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The Latest in Recording Piano? #2711905
02/06/18 10:56 AM
02/06/18 10:56 AM
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Hi Everyone...

The links to methods of recording in the "Important Topics in the Adult Beginners Forum" don't seem to be connecting, so I was wondering what most people are using these days for recording - is it still the Zoom portable digital recorders (I remember vaguely a discussion about them some time back)? And if so, which of the several models that I've seen on Amazon is preferred?

Also, how about editing capabilities - can that be done within the zoom, or does one need some other outside app to do this?

Thanks!


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2711913
02/06/18 11:21 AM
02/06/18 11:21 AM
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If anyone would like to write up a new guide to recording, we can replace the one that is missing. Volunteers?

I use a Zoom H4n for recording. Then I transfer the file to my computer and edit and export to mp3 with Audacity.

Sam

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2711929
02/06/18 12:01 PM
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I think there were several threads in the last years on this. Maybe collect the info from them?

Globally I would say
* get nice sounding piano. Set it up to sound nice (lid open/removed; away from wall)
* fix the room so that the nice piano sounds nice in the room
* get good mics. If possible linear response 20-20kHz within say 2dB.
* place mics either close to strings for jazzy sound, for classic about 1 to 3 feet (or further if room acoustics allow) outside the lid so that the mics can see all strings. Slight changes in mic position can greatly emphasize/de-emphasize certain frequencies and thus has large impact. Especially in smaller rooms.
* Get recorder that allows manual control of the volume and set it so that no clipping occurs
* Remove all other sources of noice: a/c, clocks, washing machines, dogs , etc

Last edited by wouter79; 02/06/18 12:03 PM.

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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2711966
02/06/18 01:56 PM
02/06/18 01:56 PM
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Lexington, Kentucky
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I've been a huge fan of the Zoom family of products since they came out, wow, maybe a decade ago? And I've owned four over the years. Currently I use two when I record: My trusty Zoom H4n, which I use to record audio .wav files that I burn onto my annual CDs and convert to mp3s using Audacity for the quarterly recitals. I also record video with my Q8, which records in stereo as well as a high definition video. Why not just use the Q8?, you ask? Good question. I very well could, as there is an option in the Q8 to extract just the audio track if you want. But I find it easier to adjust the volume input settings with my H4, and do subsequent editing, than it is with the Q8. Plus, I think I get better audio recording by placing my H4 on my music desk, whereas you have to place the Q8 farther away if you want to get good video.

So, if you only wanted to purchase one device, I think it would depend on how badly you wanted to be able to get video. If that's affirmative, then buy the Q8 or whatever the current version of the Q8 is. If you mainly want good audio, I'd recommend the H4n (which would allow you attach better external mics should you desire later on) or the H2 (doesn't allow external mics but cheaper).

Someone who knows what they're doing can get better sound from a piano if you have separate mics and a mixer etc. and follow the recommendations wouter79 describes. But that's labor intensive, expensive, and requires one to know what they're doing technology wise. I don't meet, or want to meet, any of those requirements. laugh I still say that for the combination of affordability, ease of use, and good sound, you can't beat the Zooms.


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Sam S] #2711976
02/06/18 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam S
If anyone would like to write up a new guide to recording, we can replace the one that is missing. Volunteers?

I use a Zoom H4n for recording. Then I transfer the file to my computer and edit and export to mp3 with Audacity.

Sam


Sam - what is Audacity exactly - a software app? If so, is it free downloadable?


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2711981
02/06/18 02:21 PM
02/06/18 02:21 PM
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Yes, Audacity is free (as well as the Lame extension to convert to mp3). It's also pretty easy to use!


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: wouter79] #2711984
02/06/18 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79


Globally I would say
* get nice sounding piano. Set it up to sound nice (lid open/removed; away from wall)
* fix the room so that the nice piano sounds nice in the room
*
* Remove all other sources of noice: a/c, clocks, washing machines, dogs , etc


wouter79 - sounds like you have an acoustic piano, and if I had one too I'd follow your good advice all the way. But, I have a Yamaha digital.

Also, I wish I had a dog because I love dogs - but unfortunately my wife is allergic to them...their hair or dander or something (maybe the high maintenance costs!)...


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Monica K.] #2711995
02/06/18 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.
Yes, Audacity is free (as well as the Lame extension to convert to mp3). It's also pretty easy to use!


Monica - you said above you make .wav files with the Zoom and then convert them to mp3 with Audacity - so, is the Zoom not capable of producing mp3 files directly?

Also, do you know if one can make an "electronic" recording (as opposed to an "acoustic" recording) with the Zoom, that is a recording using direct wiring or cables from the digital piano audio output jacks straight to the Zoom? In other words does the Zoom have audio input jacks in addition to mics?)


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712016
02/06/18 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Handyman
Originally Posted by wouter79


Globally I would say
* get nice sounding piano. Set it up to sound nice (lid open/removed; away from wall)
* fix the room so that the nice piano sounds nice in the room
*
* Remove all other sources of noice: a/c, clocks, washing machines, dogs , etc


wouter79 - sounds like you have an acoustic piano, and if I had one too I'd follow your good advice all the way. But, I have a Yamaha digital.

