Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#1823193 - 01/12/12 08:09 AM Line in recording quality (fp7f)
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
So, been recording via line in from Roland FP7F with Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB as audio interface. The thing is that while sound quality is OK and it sounds as good or in some cases even better than some studio quality professional recordings I've listened to, when I'm listening directly with headphones pluged into FP7F the sound quality is better. The sound is more full and richer, more color in it if you know what I mean. I wonder if there's anything I can do to improve recording quality. Could line in cable might have to do something with it?
Thanks,

Top
(ad) Roland

Click Here

#1823207 - 01/12/12 08:35 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
When you play back the recordings, how are you listening? The same headphones? Plugged into the Focusrite?

Or are you playing back the recordings on speakers of some kind? No speakers can sound like headphones and even a fairly decent pair of 'phones will "blow away", as they say, anything short of very expensive and elaborate speaker setups.

But if you're comparing headphone to headphone, the difference has to be something in your recording chain. That 8i6 should have pretty decent A/D converters so it's not likely the interface.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Top
#1823279 - 01/12/12 11:02 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
I don't tend to believe people who say the cable itself significantly affects audio quality. Only in extreme cases where a very long or ghetto cable picks up interference do cables actually make a difference. A bad connection could make a difference, but it would show up as scratchy interference, not general low quality.

I assume you are sending audio into the focusrite from your line outs, not your headphone jack (probably true, but I thought I'd check).

Have you compared the quality of a recording through line-in to an recording to a USB drive?

I guess I'm with Brent, even if you are using the same headphones to listen to the piano and the recording, are you using the same headphone jack (the one on the focusrite)? The way the sound is coming out is the most likely source of difference. It's possible that the onboard headphone amp is better (or better with your headphones) than the focusrite one.

Top
#1823422 - 01/12/12 02:27 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Can the FP7F play audio recordings on a USB dongle? (EDIT: This may be what gvfarns meant ) (it has an "audio key" feature, which I think may be what I'm referring to) If so, it would be useful to play back your recordings FROM the FP7F, with headphones plugged into the FP7F, and compare that to the sound you get when playing live. Match the volume level as closely as possible. If they sound different, then you may indeed be losing quality during the recording somehow.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/12/12 02:42 PM)

Top
#1823434 - 01/12/12 02:39 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
What sort of software do you use to record? If there's any compression, automatic gain control, EQ or other effects being applied you'll want to turn all that off and get a straight recording.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Top
#1823706 - 01/12/12 10:44 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: Brent H]
bman2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/11
Posts: 30
Loc: Montana
Are you using L/Mono only or are you using L and R Line Outs to your interface? Some DP sound a lot better when you use both L and R out, I know mine does.

Top
#1823878 - 01/13/12 07:40 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Hmm, maybe indeed the difference might be that FP7F headphone jack is better than audio interface...However, most high quality music sounds great via headphones. I use sony mdr-7506. I record using free Audacity software and yes, I use both L and R line outs. I also doubt that cable might be that important, it's labelled as interconnections professional flat cable, it's not very long (i think about 5 metres).
Of course, all my listening and comparing is via headphones, not monitor speakers.
I record without any inbuilt reverb or eq effects. Also, don't think the problem is the software, because when I'm listening while actually recording via focusrite headphone jack, the sound already is like it's in recording not like I can hear when listening via fp7f headphone jack. Maybe gain levels have something to do with it, I usually put gain at +8 in fp7f to record in proper volume.


Edited by EO3 (01/13/12 07:51 AM)

Top
#1824401 - 01/13/12 08:57 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
@EO3,
Aside from using a USB drive to play back a recording on the FP7F, you could also just run the line-outs from the Focusrite to the line-ins of the FP7F, and then listen to it from the FP7F. This is all assuming you want to be absolutely sure what is going on - if you've already done enough testing for your own needs then that's fine.

I've had this problem in the past, and never got to the bottom of it. (very long time ago, with a very old DP, but as it happens, it was a Roland)

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/13/12 08:59 PM)

Top
#1825780 - 01/16/12 07:23 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: sullivang]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: sullivang
@EO3,
Aside from using a USB drive to play back a recording on the FP7F, you could also just run the line-outs from the Focusrite to the line-ins of the FP7F, and then listen to it from the FP7F.


I think I'm already doing this, because I don't use USB. My typical method is the following - play and record listening via FP7F headphones (using song recording option in FP7F) and then I use "play" function to actually record it to the computer via line in. I do so because if something goes wrong I don't have to start recording on computer over and over again, I just re-record via FP7F till it's good and then record via line outs into computer. Hope this makes sense.
Thanks for all the feedbacks, any other opinions, suggestions are welcomed.


Edited by EO3 (01/16/12 07:26 AM)

Top
#1825781 - 01/16/12 07:29 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
Well then it would seem the "song recording" function in the DP is making a low-fidelity recording. Probably some sort of super-compressed lossy format, like a poorly implemented MP3 encoder of 100-ish kbps or similar. That won't totally ruin the sound but you'd be able to hear a difference.

Or it might even be recording in mono for that matter.

P.S. I went and looked online at the FP7F. The "song recording" function actually records a MIDI file and plays it back if I understand the spec sheet correctly. So really it ought to sound the same doing MIDI playback as it did live, I would think. Hmmm.


Edited by Brent H (01/16/12 07:39 AM)
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Top
#1825785 - 01/16/12 07:42 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
@EO3,
When you use the "song recording" function, you are, I think, recording to a MIDI file that is stored on the FP7F. Once you're happy with this MIDI recording, you then play that MIDI file, and record the line out signal from the FP7F to your computer, using the line-ins of the Focusrite. The MIDI file is not audio, as you probably know. Even if you were recording the audio on the FP7F, though, that still wouldn't be good enough, because we need to listen to the audio that has passed through the Focusrite to the computer. The reason is that some fidelity might be lost in the Focusrite, during the recording process.

