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MPU-401 MIDI PC Joystick Port Setup
How to Setup Your Windows MIDI Studio Using the
Built-in Soundcard Joystick MIDI Port.
by Ron Tongue

The MIDI PC joystick port (MPU-401) setup is pretty much obsolete ever since USB came into the picture. But if you have an older PC and this is your only option, here's what you need to do:

The MIDI cable required for this is somewhat unique. It has a 15 pin connector at one end that splits in to two ends with a round 5 pin MIDI connector.

MPU-401 cable

The 15 pin connects to the joystick port on your soundcard which is generally found on the back of your computer.

MPU-401 Joystick MIDI port

Follow the steps below to begin.

Step 1: Connect your computer to your MIDI keyboard using the special MIDI PC cable.

The two 5 pin connectors are generally labeled one as "IN" and the other as "OUT." These are the inputs and outputs for the computer NOT for your MIDI instrument. Because the 15 pin connector is so thick, I have found it's necessary to screw it in for a snug fit. Otherwise it will fall out.

Your cables should be crossed wired between your MIDI instrument and computer. By this I mean, the "IN" on the computer connects to the "OUT" on the instrument. And the "OUT" on the computer connects to the "IN" on the instrument.

In other words, connect the cable labeled "IN" to the "OUT" on your keyboard and the "OUT" to the "IN." If you happen to get is backwards, it's no big deal, simply reverse them.

Step 2: Configure Windows to use your sound card MPU-401 MIDI PC port.

After you have your cables connected properly, you have to tell the computer where to look for the MIDI instrument. On a PC, this is done in the control panels.

  1. Open your "Control Panel"
  2. Choose "Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices"
    Windows MIDI Sounds Speech Audio Devices
  3. Choose "Sounds and Audio Devices"
  4. Click on the "Audio Tab"

    Windows MIDI Audio

  5. Choose "MPU-401" from the "MIDI Music Playback" drop-down menu.

    Windows MIDI Playback

  6. Click "Apply"

Step 3: Configure your MIDI software.

Sometimes after you install a new MIIDI program, when you run it for the first time it may ask you to chose your MIDI inputs and outputs. In this case, since we are talking about the 15 pin sound card port, you need to again choose the "MPU 401" joystick MIDI port for both the input and output.

Sonar 2 MIDI Outputs

Windows MIDI Devices

NOTE!! The software usually will allow you to test your MIDI connections at this point as well. When you press the test button, you should hear something being played from your MIDI instrument. If you don't, then you need to go back and double-check everything.

Step 4: Configure your MIDI keyboard or instrumnet.

Some MIDI instruments require internal MIDI configuring. Especially the more advanced (and expensive) ones. This configuration is usually different for every brand and model. So, use your handy manual that came with the instrument and find the section on configuring or setting up MIDI.

Congratulations! You are finished setting up your MPU-40 MIDI PC recording studio.

Troubleshooting!! If you are still having problems there are a several places you can go for help.

  1. Use the Windows "help" features.
  2. Refer to your MIDI interface instructions.
  3. Refer to your MIDI software instructions.
  4. Refer to your MIDI keyboard owners manual

Back to Windows MPU-401 MIDI Setup Options.

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