Also, I wish I had a dog because I love dogs - but unfortunately my wife is allergic to them...their hair or dander or something (maybe the high maintenance costs!)...


Since your piano is digital you likely don't have to bother with any of the above stuff and a zoom, but it depends on model, check the manual, it may already have an internal recorder and a facility to put it on a usb thumb drive, which you can then transfer to PC where you can do any conversion you like wav to mp3 flac or whatever format in audacity.

If it does not have this facility but you piano has a line out or even headphone out you can connect that to a recorder or PC, but we would need some more details. Best to check what model of piano you have so we can double check its capabilities. The other route using line out and external recorders will usually lead to a less clean sounding result with noise issues and likely quality loss in conversion with digital setups, ( unless you delve into the world of MIDI and software pianos) The Internal recorders will give you to the best results at minimal cost.


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712026
02/06/18 04:24 PM
02/06/18 04:24 PM
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Yes, the zoom does mp3 - its just that the wav files are uncompressed and better quality, so I record to that, and then convert to mp3. But the H4n has a button right on front that lets you change file formats.

But if you have a keyboard that can record, you can do that and not buy anything, and get very good recordings.

Sam

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Alexander Borro] #2712116
02/06/18 07:56 PM
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Alexander - can Audacity convert any type of file to mp3, including MIDI files? After checking my manual it seems my digital piano does record, but I think it creates MIDI files (if I'm reading it correctly)...I struggle to understand this stuff...


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712125
02/06/18 08:11 PM
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Audacity cannot convert MIDI to mp3, audacity can only convert one audio format to another. MIDI is not an audio format, it is simply a recording of your key strokes, what notes you played, you would need other software to convert that key data and convert that to a piano sound, for which separate software would be needed.

If you state the model of your piano we can help more. Likely if your piano can record midi it can also record audio formats of the inbuild sounds, the simplest route to get started. Unless you really want to get into midi that becomes a whole other topic what you need for that with other complications.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 02/06/18 08:12 PM.

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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712147
02/06/18 10:10 PM
02/06/18 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Handyman
wouter79 - sounds like you have an acoustic piano, and if I had one too I'd follow your good advice all the way. But, I have a Yamaha digital.

Since you have a digital:

My former piano was a Yamaha digital and I now have a Kawai hybrid which essentially is also a digital. I have a cable running from the piano to my computer feeding the signal directly. Most modern digitals will have a dedicated jack for that. My old Yamaha was cheap because it was about to go off the market so it didn't have one. In that case I used one of the ear phone jacks for that. For audio only, I use Goldwave - I found it easier to understand than Audacity because I'm a software nincompoop. So when I want to record audio, I open Goldwave, make sure my "recording" settings are set to the line-in (whatever that might be named) and it feeds into Goldwave. From there it can be saved as mp3 or Wav.

For videos I have a Logitech camera. The sound from the mike is not that great, so I make sure that the sound goes through the same cable that I mentioned above, but the video is through the camera. The software for the camera lets you select which audio to choose.

Sometimes there is a reason to also talk. I have a mixer, a microphone that goes into the mixer, and the cable also goes into the mixer for my setup (in this case the mixer then feeds into the computer and the rest is the same). So in this case my voice goes into the mixer via microphone, the piano sound goes into the mixer via the cable running from the piano, and the mixer sends those signals to the computer. You probably have no reason to record voice as well as piano, so skip this last paragraph. wink

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712150
02/06/18 10:22 PM
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I use two Berringer C2 mics into a Berringer 802 mixer into a Motu 828 firewire converter into my mac and a metro software recording app. I've always found recording acoustic piano to be really tough.


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712153
02/06/18 11:00 PM
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My process (for digital) is to output from the Yamaha into the mic input of a HD camcorder. I use an attenuator cable so that the signal is not too hot. The camcorder creates an MP4 file. I then extract the audio from that file using ffmpeg. Open that up in Audacity, remove noise, and create a new audio file. I then use ffmpeg again to replace the audio stream in the MP4 file with the noise free audio file created using Audacity. ffmpeg is a command line tool. There are GUI options, but once you understand the parameters it's quite easy to use ... and free laugh


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712219
02/07/18 04:53 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the info - I appreciate your help - but I don't think I understand half of what you're saying & the problem is me, not you - I'm semi-illiterate where these things are concerned and I struggle to get techie stuff done - eventually I usually do, but it's like pulling teeth...

When all else fails one should read one's manual, which is what I'm going to have to do here, at length and in depth - this is an older Yamaha CVP model which has Line Out jacks underneath and also a smartcard slot on top right and a cable coming from underneath that has a USB plug on the end (maybe for connecting directly to a laptop???) - I don't know if the smartcard records MIDI or actual audio and the same for the USB cable...the manual has a fairly big section about recording so I'm going to look into that and get back to you...

If all else fails I'll have to call in the Geek Squad from Best Buy...but I am excited about the prospect of possibly not having to spend big bucks for a Zoom! Thanks again!

Alexander - no, I don't want to delve any further into MIDI...

Last edited by Handyman; 02/07/18 05:18 AM.

Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712226
02/07/18 05:36 AM
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Hi Handyman!

Yes, this can all be quite confusing if done for the first time.

There's one general concept: If you are playing a digital piano, then to record it, you usually want to avoid using a recorder with a microphone. Because that would mean, that first your piano has to convert the electronic sound into actual sound waves (by moving the air with its speakers) and then the microphone of the recording device has to convert these sound waves back into recorded electronic information. This "roundabout" way via moving air molecules around with the speakers and detecting that movement with a microphone degrades the recording quality.

Therefore, a digital piano is usually recorded by recording the electronic signal directly.

In your case, since your CVP has a line out, you simply need to use a cable to connect this line out to the input (usually line in) of a recording device of your choice. That device can be a Zoom, but it can for example also be a computer. In the latter case, you then need to run a software (app) on the computer that does the actual recording. The mentioned free Audacity software can do this for you.

Alternatively, some digital pianos also have a direct recording feature, where the piano itself stores the recording on a USB stick (thumb drive), usually either in WAV or MP3 format (as already explained, the MIDI format cannot be used for this). Since you didn't tell us your CVP model, we can't know if your piano is capable of this, but the manual should help you out in that regard too.

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: JoBert] #2712262
02/07/18 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JoBert
Hi Handyman!


Therefore, a digital piano is usually recorded by recording the electronic signal directly.

In your case, since your CVP has a line out, you simply need to use a cable to connect this line out to the input (usually line in) of a recording device of your choice. That device can be a Zoom, but it can for example also be a computer. In the latter case, you then need to run a software (app) on the computer that does the actual recording. The mentioned free Audacity software can do this for you.


So, Audacity is a recorder in addition to being an editor? And then I could connect directly from the piano to my laptop via output/input jacks...


Originally Posted by JoBert

Alternatively, some digital pianos also have a direct recording feature, where the piano itself stores the recording on a USB stick (thumb drive), usually either in WAV or MP3 format (as already explained, the MIDI format cannot be used for this). Since you didn't tell us your CVP model, we can't know if your piano is capable of this, but the manual should help you out in that regard too.


Well, the piano does not have a USB slot for a thumb drive to be inserted, but it does have a short cord with a USB plug on the end which, via with the help of an extension cord, I could plug directly into a USB slot on my laptop, right?

I swear my old feeble brain is just about to explode...

Last edited by Handyman; 02/07/18 09:24 AM.

Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712296
02/07/18 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Handyman
So, Audacity is a recorder in addition to being an editor? And then I could connect directly from the piano to my laptop via output/input jacks...

Exactly.

Originally Posted by Handyman
Well, the piano does not have a USB slot for a thumb drive to be inserted, but it does have a short cord with a USB plug on the end which, via with the help of an extension cord, I could plug directly into a USB slot on my laptop, right?

You could certainly plug it in, the question is, if it does you any good. :-)

USB can theoretically be used to transfer either sound data (in digital format) or MIDI data, but not every USB connection on a digital piano can actually be used for both of these data types. The USB connection is usually dedicated to one of them and it depends on the piano in question what kind of data it transfers over its built in USB. Quite a few pianos actually have two USB connectors: One to transfer MIDI data (to a computer) and another to transfer sound data (usually to a thumb drive, some can also transfer the sound data to a computer).

So it really depends on what your piano's USB connector was designed to do. My guess is, that it is designed to send MIDI data. In that case it would not be useful for you to plug it into your PC, if you actually want to record sound data, and not capture MIDI data. But of course it may be designed for sound data. The manual should clear that up.

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712323
02/07/18 12:44 PM
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Good guess!

The manual says it's MIDI data - so much for that option.

So, it looks like I'm left with just the hard-wired option of output-to-input connection, either from piano directly to computer, or much less desirably with a Zoom intermediate stage...but if the jack on the piano is the old RCA type and there is no such RCA input jack on the laptop, is there some sort of adapter available for the computer to make this happen (does this question reveal my staggering ignorance here?)?


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712329
02/07/18 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Handyman


If all else fails I'll have to call in the Geek Squad from Best Buy...but I am excited about the prospect of possibly not having to spend big bucks for a Zoom! Thanks again!



The Zoom H2 is currently going for $160, which is not much more than a Geek Squad visit and would give you something you could use indefinitely. But with a digital it's usually better to figure out how to record directly from the piano to computer, as you don't have to deal with annoying environmental noises etc.


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712361
02/07/18 02:50 PM
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That's the conclusion I've come to by a process of elimination Monica...

Think I'll talk to the guys in the local computer repair shop or maybe give a call to Yamaha's Customer Care & Tech Support no. and see how much they know (and really do care!)...

In the meantime, this Handyman is not such a handy man... laugh


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712381
02/07/18 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Handyman
but if the jack on the piano is the old RCA type and there is no such RCA input jack on the laptop, is there some sort of adapter available for the computer to make this happen?

A cable like this (with the required length) should do the trick:

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-3-5mm-2-Male-Adapter-Cable/dp/B01D5H8JW0

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712383
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Cables are cheaper than a Zoom recorder. But there's a problem, potentially . . .