So, to help to prove that the problem is the headphone output of the Focusrite, I want you to listen to the audio signal that you recorded to the computer, using the headphone output of the FP7F. To do this, you can do either of the following:

Method 1: USB drive method
==========================
1. copy the digital audio file that you created on the computer to a USB drive (a USB dongle, or USB connected hard drive, etc)
2. Play the AUDIO recording on the FP7F, and listen to it with headphones plugged into the FP7F. If it sounds good again, then the problem may well be the headphone output of the Focusrite. If it sounds the same as it does when you listen with the headphones plugged into the Focusrite, then the loss of fidelity is in the recording itself, and then you'll have to try to diagnose that.

Method 2:Connect Focusrite Line-Outs back to FP7F Line-Ins Method
============================================================
1. Connect the Line-Outs of the Focusrite to the Line-Ins of the FP7F.
2. Play the recording back from the computer, listening with headphones plugged into the FP7F. If it sounds good again, then the problem may well be the headphone output of the Focusrite. If it sounds the same as it does when you listen with the headphones plugged into the Focusrite, then the loss of fidelity is in the recording itself, and then you'll have to try to diagnose that.

Method 1 is preferable.

It's possible, but unlikely, that the headphone output of the FP7F sounds different to the Line-Outs of the FP7F. You could eventually consider connecting the headphone output of the FP7F to the Line-Ins of the Focusrite, and making a recording that way. You'd need to be very careful with the levels. I don't suggest you do this yet.

Note that even if we find that the cause of the difference is the headphone output of the Focusrite, that still doesn't prove that it is worse than the FP7F - all it proves is that there is a difference between the two. The fact that you prefer the headphone output of the FP7F, with your particular headphones, doesn't prove that it is actually technically superior.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/16/12 08:34 AM)

Top
#1825987 - 01/16/12 03:22 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
spanishbuddha Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2232
Loc: UK
P82 of the FP-7F owners manual has a note that suggests the sound from headphones is not the same as the sound from line-out.

"The FP-7F is designed so that when you connect headphones, the sound is optimized for listening through headphones. For this reason, the sound heard from speakers connected to the FP-7F will be different depending on whether or not headphones are connected."

Top
#1825988 - 01/16/12 03:30 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
*click* ;^)

Top
#1825997 - 01/16/12 04:01 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I'll bet anything they are boosting the highs and lows on the line out under the assumption that you'll be listening through small, crummy, limited-range speakers. The headphone being plugged in probably reverts it to more of a straight signal.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Top
#1826012 - 01/16/12 04:32 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
So, does the tone of the Line-Outs change when headphones are plugged in? If so, that would be an easy way to make a recording from the Line-Outs, with the headphone optimisation present in the recording. If not, and you really want the headphone optimisation in the recording, then I guess you'll have to record the signal from the headphone output. (which I think should be pretty easy, just be very careful with the levels - start low, and gradually increase the volume until you get a good recording level)

Caution: The sound with the headphone optimisation MAY not be ideal through loudspeakers, especially if they have made the stereo image very wide. There may be phasing artifacts (a thin, or nasal, sound) through loudspeakers, aside from any basic difference in EQ etc.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/16/12 04:52 PM)

Top
#1826034 - 01/16/12 04:56 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
spanishbuddha Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2232
Loc: UK
I find this slight digression is an interesting discussion. Although I don't have a FP-7F I always take the opportunity to play my mates one, usually through headphones, where it is very good (personal taste I know). But I have often complained on here that the GP1 sound through the inbuilt speakers is to loud, boomy, and overwhelms the mids and highs. People have reported trying to use EQ to 'roll off' the base and boost the mids and highs. My friend has tried this but it seems to affect the very soul of the sound adversely. Also there has been lots of past discussion on here on trying to get decent sound from the FP-7F through external speakers. I'm not too sure where that has got to. If that one was cracked then I would consider getting one.

Top
#1826504 - 01/17/12 01:21 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Ok, so i tested via method 2 suggested by Greg (thanks for input) and the sound wasn't good. Maybe something to do with audio levels also, but I have a feeling it was the same thing. So, problem should be in the focusrite recording...

Also, I have a cheap studio monitors and I agree that piano on them sounds not so good. Firstly it's low volume, bass is too much, however, they are not placed properly in my case (but almost any music sounds better on headphones than on monitors and that's just how it is, I guess studio monitor headphones give the most "neutral" sound with my setup).

Also I wasn't aware of possible audio optimization when listening via FP7F headphones... And that feature isn't that good in my scenario, because, what I want is as neutral and objective end recording as possible, so that in every possible setup it would sound OK (recordings are for some demo material).

At the moment I feel the current setup will have to go on, unless some other ideas come...


Edited by EO3 (01/17/12 01:22 PM)

Top
#1826550 - 01/17/12 02:26 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
@EOS3,
You could now make a recording with the headphones plugged in to the FP7F during the recording process. I.e - it is possible that the headphone optimisation will be present if the headphones are plugged in during the recording. As I said before, though, if it does sound better through headphones, it may sound worse through loudspeakers. Actually, since you have speakers, you could also see if the sound changes when headphones are plugged in, when listening to the speakers directly connected to the FP7F. The other thing you can probably do is to simply monitor the sound of the FP7F with headphones plugged into the Focusrite, without actually making a recording. I.e - configure the Focusrite to send the audio of it's own line input to the headphone output. (I'm not familiar with the Focusrite, but my own audio interface allows me to do that)

Yes, it is important to get the levels right when connecting to the line INPUTS of the FP7F, because those inputs may not behave identically, in terms of the level, as the line outputs. (if you heard distortion, then the level from the Focusrite would have been too high, but it doesn't seem that you did hear distortion - correct?)

