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.