Your DP probably has two "Line Out" jacks -- left, and right. In which case, it outputs stereo sound.

If your computer has a _stereo_ "Line In" jack (or a microphone jack, that allows two-channel input), you can connect the DP to the computer (with appropriate cables), start Audacity, and record.

If your computer has a _monophonic_ (single-channel) "Line In" jack, and you want to record the stereo (two-channel) signal from the DP, you'll need something called an "audio interface".

. . . . and that lifts up another rock, with creepy-crawlies under it.

If the DP's jacks are labelled "Line Out / Left/Mono" and "Line Out / Right", you can use the "Left/Mono" jack as a single-channel source for the computer's "Line In" connection.

The Zoom H2 (and higher models) will do stereo recording from your DP's "Line Out" jacks. And some models (I'm sure of the H4 / H4n) will let you use them as an "audio interface". Having a portable recorder can be very handy.

So:

. . . What DP do you have ?


PS -- the DP's manual should have some instructions on "how to record using an audio recorder" or "how to connect the DP to a home stereo system". That will give you a start.


. Charles
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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712463
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JoBert - that cable looks like what I need, going from separate lt/rt output jacks on the DP to the single, small combo mic/headphone jack on the laptop (I assume that's the jack I'd have to use for audio input to the computer)...

Given Charles Cohen's considerations about stereo recording above, does such a cable combine the lt & rt audio signals into a combo or merged signal for input to the Audacity program within the laptop?

BTW - the DP is model CVP-301 from about 12 years ago bought used a few years back...


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712479
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For those of us beginners that have an acoustic piano, how do we record our playing? Is something like the Q8 the best SIMPLE way to record with decent sound?

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: NobleHouse] #2712520
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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
For those of us beginners that have an acoustic piano, how do we record our playing? Is something like the Q8 the best SIMPLE way to record with decent sound?


A Q8, or a Zoom H2 or better (for audio only).

IMHO, with current electronics, and gear like that, the limits on the quality of your recording are:

. . . the microphone(s) used;
. . . microphone placement;
. . . the room acoustics.

I like the H4, since it has two XLR "Mic In" jacks, and microphone upgrades are easy. But I'm biased, since I own one.


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712540
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Originally Posted by Handyman
JoBert - that cable looks like what I need, going from separate lt/rt output jacks on the DP to the single, small combo mic/headphone jack on the laptop (I assume that's the jack I'd have to use for audio input to the computer)...

Given Charles Cohen's considerations about stereo recording above, does such a cable combine the lt & rt audio signals into a combo or merged signal for input to the Audacity program within the laptop?

No, the cable does not combine left & right stereo into a merged mono signal. It is meant for a "real" stereo line-in 3mm jack. Unfortunatly, many laptops don't have these. If you have one of these combo mic/headphone jacks, then most likely it will only record mono if used as a mic jack.

I checked the manual of the CVP-301. It actually has two AUX outputs:

The RCA jacks on the right, which are labelled "(Level Fixed) L .... R". Those output a fixed volume level, i.e. your piano's volume control does not change the output of these jacks. From how I understand the manual, these always deliver only a stereo signal, so they are probably not the best choice for your mic jack on the laptop.

The 6.3mm standard phone jacks on the left, which are labelled "L/L+R .... R". Those output a variable level, i.e. your piano's volume control changes the output on these jacks. Here you have the choice of either connecting both (for stereo) or only the one labelled "L/L+R", for a mono signal. So to connect this single "L/L+R" jack without your mic jack on the laptop, you would need a cable with a 6.3mm plug on one end and a 3mm plug on the other. Or a cable with either 6.3mm plugs on both ends or 3mm plugs on both ends, and one adapter that changes from 6.3mm to 3mm, or the other way round, respectively. These cables/adapters are very common.

Also, I see that your piano also has an optical digital sound output. If your laptop happens to have an optical input (which I doubt) you could use that too. The necessary cable is called a "TOS link cable".

Finally: Connecting the output of the piano to your mic input in this fashion can give less than optimal results, as the mic input is actually meant for a mic, nor for line input.

So in the end, it may be necessary to buy an additional USB audio interface (or a Zoom), which would also have the advantage that it would support stereo. I fear that with audio interfaces, I cannot be of much help, as I myself have never needed one. But if you go the route of an additional audio interface, it might be worth it to get one with an optical digital input, so that you can use the optical digital output of your piano, so you can record the digital sound directly.

Last edited by JoBert; 02/08/18 06:23 AM.
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: JoBert] #2712559
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Originally Posted by JoBert
...

So in the end, it may be necessary to buy an additional USB audio interface (or a Zoom), which would also have the advantage that it would support stereo. I fear that with audio interfaces, I cannot be of much help, as I myself have never needed one. But if you go the route of an additional audio interface, it might be worth it to get one with an optical digital input, so that you can use the optical digital output of your piano, so you can record the digital sound directly.


JoBert - excellent analysis! I read thru your post 3 times now and almost understand what you're saying (and the problem is me and my almost vertical learning curve)...

I was aware of the other output jacks (L/L+R...) but couldn't quite grasp from the manual what they were for or how they worked - the manual seems to have been written by an electrical engineer for a recording engineer...