Note that my Casio PX-330 also changes the tone when headphones are plugged in, and it DOES also change the tone of the line outputs.

I don't mind the headphone optimisation feature, but I would prefer that there was a setting for it, rather than be automatic.

Greg.

Top
#1826886 - 01/18/12 03:57 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Well, I now tried recording with headphones pluged in and it seems the recorded sound is different. Is it better, not so easy to say. Maybe the difference might be because of the gain levels... I mean, when I'm recording, to get proper audio levels I turn gain up +8 and so when listening via FP7F inbuilt speakers/headphones it's really really loud, almost not possible to listen. Maybe something happens here with gain level so the sound becomes a bit glitchy... But if recording without gain change, then it's too low volume (apparently, line out signal from fp7f by itself is weak). But I will try some other things with audio levels, if have progress, will let you know.

Top
#1826894 - 01/18/12 04:22 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Just record the song first to the FP7F locally, as you were before, and then play the song back, without listening to it. That way, you won't have to listen to the loud level. I.e - just press the "play" button and stand back and wait for it to finish recording. If you already have a recording sitting there on the FP7F, just use that.

There is a very slight chance that you'll damage your headphones if the level is very loud though. To be completely safe, just plug a spare 1/4" cable into the headphone output - I don't think you'll need to have real headphones plugged in. ;^) This introduces another uncertainty though, so maybe just take a chance with the real headphones if you can.......

You said yourself that you could get the song right on the FP7F first, and then record it. That's exactly how I think you should do this test. smile

Thanks for your patience. I'm very interested in this problem, but if you're getting sick of it I'd hate to be wasting your time. wink

Greg.

Top
#1826934 - 01/18/12 06:33 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: sullivang]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: sullivang
Just record the song first to the FP7F locally, as you were before, and then play the song back, without listening to it. That way, you won't have to listen to the loud level. I.e - just press the "play" button and stand back and wait for it to finish recording. If you already have a recording sitting there on the FP7F, just use that.

Thanks for your patience. I'm very interested in this problem, but if you're getting sick of it I'd hate to be wasting your time. wink
Greg.


That's how I was already doing the recording. But when I listened the recording in Audacity and back on FP7F , something sounded different but in an odd way... I have a feeling like I said that this could be because of something wrong in levels. I will try to lower gain and turn on FP7F volume knob more. Also I wonder is it better to turn Focusrite line in gain levels more up or do it in piano gain settings (currently I have done a bit in both).

Also, there's always a chance to maybe try and explore software piano options via MIDI. But I have heard that, for example, Pianoteq sound isn't better than FP7F sound, so is there a point doing that. But that's another subject.

smile

Top
#1826943 - 01/18/12 07:09 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Don't worry about listening to your (computer) recording on the FP7F for the time being. Just set the levels to how you had them originally (if you can remember), and then make two recordings through the Focusrite to the computer: one with the headphones plugged in to the FP7F, and one without. Then, listen to both recordings with the headphones plugged in to the Focusrite, and see if there's any difference.

If you can't remember what levels you were using originally, for the time being I suggest setting the volume on the FP7F on 100%, and then adjust the input gain setting on the Focusrite until the maximum level during the recording is near 100%, but not reaching all the way to 100%. If it has dB markings, try to aim for about -3dB. (3dB less than maximum).

I think it's worth persevering with recording the FP7F because it has a very good tone.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/18/12 07:12 AM)

Top
#1828458 - 01/20/12 12:10 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
So, finally tested with Your suggestion methods. Recording with headphones plugged in - records louder than without headphones plugged in (with the same volume/gain levels). Sounds richer. Recording without headphones - a bit lower volume, sounds OK, however.
Now ,then there's the factor to keep in mind that recording 1 while sounds good with headphones, could sound worse on audio systems. On my particular audio monitors that are not so great record 1 and 2 sound really simillar.
BUT - what I didn't do with these recordings is using master gain. I just turned up volume on FP7F near 100% and I think that now even recording without headphones it actually sounds better than it was before when I was messing with master gain.

Top
#1828731 - 01/20/12 08:13 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Ok, well, if the issue is mainly volume, you can very easily adjust the volume after making the recording.

You can also try to learn how to process the recording to sound closer to how it sounds with the headphone optimisation.

Greg.

Top
#1828738 - 01/20/12 08:53 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Also, if you can, it would be good if you could upload the two versions of the recordings, so we can hear for ourselves how they differ.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/20/12 09:37 PM)

Top
#1829561 - 01/22/12 08:39 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Made 2 simple test recordings:

1. Without headphones - http://www.mediafire.com/?sc4t1i6kr0z58r5

2. With headphones - http://www.mediafire.com/?hjx29y2vzk7d3tx

Same audio levels/settings for both recordings (a small distortion can be heard in recording with headphones due too high gain).

Also my piano settings are medium +6 keytouch, duplex scale set to 3, lid 5 , hammer noise -1 (maybe that also have something to do with quality...).

Another interesting thing is that it seems that when played in Audacity (before exporting in wav, flac, mp3 or whatever), the audio seems to sound better... But that might be depending also on software the recording is played afterwards (for example, VLC player sounds better than Winamp it seems).



