How to record piano on your computer

Posted by: mahlzeit

How to record piano on your computer - 02/24/07 04:32 PM

Hi all,

Because this question -- how do I record my piano -- keeps getting asked and I found myself giving the same answers over and over, I wrote an article about it.

Here it is:
http://www.originalsolopiano.com/how-to-record-piano.html

I hope you'll find it useful. Let me know if you have any suggestions or other comments. \:\)
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/24/07 04:43 PM

What a valuable resource, mahlzeit! Thank you so much for putting that together, and I am going to bookmark this thread so I can point to it every time we get the inevitable "how to record" questions.

One of the best features of your article, imo, is that you provided actual photos of the jacks and cables etc., which is an ENORMOUS help to technological illiterates like myself.

The only suggestion I would make is a teeny-tiny editorial one, regarding your comment that the Zoom is "a bit pricey". I personally think it is pretty cheap considering everything it contains (two stereo mics, recorder, etc.). Maybe just add a parenthetical comment "costs about $300-350" so as not to scare too many people off. ;\)
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/24/07 05:18 PM

I am glad you like it, Monica!

 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
I am going to bookmark this thread so I can point to it every time we get the inevitable "how to record" questions.[/b]
Yup, that was my whole point. \:D

Your comment on the Zoom is noted; I'll try to rephrase it a bit. Thanks! \:\)
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/24/07 10:46 PM

Great job. This should get a sticky...

Bravo!!
Posted by: Euphonatrix

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/25/07 12:58 PM

Great - thanks for all the work (and for the pictures as well!)
Posted by: funburger

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/25/07 03:31 PM

this link definitly needs a sticky!!! the most informative explanations i have read thus far!!

Posted by: AJB

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/26/07 04:01 AM

Very useful article. Thanks.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/26/07 08:33 AM

If you haven't already, you might want to start a thread about your article in the digital forum, too.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/26/07 08:45 AM

Great Job mahlzeit!

Thanks for posting this, very helpful.

I think you will find the answers to the acoustic side of the question in the thread from when we (actually Axtremus et-al) created the Piano World Piano Forums CD...
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/33/5.html

Between the two posts, you've got it all covered.
And yes, please post to the digital forums too.

Well Done.
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/26/07 11:04 AM

Thanks, everyone. \:\) I hope it answers most questions.

I will also link from the article to that thread on recording acoustics; it looks very good!
Posted by: BB Player

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/26/07 12:23 PM

Great job mahlzeit! This question comes up a lot so I've made the thread sticky. It's even more useful now that it includes the link on how to record acoustic piano.
Posted by: Agent

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/26/07 01:45 PM

Wow. This is a great resource. Saved me from asking a lot of questions.
Posted by: Babs_

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/27/07 07:51 AM

*Thanks Mahzeit!! I am a clueless moron in the area of recording , I bookmarked your site, I hope to get the guts to use it one day!
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/27/07 02:59 PM

The other thread on recording acoustics was indeed informative, but I got a kick out of the prices they mentioned there for soundcards, e.g., $99 for a 1 Gig card. Technology sure does get cheaper with age, doesn't it?

Mahlzeit, if you're not averse to posting links, I'd also (obviously) recommend adding a link to the Zoom mega-thread:

Just got a Zoom H4
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/27/07 03:04 PM

That's a good idea, Monica. Thanks! \:\)
Posted by: swingal

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/04/07 02:33 AM

Thanks 'mahlzeit'

Now that I have a digital piano keyboard as well. I can have a great time with all this added technology.

Alan (swingal)
Posted by: Van

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/04/07 03:53 AM

Agreed, nice job mahlzeit. BTW, is there anyway to record live using audacity without the lag?


Swingal, I totally missed the news on your new digital, so looking forward to hearing your recordings!
Posted by: Vandy

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/06/07 02:55 PM

Hello, All.

This looks to be an interesting thread and one that I will certainly follow. Thanks to all who have posted some very useful information.

Regards,

Gary
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/06/07 05:38 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by sid:
BTW, is there anyway to record live using audacity without the lag?[/b]
What do you mean by this? Specifically, I don't understand what you mean by "record live" -- aren't all recordings live?!
Posted by: Van

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/06/07 09:23 PM

Actually, it's a moot point now, I found a way around this.