I know or understand less than nothing about "audio interfaces" - I'm not even sure whether it's a hardware device or a software program (or both) ... but I think it's probably preferable to try to retain as much as possible the stereo aspects or components of my output audio signal...so, I guess I may be stuck investing in a Zoom after all (or this interface thing) ... which, of course, would come in very handy if some day I won a lottery and then splurged on an expensive acoustic piano!

Just when I thought the solution was clear (and cheap) I'm back where I started...unless losing the stereo component doesn't make that much difference after all.

No matter what, I guess I've got to actually learn to play the piano good enough someday to warrant attempting a recording.


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712565
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To clear up that point some more: An audio interface is a little hardware box that is connected to your laptop via USB and that in turn has jacks of different types, into which you can plug the cable (or cables) coming from your digital piano. So the signal from the piano goes into that audio interface box, which converts it into digital information, that is then sent on to your laptop (via USB, i.e. not via the mic/headphones jack) where it can then be played back and/or recorded, for example by a software like Audacity.

But yes, I agree that at this point you should maybe take a step back, let all this new information settle a bit, and instead spend some relaxing time at the piano actually playing it. wink

Have fun!

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: JoBert] #2712629
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Thanks JoBert - you and others here were a giant help - I feel like I just had a crash course in piano recording!

Think I'll spend some time this afternoon investigating audio interfaces on amazon...


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712818
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There have been extensive discussions on audio interfaces in the "Digital Pianos & Synths" forum. You might look there, as well as Amazon.

Behringer makes some relatively inexpensive interfaces. This one gives you two "Mic / Line In" channels, and should do what you need:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UMC202HD--behringer-u-phoria-umc202hd

From what I've been reading, the Focus Scarlett 2i2 (or 2i2 "next generation") is much-loved by its owners:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlet2i2G2

Remember that the Scarlett 2i2 is still in the "budget interface" category. As usual, you can spend as much as you want.

(I don't have either unit, so take this FWIW).


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712853
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Charles - thanks much for your recommendations - I was thinking of PMing you for that, but it's better this way since there may be others here interested in what you might suggest...

The Behringer is definitely in a very reasonable price range - I would like to think that it would do all that it would want and be happy with for some time to come. smile

Thanks again!

Last edited by Handyman; 02/09/18 09:18 AM.

Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712902
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I thought I understood how it works until I continued reading this thread. So: My piano has a left and right in the line-out. Originally I had that going directly into the computer. The "mono" that I got was turned into two monos via Goldwave - i.e. the signal was duplicated. It never bothered me. My Behringer mixer does have a left-right female jack, but then what it sends still goes into the same single line-in receptacle of the same computer. I can't change the computer's hardware.

The first question is: .... IS there actually a left and right to a piano? Even when I'm wearing headphones as I play, I don't hear the low notes on the left and the high notes on the right. Is it even important to be able to hear this, or to record "low on left / high on right" in a recording? Is this maybe just an extra unnecessary step for Handyman?

(And conversely, am I missing something?)

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2712921
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Originally Posted by keystring

The first question is: .... IS there actually a left and right to a piano? Even when I'm wearing headphones as I play, I don't hear the low notes on the left and the high notes on the right. Is it even important to be able to hear this, or to record "low on left / high on right" in a recording? Is this maybe just an extra unnecessary step for Handyman?

(And conversely, am I missing something?)


There definitely is a purpose to a left and right channel for a piano, unless you use a sample that is explicitly mono which some pianos have as an extra option you can select.

While you may not hear a clear left/right distinction for individual notes, you will hear the presence of a stereo image (which provides the illusion of spacial projection ). If you have a genuine mono recording you will hear the difference immediately, the projection will be right in the middle of your head with headphones, with everything sounding exactly the same left and right, very uninspiring, it completely destroys any sense of sound stage also, (roughly as if there is no surround to the sound at all, but instead just coming from one source/direction right in the middle)

btw the effect is easy to test to explain what I mean, if you have a panning button or stereo width setting on a mixer, most mixer software packages do, many audio interfaces have this feature build in, mine does anyway, but even with a stereo recording of piano in audacity you can do this experiment.

Take a good stereo recording and start listening, turn the panning dial back slowly, bit by bit, you will hear the sound image slowly collapse to a centre point in your head, at the mid point and any sense of direction goes out the window with it .. completely, as well as sound stage.

Some may say, but surely a piano is not stereo in real life, but that's not the point , it does fire sound in all directions in a room with surfaces it interacts with that envelop you. In order to replicate that illusion only stereo can provide you with the sound queues the ear needs to replicate that, the above experiment should make that clear.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 02/09/18 01:30 PM.

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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: JoBert] #2712994
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Originally Posted by JoBert
To clear up that point some more: An audio interface is a little hardware box that is connected to your laptop via USB and that in turn has jacks of different types, into which you can plug the cable (or cables) coming from your digital piano. So the signal from the piano goes into that audio interface box, which converts it into digital information, that is then sent on to your laptop (via USB, i.e. not via the mic/headphones jack) where it can then be played back and/or recorded, for example by a software like Audacity.