Edited by EO3 (01/22/12 08:42 AM)

Top
#1829564 - 01/22/12 08:52 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
It's a pretty subtle difference on my (mediocre) Alesis monitors. A little brighter with "no headphone" and a little more natural-sounding midrange with the "headphone" one. Pretty subtle but sounds different to me.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Top
#1829583 - 01/22/12 09:44 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Thanks EOS. I'm hearing it differently to Brent, but I'm listening with headphones, and at the moment I'm focussing on a tiny snippet of the recording - I am A/Bing the fourth chord strike into the recording. "With headphones" has less bass but more mids than "no headphones", and if I had to say which was "brighter", I would say the "with headphones" sounds brighter, due to the stronger mids.

I don't hear any difference in the stereo image, so I doubt whether any serious problems would occur running the "with headphones" sound through loudspeakers, although I haven't actually tested it yet.

I think it would be trivial match the bass levels between the two by applying EQ. Not sure about the rest of the frequency range.

Greg.

Top
#1830225 - 01/23/12 12:46 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
But in terms of tehnical recording quality, is the sound any good overall? smile I might maybe do another test laters, with all 88 keys, if that can help.

Top
#1830258 - 01/23/12 01:43 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Yes! It sounded fine to me. Btw, that Focusrite looks like a nice interface!

I'll have a closer listen later on. (btw, I haven't noticed any distortion yet, but I haven't tried hard to find it yet either)

Greg.

Top
#1830800 - 01/24/12 05:08 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Re: the distortion, are you referring to the "click" at about 38s in the recording that was taken with the headphones plugged in? If so, that doesn't look like it's due to gain settings - the level isn't high at that point. It sounds like a hiccup in the recording process - the software making the recording did not keep up. I can't be sure, but this is what it sounds like to me. If you're not referring to this, can you tell me exactly where you hear distortion, because I haven't heard any yet. Also, there is no obvious clipping (the signal never reaches 100%) in either recording, so in order for there to be clipping, it would mean that the FP7F itself would have clipped. (which I suppose is possible) I am assuming that you have not reduced the volume of the recording afterwards.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/24/12 06:28 AM)

Top
#1831616 - 01/25/12 02:05 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
A small distortion/noise can be heard 4/5 seconds in (when there are louder accords). When recording with headphones plugged in Focusrite gain levels went red at that point, meaning, that level is too high. In Audacity it shows like vertical red line.

Top
#1831749 - 01/25/12 05:27 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
I think I know what the problem is.

I CAN hear a tiny click at that point, I think only in the right channel, when my soundcard is set to 44.1kHz. Your MP3 has a sample rate of 48kHz, and if I set my soundcard to 48kHz so it matches (I had indeed been listening at 48kHz!), I do NOT hear the click. On my system, when I analyze the recording (using Sound Forge), the signal doesn't actually reach 100% anywhere, but it does get very very close.

When the soundcard sample rate does not match the audio, there will be a sample rate conversion, and this process may cause the signal level to vary a bit, and I think this is pushing the signal up to 100% (clipping). Another potential source of error is that there can be slight variations between different MP3 players (decoders), and this too can cause some players to distort, and others not to.

Most people would indeed be listening with the soundcard set to 44.1kHz, so it may be that most people would hear the distortion.

So yes, your recording IS too hot, and if you had done what I asked you to do, and set the levels so that the maximum was about -3dB, you would not have had this problem. smile smile

Try this. If you simply normalise your original recording to -3dB (Audacity can do that), I bet you that you won't hear the distortion any more, regardless of what you use to listen to it with or what sample rate you use.

The click at 38s is strange. I was going to say to increase your ASIO buffer size, but if you're using Audacity, it appears that it does not even support ASIO, so you could not be using ASIO. Is it possible that your system was busy doing something else in the background?

Greg.

Top
#1831997 - 01/25/12 11:45 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
I'm wrong about the sample rate conversion being the cause of this. I just had another listen, with the same headphones I used the first time (AKG K601), but I could not hear the distortion at any sample rate.

I then switched to different headphones (Sennheiser HD570), and I can now hear the distortion at BOTH sample rates. I suspect that with the AKG K601, I must have had the headphones positioned so I could sometimes hear the distortion - it is obviously right on my threshold of hearing. With the HD570 (which are incidentally much cheaper headphones) I can easily hear the distortion. Interesting.

Also, I've zoomed in to the offending place in the recording, and despite the fact that it's not quite at 100%, it does look like the peaks have probably been clipped. Not sure where this occurred though. Given that the Focusrite went red, I guess it probably occurred at the input to the Focusrite. If the Focusrite recorded an input level of 100% into the original recording, it's conceivable that the MP3 encoding & decoding has slightly altered this. (to -0.35dB) If the Focusrite has a limiter, that may also prevent the signal from going all the way to 100% (0dB)

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/25/12 11:51 PM)

Top
#1832108 - 01/26/12 06:50 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: sullivang]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Thanks again for your input. Well, on Focusrite I can turn gain from 0 to 10. And it's tricky to balance it so that it wouldn't be too low volume or too high so that there's distortion/clipping. That's the case even more if it's a music piece with very quiet and very loud parts. And if you record too low level, then that causes other problems. It's possible to remove distortion in Audacity after the recording sometimes (by lowering volume using amplify option), but sometimes the clicks stays even after you do that.

Top
#1832111 - 01/26/12 07:06 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
You're welcome.

If you record with 24-bit resolution, the level that you record at is less critical, and you can just normalise it to whatever level you want to afterwards. This assumes you have a nice clean signal though - if you have some background noise/hiss, then yes, the recording level is then more important, regardless of whether you use 16-bit or 24-bit resolution. I haven't noticed any background noise in your recordings, FWIW.

Greg.

Top
#1833741 - 01/28/12 04:35 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Yup, background noise doesn't seem to be the problem it seems. I record in 24-bits, but then there's also options to record in 96/48 or 44. + Audacity offers to record via Windows Direct sound or MME. Direct sound offers lower latency but requiers more computer power. But I'm right in thinking that latency doesn't matter if I record as playback from FP7F?

