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#1949280 08/26/12 09:40 AM
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Norrec Offline OP
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Hello,

Previously I owned a Yamaha YPG-235 and recorded to my PC by placing a microphone right on top of one of the speakers and recording the mic on Audacity. This 'worked', but I thought there must be a better way.

This weekend I purchased a Roland RP-301 and am trying to figure out how to record from it properly. I've been able to gather that there are two ways: Using the Midi In/Out or using the Line In/Out. Neither of them seems a perfect solutions, though.

When I go reading about Midi I find a lot about sequencers and Soundfonts and software thats hundreds of dollars. I would just like the Mp3 to sound like it does coming out of the RP-301, does Roland offer a Soundfont for it?

In order to use Line In/Out I would need to be able to connect to a Line In/Out on a PC. My laptop only has headphone in. I have line in/out on my desktop but that would involve moving the desktop and monitor into the other room. So it's really seeming like Midi is the best option, as my laptop has a surplus of USB ports.

I guess the problem right now is I don't own a Midi-to-USB cable to experiment on my own. Before I go out and start buying cables I want to ensure I won't need expensive software or even more hardware after that. My family lives too far away to visit and I want to be able to send them mp3's of my playing. I'm not trying to layer multiple instruments or add effects, I'm just trying to have what I play be reproduced in a file that sounds the same and can travel through email.

Help or advice is appreciated.

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I'm told that, on some laptops, the mic input is also useable as a line input. There's one way to find out.

MIDI is a better option because you'll get better sound from a piano library. They cost $150 or more each, but it's worth it.

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Originally Posted by Norrec
This weekend I purchased a Roland RP-301 and am trying to figure out how to record from it properly. I've been able to gather that there are two ways: Using the Midi In/Out or using the Line In/Out.

I think you know this, but just to be clear, MIDI Out is for recording data, not audio. That is, it creates record of which keys you pressed, how hard, for how long. It does not record sound. You can subsequently send the data to either a hardware or software instrument to hear it, but the only way for it to sound like the RP-301 would be, upon playback, to connect the computer to the RP-301 (or some other Roland device that sounds identical).

Originally Posted by Norrec
I would just like the Mp3 to sound like it does coming out of the RP-301, does Roland offer a Soundfont for it?

That question is what indicated to me that you already do understand what I said above... i.e. if Roland made a software version of the RP-301 sound, you could play the MIDI file into that, without having to be physically connected to the RP-301. But I'm not aware of any company that makes a software-only version of the piano sound that is built into their keyboard. (Though many software pianos sound better than most hardware pianos to begin with, because they have the computer processor/storage/RAM to work with, which is generally much more capable than the electronics that are built into most hardware pianos.)

Originally Posted by Norrec
My laptop only has headphone in.

Conceptually, it may help to recognize that your headphone jack is actually an out, not an in. (Sound goes OUT of your computer and IN to your headphones, it does not go out of the headphones into the computer.)

Originally Posted by Norrec
So it's really seeming like Midi is the best option, as my laptop has a surplus of USB ports.
...
My family lives too far away to visit and I want to be able to send them mp3's of my playing.
...
I'm just trying to have what I play be reproduced in a file that sounds the same and can travel through email.

As you may have deduced from the above, MIDI is not the way to do it. You need something capable of recording AUDIO, not MIDI data. Your surplus of USB ports doesn't mean you need to use MIDI, it means you need to use USB. So what you need is not a USB MIDI interface, but rather a USB AUDIO interface, into which you will run the LINE OUT from your piano. If you're trying to spend as little as you can, Behringer makes one for about $30.

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Norrec Offline OP
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I'm told that, on some laptops, the mic input is also useable as a line input. There's one way to find out.

MIDI is a better option because you'll get better sound from a piano library. They cost $150 or more each, but it's worth it.


You say "they" cost $150 or more each, what is "they"? Do you mean a sequencer? I'm not fluent in the terminology yet. I've been reading around a lot on the internet and seeing several devices mentioned.

I was coming back to edit my post saying I'd realized the Microphone probably works as a Line-In. That'll let me use my laptop(or even smaller netbook) to record using Audacity, which I'm familiar with. I think I'll experiment with this method as it'll only cost a couple dollars in cables off amazon. I can then upgrade to Midi later.

When you say better sound from a piano library, do you mean better than the RP301 or better than using the other recoridng method?

Edit - reading other posts now

Edit2 - Thanks anotherscott, I didn't realize there were line out-to-usb cables.

Last edited by Norrec; 08/26/12 10:35 AM.
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Norrec, there was a thread on this not very long ago which may also shed some light on this ...

link


Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
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Thanks, I think I've got it figured out.

It looks like I can use the Audio-to-USB interface that anotherscott suggested with a simple L/R RCA to L/R Mono(6.3mm) cable, then plug the usb into one of my laptops and record on Audacity. Easy enough that even I can understand it.