Keystring - as related to your concerns I'll quote JoBert's post above, which if correct (and I'm assuming it is since no one objected) states that there is separate Lt & Rt audio signals coming into the audio interface from the piano - now, exactly what goes out of the interface to the computer via the USB connection (which is not the mic/earphone jack connection) was not precisely specified, but I was assuming (hoping) that it was a stereo signal being input to the recording program in the computer (Audacity) - maybe I'm wrong to assume this - can anyone clarify? Is a USB connection capable of carrying a stereo audio signal?

As far as just how important it actually is in terms of agreeable sound quality to have an input stereo audio signal (which I, too, was wondering about) Alexander seems to have answered that question rather nicely...I think...

Last edited by Handyman; 02/09/18 06:30 PM.

Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713000
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Originally Posted by Handyman
. . .
. . .
(1) . . . now, exactly what goes out of the interface to the computer via the USB connection (which is not the mic/earphone jack connection) was not precisely specified, but I was assuming (hoping) that it was a stereo signal being input to the recording program in the computer (Audacity) . . . can anyone clarify?

(2) Is a USB connection capable of carrying a stereo audio signal?



"Yes", to both (1) and (2).

The audio interface will show up in the list of "input devices", in Audacity. I don't know if it will be seen as two separate input channels, or one stereo channel (that might depend on details of the software associated with the audio interface)-- but it'll carry a stereo signal, in either case.


Last edited by Charles Cohen; 02/09/18 07:14 PM.

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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713035
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OK then - that Behringer is starting to look like a sure thing now...with a side order of Audacity too...


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: keystring] #2713066
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Originally Posted by keystring
I thought I understood how it works until I continued reading this thread. So: My piano has a left and right in the line-out. Originally I had that going directly into the computer. The "mono" that I got was turned into two monos via Goldwave - i.e. the signal was duplicated. It never bothered me. My Behringer mixer does have a left-right female jack, but then what it sends still goes into the same single line-in receptacle of the same computer. I can't change the computer's hardware.

The plug that goes into your computer is a 3.5mm plug, I would guess.
Compare it to this picture (ignore the ones at the far left and right, compare with the two in the middle):
[Linked Image]
Note the subtle difference. The one on the right carries a stereo signal (provided the other end of the cable is fed with a stereo signal) the left one only mono.

Of course, even if the plug carries stereo, there's still the question if your computer's jack accepts the full stereo signal or if it uses only mono. Do you have a laptop? How is the jack labelled?

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713077
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I was mistaken about what goes to the computer. That's a USB cable running from the Behringer mixer (XYNEX Q502USB) to my laptop. The other end going into the mixer is square. There is a stereo (two heads) jack from the piano going into a stereo (two heads) into the mixer. Originally when I had the old cheap Yamaha where I could only run a line through the headphone jack, I didn't have that luxury.

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713086
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I know this may be getting down into the mundane nitty-gritty basics of matters here but I have two questions:

Can I safely assume that the USB connection running from interface to computer (carrying our highly prized and much sought after stereo signal) is a cable ending in the standard USB plug, which is thin, short and rectangular and which will only fit one way into a USB jack or slot on the computer? Just to dispel any lingering misconceptions...

Will multiple sizes and types of plugs fit into the input jacks (slots) on the back of that Behringer audio interface linked to by Charles above? I vaguely recall reading that somewhere...

Edited to ask a third question: is the far right plug (the big one) in JoBert's pic above a 1/4 inch plug?






Last edited by Handyman; 02/10/18 07:03 AM.

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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713109
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Originally Posted by Handyman

Can I safely assume that the USB connection running from interface to computer (carrying our highly prized and much sought after stereo signal) is a cable ending in the standard USB plug, which is thin, short and rectangular and which will only fit one way into a USB jack or slot on the computer? Just to dispel any lingering misconceptions...

Yes

Quote

Will multiple sizes and types of plugs fit into the input jacks (slots) on the back of that Behringer audio interface linked to by Charles above? I vaguely recall reading that somewhere...

I don't know this box, but from reading the various write-ups the input jacks are on the front. The back has the usb socket (for the other end of the cable that goes into your computer) and some (single channel?) outputs labelled L and R

The sockets on the front appear to be for input and are for multiple types.

Quote

Edited to ask a third question: is the far right plug (the big one) in JoBert's pic above a 1/4 inch plug?


Yes - (I think) there are 6.3mm, 6.35mm and 1/4 inch plugs which are virtually the same size and all fit in the same socket. You can see from the picture that is 6.3 ish mm

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713111
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Handyman - are you sure that the usb from your keyboard carries audio? Are you counting on that? Mine just carries midi data. Which works great with Pianoteq, but that's a different topic...

Sam

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Sam S] #2713125
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Handyman - are you sure that the usb from your keyboard carries audio? Are you counting on that? Mine just carries midi data. Which works great with Pianoteq, but that's a different topic...

Sam


I think you are getting confused with where this topic has been. Is USB output from the piano is midi, so instead he is taking output from a Line Out port and putting into a Behringer Audio Interface, which is converting it to a USB signal and output from USB-B socket on the back. From there its going to his laptop as USB

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Sam S] #2713220
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Sam - akc42 has it correct...the output from the DP is digital audio signals via standard audio cables to the interface - no MIDI involved (my DP does have MIDI jacks, but I'm staying away from them like they were infected with the plague!).


