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#2412191 - 04/20/15 05:54 PM MP11 Audio Differences
GA MP6 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/14
Posts: 19
Does anyone else notice the difference in tonality in the MP11 when using headphones vs XLR output to recording equipment? The headphones sound so full and lush while the direct output to a DAW is very mid intense and loses the balance. EQ is untouched and using the factory settings. I wonder if there are any known issues with the output circuitry. Sounds very different to me. I'd love to hear what you all think.

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#2412210 - 04/20/15 06:52 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
toddy Online   content
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Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 2061
Loc: Portugal
This is just a guess, but maybe the headphone output is modified to give a full frequency range sound in headphones. The XLR output will be a straight line out with no modification or tailoring. This can be done in the DAW with the array of VST processors that will be installed - EQs would be what's called for in this case.....though, of course that can, as you imply, be done in the MP11, anyway.
_________________________
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#2412254 - 04/20/15 08:50 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
kanadajin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/06/14
Posts: 23
This does not directly answer your question, but I have used on occasion the 1/4 in audio output fed into my hi-fi system. I find the sound through my Paradigm loudspeakers to be actually quite nice, not the same palette as on my headphones, but nonetheless reasonably well rounded and balanced - actually very pleasant to listen to (at least to my ears).

I never did try the XLR outputs as of yet, so I cannot compare the two. Perhaps someone else will be able to chime in.

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#2412259 - 04/20/15 09:14 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 675
Originally Posted By GA MP6
I wonder if there are any known issues with the output circuitry. Sounds very different to me. I'd love to hear what you all think.


A lot of things impact how an instrument sounds once you get it recorded. One thing that you should be able to count on though is that the XLR's deliver the best quality signal the MP11 will deliver. There is a skill in recording, getting the levels correct among many other things.

What equipment are you using?

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#2412262 - 04/20/15 09:24 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
OneWatt Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/15
Posts: 170
Loc: Mountain Time, USA
Originally Posted By GA MP6
Does anyone else notice the difference in tonality in the MP11 when using headphones vs XLR output to recording equipment? The headphones sound so full and lush while the direct output to a DAW is very mid intense and loses the balance. EQ is untouched and using the factory settings. I wonder if there are any known issues with the output circuitry. Sounds very different to me. I'd love to hear what you all think.


Question: Are you listening to the XLR>DAW recording using those same headphones? Or are you listening to this recording through studio monitors or other speakers?

- OneWatt

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#2412268 - 04/20/15 10:25 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: toddy]
GA MP6 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/14
Posts: 19
This is my suspicion as well. I can definitely shape the sound appropriately for my mix, but there is a distinct difference using the same headphones between different outputs. I just didn't expect it. Thanks.

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#2412270 - 04/20/15 10:30 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 675
As you work printing the hottest levels that you can while recording per your input meters, the piano's sound on playback will improve.

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#2412271 - 04/20/15 10:32 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: OneWatt]
Kawai James Online   content
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Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10436
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By OneWatt
Question: Are you listening to the XLR>DAW recording using those same headphones? Or are you listening to this recording through studio monitors or other speakers?


Good point.

Listening through headphones connected to the MP11 should sound the same as listening to a recording from the XLRs into a DAW through the same headphones.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2412421 - 04/21/15 10:23 AM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: Kawai James]
GA MP6 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/14
Posts: 19
Originally Posted By Kawai James
Originally Posted By OneWatt
Question: Are you listening to the XLR>DAW recording using those same headphones? Or are you listening to this recording through studio monitors or other speakers?


Good point.

Listening through headphones connected to the MP11 should sound the same as listening to a recording from the XLRs into a DAW through the same headphones.

Kind regards,
James
x


... and since they don't, this is why I asked the question. Nothing on the unit is touched. I use standard, factory, settings for each patch with no eq in the DAW. There is a significant change from headphone to audio out of XLR into DAW. I'm open to ideas. I would be curious if anyone else can duplicate the problem. If it's specific to my MP11, it needs to be address because its the primary keyboard in my studio.

