I just got a 3.5mm to MIDI adapter so I can use it with my Roland EXR-3 Interactive Arranger or use it with my Wurlitzer Omni 3600, which both have in and out MIDI ports. I just want to use the cable, and involve Garageband in the use of it. How do I either:

  • Make the sounds from Garageband come out of the keyboard's speakers (either using the keys on the keyboard, or just playing the virtual keys on the screen), or
  • Record sounds from my keyboards into a Garageband track?
  • Welcome to Ask Different. No need to change this question, but in the future please ask one question per question. If you have two related questions, just ask one and link to the other once the first is posted.
    – bmike
    Jul 12, 2019 at 23:35
  • Hello, and welcome to Ask Different. Would it be possible that the iPad Air can't directly send audio to your keyboard? Also, for using sounds from your keyboard on your iPad, I believe you would have to attach your keyboard to your iPad via a lightning cable, and you also may need a special app on your iPad. Unfortunately, I don't think that you're attempting to do is possible on iOS yet.
    – Sam
    Jul 12, 2019 at 23:37

1 Answer 1


The two objectives you have are not possible to achieve as such using a MIDI adapter cable.

The MIDI adapter cables carries a digital protocol with information such as note on/off with notes, velocity, etc., pitch bends, patch changes, etc. No analog waveforms or other representations of actual sounds are sent over MIDI.

Therefore transferring actual sounds from Garageband to the keyboard's speakers is not possible - and similarly recording the sounds made by your keyboard into a Garageband audio track is also not possible.

If you want to achieve those objectives, you'll need instead to purchase analog audio cables and a audio recording interface for the iPad - or use the 3.5" input (not that well suited).

What you can achieve with the MIDI adapter is to use a MIDI-compatible app to send out MIDI notes to the keyboard which can then play its own sounds through its speakers.

Similarly you can record MIDI notes from the keyboard into an instrument track in a MIDI-compatible app. However, when playing it back, the audio will come out through the keyboard's speakers - and the keyboard will need to be connected to playback the track.

Alternatively you can use GarageBand with a virtual instrument, which will create the instrument sound from the MIDI notes and play it back through your iPad's speakers.

  • What can I do with the cable then? Jul 12, 2019 at 23:36
  • @JohnnyApplesauce I have updated the answer with that information.
    – jksoegaard
    Jul 12, 2019 at 23:38
  • One more favor? Please tell me how to send MIDI notes from GarageBand Jul 12, 2019 at 23:38
  • @JohnnyApplesauce That's not possible with GarageBand on the iPad as far as I remember. You can record MIDI notes in, and use MIDI notes for playing a virtual instrument (or smart instrument).
    – jksoegaard
    Jul 12, 2019 at 23:42

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