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
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If you want to use something like Pianoteq, then you'll need to make use of those MIDI jacks laugh


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713345
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What is Pianoteq (or don't I want to know)?


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713362
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Originally Posted by Handyman
What is Pianoteq (or don't I want to know)?


Its software that runs on a computer which takes midi inputs and converts them to the sound of a piano and sends the output to the sound card (or output jack) on the computer. Generally you connect your digital keyboard to the computer so that it knows what notes (and how loud or soft) to play. Generally they also support pedals and model the effects of things like the dampers and hammer noise etc etc. The aim is to get as close to one of the quality grand pianos as possible.

Pianoteq is one program in the class of these programs, which you will see on here referred to as VSTs. There are long discussions in the "Digital Pianos - Synths & Keyboards" forum about these and which makes the best sound.

Last edited by akc42; 02/11/18 05:39 AM.
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713370
02/11/18 06:34 AM
02/11/18 06:34 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
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Georgia, USA
Sam S Offline

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Originally Posted by Handyman
What is Pianoteq (or don't I want to know)?


I love Pianoteq - and you can record with it - very simple.

I don't really use my keyboard/Pianoteq that often, since I have my old Bechstein to play on, but when I need to use it, it works great.

Sam

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713387
02/11/18 09:18 AM
02/11/18 09:18 AM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 80
Hershey, PA, USA
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Handyman Online content OP
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OK, thanks for the info - now, I'm not even going to ask how the final sound quality achieved via Pianoteq compares to that obtained thru the audio interface method discussed at length above, because if I find out it's generally superior I'm going to become highly conflicted again... laugh

Sam is scaring me with his "love" for this Pianoteq stuff...

Last edited by Handyman; 02/11/18 09:20 AM.

Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713397
02/11/18 10:43 AM
02/11/18 10:43 AM
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Georgia, USA
Sam S Offline

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Originally Posted by Handyman
OK, thanks for the info - now, I'm not even going to ask how the final sound quality achieved via Pianoteq compares to that obtained thru the audio interface method discussed at length above, because if I find out it's generally superior I'm going to become highly conflicted again... laugh

Sam is scaring me with his "love" for this Pianoteq stuff...


Pianoteq will make your keyboard into a 9' Steinway - or choose from a bunch of other pianos. Your recordings will sound great...

Sam

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713419
02/11/18 12:29 PM
02/11/18 12:29 PM
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Hershey, PA, USA
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I'm getting overwhelmed - but also so freakin' glad I came here to PW and started asking questions - you guys are really amazing!

Is Pianoteq a free download?

What is the real, safe site for that?

How about for Audacity?

A 9' Steinway?

Last edited by Handyman; 02/11/18 12:31 PM.

Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713425
02/11/18 12:39 PM
02/11/18 12:39 PM
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Just outside London UK
akc42 Online content
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@Handyman Why can't you find these yourself - Google is you friend in this regard

Pianoteq https://www.pianoteq.com/try

Audacity https://www.audacityteam.org/

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: akc42] #2713453
02/11/18 02:18 PM
02/11/18 02:18 PM
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Hershey, PA, USA
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Originally Posted by akc42
@Handyman Why can't you find these yourself - Google is you friend in this regard



akc42 - I can & did - just wanted verification of the exact site (among all the look-a-likes that pop up) so that I didn't download something that ate my laptop...

Thanks much!


Currently working on: Alfred Adult, Level 1; Alfred Greatest Hits, Level 1: Jumbo Easy Piano Book; Alfred Sacred Piano Book
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713912
02/13/18 08:19 AM
02/13/18 08:19 AM
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Scotland
Beemer Offline
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Don't forget to listen to some of the demo recordings on the Pianoteq website.

Ian (with Pianoteq Standard +Steinway B and Blüthner Model One add-ons)


I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Sam S] #2713914
02/13/18 08:24 AM
02/13/18 08:24 AM
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Scotland
Beemer Offline
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Originally Posted by Sam S
If anyone would like to write up a new guide to recording, we can replace the one that is missing. Volunteers?

I use a Zoom H4n for recording. Then I transfer the file to my computer and edit and export to mp3 with Audacity.

Sam

Sam,

I too use a Zoom H4n and did use Audacity until in investigating serious problems after the Windows 10 Fall edition (1709) I found many Windows error reports citing Audacity dll files as the problem. The problem was Windows freezing and also mouse movement freezing. As a result I uninstalled Audacity and removed all reference to it in the Windows registry. The problem has gone.

I am looking for an alternative Windows based audio recording program.

Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713946
02/13/18 10:53 AM
02/13/18 10:53 AM
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Sweden
TheodorN Offline
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Google gave me these six options, when I searched for alternatives to Audacity. I haven't tried any of them, since Audacity works fine on my Windows 10 computer.

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-awesome-alternatives-to-audacity-for-recording-and-editing-audio/

I have an old AudioDirector from Cyberlink, which I got as a bonus when I bought PowerDirector 12. Haven't used it many times, but at least I know it works. To buy it standalone, is crazy expensive, so I won't recommend you to do so.

