athomik - Thanks for the helpful information regarding the test modes. The most frustrating aspect was that no troubleshooting of the instrument itself occurred, instead becoming an issue of user compliance, adapting to use the instrument as it (inadequately) functions.
While bitWrangler's $5 USD fix is another option, it still leaves only half-a-digital-piano to work with, which is not a workable solution if needing or wanting to record when not using headphones. The underlying problem remains.
So too, another helpful suggestion (with accompanying diagram) was sent regarding hooking up a small mixer
to resolve the problem... [click for full size]
Likewise, while this $45 USD fix does indeed boost sound levels for recording, it still requires an add-on that becomes an issue of 'middle management' to enable basic digital recording.
From my point of view, as a customer, it is important to know in advance if such a device is going to be needed for recording, versus after purchasing it.
There was no indication either in calling Yamaha specifically about recording through Aux-Out nor in their P-155 product documentation, online specs, nor user manual that a mixer would be needed for digital recording via the Aux-Out connection. If this fact was stated in advance I would have invested in another instrument.
As my particular approach to playing is intuitive it requires an unobstructed and 'pure' relation with the instrument. This is why listening to the piano through an external device rather than the piano itself is detrimental; it brings incoherence and unnecessary complexity into the basic relation between person and instrument.
Additional cords, dials, power switches effectively function against this symbiotic interaction, which instead becomes overly complicated and convoluted. The initial investment in the P-155 was made specifically because of its stated simplicity as a high quality 'piano-centric' device (without extraneous xtras).
These additional doodads and work-arounds -- versus an invisible firmware fix -- are significant distractions and breakdown the basic musical connection between person and instrument and thus are not viable solutions, for me.
In contrast -- it would be most helpful to acknowledge there is an actual technical anomaly prior to seeking a fix which masks/hides it:
Is this the only P-155 with extremely low output levels, due to variable output or is every P-155 like this? A way to find out would be along the lines of what nickchip5 attempts, replicating the situation.
That is, to reproduce the exact recording conditions using a Yamaha P-155 and Olympus LS-10 and evaluate the results by examining the decibel readings when testing recording levels. Are they in a normal or expected range or are they abnormally low and hardly registering unless both pieces of equipment are completely maxed out? (i.e. volumes 10 on both piano output and digital recorder input).
This is vitally relevant because it would indicate if a replacement P-155 would have solved the problem or if shipping another P-155 would effectively only repeat the situation. As it was not dealt with in any reasonably satisfactory way by Yamaha Customer Service -- such questions were placed "off limits" -- it forced the only remaining option: to return everything as defective.
For this reason it was not deemed a good nor viable option to effectively replace the "abnormal" P-155 with another potentially unusable P-155 without engaging this technical issue in the depth required.
(Why does it require posting in a third-party forum to learn more about what may actually be going on?)
Now, if someone has plenty of spare change in the thousands of dollars to play around with, maybe they can fool around with this stuff and troubleshoot and beta-test and offer user-reports to Yamaha, gratis -- though this is problematic because it is ultimately subsidizing a poorly made piece of equipment -- one that is either defective, lacking in engineering oversight, or is improperly documented in its functioning, at the very least.
If an external mixer is necessary in order to achieve 'normal' signal levels via variable output, this should be stated in the brochure, online documentation and product manual- because otherwise the instrument is rendered useless (and even then, some may be opposed to using a mixer to simply record).
In this particular case there is an obvious degree of malfunctioning if the output signals are unusable at reasonable levels and its very irrelevance to the company is highly suspect.
What happened to the integrity of musical instrument makers and their associated cachet of quality, care, and pride in creating fine instruments based on a tradition of craftsmanship? Has it been lost or worse yet now equated with fashioning and shipping technological products and managing expectations through product obsolescence? To me this scenario low-balls what is to be expected when investing in an instrument - and I don't think compromising on the most 'minimal' functioning is a good place to start off.
Especially the relation between person and instrument -- the music gets lost in the dysfunction, or even in the need for technology and technical add-ons to achieve basic (if pure) functioning.
My expectations were probably too high -- naive to the industry itself and to any formal training whatsoever -- it was assumed the device would simply 'work' as stated and this turns out not to be the case. And requiring external add-ons and work-arounds rather than addressing the underlying technical issue is a level of compromise I was unprepared for and cannot accept, especially with such a major investment.
P.S. For instance, the ambiguity of USB/MIDI functioning led to attempts to mount the P-155 as a drive on my Mac desktop using a USB cable so to enable transfer of MIDI songs or even MIDI itself. None of it was possible. Instead, reformatting gigabytes of hard drive to hold 3 (or, ambiguously, 99) MIDI files could result. So too, confused interface options such "Save to User" (which Bob Newbie previously mentioned) has nothing to do with 'User Settings'. Song recording is functionally unusable, and so on.
Even looking past or beyond this, it ultimately boils down to being able to play a decent piano sample on a good weighted, graded keyboard -- forgetting everything else -- and then externally recording this via Aux Out connections at reasonable levels, and instead this renders the instrument wholly unusable (if 'half usable' means one cannot use it for the intended purpose). This to me is a complete disaster.
Furthermore, the 'pride' of the company in its own product is then to ignore and disregard a legitimate technical issue and require the user comply to inadequate work-arounds of what is a fundamentally unusable piece of equipment -- based upon its own claims for functioning... unless a "consumer" is willing to submit to follow-on solution -- which I was -- up to a point. Yet Yamaha was not willing to compromise nor concede anything and instead readily exploited the situation to their advantage and this is, was, and remains shameful as a way of 'doing business'. It's truly rotten. Why others do not perceive it the same is certainly puzzling. I think there is a level of mediocrity involved that has become acceptable yet it strikes me as intolerable, especially as a starting point to ~music.
P.P.S. Because the Yamaha representative did nothing to address the underlying technical issue (such as a firmware fix) it rendered all of the equipment (recorder, piano, stand) unusable, and as such effectively 'defective' for their stated use. This forced the only remaining option which was to return everything to Musician's Friend for a refund -- which proves the overall point: the only way to effectively resolve this anomaly is to not use the equipment; i.e. voting otherwise.
In this case it is preferable not to pay for something that does not work for its stated intent. Even if explicitly unstated (digital recording of a digital piano), it could readily be assumed to work. And by that, 'reasonably well' versus accepting as fait accompli a "there are no lemons" law for electronic musical instruments, where the user-base is employed and exploited as bug-fixers if not apologists for the business model - its regressive wares ultimately impacting music and musicality itself, turning it into technique by way of conformation.