How to properly record a DP

Posted by: Adamanthul

How to properly record a DP - 12/06/12 05:31 AM

Hi there everyone, I would like to get some tips on how to record my digital piano properly. I own a Yamaha CLP 330 and usually i record myself via headphone out (at the CLP) to the Line-in on my pc.

The audio results I am getting are often "broken" meaning the audio goes into overdrive

youtube

this would be an example, i have to record at a very low volume and reduce the input strength in my audio program ( I am using audacity)

I have absolutely no idea how to properly record my dp but ive seen many videos on youtube with the same dp which had absolutely stunning, crystal-clear sounds and i would like have this quality too.

The only thing i can imagine is that my pc is too "weak" to handle the signal, since i dont have a real soundcard and am currently connecting my dp directly to the onboard sound on my motherboard.

Thanks
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 04:12 AM

Well, I'm not a great expert on that matter but as I see nobody answered to your question I'll dare to tell my thoughts:

I've heard that if you want a nice quality recording you may not mix different input/output types. If your Clavinova has a Line Output (I guess it has as it's a cabinet model), that is what you must plug to your computer's line in, not the headphones output. If you can only use your headphones out (i.e the line output isn't accesible in the back, you don't have a special cable, the DP doesn't have a line out, etc), you may try to plug headphones out into the microphone input on your computer instead of using Line In.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 11:28 AM

Thanks for your input!

I just checked and my Dp doesn't have a line-out, the only other outputs are AUX in/out and MIDI in/out i already have a MIDI cable but from what i understand midi is for sequencing and not actual recording.

I will try the headphone to mic suggestion in the next days, any thoughts on buying an audio card for my pc or is that a waste of money?
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 11:35 AM

What's the quality like using the inbuilt recorder?
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 11:40 AM

Allright when i play it directly in the dp, as soon as i transfer it on a usb stick and further onto a pc the quality decreases, reverb/sustain are getting totally messed up for some reason..
Posted by: emenelton

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 12:05 PM

aux outs are line outs
Posted by: PtJaa

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 12:06 PM

Quote:
i have to record at a very low volume and reduce the input strength in my audio program ( I am using audacity)


This is very often caused by having "Microphone boost" slider turned up in Windows. When recording the output from piano, it should be turned completely down. I don't know which OS you have, but it should be easy to google proper instructions (for example, this page shows the opposite, how to turn it on, for Windows XP and 7).
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 12:36 PM

The mic boost thing is a good catch, assuming that the OP is using the mic input. But he says he's using the line input, so the mic boost should not be pertinent.

Adamanthul: When you say that you record "to the Line-in on my pc", I assume that (a) you really mean the line input, and that (b) you're using a desktop computer, not a laptop. Is that correct?
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 12:53 PM

Emenelton: so would i improve quality by getting an AUX to cinch cable?

MacMacMac: maybe i am referring to the line out? i don't know it is the 3,5mm cinch next to the audio out and mic in at the back of my (yes, desktop) pc.
I just figured it was the Line-in since i can record audio with it and line-out wouldn't do that, would it?
Posted by: PtJaa

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 02:14 PM

Ooops, thanks for the correction, MacMacMac. I missed that.
Posted by: emenelton

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 03:06 PM

The proper cable in your situation would be the 1/4" male x 2 to 1/8" male stereo. It's probable that the headphone send on your DP was the culprit and it was hitting your 1/8" line it too hard. This cable will be a starting point for you. How-ever, you would most likely get the best results using the keyboards built in(if it has it) recorder.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 05:56 PM

the 1/4" male x 2 to 1/8" male stereo.

can you translate that to european english for me? what is a "male"? and i assume 1/4 is a 6,5mm and a 1/8 a 3,5 mm cinch?

perfect would be a link to such a cable
Posted by: emenelton

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 06:07 PM

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/live-wire-1-8-trs--dual-1-4-y-cable?src=3WWRWXGP

Please understand, you're going down a path that many have taken before you.

Referring to the quality of the piano sound in the video link you posted, it is more than likely that with the equipment you are using, you will have problems matching it.

It is definitely worth it to buy this cable but you would be well advised to put more effort into using (if your keyboard has it) the built in recorder.

ps cinch might be misspelled, it is most likely 1/8 inch
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 06:10 PM

Male and female connectors


An example 1/4x2 male to 1/8 stereo male cable.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 06:40 PM

Hey thanks again for your elaborate answer, i am using a 1/8 to 1/8 cable with a 1/4 adapter on one side (the dp side) would i have better sound using a "real" 1/4 to 1/8?

with "cinch" i meant the type of plug the cable is ending with, i thought it was the english term for it, i googled it, could it be "jack plug"?

I will definitively try the build in recorder again in the comnig days.