I have to use the headphone audio out, before I couldn't hear what I was playing if I decided to record live (record as I play, vs. recording a playback of a saved session) and had to rely on the sound from audacity as it was processed so suffered a lag. Now I just turn off the audacity sound and enable the desktop's mic volume (didn't have this option on my laptop for some reason).

BTW, for those who haven't tried this, try hooking up your keyboard to your computer's sound system, I just have a low end 70W 5.1, but wow, you can get some really nice volume and clarity from the piano on these speakers.

Funny story, when I was experimenting with the 5.1 sound system yesterday, whenever I played a middle A, I would get this irritating buzzing (even on playback of recordings) I couldn't figure it out, was worried the cabling or keyboard or soundchip was defective or something...until I found out it was sympathetic vibration coming off of a metal grill on my pc, lol.
Posted by: pianobuff

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/09/07 04:08 AM

Thanks Mahlzeit!

I just asked this question at the composers forum earlier this evening.

Glad I looked here and saw your thread.

When I have more time I will read it and put it to use.
Posted by: hotkeys

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/17/07 07:22 PM

Great job Mahlzeit!

And some timely advice on handling recording situations for audio. Do you have any experience with video and suggestions?

Mark
Posted by: Solo Piano

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/30/07 03:50 PM

Thanks for the advice! Glad someone smart and has the time to help the rest of us out!
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/17/07 08:26 PM

question:

I was able to hook up my ES4 with a USB connection and record some music. But the play back using Red Dot gives it a harpsichord sound from my computer. It sounds fine through the piano itself. Suggestions, otherwise all my songs will seem like an Adams Family reunion... \:D
Posted by: Van

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/17/07 08:42 PM

Mark,

You'll only get a midi recording with a usb hookup. If you want the acoustic sound from your piano, you'll have to hook up using either the line-in (or headphones to mic) and fool around with audacity or similar software to record.

With the midi you can switch out the instrument or use software pianos to add back in the piano voice (you might want to look at the free soundfonts etc if you want to start playing around with giving midis back a sampled piano sound (the end path of going down this route are the rather expensive sampled piano software such as Akoustik, Ivory, Art Vista etc..

Good luck.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/17/07 08:46 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by sid:
Mark,

You'll only get a midi recording with a usb hookup. If you want the acoustic sound from your piano, you'll have to hook up using either the line-in (or headphones to mic) and fool around with audacity or similar software to record.

With the midi you can switch out the instrument or use software pianos to add back in the piano voice (you might want to look at the free soundfonts etc if you want to start playing around with giving midis back a sampled piano sound (the end path of going down this route are the rather expensive sampled piano software such as Akoustik, Ivory, Art Vista etc..

Good luck. [/b]
Thanks Sid, I was wondering why the Audacity wouldn't work. I guess back to the drawing board.

Mark
Posted by: gerg

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/17/07 10:45 PM

mahlzeit,

To record from your acoustic piano here are a few options:

* Condenser microphone (or two, for stereo).

* A professional mixer from E-Bay with microphone module. I got two professional-grade Peaveys for $60.

* Audacity is the free recording program of choice.

* Ensure your computer is capable of sampling audio input in the form of a microphone or line-in jack. Most modern PC's have this capability.

In my case the whole setup ran about $130. To do stereo I'd need to spend another $60 for another microphone and cord and another $??? for a second microphone module. I already have the two mixers.

Once you perform your recording, depending on your PC you'll need to remove the noise. My PC generates a lot of noise into the AC line, and this gets picked up by the mixer and must be removed with Audacity. Yet, if you remove too much you'll affect the recording's acoustic quality (make it sound like your in a room with wierd walls).

The alternative is much simpler but costlier: get the Zoom recorder. It will not have the line noise problems.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/17/07 10:50 PM

Can someone please direct me to the following cable to purchase. I've been searching and can't seem to find one. Thanks

"To use Line Out, you'll want to use a stereo cable with two big mono jacks on one end and a small stereo jack on the other."
Posted by: gerg

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/17/07 11:17 PM



Even Wal-Mart may have this.
Posted by: Helen&Ken

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/17/07 11:51 PM

Mark737

You are looking for a RCA to 3.5 mm (1/8") stereo mini plug. They can be found almost anywhere eg. Radio Shack, Best Buy, Circuit City, Walmart, any electronics shop etc. Gerg has posted the picture.

