This page describes how to connect synthesizers to your computer.

Connecting One Synthesizer to your Computer

Your computer communicates with synthesizers and sound modules through a MIDI Controller card installed in your computer. Some MIDI Controllers connect to your computer's parallel port. The MIDI controller is sometimes called a soundcard adapter or Patch Bay adapter. Many MIDI controllers also have a built-in Internal Synthesizer, used for playing MIDI music on your computer. The page shows all of the MIDI controllers and Internal Synthesizers that are connected to your computer.

The MIDI controller should be connected to your synthesizer with MIDI Cables as shown in the following diagram.

Connecting multiple Sound Modules to your computer

The difference between a synthesizer and a sound module is, a synthesizer has a keyboard while a sound module does not. One MIDI controller can communicate with several synthesizers and sound modules connected to it through a series of MIDI Cables. The recommended way to do this with Anvil Studio is shown below. The MIDI cables that let your computer make sounds through your synthesizer and sound modules run: The MIDI cables that let your computer listen to and record the keys that are pressed on your synthesizer keyboard run from your synthesizer's MIDI OUT port to the MIDI controller's MIDI IN port.

Some synthesizers have a mode that causes the MIDI Out port to echo all MIDI In events as well as locally generated ones. Some synthesizer manufacturers call this MIDI Thru mode or MIDI Merge mode. If your synthesizer supports this feature, then follow the synthesizer manufacturer's directions for putting the synthesizer in this mode, and connect your MIDI equipment as shown in the diagram below:


Connecting multiple synthesizer keyboards with only one MIDI Controller

Some synthesizers have a mode that causes the MIDI Out port to echo all MIDI In events as well as locally generated ones. Some synthesizer manufacturers call this MIDI Thru mode or MIDI Merge mode. If your synthesizers support this feature, then you can connect multiple synthesizers and sound modules to a single MIDI Controller as shown below: Care must be taken to ensure that each keyboard connected to the same MIDI Input Controller generates notes on a different MIDI channel.

If your synthesizer does not support MIDI Thru mode, or MIDI Merge mode, the best way to connect multiple synthesizer keyboards to your computer is with multiple MIDI Controllers, as described below.


Connecting multiple MIDI Controllers and Patch Bays to your computer

Your computer may have several MIDI controller cards installed in it. Each of these MIDI controllers has a unique name. The page shows all of the MIDI controllers that are connected to your computer.

If you have the Anvil Studio MIDI Manager Accessory installed, then Anvil Studio can play music over more than 16 MIDI channels through multiple MIDI Controllers and Patch Bays connected to your computer, as shown in the diagram below: