How to Use a MIDI Keyboard with FL Studio 12? – Explained in Detail

A MIDI keyboard is an electronic musical machine that allows you to play your music on it. It is usually in piano style and it has many buttons, sliders, and wheels. Midi sends signals to your computer or musical device and that’s how music is produced using this helpful keyboard. Although Midi Keyboard doesn’t have a sound module if you add a sound module to it, it can work without an external device. Some MIDI keyboards come with a sound module included. Sounds you make with midi are played with an external device that you connect MIDI to.

What is an FL Studio 12?

FL Studio is a digital audio software developed by Image-Line. In this program you can do pitch scaling, audio time-stretching, beat slicing, mixing, and audio editing. More advanced versions of this software allow you to record audio tracks simultaneously (up to 125 tracks). Other features you might like are a digital piano roll and many sound processing effects.

FL Studio comes with a mixer interface, graphical user interface, and a music sequencer.

You can use limitless channel configurations and a mix of surround sounds. You just need an external device with the same number of outputs. The mixer of FL Studio allows to the recording of multi-track audio.

How to use a Midi keyboard with FL Studio 12?

To be able to use the MIDI keyboard with FL Studio 12 and get the most out of this combination you need to connect them well. The first step to connecting those two is to check the MIDI settings section and do all necessary setups.

You need to set up hardware controls and check if those are connected well. If not, FL Studio may not register or follow the commands you set. Establishing the connection between the instrument and the DAW is the first step to making music in this software.

How to connect MIDI Keyboard To FL Studio 12?

Step 1: First you need to select the Controller which you can find in the System Settings and MIDI tab. Here you’ll see the list of MIDI tools, both hardware, and software that you can use for MIDI input of output. Some of the options are controller keyboards, software synthesizers, loopback tools, and hardware synthesizers.

The most common connection is a USB cable and MIDI cable. Those controllers can be mixer style, Piano keyboard, or pad style.

Step 2: Now you need to connect and install a keyboard, Controller, or Synthesizer. MIDI is not an audio connection since it doesn’t transfer audio but note data and program changes which allows software devices to produce sound. This way FL Studio can play hardware attached. Make sure that device inputs are connected to MIDI and audio to allow FL Studio to record sounds. This way all sounds from MIDI devices are transferred to FL Studio via the MIDI out plugin. You can choose 5-pin DIN connectors or USB cords to establish connectivity. USB can be directly connected to your computer if your keyboard has a USB port and when you use 5-pin DIN connectors you may need adapters like USB or MIDI cable.

Step 3: Once connectivity is established, set Output and Input MIDI Instruments. You can set Input as a keyboard and output as a tool that will connect to the computer and get note data.

This step s important because output needs to contain port mapping. This allows FL Studio to transfer signals from the MIDI keyboard to external gears. Some of the external gears you may know are Synthesizer, Drum Machine, and Samper. On the other hand, input will allow the connection of the external controller / MIDI keyboard.

To activate your keyboard in FL Studio and alter the input setting follow the next steps:

  1. When you open FL Studio, go to the Options menu. You will see the MIDI remote control input and you want to enable it.
  2. Find the device on the input list and click on it. You also need to select it in other lists like controller type. If you don’t see your device, this means that you need to use a USB audio device or generic controller. You can always install or reinstall needed drivers if there are no options.
  3. What you see that the controller is highlighted, click on the “enable button” that you can find below the input list. You will know that everything is ok if there’s a separate selection or deselection for every instrument on the list.
  4. You will know that process was successful if you see the light on the main panel blinking each time notes are played on the keyboard.

Step 4: Once everything is set up you need to add external files to FL Studio. You will find this file tab in System Settings as well. Here, you can add external VST or AU locations, folders for samples and sounds, and external file locations.

Although FL Studio saves projects automatically it’s better to add folder locations for file saving, just in case. Also, keep in mind that those folders should be separate from the installation folder.

Adding folders to the browser is very easy. Just left-click on a folder icon, then browse to the location, and then select “OK”. You can also double-click fields to enter the paths. If you left-click on the name column you can add a personalized name.

Having these folders will allow you to search the sound library manually, drag sounds, samples, and patches to the FL Studio location folder, and will make the automatic search easier as well as task loading.


Using a MIDI controller can help speed up your process and you can actually learn how to play the piano using it. Of course, you don’t need a MIDI keyboard to make music, but it does make it fun and different than using a mouse and a regular keyboard. You can even set notes to this keyboard for a real feel of playing.

FL Studio 12, converts the regular computer keyboard into a virtual piano but using MIDI can be way more fun since pressing a real keyboard gives a different feel and experience.


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