K
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/17/07 11:59 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by gerg:


Even Wal-Mart may have this. [/b]
I thought they had to have the 1/4 male ends like these?

Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 12:02 AM

BTW, thanks for the replies Helen&ken and gerg...
Posted by: Helen&Ken

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 04:33 AM

I had a look at the ES 4 manual and it is difficult to tell from the drawing but it does look like a phono jack rather than a RCA connector. You can use adapters as your picture above indicates or get a stereo 3.5 mm (1/8") mini plug to mono 1/4" phono jacks as it is probably cheaper. This still should be easy to find but get one with a long cord.



K
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 05:28 AM

The picture from gerg is correct, that's the same type of cable I used. But notice that I did add two converter plugs from RCA to big mono jacks.

The cable from Helen&Ken's picture is even better (no converter plugs necessary) but I couldn't find one of those anywhere in my local stores.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 08:44 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Helen&Ken:
I had a look at the ES 4 manual and it is difficult to tell from the drawing but it does look like a phono jack rather than a RCA connector. You can use adapters as your picture above indicates or get a stereo 3.5 mm (1/8") mini plug to mono 1/4" phono jacks as it is probably cheaper. This still should be easy to find but get one with a long cord.



K [/b]
You are correct. I do need the (2)1/4 inch males to the single 1/8 male. Thank you all very much for your help. I'm off to Radio Shack today...

Mark
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 11:23 AM

I'm up and working. For a while I didn't think the Radio Shack guy was going to find all the pieces to get it working.

Thanks everyone again!
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 12:41 PM

Ok, now I'm able to record but when I wear my headphones I lose my stereo sound. And it's difficult to play in mono...

And ideas?

Mark
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 02:30 PM

That's weird. So you're saying that if you plug something into your piano's Line Out, that the headphone sound becomes mono? Are you sure the headphones are plugged in all the way?

If this isn't a case of operator error ;\) then you can try to listen to your playing through the computer. Open the Volume Control Panel and enable playback for the Line In device.

This is assuming you're recording on Line In, not Mic In. Mic In is always mono. Try to record through Line In if at all possible.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 02:46 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by mahlzeit:
That's weird. So you're saying that if you plug something into your piano's Line Out, that the headphone sound becomes mono? Are you sure the headphones are plugged in all the way?

If this isn't a case of operator error ;\) then you can try to listen to your playing through the computer. Open the Volume Control Panel and enable playback for the Line In device.

This is assuming you're recording on Line In, not Mic In. Mic In is always mono. Try to record through Line In if at all possible. [/b]
The headphones are in right. And I can listen through the built in speakers when the headphones are out. But I was hoping to record without disturbing the family... \:D
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/18/07 04:31 PM

Then enable playback from your computer and plug the headphones into your computer.
Posted by: Serge88

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/23/07 01:41 PM

Hi Matthijs,

I tried Red Dot, it's a great little software. I have one comment,

When I set my Audigy sound card as my midi ouput with soundfont, there is no sound except when I hit record.

It would be nice if Red Dot sends the midi data from my keyboard to the Audigy without having to press record.

It's because I like to practice playing before recording.

I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.

Serge
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/24/07 04:40 AM

Hi Serge,

You are correct: Red Dot doesn't open the MIDI input until you press Record.

I might change it to the way you describe, but I'll have to think about it because it changes some of the underlying logic and I need to make sure this doesn't hurt the user interface.

By the way, this would also allow the user to start/stop recording by pressing a key on the keyboard, which would be a very handy feature.

Thanks for the feedback! \:\)
Posted by: Serge88

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/24/07 04:58 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by mahlzeit:
Hi Serge,
By the way, this would also allow the user to start/stop recording by pressing a key on the keyboard, which would be a very handy feature.

Thanks for the feedback! \:\) [/b]
That would be cool thanks!