If you're not uncomfortable at the command line, there's also FFMPEG, which always does it's job without bogging down the computer. There are some GUIs available for it, to make life easier, which I haven't tried. Actually, Audacity uses FFMPEG under the hood, but I doubt that's what's causing you problems.

Last edited by TheodorN; 02/13/18 11:06 AM.

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Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX. Prod. Voices: Grand 2 Gold, Concert Grand Compact, Est. Grand, Studio Grand LE. NI Giant. Galaxy II Blüthner Baby Grand. AcousticSamples C7. AK Studio Grand. Sampletekk Black. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713949
02/13/18 11:08 AM
02/13/18 11:08 AM
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Georgia, USA
Sam S Offline

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I'm using an old macbook, so no problems with Audacity...

Sam

Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2713958
02/13/18 11:26 AM
02/13/18 11:26 AM
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Just wanted to add, you can convert from WAV to MP3 in VLC Media Player, which most people have, I assume. It's very easy, just choose Convert/Save in the first menu, choose the file, and you're lead step by step. Just make sure you choose Audio - MP3 as profile, and change the parameters if needed, which you really don't need, as the default profile saves in 128 kb/s, 44.100Hz. The target file can be called anything, and saved anywhere, though it's better to choose the path wisely, so you know where it ends up.

Last edited by TheodorN; 02/13/18 11:29 AM.

My YouTube channel

Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX. Prod. Voices: Grand 2 Gold, Concert Grand Compact, Est. Grand, Studio Grand LE. NI Giant. Galaxy II Blüthner Baby Grand. AcousticSamples C7. AK Studio Grand. Sampletekk Black. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: TheodorN] #2714022
02/13/18 03:54 PM
02/13/18 03:54 PM
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Beemer Offline
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Theodor,

Thanks for the information and especially mentioning Audio Director which I forgot I have!

Here is one report although for a different Windows build:

https://www.neowin.net/news/windows-10-insider-build-17063-causing-audio-issues-in-firefox-audacity

Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2714106
02/13/18 08:17 PM
02/13/18 08:17 PM
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Sweden
TheodorN Offline
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Cool you have the AudioDirector, thought I was the only one! You'll do fine with it, I believe it can do most of what Audacity does. I don't have an acoustic piano, so I don't know what needs to be done after recording.

Maybe trim at the beginning and the end, the moments when people are preparing to play, and when people stop playing and reach out to turn the recording hardware off. Some might choose to normalize, even EQ a little, boost the bass and/or treble. All that can be done in AudioDirector.

Thanks for the link, hopefully Microsoft fixes these issues soon.

Last edited by TheodorN; 02/13/18 08:24 PM.

My YouTube channel

Casio PX-5S. Garritan CFX. Prod. Voices: Grand 2 Gold, Concert Grand Compact, Est. Grand, Studio Grand LE. NI Giant. Galaxy II Blüthner Baby Grand. AcousticSamples C7. AK Studio Grand. Sampletekk Black. Kontakt 5. Reaper.
Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: keystring] #2716964
02/24/18 07:04 PM
02/24/18 07:04 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 251
So. Calif.
TomLC Offline
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I need a camcorder that will accept a mic in from the DP so I can record both audio and video at the same time. Any suggestions? I would like one that doesn't cost more than my piano. It is just to send to my teacher, wants to see my hands.

Or how difficult is it to sync up a camcorder video with an MP3 file save to the laptop? I have tried with iMovie, and GarageBand. Much too difficult. I couldn't get it to work.


Last edited by TomLC; 02/24/18 07:55 PM.

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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2717015
02/25/18 01:35 AM
02/25/18 01:35 AM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,312
Orange County, California
bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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Hi Tom,

What are you recording the video with now? Phone? You could use that and open the video up in Cyberlink PowerDirector, add the audio from the digital piano, and try to match up the audio waveform with the one recorded by the video. Then strip out the video's audio, and render a new video using the digital piano audio. I've been able to do that with Cyberlink. I've never used iMovie or GarageBand, so I can't speak to how they work.

I prefer to record straight into a camcorder, so I don't have to worry about lining up audio.

Last edited by bSharp(C)yclist; 02/25/18 01:35 AM.

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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: Handyman] #2717087
02/25/18 09:59 AM
02/25/18 09:59 AM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 251
So. Calif.
TomLC Offline
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Hi Dan, yeah I agree with you. I think I can get a Canon with aux mike input for $185. I want to check Best Buy. I have not used my iPhone, only my MacBook. LIning up to the audio may be easy if you know what you are doing. I have wasted enough time trying to do that.


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Re: The Latest in Recording Piano? [Re: TomLC] #2717113
02/25/18 11:42 AM
02/25/18 11:42 AM
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So. Calif.
TomLC Offline
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So i just thought, “wait a minute. I can’t connect an aux mike to my Macbook. But I can to the Mac. It also has a built in camera. It works great! Uploaded a test to Vimeo.

Last edited by TomLC; 02/25/18 07:18 PM.

Novus NV10
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