Top
#1833779 - 01/28/12 05:32 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
For sharing your work with others on the 'net, I think 44.1kHz is the best sample rate to use. You may want to record at a higher sample rate for archival purposes though. If you record at 96kHz, you could either take a second recording at 44.1kHz, or you could convert the 96kHz recording to 44.1kHz in Audacity. If you convert, use the highest quality setting that you can, or if it takes too long, use the highest quality setting that you can tolerate.

If you're running on Vista or Windows 7, and to avoid a sample rate conversion, you may need to MANUALLY set the sample rate of your soundcard to match the sample rate you are using in Audacity. (this applies for MME and Directsound) This will result in the best possible fidelity at any given sample rate that you use in Audacity. You do this in the Advanced properties for the recording device, in Windows. Your Focusrite may have it's own control panel that allows you to see what sample rate it is using - you can double check it there, to make sure it matches the sample rate you are using in Audacity. You should do this for the playback device too, to avoid a sample rate conversion during playback. It was different back on Windows XP - XP would usually change the sample rate of the soundcard automatically, unless another application already had the soundcard open.

It looks like you received the Lite version of Ableton Live with the Focusrite - is that correct? If so, you could use that to record with, and that DOES support ASIO. If you use ASIO, you can just set the sample rate from within Ableton Live, and it will (or should) be set in the soundcard automatically. If you use ASIO, you can be guaranteed that your audio will not be passing through extraneous Windows driver layers.

Yes, the latency doesn't matter when you're recording - you can safely increase the buffer size to whatever you want to, if that stops the recording glitches.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/28/12 11:50 PM)

Top
#1834792 - 01/30/12 07:12 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: sullivang]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
I use windows XP. Yes, I have Abelton Live Lite, does it provides ASIO driver automatically or I need to download the driver? I found Abelton a bit confusing compared to Audacity, but I will look into that more carefully.
Also, Focursite has 4 line in inputs. I use 2 in the front (1 and 2) that can also be used as mic inputs. The weird thing is that line inputs 3 and 4 that were labelled as for keyboard (and that's the reason I bought Focusrite Scarlett in the first place - to be able to record LIVE with vocals and keyboards, at the moment I can only do so recording piano in mono)are really really low gain and practically impossible to use.
Difference in inputs specs:

Line Inputs (Inputs 1-2)
• Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
• Gain Range: -10dB to +36dB
• THD+N: 0.001% (measured with 0dBFS input and 22Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
• Noise: -90dBu (22Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
• Input Impedance: >10kΩ

Line Inputs 3-4
• Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2 dB
• Gain Range: Switch-able between +16dBu or -10dBV for 0dBFS (balanced inputs)
• THD+N: 0.003% (measured at 1kHz with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
• Noise: -100dBu (22Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
• Input Impedance: >10kΩ

I even asked this to Focusrite representative and they said it should work fine and the fault might be in software I use... But the same thing is with different softwares... Also, line inputs 3-4 doesn't have gain knob.

Top
#1834803 - 01/30/12 07:52 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
On XP, I'm pretty sure the sample rate will be automatically set in the Focusrite to match the rate that you enter into Audacity, regardless of whether you use MME or DirectSound. As I said, double check by looking at the current sample rate in the Focusrite control panel, if possible.

It looks like the Focusrite comes with an ASIO driver, so in Ableton Live, you should be able to simply select "ASIO" for the Driver Type, and then select the Focusrite. The Focusrite ASIO driver would presumably have been installed when you installed the Focusrite USB Driver.

It looks like Inputs 3&4 have a gain setting - either +16dBu, or -10dBV. Have you found that setting? Whatever it's on, try the other one. You'll need to fine tune the level by using the FP7F. On the -10dBV setting, I would not be surprised if the FP7F has to be turned down a lot in order not to overload the inputs of the Focusrite. On the +16dBu setting, I would expect to be able to get a moderately weak recording level with the FP7F on maximum volume, but I'm not sure.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/30/12 07:55 AM)

Top
#1834809 - 01/30/12 08:22 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
When you use Inputs 1&2, do you have them configured for Line, or Instrument? If you need to configure them for Instrument, that means the FP7F has a very low output level. (I doubt that you'd have to use Instrument, but I want to make absolutely sure)

Greg.

Top
#1834903 - 01/30/12 11:25 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Ok, smile , so, it turns out... I just now installed Scarlett Mix control where I can do the settings. Somehow I thought that Scarlett doesn't have any software per say... And all tweaking is done on hardware and audio recording software...

Moving on - line inputs 3 4 as I can now see were by default as Low Gain (strange default setting if you ask me), so I turned on Hi gain and now I can manage to get good signal from FP7F. In fact, I think the sound quality somehow is better than the one I got from inputs 1-2 (they were by default as Line inputs). Maybe that's because a bit different settings on inputs 3-4? Because I can hear that if level 1-2 listening with monitor speakers sounded terrible, now it's actually listenable and comes close or in some aspects even better than FP7F inbuilt speakers.

Default sample rate setting is 44.1. kHz (and there's option to change to 48 , 88, or 96). I have made some records in Audacity with 96 but if Focusrite sample rate was 44.1 that could have caused some "strangness"...perhaps?


Edited by EO3 (01/30/12 11:26 AM)

Top
#1835285 - 01/30/12 06:51 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Ah. ;^)

Inputs 1&2 should sound the same as Inputs 3&4 IMHO. I do think Inputs 3&4 would have very slightly better fidelity, but I think it would be extremely difficult to notice the difference. If you can easily hear a difference, I don't understand why that would be. Maybe some settings are wrong somewhere. (not sure what though)
Perhaps you could upload a recording made with Inputs 3&4 to see if anyone can hear a difference. Record exactly the same performance, and have the levels set so that the input level shown in the Focusrite Mix Control is roughly the same both times.