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#2412430 - 04/21/15 10:41 AM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
Alexander Borro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/14
Posts: 232
Loc: UK
I wonder what headphones it is model etc and what it is not connected directly to the piano but when recording. I doubt it would make that drastic a difference, but headphones impedance can very a bit in some cases over the frequency range and depending what they are connected to.

I don't know anything about the MP11 headphone out specs. Some headphones really benefit from a headphone amplifier and that will improve bass response in particular, so how easy they are to drive can be a factor. Some models I listened to like AKG open backs are quite sensitive to this, even though on paper their impedance it not awfully high, in the 60+ ohm range they do rather sound different with an without a headphone amp, yet some other makes of headphone the difference is negligible at best.

The really high impedance models can really suffer without significant drive ( input signal ) and lack roundness.

Try another set of headphones if you have them lying around and see if it happens to the same degree.


Edited by Alexander Borro (04/21/15 10:47 AM)
_________________________
started June 2014, self teacher.
Books: Barratt classic piano course book 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various others
Hardware: Casio Celviano AP 450 & various peripherals:
Software: Ivory American D, Pianoteq, The Giant, Cubase 7 elements.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro

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#2412438 - 04/21/15 11:01 AM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
OneWatt Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/15
Posts: 170
Loc: Mountain Time, USA
Originally Posted By GA MP6
Originally Posted By Kawai James
Originally Posted By OneWatt
Question: Are you listening to the XLR>DAW recording using those same headphones? Or are you listening to this recording through studio monitors or other speakers?


Good point.

Listening through headphones connected to the MP11 should sound the same as listening to a recording from the XLRs into a DAW through the same headphones.

Kind regards,
James
x


... and since they don't, this is why I asked the question. Nothing on the unit is touched. I use standard, factory, settings for each patch with no eq in the DAW. There is a significant change from headphone to audio out of XLR into DAW. I'm open to ideas. I would be curious if anyone else can duplicate the problem. If it's specific to my MP11, it needs to be address because its the primary keyboard in my studio.


Thank you for clarifying - sounds like we all agree that the signal path as you've described it shouldn't make any difference. Using same headphones in both cases takes this out of the equation (unless the headphone jacks have different impedence specs, but let's assume not for now).

Further, let's assume you've got a true stereo signal coming out of the XLR outputs (not mono) which could otherwise clearly change the sound quality you're describing. Check the "audio out" to ensure you don't have it set to mono. Now on to more vexing issues...

I own an MP7 (not MP11) which does not have XLR outs. But now I wonder whether you may have (inadvertently of course) introduced any processing in either path that's missing in the other. Without running through the MP11 manual it's hard to know offhand just where and how various effects (like reverb) are introduced into the MP11 signal path (e.g., there may be utility/system settings to apply certain EFX on a pre- vs post-basis to the XLR signal path.)

More specifically, since XLR outputs are usually provided for running output into a mixing board for use with a house system or recording deck/DAW... and that turning OFF spatial effects from the keyboard (again, like reverb) is an important feature to avoid creating sonic "mush" when those effects are applied by the sound guy, or perhaps not applied at all due to the natural acoustics of the venue, there's the possibility that you have the MP11 set up (factory default?) to have the XLR outs NOT affected by those same pleasing effects you're enjoying when listening directly to the headphone output?

Again, without downloading an MP11 manual and doing a deep dive, I'm just guessing here. But this is one possibility that comes to mind. I would suggest checking whether the MP11 permits effects to be turned on/off to the XLR outputs and confirm whether they are indeed set differently for the two signal paths you are comparing.

- OneWatt

ps - next step would be to begin digging into what's going on in your DAW setup. Can you record other instruments into your DAW without detecting a similar change in sound quality, etc.?

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#2412439 - 04/21/15 11:10 AM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: OneWatt]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 675
Originally Posted By OneWatt




Thank you for clarifying - sounds like we all agree that the signal path as you've described it shouldn't make any difference.



I don't agree, signal path can make a big difference, absolutely, but so can headphone amps as mentioned. I think you're chasing a red herring thinking it's the balanced outs.

