This post will be quite a shift from my usual tech focus, but I wanted to take this opportunity to share what I learned today. Reason being, it took me too long to find this info online for myself. Hopefully, someone else considering this model of piano and wondering the same manages to find this and it assists them.
TL;DR? Here you go:
Can you connect a Yamaha P-45 to your computer in order to use a "learn to play piano" website like Piano Marvel? Yes.
Do you need to buy anything fancy and expensive to connect it to PC/Mac? Buy? Yes. (Or rather, 'maybe' - you probably already have it.) Expensive? No. Just a regular old printer cable and you're good to go.
Can I connect it to my iPad? I imagine so, but that falls outside the scope of this post. This is about how to connect it to a computer via USB. Sorry...
How? Well, you'll need to read more for that. Scroll down to the heading "How to connect the piano to your PC" to jump straight to the details.
I have what seems to be an extremely popular model of entry-level digital piano, the Yamaha P45. Or "P-45" (with a hyphen/dash) to be totally correct...
In my search for a good online piano learning platform, I stumbled across Piano Marvel. The reviews are good! Needless to say, I'm keen to give it a go. They even offer a 7-day free trial, so I'd be crazy not to!
But, in order to use it properly, your digital piano needs to be connected to your PC / Mac / iPad so that the software can "hear" your playing and mark accordingly.
Enter MIDI. Right off the bat, allow me to add this disclaimer: I really know very little about MIDI, how it works, what a MIDI controller is and suchlike. And, while I'm sure I'll learn all about it in good time, for now, what I wanted was simply to know: CAN I connect my Yamaha P-45 to my PC so that I can start learning using the Piano Marvel platform?
That search took me down the rabbit hole! I found LOTS of really technical articles out there about all things MIDI, yet almost nothing about what I actually wanted to know: Specifically, how to connect my Windows 10 laptop to the piano via USB and whether this specific model of digital piano has the capability to do so.
Long story short: Yes. I did eventually find the info and successfully did it.
But... now I'm writing like one of those recipe bloggers - 1 000 words on my life story when all you really want is the list of ingredients and cooking method. Fine, I'll get on with it. Here you go:
How to connect the piano to your PC
Check the back of the piano. Here's a pic for you:
See that red circled port? That's where the lead will go.
To connect, you'll need a USB A to B lead. Or, in layman's terms: a printer cable... Got one? Great. If not, they're not too expensive and are available at most computer stores.
Here's a pic of the cable's connections to clarify the type:
Cable connected to the Piano? Good! Now switch the piano on. Then, connect the other end of the cable to your PC's USB port. In Windows 10, in my case at least, I just let Windows install the drivers automatically and that was it.
However, rumour has it that some PCs may need to download drivers to complete this step. In which case, here you go:
- Windows 32-bit and 64-bit options: click here
Please be sure to check the details re: macOS on the site - I'm not overly familiar with the different versions, so this is more of a starting point...
Done? Great. That's it. You're good to go.
If, however, you're using Piano Marvel... well, I've been down this road, so allow me to assist you further:
How to set up your connected Yamaha P-45 in Piano Marvel
Okay, I lied. I won't personally be assisting 😉. Instead, here's a handy video from Piano Marvel themselves on the next steps to take. The point of this written post was specifically to address my "can it / can't it" P-45 connectivity query.
That's done, so the rest is more generally applicable, addressing both types of MIDI ports and connections. Here you go:
Just follow the in-browser steps listed here and you're sorted. I can confirm - I did this today!
Keen to give Piano Marvel a try? If so, here's a link to use to sign up. Yup, it's my affiliate link. Once your trial period is done and you decide to upgrade (and you will - it's that good!), you pay the normal (already excellent value for money) rates, and I get a little finder's fee from Piano Marvel as a thank you. Win-win!
What's the difference between the Yamaha P-45 and the P-45B?
As an aside, if you're wondering what the difference is between the Yamaha P-45 and the P-45B... well, there is no difference at all. They're the same thing. The "B" stands for black, but all Yamaha P45s are black anyway. Some call it P-45 while others call it the P-45B. Need Proof? Here's a photo of the box mine came in, listing "P-45B"
And here's a pic of the model number on the ACTUAL piano. See? No "B"... Guess what colour it is!