup. Though the lines are getting blurred by mobile devices supporting USB OTG and USB C, some of which can take either role (host or peripheral). It'll also be interesting to see if that Kronos feature starts to trickle down to other keyboards in coming years--it could certainly be handy. – Bruce Fields Feb 23 '17 at 18:27

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