Serge
Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/25/07 04:41 AM

Don't expect me to work on this anytime soon, though... I'm way too busy at the moment. (Hint: the source code can be downloaded from http://reddot.sf.net \:D )
Posted by: Eternal

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/25/07 09:26 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Mark737:
Ok, now I'm able to record but when I wear my headphones I lose my stereo sound. And it's difficult to play in mono...

And ideas?

Mark [/b]
Are the 1/8" to 1/4" adapters that you used Stereo? (In other words they should have 3 sections, not 2). If not, you are shorting the right channel to ground, and that's why you only hear in mono.
Posted by: Serge88

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 05/25/07 04:37 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by mahlzeit:
Don't expect me to work on this anytime soon, though... I'm way too busy at the moment. (Hint: the source code can be downloaded from http://reddot.sf.net \:D ) [/b]
Of course I don't.

serge
Posted by: scmay

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 01/15/09 04:55 PM

Hi, can anyone recommend a good USB MIDI cable that I can buy online? I bought one from eBay (brandless from China) and it stopped working after I used it once. I have a Roland RP101 and used it with RedDot, works great the first time but after that the program never detected the cable anymore.
Posted by: guest1013

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 01/15/09 05:36 PM

Have you seen this or a similar list? Roland compatibility list
Posted by: Les Koltvedt

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 01/15/09 07:30 PM

mahlzeit..btw, just thought I'd let you know I resolved my issue...simply burned exsisting music to a CD-RW, then just re-ripped it at a reduced sampling...

for those out of the loop, I had some music that I had ripped at a really high bit rate and when I tried to sync it to my mp3 player, it wouldn't play...only supported 192 bitrate or lower...
Posted by: scmay

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 01/15/09 08:30 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by guest1013:
Have you seen this or a similar list? Roland compatibility list [/b]
Haven't seen this before. This list doesn't mention the my piano model, and this is only for Vista & later. I am still on XP.
Posted by: conny

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/22/09 05:24 AM

hi,

I have a question which is not really covered in the tutorial. I have a Yamaha P-120 which connects to the PC with a to-host/d-sub cable. I installed the Yamaha midi driver but I don't know how to get audacity to recognize the input. Also, I only have the audio input options "stereomix", "CD-Audio" and "microphone" (SigmaTel soundcard) but no line-in. Can anyone help me with this?
Posted by: DragonPianoPlayer

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/22/09 05:54 AM

Hi conny,

Welcome to the forum.

It sounds like you are using MIDI instead of audio. With this setup, you would be recording the notes you are playing instead of the sound of your piano.

If you go to the pianoclues website
http://www.pianoclues.com/how-to-record-piano/
look at the section on how to record MIDI. You will want to be using a program like RedDotForever or Reaper to record instead of Audacity. This section of Mahlzeit's site will walk you through what you need to do to set up your recording.

You will probably also want to convert the MIDI files to WAV or MP3 files and this page will walk you through the options for this:
http://www.pianoclues.com/2008/03/11/how-to-convert-midi-files-to-mp3-and-make-them-sound-good/

If you want to use Audacity and record the sound of your P120, then you need a different cable. I would connect from the Aux Out of the P120 to the microphone in on your sound card. See page 11 of your manual and I would suggest using a cable connecting the two 1/4" mono phone plugs to 1/8" stereo phone plug. This would let you control the volume on your keyboard. It would not be an ideal set up, but it would work.

For better sound, you could use an external USB audio interface, if your computer has USB ports.

Hope this helps
Rich
Posted by: conny

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 03/14/09 09:27 AM


Hi Rich!

I saw your post only yesterday cos I was waiting for a notification from the forum.

I tried the variant with Red Dot Forever and it is working now!! smile Thank you so much for your advice, I was getting frustrated already wink

Eva
Posted by: PridgNYC

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 04/01/09 04:56 PM

Originally Posted By: gerg
mahlzeit,

To record from your acoustic piano here are a few options:

* Condenser microphone (or two, for stereo).

* A professional mixer from E-Bay with microphone module. I got two professional-grade Peaveys for $60.

* Audacity is the free recording program of choice.

* Ensure your computer is capable of sampling audio input in the form of a microphone or line-in jack. Most modern PC's have this capability.