When you record in Audacity at a sample rate of 96kHz, does the sample rate shown in the Mix Control settings change during the recording, or does it stay on 44.1kHz?

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/30/12 07:04 PM)

Top
#1835742 - 01/31/12 02:18 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: sullivang]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Made another test recording (both are without headphones pluged in piano):

Line 1-2: http://www.mediafire.com/?5538f77pf4as2au

Line 3-4: http://www.mediafire.com/?fn4nd5khu7d6w95

In Line 1-2 case I needed to turn on FP7F volume more than in line 3-4 to get proper signal. I guess FP7F signal by itself is rather weak. On the sound difference... Well, when I play these 2 recordings as MP3 apart from volume difference is minor... However, when I , for example, play just like that listening via headphones, 3-4 seems more natural and much closer to what I hear when listening via FP7F headphone jack.

When changing sample rate in Audacity , the rate in Focusrite mix doesn't change... But I think that could also cause just very minor difference(if any) unless perhaps listening with very HI TECH equipment and analyzing everything.


Edited by EO3 (01/31/12 02:21 PM)

Top
#1835918 - 01/31/12 06:52 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Thanks again. Looks like the channels are swapped between recordings. Either swap the channels in Audacity, or swap the connections and do another recording. I think that will account for most if not all of the difference in the sound.

I tried Audacity on XP, and using my USB interface (M-Audio Fast Track Ultra), the sample rate IS changed, but it is only changed when I actually press the Record button. (it stays changed after the recording has finished though) I agree - the reduction in fidelity due to the sample rate conversion will most likely be very subtle, but it's best to have the Focusrite on the same sample rate as Audacity if possible. If it won't change automatically, just change it manually.

When you record using inputs 3&4 (using the High Gain setting), approximately what volume percentage do you need to have the FP7F on, in order to get a near 100% recording level?

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (01/31/12 07:00 PM)

Top
#1837765 - 02/03/12 07:41 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
With 3-4 the volume knob on FP7F if you imagine a clock then it would show about 1pm (100% being about 7pm). Normally when I practice with inbuilt headphones volume is about 10am or 11am. If that makes sense smile You can get a fair enough signal even with that, in line input 1-2 case you would have to turn volume on nearly 100% to get a proper recording. Perhaps piano responds/sounds better when not pushed to the max level...
At the moment I think I will record with inputs 3-4 from now on. Another thing, when key touch setting is lower (Medium 0, for example), external monitor speakers sound better than with Medium +6 (heavy touch sounds just terrible). I wonder if it's best to record with medium + something or medium 0 as Roland manual states the Medium setting is closest to the real thing. It's all very subjective of course...
As for the bitrates, I have read on the net that many suggest recording as high quality as possible and then later transforming to what's needed. That would be 96 in this case but I have yet to test if there are no glitches, because when recording some vocals in 96 it didn't worked out properly. Maybe it's really best to stick to 44 as no audible difference and they are just demos anyways.
Thanks again for this input. Helps a lot! smile

Update: Tried to record via Abelton Live (yes, it uses ASIO driver). After some setting changes managed to get Abelton get the signal from the piano, but can't playback the recording... Confusing software with endless nonsense features it seams,compared to simple Audacity design. And also what's interesting is that if recording (in Audacity) some loud, epic forte music piece, there's need to turn FP7F volume back on 11am or something like that, otherwise sound becomes heavly distorted (but distortion/clipping is heard just after recording when playing back on Audacity, while recording it's +- OK). But that's an issue of experimentation how to get to that "perfect" sound level.


Edited by EO3 (02/03/12 05:07 PM)

Top
#1838125 - 02/03/12 06:27 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
What "time" is it when the FP7F volume control is on zero?

When you use inputs 1&2, are you saying that even with the two Focusrite gain controls on maximum, you still need to turn the FP7F up to 100%?

Quote:
Perhaps piano responds/sounds better when not pushed to the max level


You can have the recording level as high as you want, however if it ever actually reaches 100% during the recording, you will probably get distortion, like you encountered and which you pointed out. At any level below 100%, it will sound absolutely fine. In Audacity, if you select "Normalise", and then "check levels", you can see the maximum level in your recording. The level is relative to maximum, so zero actually means 100%. -1dB (minus 1 dB) means "one dB less than maximum", and would be a level that is slightly less than maximum. -6dB is 50% recording level. Once you've made the recording, you can use the normalise function to amplify the entire recording so that the very loudest point in the recording is exactly 100%.

Unless your project is very critical/important, I would just record at 44.kHz, yes.

RE: Ableton, it's not that bad - look for some tutorials or something. (I don't use it for recording audio though - I use software pianos, and I'm a raw beginner with Ableton too)

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (02/03/12 06:28 PM)

Top
#1838426 - 02/04/12 09:19 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Zero volume control is on 7am clock. smile
The thing with Focusrite gain - when gain is at max then there's hiss noise, so can't turn it on complete max. Also, when it's on max then almost not possible to get FP7F volume level right - either it's too low or distortion starts at normal levels. The thing with that 100% is that at very loud parts it really does sometimes reach 100% and then what I do is record again at lower levels... And then the quiet parts are a bit too quiet. Don't you find that normalization tends to make the recording less natural/dynamic sounding? However, it might be the case that Audacity in built normalizer isn't that good. From effects for piano after recording I tend to use only a bit EQ and reverb.
I guess the thing with piano in general is that it's very very dynamic instrument and the deal is to find optimal level so that piano sounds good, middle ground sounds good and loud parts don't become distorted if all these components are in one music piece.