Also i didnt quite catch the meaning of

"Referring to the quality of the piano sound in the video link you posted, it is more than likely that with the equipment you are using, you will have problems matching it."

Did you mean matching the audio quality in that video? That is actually me playing and the audio quality is the problem i am talking about as soon as i play a bit faster/harder the sound goes into heavy overdrive...
if you meant something else, i didnt get it, sorry.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 07:15 PM

By heavy overdrive, you mean to say it's clipping and distorting because the signal is coming in too strongly.

I don't think the problem is your physical cable. If you have done everything that has been said here, you can try simple things like turning down the volume on your DP. Record the music at a lower volume level, then you can amplify the signal in postprocessing (using audacity or a similar tool) if you feel it is necessary.

Unfortunately, you will probably not get spectacular results with the onboard audio of your computer. In many cases the onboard audio has very poor recording capability. For a moderate investment you can get a USB audio interface that will do a good job (m-audio fast track pro, presonus audiobox, focusrite scarlett or saffire, that kind of thing). This kind of recording project is basically what those interfaces are for.

[edit] Oh wait, I just realized that you are recording out of the headphone output of your piano. Buy whatever you need to in order to use the aux out instead. That will make all the difference. If you are still not satisfied after that, look into the external interfaces I recommended above.
Posted by: emenelton

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/07/12 08:04 PM

sorry about that, I didn't think that was you because it didn't sound like it had a problem, I didn't really listen to it very long, now that
i do I realize that it's distorted.
Mr GvFarns conclusion is correct. get the aux cable and at least your gain matching will be correct and you should be able to play with normal dynamics and more standard volume settings throughout.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/08/12 03:35 PM

So, today i have recorded something via AUX to Line in, while i was able to record without any distortions/overdrive there were some annoying background hissings that were audible throughout, i was able to edit it to my liking but still had some problems.

First and foremost it only recorded for the left speaker and the right one was a loud hissing noise which i had to remove and manually edit it to simulate surround sound, so as not to have a onesided sound.

http://i.imgur.com/gzvJV.jpg the screenshot shows the left (upper) stream to be fine, the lower one is a constant hiss...

There were some other minor hisses in the left audio line which i could not absolutely eliminate but it is definitively better than before!

Do you guys think an external audio device like recommended above would help to increase the quality of the recordings? If so, how much money will I need to spend on that, i can't afford much since i am a poor student.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 12:07 AM

Sounds like you might need to check a few things. Are you using the cable people mentioned a little earlier in the thread? Did you double check that you are using both 1/4 aux jacks on your piano?

As for the hissing in the other one, that could be one of a number of problems: electronic noise inside your computer, crappy onboard circuitry, the gain/volume set at non-optimal levels, ground loop issues possibly, etc. I'd suggest fixing the big one first, then moving to these.
Posted by: floydthebarber71

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 01:36 AM

Getting a sound card may solve the hissing etc, I think you are picking up motherboard sounds through the onboard. Cards like the asus xonar dg or dgx are affordable (have to check whether or not your pci or pci-express slot are physically free on your motherboard and then choose the card that corresponds).
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 02:02 AM

Agreed. An even less electronically noisy environment is anywhere outside the computer case, which is one reason USB external sound interfaces are common around here.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 03:19 AM

No i was using my old cable, that explains why there are two outlets for AUX out, i am an idiot!

I will acquire such a cable and think about an external audio device, since my motherboard is pretty small and i guess my graphics card is blocking the PCI slot below it. Do you have any reasonably cheap devices you can recommend? I would like to stay below ~150$/120€ but of course the lower the better!
Posted by: floydthebarber71

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 03:30 AM

I have the same problem with the blocked PCI slot. There is usually a PCI-e x1 slot above the PCI-e x16 slot where your graphics card sits. PCI-e sound cards slot into the x1. I think this would be the cheapest option than going for external USB, but I am not familiar with these so I could be very wrong.

If anything you will at least get a much better sound output for listening to music etc :P
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 03:41 AM

So I just checked and there are actually accessible PCI-e slots below my graphics card, the question now is whether to buy an external device or a sound card? Is it viable to buy an external one in my budget range or should i just go for a sound card?
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 12:33 PM

In my opinion, external is better, particularly if you are going to be recording. Basically they are made for this purpose. Internal interfaces are usually designed primarily for advanced playback.

Having an external interface gives you lots of advantages, like knobs for gain and volume, LED's that light up if the input is coming in too hot, etc. Stuff that matters if you are recording.

Basically in this forum you see the following devices:

  • Presonus Audiobox USB
  • M-Audio FastTrackPro
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
  • Behringer UCA202

I would not recommend the Behringer for recording (it lacks the features and some of the quality you will need. I own it.).

I personally use the Focusrite. The recording quality is very good. The only issue I have had with it is poor stability of the drivers, though they have updated the driver several times since I got it and the current one seems much more stable. Type "focusrite 2i2" into youtube and watch a few videos. The dials and things are pretty handy.

