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REAPER MIDI Keyboard No Sound (Simple Fixes!)

If you are having issues hearing anything when using a MIDI keyboard in REAPER, there could be several things causing this. Check that your MIDI keyboard is connected to your system, your MIDI keyboard is enabled in your preferences, and you have the correct input selected.

MIDI Keyboard Or MIDI Controller Not Working In REAPER

With MIDI instruments being such a huge component of modern music production, not being able to use one will set you back big time!

Figuring out how to use a MIDI device in REAPER will allow you to use any VST instrument in your tracks.

Learning how to use a MIDI keyboard in REAPER has been huge for my career as a composer and music producer.

In this comprehensive guide, I will show you how to do some troubleshooting if you are getting no sound from your MIDI device in REAPER.

Here is a list of things you will need to follow in this guide:

  • The REAPER DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
  • A MIDI keyboard/MIDI controller that you are trying to use in REAPER
  • A new USB MIDI cable (only if your has to do with ‘Step Four’ of this article

Step One- Check That You Have Your MIDI Device Connected To Your System

The first thing to check if your MIDI keyboard is not working with your DAW is that it is correctly connected to your computer.

To do this, check the connection of your USB MIDI cable on your MIDI device end and your computer end.

If your MIDI keyboard is correctly plugged into your computer, you can move on to the next step.

Step Two – Check That You Have Your MIDI Device Enabled In REAPER’s Preferences

The next step for getting your MIDI keyboard controller to work in REAPER is making sure that you have it assigned and recognized by REAPER

To do this, click Options>Preferences>MIDI Devices. You will see a list of all MIDI devices that REAPER recognizes.

To enable your MIDI keyboard, right-click your device and select ‘Enable Input.’ 

Enable Your MIDI Device

If you do not see your MIDI controller on this list, chances are you need to download an audio driver for the MIDI device.

If this is the case, the manufacturer will provide the applicable audio driver.  

Step Three – Check That You Have The Correct Input Assigned On Your Track

The next thing that I would check is that you have the correct input assigned on your track, and you have your track armed to record

Simply select the correct input from the dropdown menu and press the arm to the record button. 

Check Your Assigned Track Inputs

Once you have done this, we can move on to the next step.

Step Four – Check Your VST Plugin

One of the last things that I would check that often causes me problems is strange things happening with MIDI instruments.

For example, sometimes, I’ll be moving right along when, out of the blue, my VST plugin that I’m playing through drops in volume for no reason. 

I always open up the plugin and reset the volume to fix this. 

It’s an irritating problem that I honestly can’t explain. 

Some MIDI instruments do it, and some do not. 

Check Your VST Plugin

Step Five – Restart REAPER

If you have gone through all of these steps and your MIDI keyboard is still not working, try restarting REAPER

Sometimes you need to restart REAPER, especially if you have changed certain settings or installed audio drivers.

To restart REAPER, first, make sure to save your work, and then close out of REAPER. 

Next, re-open REAPER, and hopefully, any changes you’ve made have taken effect. 

If you are still getting no sound from your MIDI keyboard, try repeating these steps from the top or perhaps reaching out to the manufacturer of your MIDI device to see if they have any tips specific to your MIDI device.

Does REAPER Support MIDI?

Yes, REAPER supports MIDI

In my opinion, REAPER is great for MIDI devices. With many MIDI devices, I have been able to just plug them right into my computer and use them right away without any driver installation or settings configuration.

Why Can’t I Hear My MIDI Keyboard In REAPER?

If you are getting no sound from your MIDI keyboard in REAPER, I would try these things:

  • Make sure that you have your MIDI device properly connected to your computer
  • Check that you have your MIDI device enabled in REAPER’s preferences (if you do not see it in the dropdown menu, you may need to install an audio driver)
  • See if your track has the correct MIDI input selected
  • Take a look at the VST plugin that you are trying to play through and make sure that the volume isn’t down or that any other settings aren’t preventing you from hearing your MIDI keyboard.
  • Try restarting REAPER to make sure that all changes have taken effect

REAPER Not Recognizing MIDI Keyboard

If REAPER is not recognizing your MIDI keyboard controller, you should first double-check that you have it connected to your computer with a working cable. 

After you have checked the connection, if REAPER is still not recognizing your MIDI device, you probably need to install an audio driver that comes with your MIDI keyboard. 

If this is the case, it would have come with the purchase of the MIDI device. 

However, if you can’t find the download code/link, try searching for it on the manufacturer’s website or contacting them.

REAPER Virtual MIDI Keyboard No Sound

If you are getting no sound when using the virtual MIDI keyboard in REAPER, you probably have the wrong input selected on your MIDI track.

Select the correct input, click the dropdown menu and choose ‘MIDI: Virtual MIDI Keyboard.’ 

Once you have done this, the virtual MIDI keyboard should cooperate for you. 

Select The Correct MIDI Input

How Do You Listen To MIDI Drums In REAPER?

To listen to a MIDI drum track in REAPER, place a drum VST plugin on a track with MIDI data on and press play.

Playing MIDI drums in REAPER is that easy as long as you have your track routed correctly.

How Do I Know If My MIDI Keyboard Is Working?

You will know whether your MIDI keyboard is working or not because if it is, you will be able to place a VST plugin on it, select the MIDI keyboard as the input for that MIDI track, arm the track to record, and then hear the virtual instrument playing through your headphones or speakers. 

If you are not hearing anything, you have issues with your MIDI keyboard.

Do MIDI Keyboards Have Speakers?

Typically, most MIDI keyboards do not have speakers. 

However, many electric keyboards made back in the day with MIDI capabilities also have speakers. 

For example, I still use an old Yamaha keyboard as a MIDI device.  

Do MIDI Keyboards Come With Sounds?

MIDI keyboards do not usually come with sounds installed. Still, these days, many MIDI keyboards do come with download links for sample packs or MIDI instruments.

This depends entirely on the MIDI device that you buy.

Related Questions

How Do You Connect A MIDI keyboard in REAPER?

To connect a MIDI keyboard in REAPER, start by plugging your MIDI device into your computer with a USB MIDI cable.
Next, click Options>Preferences>MIDI Devices, right-click your device, and press ‘Enable Input.’ Just like that, you have successfully connected your MIDI keyboard in REAPER.

How Do You Use the Virtual MIDI keyboard in REAPER?

To use the virtual MIDI keyboard in REAPER, set the MIDI input on your MIDI track to ‘MIDI: VIrtual MIDI Keyboard,’ and then click View>Virtual MIDI Keyboard.
Now you can use your standard computer keyboard as a MIDI controller.

Does REAPER come with any MIDI instruments?

The only MIDI instrument that REAPER comes with is a weak synthesizer plugin called ‘ReaSynth.’ 
Remember that this plugin does not sound good and is not very useful.

Check out the following guide on how to use a MIDI keyboard in REAPER.