In my case the whole setup ran about $130. To do stereo I'd need to spend another $60 for another microphone and cord and another $??? for a second microphone module. I already have the two mixers.

Once you perform your recording, depending on your PC you'll need to remove the noise. My PC generates a lot of noise into the AC line, and this gets picked up by the mixer and must be removed with Audacity. Yet, if you remove too much you'll affect the recording's acoustic quality (make it sound like your in a room with wierd walls).

The alternative is much simpler but costlier: get the Zoom recorder. It will not have the line noise problems.


The noise is the result of you hooking your mixer up improperly to your computer. Check out the tips in this article.
http://www.tweakheadz.com/how_to_hookup_a_mixer.htm
Posted by: bigcat

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 04/14/09 06:41 AM

Anybody try to record using the digital camera?

All the recent digital camera like my canon S2 have sound recording function and the quality of the recording sound is quite good and can be played back via TV or computer, off course sound file need to be copied from camera to computer.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 04/14/09 09:50 AM

Hi bigcat, welcome to the forum. smile

I tried using my digital camera a couple of times. It's a Canon Powershot. Unfortunately the sound quality was very bad... lots of clipping and distortion. This was disappointing because I had seen YouTube videos where people used their cameras and got pretty decent sound. So I'm glad it's working for you.

Nowadays I just use my Zoom and splice the audio track onto my Flip mino video using MovieMaker.
Posted by: Horwinkle

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 04/14/09 02:11 PM

Since most recordings today are done digtally, don't forget the Nyquist theorem, which states that you have to digitally sample the sound at a rate at least twice the highest frequency component of the source sound.

If you sample at too low a rate, you'll get "aliasing", and the sound will suck. This often shows up in amateur recordings. Sounds with lots of high frequency components (such as loud audience applause) come out sounding like trampled mush.

You have to either (a) raise the sampling rate or (b) roll-off the treble. (For better sound, prefer choice "a".)

Check your recording software and make sure you use an adequately high sampling rate. Given the prodigious storage and network bandwidth available today, it doesn't pay to select a low sampling rate.

Here are some of the selections available in Audacity. Note that these are minimal settings. You might want to go higher.



Posted by: mahlzeit

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 04/14/09 04:18 PM

You're right about the Nyquist frequency, but I would be surprised if any recording device in use today didn't use a low-pass filter before the sampling stage in other to remove the frequencies above the Nyquist limit. wink
Posted by: Horwinkle

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 04/14/09 09:50 PM

Tell that to the people who record crap for you tube. smile
Posted by: Bernard S

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/07/11 12:56 PM

I'm getting a "404 not found" message when I try to look at the link on how to record digital piano to computer. this is it
http://www.originalsolopiano.com/how-to-record-piano.html
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/07/11 01:00 PM

No... he's moved it to:

http://www.pianoclues.com/how-to-record-piano/

The URL got changed on the "Important topics for adult beginners" thread but apparently not this thread itself.
Posted by: Bernard S

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 02/07/11 01:05 PM

Thanks a lot. Will try that.
Posted by: robert smith

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 01/22/12 04:18 AM

Hi mahlzeit I came acroos your post on how to record directly to pc from a digital piano ,when I clicked on the link nothing comes up ,I know you wrote this in 2007 but if you still have the link would you kindly be able to repost it .many thanks Rob
Posted by: robert smith

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 01/22/12 04:19 AM

sorry my mistake I see it was written in 2011 july
Posted by: IvanKeyz

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 10/08/12 08:05 PM

The link is broken please help, I am 14 and I want to record my music. :'(

Edit:Sorry, I didn't see that post, links fine. smile
Posted by: Crocus

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 06/18/14 05:25 PM


Hi - I'm relatively new to the Forums and I realize "mahlziet's" post is from a long time ago, but I'd really like to read it and am not able to pull it up online. Can anybody help ? Would anybody have a copy they could send me ?
Posted by: ShiroKuro

Re: How to record piano on your computer - 06/18/14 05:33 PM

Try this page:
http://www.pianoclues.com/how-to-record-piano/

And this one, which is about recording to a Zoom:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...ite_id/1#import

These links are all in the "Important Topics" thread that's stickied at the top of the ABF page smile
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...html#Post972650