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I wouldn't use a stereo-to-mono cable. Stereo piano doesn't sound good in mono.

But, if you insist on doing mono, wouldn't it be cheaper to just plug into the microphone input? All it takes is a $5 cable. No audio interface necessary.

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Well, the plugs on the back of the piano are Stero R and L/Mono. My understanding is that you connect a mono cable to R, and a mono cable to L, and togather they will produce stero sound? The Audio-to-USB interface also has a Input R and L, so you need two plugs on the other end of the cable. I've found this cable(two 6.3mm plugs on one end, two smaller plugs on the other) for a couple dollars online. The interface is just to allow me to use a USB port as I don't have the line-in/out on my smaller computers.

Last edited by Norrec; 08/26/12 02:07 PM.
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OK. I misunderstood.

But, after striking out that part of my post ... the rest remains. You can get cable with dual RCA plugs or dual 1/4" plugs on one end (whichever suits your piano) and a 1/8" stereo phone plug on the other (for the computer). If your computer mic input can double as a stereo line input, then that cable is all you'd need.

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I got frustrated trying to record to the computer. I bought a Sony voice recorder. I run line out from the digital to the recorder and use a splitter to a monitor speaker. My digital only has one output. Which output do you use for headphones, that is probably the one to record with.

A lot of folks like the Zoom H1 recorder and it is better than my Sony, with the trade off being money. My new used Sony ICD-PX312 set me back $30 ($50 new), Zoom H1s are about $100 new. A bonus is the ability to do field recording.

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If you want to record stereo (as opposed to mono), you'll need to use the two 1/4" line out jacks on the piano. What kind of cable or adapter you'll need for the other side depends on which USB audio interface you get. For example, I think the Behringer uses a pair of RCA jacks for its stereo inputs, I think the Roland Duo uses a single stereo 1/8" mini jack. Others take 1/4" inputs.

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Norrec Offline OP
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MacMacMac, yes that wold work. What I've been reading though is that the mic-in doesn't work very good. I'm leaning towards stay the course and pick up the two items below. This should work on any computer.

Behringer Audio Interface

Hosa Cable

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The easiest way.......

A line from headphones to line in on your computer.

Download audacity.....some trial and error....and you make every recording you want.

Cheers,

Johan B


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Uhhhhh ... Have you read the OP's post?

Use the headphone output, you say? Why? He has line outputs!
Use the computer line input, you say? How? He has no line inputs!
smile

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Originally Posted by Norrec
MacMacMac, yes that wold work. What I've been reading though is that the mic-in doesn't work very good. I'm leaning towards stay the course and pick up the two items below. This should work on any computer.

Behringer Audio Interface

Hosa Cable


You have the right idea but the two companies you selected have about the worst reputations for quality. You'd save money in the long run by moving up the food chain slightly. A decent USB audio interface is the PreSonus "audio box". They sell for about $150. Audio and mechanical quality is quite good.

Net you WILL need software. A straight capture of a digital piano sounds like the raw microphone feed from an acoustic piano. No recording engineer would dump that to a CD and cal it done.

This bx comes with the software you need. Enough to get you started.
Watch both vidios on the web page below
AudioBox

One thing about MIDI vs audio recording is that you can edit MIDI very easy compared to audio. MIDI captures the performance, not the audio.

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Thet Presonus Audiobox is not meant for recording line level sources (such as a digital piano). It has two inputs, typically for two microphones, or one mic and a guitar. But the manual plainly states that you must NOT drive these inputs from a line level source.

So the Presonus box will not work in this application.

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Originally Posted by ChrisA
You have the right idea but the two companies you selected have about the worst reputations for quality. You'd save money in the long run by moving up the food chain slightly. A decent USB audio interface is the PreSonus "audio box". They sell for about $150. Audio and mechanical quality is quite good.

Net you WILL need software. A straight capture of a digital piano sounds like the raw microphone feed from an acoustic piano. No recording engineer would dump that to a CD and cal it done.

Chris, I think you're over-prescribing. He just wants to send MP3s of his piano playing to his family, he's not making CDs or looking for any kind of "production," I think straight capture will probably be fine. And for his purposes, I don't think a $150 box will save him money in the long run. He could go through five Behringers first, and by the time that many fail, he'll probably be using a different system altogether. ;-)

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Reporting back in post arrival of equipment(free student Amazon-Prime two-day shipping is great).

It took me a while to figure out I had to turn the volume way up, and to find the 'normalize' function in Audacity, but now this setup is exactly what I wanted. Takes exactly what is played on the keyboard and allows it to be saved as an mp3 with very minimal fiddling(normalize takes 2 clicks) and no static fuzz and buzz. The volume issue is easy to solve by plugging in headphones(and not putting them on my head) so I can have the volume up without getting kicked out of my apartment.

The Audio-to-USB Interface was the missing link, I'd never heard of one before and it took care of everything. Thanks for the help guys.


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