The moment you send the signal through another recording stage, everything points to how you did that and the headphone amp.

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#2412444 - 04/21/15 11:20 AM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: emenelton]
OneWatt Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/15
Posts: 170
Loc: Mountain Time, USA
Originally Posted By emenelton

I don't agree, signal path can make a big difference, absolutely, but so can headphone amps as mentioned. I think you're chasing a red herring thinking it's the balanced outs.

The moment you send the signal through another recording stage, everything points to how you did that and the headphone amp.


My apologies - I erroneously assumed agreement when it wasn't there, and you raise a valid point!

The OP describes a loss of "full and lush" sound, where the balance is missing. This description would seem to point more to a change in signal content, not just amp coloration or overall volume.

I'm also assuming the OP appreciates that his DAW/computer audio interface has a lot to do with things, and he's also using that same setup and headphone combination to listen to other sounds.

But your point is certainly well taken; these other components can do a great deal to change things at the end of the line. I've perhaps wrongly assumed he's aware of all that and has taken those factors out of the mix.

-OneWatt

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#2412453 - 04/21/15 11:56 AM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: OneWatt]
GA MP6 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/14
Posts: 19
Originally Posted By OneWatt
Originally Posted By emenelton

I don't agree, signal path can make a big difference, absolutely, but so can headphone amps as mentioned. I think you're chasing a red herring thinking it's the balanced outs.

The moment you send the signal through another recording stage, everything points to how you did that and the headphone amp.


My apologies - I erroneously assumed agreement when it wasn't there, and you raise a valid point!

The OP describes a loss of "full and lush" sound, where the balance is missing. This description would seem to point more to a change in signal content, not just amp coloration or overall volume.

I'm also assuming the OP appreciates that his DAW/computer audio interface has a lot to do with things, and he's also using that same setup and headphone combination to listen to other sounds.

But your point is certainly well taken; these other components can do a great deal to change things at the end of the line. I've perhaps wrongly assumed he's aware of all that and has taken those factors out of the mix.

-OneWatt


Thanks for the comments. Since the audio becomes very mid intense, it makes me wonder. Headphones direct into the MP11 are nice and full. MP11 recorded via XLR outs (stereo) into interface/daw with no eq, compression, or effects of any kind (totally flat) produces a mid range intense audio. This is why I suspect different audio circuitry for the headphone jack vs the XLR outs. Sure, I can eq it all up just fine, but I was wondering if anyone else noticed the same thing and why the difference in the first place. Thanks again!

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#2412459 - 04/21/15 12:03 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 675
One Watt,

I appreciate your consideration of my viewpoint, thanks.

It seems a little funny to go on about the MP11's XLR's because that is the only thing that is known about the issue. A computer and a set headphones are being used as well and those are not described.


To the OP,

What sort of levels are you maintaining with you input meters when you record. What equipment are you using.

Questions like that. Do you use monitors as well?
What interface are you using?

Impedance really has the effect on signals that you describe.



Edited by emenelton (04/21/15 12:23 PM)

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#2412479 - 04/21/15 01:02 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
PhJ. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/28/02
Posts: 215
Loc: Brussels
Can you specify the whole chain ?
What soundcard do you have, what amplifier ? Have you tried with different cables ?
There's very little chance it's MP11 related imho, it must be something else in the chain.

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#2412493 - 04/21/15 01:39 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: PhJ.]
GA MP6 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/14
Posts: 19
Originally Posted By PhJ.
Can you specify the whole chain ?
What soundcard do you have, what amplifier ? Have you tried with different cables ?
There's very little chance it's MP11 related imho, it must be something else in the chain.


Sure. XLR out to Focusrite OctoPre into iMac (Logic Pro X). Very straightforward. That's it.

