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#1331287 - 12/22/09 08:43 AM Recording - Best Method Is....??
lisztonian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 266
I could really use some help here. I want to get the best recording onto my computer from my P-85. What is the best way to get the best sounding recording? Should I buy hardware to connect between my computer and my DP? Or just a good software program? Or a combination of both? Or plug it directly in to the computer? I'm trying to get as close to a professional recording as possible without spending a fortune. Help??

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#1331299 - 12/22/09 08:59 AM Re: Recording - Best Method Is....?? [Re: lisztonian]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13739
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I've been toying with this myself for the past few weeks, and I think the best way to record without spending tons of money is to connect your DP directly to your PC and record as a MIDI file. I've been using Reaper to record, but it's not an easy program to learn. You could also use Cubase or Sonar which might be easier.

Your DP may have a USB port that you could connect it to your PC. It would not look like a USB, but like the port on a USB printer. If not, you definitely have MIDI In/OUT ports. You would just need to buy a MIDI to USB cable, which you can get fairly cheap ($4 at amazon).

Once you get that set up, you can then record your playing in whatever program you've chosen. What's nice is if you make a mistake, it's easy enough to change a wrong note or cut and paste from another take. You can also add effects to make it sound more realistic.

Now if you really want a nice sound, you'll want to get piano software like Pianoteq or Ivory. There's a whole bunch of them out there at all different price ranges, so you'll want to listen to them and make a choice from that. Some have demos, some do not. Basically these programs piggyback onto whatever program you're using to record MIDI and then you can use those sounds, which are modeled or sampled from high end Steinways, Bosendorfers, and Yamahas that have a wide range of custom options (where to place the mics, for example). Once you get the sound you want, you then render it was a wav or mp3 and you're good to go!
private piano/voice teacher FT

#1331302 - 12/22/09 09:02 AM Re: Recording - Best Method Is....?? [Re: Morodiene]
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2462
Loc: Denver, CO
Mahzeit (one of the forum members) has a lot of information about recording on this site:



#1331365 - 12/22/09 10:26 AM Re: Recording - Best Method Is....?? [Re: DragonPianoPlayer]
setchman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 166
If your goal is to record your P-85 output then I think having a quality audio interface card is the place to start. If you have 2 computers, one that is using the computers built-in sound card and one that is using even an entry-level audio card designed for recording, regardless of the software you use, I would bet that you would be able to tell the difference in the sound quality immediately.

Now if you make a recording into a computer using its cheap built-in sound card and use 2 different software applications, a high-end program like Logic or Cubase, and then again into an inexpensive program like Reaper or even a freeware recording program, I don't think the recording made with Cubase is going to sound any better than the one made with Reaper. The weakest link is the audio hardware that your computer uses to convert your keyboards sound into the digital realm.

An inexpensive audio interface like the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 ($99)is capable of making recordings up to 24-bit and 96kHz samplerate and should sound noticeably better than just about any computer's built-in sound card. Even a freeware program like Wavosaur is capable of recording up to 24-bit and 192kHz samplerate.

IMO, you should start with a decent audio card and then start playing around with some of the different recording software. I think you'll find a more noticeable improvement with the hardware first.
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#1331376 - 12/22/09 10:33 AM Re: Recording - Best Method Is....?? [Re: lisztonian]
pianonewb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/09
Posts: 221
Loc: No. Va.
I just run a cable from headphone out of my DP to line in on my computer's sound card, and record using recording software(Cakewalk in my case). Works great, as long as you like the way your DP sounds.
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#1331382 - 12/22/09 10:39 AM Re: Recording - Best Method Is....?? [Re: pianonewb]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13739
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Something that I've noticed about recording on a DP is that it is less forgiving than an acoustic. With an acoustic, the sound doens't begin until the hammer strikes the strings. With a DP, this could happen sooner since there isn't really a string to strike. any slight delay in playing octaves, for example, will result in an exaggerated difference in time of attack that would not otherwise happen on an acoustic. Just a thought.

edited to add: This is I guess why they have the quantization option, where you select the nearest note value (8th, 16th, 32nd) to snap the playing to. It seems a bit like cheating so I didn't do it at first, but after hearing the playback and *knowing* that I wasn't playing *that* sloppily, I figured this was necessary.

Edited by Morodiene (12/22/09 10:46 AM)
private piano/voice teacher FT

#1331542 - 12/22/09 01:46 PM Re: Recording - Best Method Is....?? [Re: lisztonian]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: lisztonian
I could really use some help here. I want to get the best recording onto my computer from my P-85. What is the best way to get the best sounding recording? Should I buy hardware to connect between my computer and my DP? Or just a good software program? Or a combination of both? Or plug it directly in to the computer? I'm trying to get as close to a professional recording as possible without spending a fortune. Help??

There are two basic methods. You don't have to choose as you can do both simultaneously if you like.

(1) capture the sound from the LIne-Out jacks on the back of the piano into an audio interface connected to a computer. This works well if you set all the leves "correctly" and us a high quality audio interface.

(2) capture MIDI data from the DP into the computer. Then a "virtual instrument" software running on the computer generates the sound that goes straight to a digital file

Method 1 records the performance as you would have heard it through the DP's speakers but only with better technical quality. But method #2 alows you to edit wrong notes and timing errors and easily spice together the best segments of multiple "takes" and then the sound generator inside the computer can maybe have a nicer tone than the one inside your DP. Also you can later change the piano sound after the recording is made, or audition several until you find what fits the music.

Decide which methdod to use based on your goals. #2 can produce a better recording but #1 is more faithful to you performance on that DP and conceptually simpler.

Good quality audio interfaces sell for between $80 and $200. For your purposes, as you will not be using a microphone the lower priced units will work fine. Many of these will combine a MIDI interface in the same box and also have outputs to connect studio monitors and headphones.

It is entirely possible to do truly professional quality recordings at home for a few hundred dollars. But there is a learning curve and some skill and judgement to be learned. The use of reverb, EQ settings and mastering are what set amateurish recording apart from professional work. It is no longer the equipment, you can buy and use the same software now that the pros use.

Computers allow you to "cheat". For example I have recorded pieces I can't hope to play. What I did was scan in the sheet music on a flatbed scanner then convert the notation to midi. With MIDI file in hand I was able to cut and past. and transpose ans assign Pianos, bass and string and woodwind to the varous parts. I recorded a small orchestra but never played even one note myself. It all came from a printed score.

You might call this cheating but it depends on your goal. I simply wanted music to fit a video I made. But using MIDI might be dishonest if you are posting it as a record of your playing at an on-line recital.

There is also a danger with MIDI that if you apply timing qualitization (to clean up sloppy timing) and smoot out velocity then the music can sound like a one play piaon or "robot-like". Many editors have funtons to introduce random tiny errors to "humanize" the music

I think you can see how a musician and a musi producer can get into heated artistic arguments over this kind of thing. Butyou are wearing both hats.

This is why I suggested doing BOTH. the software will keep any number of tracks in sync, just like a real 24 track tape machine you you can later "A/B" the recordings and decide which to use.

Edited by ChrisA (12/22/09 02:03 PM)


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