Top
#1838604 - 02/04/12 04:34 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
You said 100% was 7PM - are you sure you didn't mean 5PM for 100%? There is usually a zone where the volume control can't be positioned at. It appears that the FP7F's output level is not too bad, because you can get a good signal level on inputs 3&4 without needing to have it on 100%. Inputs 3&4 have quite a low maximum input level on the High Gain setting (IMHO). I don't understand the specs for inputs 1&2 and I have contacted Focusrite for clarification. The specs for inputs 1&2 appear to only specify the range of gain in relation to the two extremes, without any reference to an absolute level.

You said earlier:
Quote:

You can get a fair enough signal even with that, in line input 1-2 case you would have to turn volume on nearly 100% to get a proper recording. Perhaps piano responds/sounds better when not pushed to the max level...


This appears to be the case only for the Focusrite gain setting you are currently using, because you are now saying that if you turn up the Focusrite gain you can in fact overdrive the Focusrite, even on inputs 1&2. In any case, there's probably nothing wrong with having to have the FP7F near maximum.

I haven't actually tried the normalization function in Audacity yet, but I'd be extremely surprised if it does it incorrectly - it is a very simple operation. All it does is adjust the volume. It should be equivalent to adjusting the volume on an amp. The perceived tone of the recording will change when you listen at different volumes - you might be encountering that

I think you might be trying to record at too high a level. Don't worry too much about having the level so close to 100%. If the recording level is low, just normalise it in Audacity, and I think it will be fine. (if you play a very quiet piece, though, it may be better to just leave it as is) Also, the FP7F might have a setting to adjust the dynamic range - the difference in loudness between softly played notes and forcefully played notes. (I haven't checked). This might be something you want to experiment with.

Agreed though - the piano is very dynamic. My understanding is that dynamic range compression is often used in piano recordings to help with this. Ableton Live would allow you to use this processing on your recordings.

Greg

Top
#1838873 - 02/05/12 08:20 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Oh, yes , 5pm is 100%, sorry for confusion. Maybe then the best is to lower , for example, gain level for inputs 3-4 in Scarlett's MIX software and turn FP7F volume up more instead? The thing is that I find a bit odd - playing loud with FP7F inbuilt speakers/headphones is fine, but when trying to get the same volume with Focusrite , sometimes the clipping/distortion gets in a way, because, to get the same loud level with that you have to either turn on FP7F volume more (and then again if you don't lower gain levels it becomes too "loud" for Focusrite (actually not so loud at all in reality) ).
I think for volume lowering purposes amplif. function on Audacity is the most objective one, but if there is distortion, however, like I said previously, it doesn't move that away completely.
I have FP7F manual in front of me and I don't see dynamic range adjustment per say, however, what does play a part in that is key touch settings. For example, heavy settings need to play more forcefully to play fortissimo, but then again the sound in that setting is not good from my perspective and it also doesn't seem natural.

Top
#1838886 - 02/05/12 08:49 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Ok, I've got another test I'd like you to do, if you don't mind.

Could you try normalising one of your recordings of you just playing a typical song (a song that has loud and soft playing) to a level of -3dB in Audacity, and then play it back. Please tell me whether you are able to adjust the headphone volume to make it loud enough.

Greg.

Top
#1839585 - 02/06/12 02:47 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Yes, when I normalize in Audacity it is loud enough, but sounds a bit more metallic. But maybe that's just an illusion..
Another thing you also probably know - distortion is especially heard when playing forte on lower octaves. On upper side and middle range it's fine without clipping.

Top
#1839806 - 02/06/12 08:49 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
When you normalized, are you absolutely sure you normalized to -3dB? I.e - did you check the "Normalize amplitude to -3dB" box?

At the moment, you should not be getting any distortion, ever. If you do, something is wrong, and it is probably because your recording level is too high. When you played back the recording that you had normalized to -3dB, did you hear any distortion at all?

Once you know more about recording, you can learn about something called a "limiter". This will allow you to record at a louder level, with some distortion, but the distortion will be much more pleasant, and unobtrusive. At the moment, though, I think you should learn how to get good, basic recordings, that are loud enough, but do not have any distortion. If your performances sound ok when you play them back from the FP7F (with headphones plugged into the FP7F), then it should be possible to get recordings that sound either identical or very near identical when you listen with headphones plugged into the Focusrite, especially if the Focusrite is loud enough, which appears to be the case.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (02/06/12 08:50 PM)

Top
#1840154 - 02/07/12 12:24 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
Not getting distortion in that particular piece, sorry again for confusion smile , in this particular recording there was no distortion even before normalizing. But I will do another test with recording where there is distortion and then normalize. P.S. Audacity also asks when normalizing if also to remove any DC offset, is that revalent to this case ? I guess not.
Playing on FP7F there's almost never ever any distortion and that's the interesting thing, because sometimes I really turn up volume real loud - the same loudness in Focusrite would bring on clipping. As we move on and on with this topic, it's really clear it seems that the problem is "somewhere" in the audio levels and balancing it all right (not the focusrite itself as it should provide decent quality, and the cables also are not the problem, nor the Audacity I think).

Top
#1840282 - 02/07/12 04:15 PM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Thanks again. smile

I seems like you might be experiencing distortion that is caused during playback. This is a different problem to overloading the Focusrite inputs when recording. It's tricky to sort out whether it's the Focusrite, or your headphones. I think it's more likely to be the Focusrite not being able to drive your headphones to really loud levels.

Could you please upload a recording that sounds ok to you at normal listening levels, but which distorts at really loud levels. If one of recordings you have already uploaded qualifies, please tell me which one.