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#2412498 - 04/21/15 02:04 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
Alexander Borro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/14
Posts: 232
Loc: UK
which Octopre is it because when I look online I see no headphone connectivity on it for the one I find, so how are you connecting the headphones, and for that matter what headphone is it ?
_________________________
started June 2014, self teacher.
Books: Barratt classic piano course book 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various others
Hardware: Casio Celviano AP 450 & various peripherals:
Software: Ivory American D, Pianoteq, The Giant, Cubase 7 elements.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro

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#2412503 - 04/21/15 02:17 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 675
use the TRS too, not the XLR's and make sure it's padded correctly and that you have healthy meter levels.
People will say the TRS and XLR's are the same but I always will use the TRS for line, too many problems with recording not to start with the proper basics-

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#2412505 - 04/21/15 02:21 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: emenelton]
GA MP6 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/14
Posts: 19
Originally Posted By emenelton
use the TRS too, not the XLR's and make sure it's padded correctly and that you have healthy meter levels.
People will say the TRS and XLR's are the same but I always will use the TRS for line, too many problems with recording not to start with the proper basics-


That's an interesting thought. It might be worth experimenting with that. Thanks.

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#2412506 - 04/21/15 02:22 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: Alexander Borro]
GA MP6 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/14
Posts: 19
Originally Posted By Alexander Borro
which Octopre is it because when I look online I see no headphone connectivity on it for the one I find, so how are you connecting the headphones, and for that matter what headphone is it ?


Audio Technica ATH-M50 to the computer


Edited by GA MP6 (04/21/15 02:23 PM)

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#2412515 - 04/21/15 02:44 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 675
If you use the front combo jacks with TRS, make sure to set it to LINE and not INSTRUMENT

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#2412534 - 04/21/15 03:32 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
Alexander Borro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/14
Posts: 232
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By GA MP6
Originally Posted By Alexander Borro
which Octopre is it because when I look online I see no headphone connectivity on it for the one I find, so how are you connecting the headphones, and for that matter what headphone is it ?


Audio Technica ATH-M50 to the computer


I am now bit confused how everything is connected in the setup, but I know that headphone very well I have a ATH-50x myself, it is very easy to drive and not very sensitive to being enhanced or otherwise changed in sound by whatever it is connected to in terms of EQ, it is only 38 Ohms anyway.

At least I am confident that the headphones themselves are not a factor here. That's about all I know, I know a fair number of headphones fairly well and a headphone amp for example hardly affects this type of phone, your mac should drive it across the range well enough to a degree that any differences would be very subtle at best.

I am a PC man myself windows/linux so can't comment on the macs, but in windows you will find that there is a setting for headphones versus speakers you can set when you plug it in with some soundcard chips, that can change the sound a bit too.

On another note, I do recall some time ago I plugged my headphones into the little computer speakers plugged into the PC, and the headphones plugged into the speakers headphone out, it did drastically enhance the bass and coloured the sound, like it had a build in loudness switched on all the time, but were talking dirt cheap little consumer speakers, not studio level stuff, avoid that kind of connection to your headphones smile


Edited by Alexander Borro (04/21/15 03:34 PM)
_________________________
started June 2014, self teacher.
Books: Barratt classic piano course book 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various others
Hardware: Casio Celviano AP 450 & various peripherals:
Software: Ivory American D, Pianoteq, The Giant, Cubase 7 elements.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro

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#2412605 - 04/21/15 07:59 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10436
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By GA MP6
Originally Posted By Kawai James
Originally Posted By OneWatt
Question: Are you listening to the XLR>DAW recording using those same headphones? Or are you listening to this recording through studio monitors or other speakers?


Good point.

Listening through headphones connected to the MP11 should sound the same as listening to a recording from the XLRs into a DAW through the same headphones.

Kind regards,
James
x


... and since they don't, this is why I asked the question. Nothing on the unit is touched. I use standard, factory, settings for each patch with no eq in the DAW. There is a significant change from headphone to audio out of XLR into DAW.


Okay, thank you for clarifying.

As OneWatt mentioned above, the MP11/MP7 have an 'AudioOutMode' setting in the SYSTEM:Utility menu. The default is 'Stereo', however it's possible to select '2xMono'. Even though you note that you're using the factory settings, I would still double-check this setting to be sure the outputted signal is indeed Stereo.

