Connecting using MIDI instead of USB

I use a Yamaha MX49 synth in my home setup and I’d like to change to MIDI connections from it rather than its USB in order to avoid the intrusive noises I’m getting as a result of a ground loop (MIDI is protected from this problem by its design). How can I do this? I have the following:

  • Yamaha CLP130 piano with MIDI In/Out/Thru
  • MX49 with MIDI In/Out
  • Steinberg UR22 MkII USB audio interface with MIDI In/Out
  • Windows 10 laptop with Cubase Ai 9.5
    I’m struggling to find a way to make this work so that I can use the piano as a MIDI input keyboard, plus the MX49 as a sound source and a MIDI input device (it has a useful arpeggiator and some MIDI CC hardware controls). It works fine now, if noisily, with the MX and the UR22 connected to the laptop via separate USB cables but I want to get rid of the MX’s USB connection and use MIDI instead and thereby eliminate the ground loop whistles and buzzes. Any ideas?


If none of your device has MIDI Thru, you cannot connect it. Btw, you would have the USB connections anyway (from UR22 MKII to the computer). Today it’s almost impossible to avoid MIDI > USB, because there are no these dedicated cards with direct MIDI/Game port connector.

I’ve realised just now that my problem would be solved by eliminating the ground loop. EBay sells USB isolators for under £8, so perhaps one of those would do the job. This problem of USB noise seems to be widespread in home studios.