The M-Audio and Presonus are better because they have MIDI-IN ports, which can be convenient if you are not using USB-MIDI.

Whatever you decide, just make sure it has the ability to record stereo. Many lower-end devices are designed for guitar and can only record one audio track (for example, M-Audio the FastTrack non-pro version). If you got something like that you'd be stuck with mono forever.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 05:32 PM

Hey thanks for your very informative answer, the focusrite looks nice but how exactly would i record with that? do i plug 2 1/4 in my aux and 2 1/4 in the audio interface? whats confusing to me is that a picture of the focusrite shows a line output not a line input?

Also are there cheaper alternatives? or is it worth it to spend a little more even on an amateur level?

thanks!
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/09/12 05:44 PM

This was the cheapest reasonable one I saw when I was looking. You may find something different, but I didn't.

The focusrite takes XLR (balanced), 1/4 TS (unbalanced), or 1/4 TRS (balanced) inputs. You would run 2 1/4 TS cables from your piano to it. They can be at line level or mic level (which is much lower and get "pre-amped". All the inputs are on the front. Its output is on the back. It's a pair of 1/4 TRS (balanced) jacks which would also work with a 1/4 TS unbalanced cable, which is what you would run to speakers if you use them.

Most likely you will have to buy some cables to get it all set up. Most of them are pretty cheap.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/10/12 05:23 AM

So I am still unsure with all that cable business...

if i buy the 2i2 and this cable http://a2.images6.thomann.de/pics/prod/157992.jpg will i be able to connect it properly? The website where I am going to buy it doesn't say anything about TS or TRS and I don't really know what those terms refer to... the cable in the link has a 1/4 stereo jack to a dual 1/4 mono jack and the 2i2 itself would be connected to my pc via usb as far as i can see?

Programs like Audacity have no problem recording from a USB-Device, although i guess there comes software with the box?

A lot of beginner questions, still trying to get a hold of the whole audio interface subject..
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/10/12 09:50 AM

Google is your friend on the TRS vs TS thing. Long story short, TRS cables carry two signals (typically either stereo sound or balanced sound, which is a single signal and the same signal again out of phase with the first one as a way of getting rid of interference) while TS carries a single signal. Your piano probably has two 1/4 TS outputs. The interface takes two 1/4 inputs, which will need to be TS. The cable you showed combines two TS into one TRS. That's not what you need. The solution to your problem is simply two TS cables like this.
Posted by: timmyab

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/10/12 10:39 AM

If your piano hasn't got a line out your best bet is to buy an audio interface and plug it into the headphone socket.I use a Line 6 UX1 which does an excellent job for about £100.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/11/12 11:27 AM

Allright you guys have been a tremendous help, i think i will go with the 2i2, my last question is, is it important whether i buy 1/4 to XLR or 1/4 to 1/4 cables?
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/11/12 11:41 AM

Many years ago I tested the quietness of a sound system by switching out the 1\4" cables with XLR 'mic' cables.

With no input signal and the mixer and amp wide open ... and the amp was close to 500 watts rms per channel, there was a very slight difference in favor of the XLR cable.

Since this system was used on jobs, I didn't think the very slight reduction in the noise floor was a big deal; it would go unnoticed so I used the 1\4" cables.

If you're mastering audio for a professional situation, go with the XLR. If you're making recordings for your own enjoyment, go with the 1\4". (If I'm on a job and a 1\4" cable goes bad, I can easily find a replacement. If an XLR cable quits, it's more difficult to locate one.)

My opinion ... it's splitting hairs, but then there are audiophiles who split hairs for fun. smile
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/11/12 11:57 AM

It's definitely just amatuer/for fun stuff but I guess i will go with the XLR nonetheless if the quality is (ever so slightly) better, there is practically no price difference and i am ordering all my cables/audio stuff at a place that sends superfast so even if one cable should go bad, ill have replacement soon enough.

Thanks for your input!
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: How to properly record a DP - 12/11/12 02:30 PM

The usual purpose of XLR is to carry a balanaced signal. Your digital piano does not produce balanced signal. As a result, there's no advantage to XLR I can think of (except it is less likely to be accidentally pulled out if you trip on it).

Now, the focusrite can produce a balanced output signal, so if your speakers accept a balanced input signal, you can use that to go from the focusrite to the speakers and avoid any interference that could happen between the focusrite and speakers. Balanced signals can be transmitted over XLR or 1/4 TRS, but not 1/4 TS.
Posted by: Adamanthul

Re: How to properly record a DP - 01/12/13 09:35 AM

Well after some time i finally got my 2i2 and am able to record without interference/distortion.Thanks again for all your help!

(In case anyone is interested, here is a sample of the sound quality Youtube )