Also, have you tried recording from the MP11's 1/4" outputs (and even the headphone out) to rule-out that your DAW or computer isn't 'colouring' the sound in some way? The volume level produced by the different outputs may vary a little, however the tonal character should be the same.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2412619 - 04/21/15 08:45 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
Ocram Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/15
Posts: 33
Originally Posted By GA MP6
Originally Posted By Alexander Borro
which Octopre is it because when I look online I see no headphone connectivity on it for the one I find, so how are you connecting the headphones, and for that matter what headphone is it ?


Audio Technica ATH-M50 to the computer


I wouldn't rule out that the computer's headphone circuitry or some dodgy "Sound enhancer" app is colouring the sound...

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#2412630 - 04/21/15 09:25 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 675
well if the MP11's outs are set to mono I will be so wrong-so very wrong
and if I'm wrong about that, how many other things have I been wrong about.

I would ask how-ever, when you are recording with the balanced connectors plugged into the mic inputs, what volume level do you have the MP11 adjusted to and how low do you have to adjust the input trims on your interface?

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#2412631 - 04/21/15 09:30 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: emenelton]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10436
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By emenelton
I would ask how-ever, when you are recording with the balanced connectors plugged into the mic inputs, what volume level do you have the MP11 adjusted to...


The MP11's Master Volume fader has no influence over the level of the XLR outputs - the volume is always fixed. The section volume faders must be used to adjust the level.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2412633 - 04/21/15 09:34 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: Kawai James]
emenelton Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 675
Originally Posted By Kawai James
Originally Posted By emenelton
I would ask how-ever, when you are recording with the balanced connectors plugged into the mic inputs, what volume level do you have the MP11 adjusted to...


The MP11's Master Volume fader has no influence over the level of the XLR outputs - the volume is always fixed. The section volume faders must be used to adjust the level.

Kind regards,
James
x


Thank-you for pointing that out James. I wonder how the interface's gain control is set then. The mic inputs and the line level have very different gain and impedance. Balanced +4 Line Level can really slam a mic pre.

Though after reading your description of the mono vs stereo setting it makes me question my previous view.

How does the Octopre plug into the computer?
Is it an Octopre 2 or Octopre 2 Dynamic?

It's just a pre, not an interface correct?

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#2412652 - 04/21/15 10:32 PM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: GA MP6]
OneWatt Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/15
Posts: 170
Loc: Mountain Time, USA
A totally different approach to diagnosing the issue you've described...

Grab any other sound source (e.g., an mp3 or CD player, the output of a guitar FX box or another keyboard, etc.) and listen via the headphone jack and then record the same musical content on your DAW. Hear the same sort of difference as you're hearing with the MP11 output vs DAW?

If so, this would strongly suggest your DAW is doing something, not your MP11.

- OneWatt

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#2412752 - 04/22/15 08:37 AM Re: MP11 Audio Differences [Re: emenelton]
GA MP6 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/14
Posts: 19
Originally Posted By emenelton
Originally Posted By Kawai James
Originally Posted By emenelton
I would ask how-ever, when you are recording with the balanced connectors plugged into the mic inputs, what volume level do you have the MP11 adjusted to...


The MP11's Master Volume fader has no influence over the level of the XLR outputs - the volume is always fixed. The section volume faders must be used to adjust the level.

Kind regards,
James
x


Thank-you for pointing that out James. I wonder how the interface's gain control is set then. The mic inputs and the line level have very different gain and impedance. Balanced +4 Line Level can really slam a mic pre.

Though after reading your description of the mono vs stereo setting it makes me question my previous view.

How does the Octopre plug into the computer?
Is it an Octopre 2 or Octopre 2 Dynamic?

It's just a pre, not an interface correct?

Correct. Its the MKII, no compression or eq on it. I have a long history of live and recorded sound (kinda old), so the gain stages, impedance, etc. are fine. The difference is only noticeable on the MPII XLRs. I saw an old thread here discussing something similar, but I can't locate it. I'll keep looking. Thanks.


Edited by GA MP6 (04/22/15 09:13 AM)

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