Why isn’t my MIDI keyboard working Protools – How to fix

Are you experiencing issues with your MIDI keyboard on Protools? In this article, we aim to provide reasons why your MIDI keyboard is not working on Protools and some possible solutions.

Despite its high cost and clunky interface, Protools is an industry-standard DAW when it comes to audio handling and recording capabilities. The platform possesses the ability to record and output MIDI information used to trigger hardware units or virtual instrument plugins. One of the most popular means of recording MIDI information into the software is through a MIDI keyboard controller.

Every once in a while, we come across a moment where you hit a resonant chord on your MIDI keyboard, just to hear the clacking of plastic keys on your keyboard. Often, you will find that the reason as to why your keyboard is not working simply lies in the configuration or cable management. Let us find out why your MIDI keyboard is not working in Protools.

Setting up MIDI keyboard in Protools

Before using your MIDI keyboard on Protools, it first needs to recognize it. While the majority of MIDI keyboards in the market are class-compliant, some work via the use of a specific driver, meaning that you will have to install that driver into your MIDI keyboard before connecting it to Protools. After the installation of the updated drivers, it is advisable to check whether your MIDI device is recognized. To scan for the connection of your MIDI devices:

  • Click on the ‘setup’ menu, and navigate to ‘MIDI,’ where you will select ‘MIDI input devices
  • Click on each MIDI device port you want to enable. The unticked ports will be disabled in Protools
  • In case your MIDI keyboard has faders, knobs, and other features, you have to configure them with the ‘Peripherals’ menu. Select the ‘Setup’ menu and click on ‘Peripherals
  • Click on the ‘MIDI Controllers’ tab and commence on configuring your device. Choose the type of MIDI keyboard you are using, the preferred input and output ports, as well as the bank of preferred MIDI channels

After following the steps above, the user has effectively set up their MIDI keyboard to work in Protools. So, what does it mean when your MIDI keyboard is not working on the platform?

Incompatible drivers

Before setting up your MIDI keyboard to work on Protools, you have to ensure that all your keyboard drivers are up-to-date. It is also essential to ensure that your device is compatible with Protools. For instance, if you are using Windows, you need ASIO-compatible drivers, as there is no audio interface. Change the playback of the engine on Protools by going to Setup and selecting the Playback engine. Change it from Windows Audio device to your preferred audio device.

Upon set up, it is also advisable to ascertain that there is a signal flow between your MIDI keyboard and the computer. You can do this by using MIDIOX on Windows and through selecting ‘Audio MIDI setup’ and ‘Test MIDI’ on Mac.

You are not operating your Protools account as an administrator account

Your device may not be functioning correctly because you have not set Pro Tools to run as an administrator account, meaning the platform does not have access to your device drivers. To do this, right-click on the pro tools icon on your desktop and select ‘properties.’ Click on the ‘Compatibility’ tab and check the box that says ‘Run this program as an administrator.’ Click on ‘Apply’ and the ‘Ok’ to effect the changes.

Your MIDI Keyboard does not have any peripherals, yet enabled on Pro tools

Another reason why your keyboard might not be working on Pro Tools may be because you have enabled the peripherals option on the platform, yet your device does not have any additional features, like faders, knobs, and other transport features. Go to the ‘Setup’ menu, select ‘Peripherals’ and further choose ‘MIDI controllers.’ Ensure everything is set to none if your device’s user guide does not stipulate otherwise.

Issues with the MIDI keyboard itself

Check if your MIDI device is listed and checked in the ‘Input devices’ menu. If it is not, then the problem may resonate with your device itself rather than the platform. Check with the keyboard’s manufacturer for specific guidelines on how to setup your device on Pro Tools and also to ascertain that you do not have a faulty device.


With the above suggestions as to why your device is not working and the recommended fixes, you should be using your MIDI keyboard on Pro Tools with a lot of ease. In case of anything, the platform has a very responsive customer support service that will answer any of your queries within 24 hours.

Peter Smith

Welcome to MusicGearAdvisor! 4 years ago I rediscovered my passion for making music and began building my own home studio. As I have gone through my journey I realized that I am just as passionate about the equipment as I am about the music. I started MusicGearAdvisor as a way for me to share my learnings with others so you can get started making music that you dream of.

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