It should be safe to remove DC offset, but for the time being, don't do it. Removing DC offset adds a bit of complexity to the normalisation, and I'd rather keep things as simple as possible at the moment. Your recordings are unlikely to require DC removal anyway.

If we find that the Focusrite can't drive your headphones loud enough, you could either get different headphones (probably lower impedance than the ones you are using), or add a headphone amp. The headphone amp would have to be chosen carefully.

Greg.

Top
#1841649 - 02/10/12 02:19 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
EO3,
The specs for the Focusrite headphone output are:
Maximum output: +6dBu into 32 ohms
Output impedance: < 7 ohms.
(supplied by Focusrite support, published here with permission)

Specs for the MDR-7506 headphones:
Impedance: 63 ohms
Sensitivity: 106dB (I'm assuming @ 1V RMS)

I calculate a peak SPL of about 110dB. This is pretty loud, but given that solo piano is very demanding (IMHO), it may not be enough, because this level is only reached very briefly, during the attacks. The average SPL would be significantly lower than this. Also, according to this table: http://nwavguy.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/more-power.html this peak SPL is about in the middle of the recommended range. Also, if your recording is not normalised to 100%, the peak SPL will of course be lower than this ideal maximum.

By way of comparison, my Sennheiser HD570 headphones can reach about 107dB SPL when connected directly to my M-Audio Fast Track Ultra. This IS enough for listening to typical pop music, but is NOT enough for playing solo piano, live.

I forgot about the idea of connecting the Focusrite outputs back to your FP7F inputs, and using the FP7F as a headphone amp. If you don't mind doing that, perhaps that will save you from getting different headphones or a headphone amp.

Without being there with you, it's hard to be 100% sure of anything. I'm just having a best guess, from what you've told me so far.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (02/10/12 02:25 AM)

Top
#1841683 - 02/10/12 04:16 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
When audio record distorts when it's recording in Audacity, in my case, the distortion is heard even in low volume, I mean, at same level it remains. When, however, playing back from FP7F with Focusrite and can hear distortion, I turn down volume/gain and can manage to get distortion out, but then again volume in general is a bit too quiet. But I will upload another test later today.

However, I don't think headphones might be the issue here. Because, for example, when playing back/recording from FP7F with focusrite via line ins 1-2 , when I hear distortion in my headphones, there's usually also red sign in Focusrite indicating that gain is too high and also the same thing shows into Audacity. Also I have tried to turn on music really loud on Focusrite listening with headphones and no distortion, so in this case I don't think it could be something to do with headphones (unless, of course, something goes crazy in focusrite itself when headphones are plugged in, but that couldn't be the case, could it?).

Top
#1841689 - 02/10/12 04:53 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
When you make a recording, if you ever see the "red sign" in Audacity or on the Focusrite, STOP. You are recording at too high a level. When this happens, you can either reduce the output volume of the FP7F, or you can reduce the input gain of the Focusrite. You should NEVER see the red when you make a recording. (I guess you already know this, but I just want to make absolutely sure)

Quote:
When audio record distorts when it's recording in Audacity, in my case, the distortion is heard even in low volume, I mean, at same level it remains.


This means that you recorded at a level that was too high, and the distortion is in the recording. You need to make a new recording at a lower level.

Quote:
When, however, playing back from FP7F with Focusrite and can hear distortion, I turn down volume/gain and can manage to get distortion out, but then again volume in general is a bit too quiet.


When you say you "turn down the volume/gain", are you turning down the output of the Focusrite? I assume so. This means that the output of the Focusrite is probably overloading the input to the FP7F. When you turn down the volume, can you then turn UP the volume on the FP7F to make it loud enough again? Does the volume setting on the FP7F have any effect when you are using the line input of the FP7F?

I have found that music (with drums, vocals and other instruments etc etc) tends to sound louder than solo piano, and it is easier to get a loud level from music. I do not think we have ruled out the possibility of the Focusrite not being able to drive your headphones loudly enough yet.

I have just discovered that Audacity can't normalise to 100%. It can only normalise to -3dB. If the "normalise to -3dB" box is not checked, it simply will not normalise at all! The only way to normalise to 100% would be to use the amplify effect instead of the normalise effect, but that's a bit tricky.

To speed things up, can we just use your original "withoutheadphonestest1" recording? That sounds clean to me, and I think you said that it sounded clean to you too. It has been recorded nice and loudly - near 100%. If it sounds clean at a comfortable listening level, please tell me whether you can play it back on the Focusrite really loudly. (with the headphones plugged into the Focusrite)

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (02/10/12 04:54 AM)

Top
#1841691 - 02/10/12 05:02 AM Re: Line in recording quality (fp7f) [Re: EO3]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Ah ha! Audacity can normalise to 100%, using the Amplify effect, very easily. Don't use the Normalise effect - use the Amplify effect. Make sure "allow clipping" is NOT selected, and just move the slider as far to the right as it will allow. If you go too far, it will grey out, and it won't let you do anything. Just move it back to the left if you go too far.

Anyway, first of all, see how you go with "withoutheadphonestest1". You should not have to do any normalisation of that recording.

Greg.

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Piano World 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
160 registered (accordeur, 36251, acappello, Adam Coleman, 49 invisible), 1820 Guests and 23 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74217 Members
42 Forums
153528 Topics
2249926 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Why 88 keys?
by gsmonks
Today at 03:01 PM
Casio AP range advice please
by thamajor7
Today at 01:38 PM
Installing plain wire: no twists involved
by A443
Today at 01:12 PM
Disney - Mulan - Reflection (arr. by K. Landry)
by Gi Dy
Today at 12:32 PM
A good introduction to history of French classical music?
by BWV 846
Today at 10:50 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission