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How To Play a MIDI File

In this guide, you would learn how to play a MIDI File. A MIDI File is a file that ends with a .mid extension and there are several ways to play it.

One way is using a DAW application and the other is using a Media Player such as VLC, or Windows Media Player, I am going to show you all the options so you can choose which approach you want to follow.

Playing MIDI File With The Windows Media Player

Suppose you have a MIDI Folder that contains .mid files, for example:

Folder With MIDI Files

To Play it with the windows MIDI Player, you right-click on the .mid file you would like to play, Scroll to Play With, then select the Windows Media Player, here is an illustration:

Playing MIDI File With The VLC

To play MIDI files using VLC, you need a SoundFont file (with extension .sf2).

Download the SoundFont file from the below links:

Note: If you are using the first link, make sure you download "GeneralUser GS 1.471", if you can get the download link for some reason, here is the direct download zip file: GeneralUser GS 1.471

Once downloaded, extract the File, and if you try playing any .mid file, you would get the following error:

Error Playing MID File in VLC Media Player

Don't Fret, since you have downloaded the sound font file, you can load it, by going to

  • Tools in the Menu
  • Then click on Preferences
  • Select Audio
  • At the left bottom part, you would see the text "Show Setting", and below it is "Simple" and "All" radio selection, click on All
  • Now, Go-to, to Input/Codec, click on the Audio Codecs dropdown icon, and lastly FluidSynth
  • Now, load the sound font file by clicking the browse button. Browse to the file you just downloaded and extracted, and select GeneralUser GS v1.471.sf2 or the file that ends with .sf2
  • Hit the Save button and you should be able to playback your .mid files

Here is a video demonstration for all of the above:

Playing MIDI File In FL Studio

You can also play a mid file in the DAW such as FL Studio, and this is one of the most flexible ways you can use a  .mid file. You can edit it, change the velocity and even transform it into a new instrument entirely, isn't that beautiful?

There are two ways to import a MID file in FL Studio, the first way is using...

The Piano Roll (For Importing A Single Channel MID Files)

You can import a .mid file directly in the piano roll in FL Studio. This is a good idea if you want to import a single channel .mid file.

Note that, this option can also be used to import multi-channel .mid files but keep in mind that it would merge all the channels.

To Import MID File directly into the Piano roll, you:

  • Open an instance of the Piano Roll, at the top-most left section of the piano roll, click on the drop-down icon -> File -> Import MIDI File, and browse to choose the MID File you would like to import
  • Alternatively, you can use the CTRL + M shortcut
  • Note, once you click on the MID you would like to import, you might see a dialog telling you to select the tracks you would like to import, you can go with All Tracks if you are certain you have a single track. Never use the "Blend With Existing Data" unless you know what you are doing

Below is a video demonstration:

Importing a MIDI File Directly In FL Studio (For multi-channel MIDI Files)

Since a MIDI File can be multi-channel (one that has multiple midi parts), it can even be a multi-track sequence, although you can use option 1 above by specifying what you want to import which is time-consuming.

There are two ways to import multi-channel or multi-track MIDI files. The first way is by dragging and dropping and the second way is by going to FILE -> Import -> MIDI File, you the browse to your MIDI file’s folder and select the MIDI file, click “Open”. and you should get the “Import MIDI data” dialog box.

Uncheck the “Start new project” option (you can leave this option if you want to start a new flp project with the mid file), and finally, click Accept.

Note: If hear no sound, this is because, for some stupid reason, the Team behind FL decided not to include Fruity LSD when importing MIDI without Starting a New Project, so, you might wanna replace the channel with an actual instrument.

Here is a video demo of importing MIDI File directly in FL Studio:

This would conclude the guide on playing a mid file, please, do not hesitate to drop a message in the comment section.

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