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Crackling noise when recording digital piano
#2780539 11/13/18 02:01 AM
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I’m currently running two 1/4” line outs from my Kawai CA78 into a Presonus Audiobox iTwo audio interface and plugging a usb/lighting into my iPhone.

When I try to record a video, I hear the piano with crackling sounds in the playback despite trying all kinds of volume combinations.

I’m also listening to what I’m playing with headphones plugged into the piano (if that has any effect).

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can fix this? I’m sure there is a simple setting or something that I’m missing. I’m totally new to audio recording. Thanks!

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780551 11/13/18 03:05 AM
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Tommm777, may I ask if you can post an example recording, please?

Do you hear the "crackle" even when nothing is being played?

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780627 11/13/18 12:40 PM
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Here is a sample: https://youtu.be/tHTxW2QZWEo

I first tried it with the “gain knobs(?)” turned only a quarter. It produced a clean recording, but the sound was way too low on the video. I then turned the dials up a little bit and the crackling came back.

The crackling is only heard when I play (based on the brief pause with no crackling before I start playing on the video).

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780629 11/13/18 12:47 PM
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Also, this is a picture of what my dials look like: https://photos.app.goo.gl/TwpKwM4dJ1d6UcSL6

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780633 11/13/18 01:08 PM
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The sound is not saturated, it is not a problem of volume or output level.

It looks like a problem with the buffers.
What is your setting? Especially, which sampling frequency and buffer size did you select for this recording?

If you just want to record your piano audio output, I suggest to set the sampling frequency at 44100 Hz and the buffer at a max (512 or 1024), and try again.


Last edited by stamkorg; 11/13/18 01:13 PM.
Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780635 11/13/18 01:09 PM
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I can barely hear anything on that youtube link. My first guess would be poor contact where some of the cables plug in.

Can you still get that "Spray'n'pray" contact cleaner that we used to use in the olden days?


-- J.S.

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Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
stamkorg #2780638 11/13/18 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by stamkorg
The sound is not saturated, it is not a problem of volume or output level.

It looks like a problem with the buffers.
What is your setting? Especially, which sampling frequency and buffer size did you select for this recording?

If you just want to record your piano audio output, I suggest to set the sampling frequency at 44100 Hz and the buffer at a max (512 or 1024), and try again.



I’m plugging it straight into my iPhone and recording the video through the camera app. Is there a way for me to change my sampling frequency and buffer size in the camera app?

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780641 11/13/18 01:23 PM
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The line-out on the CA78 does not use line level. Instead, the gain/volume is controlled via the master volume slider. So, you cannot control the line out independently of the volume of the CA78 speakers/headphones. This is a limitation on the new CA/NV models because the CAx7 models included a separate gain control for the line out.

The problem is that the line out gain of the CA78 will be very low if the master volume is not set at 90-100%. Since you are using headphones, you probably do not have the volume close to the maximum. Therefore. the level getting into your audio interface is too low. So, when you try to increase its gain on the adapter you get the noise/crackles. This problem was discussed on another thread about external speakers.

The solution is to set the master volume on the CA78 to 90-100% and reduce the gain on the audio interface to a low level. This should work for noise-free recording.

Since the CA78 will be operating at maximum volume you will be unable to use its internal speakers or headphone port while using the line outs. So, connect a cable to the headphone port to mute the internal speakers and then connect your headphones to the audio interface. Maybe Kawai will introduce a line out gain control on the GUI on a future system update to overcome this limitation.

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
arc7urus #2780647 11/13/18 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by arc7urus
The line-out on the CA78 does not use line level. Instead, the gain/volume is controlled via the master volume slider. So, you cannot control the line out independently of the volume of the CA78 speakers/headphones. This is a limitation on the new CA/NV models because the CAx7 models included a separate gain control for the line out.

The problem is that the line out gain of the CA78 will be very low if the master volume is not set at 90-100%. Since you are using headphones, you probably do not have the volume close to the maximum. Therefore. the level getting into your audio interface is too low. So, when you try to increase its gain on the adapter you get the noise/crackles. This problem was discussed on another thread about external speakers.

The solution is to set the master volume on the CA78 to 90-100% and reduce the gain on the audio interface to a low level. This should work for noise-free recording.

Since the CA78 will be operating at maximum volume you will be unable to use its internal speakers or headphone port while using the line outs. So, connect a cable to the headphone port to mute the internal speakers and then connect your headphones to the audio interface. Maybe Kawai will introduce a line out gain control on the GUI on a future system update to overcome this limitation.


Awesome tip, thank you! I will definitely try this when I get home. Since the ca78 is not a line out, should the instrument buttons be depressed on the audio interface? It said to push those if using an instrument that doesn’t have a preamp (like a guitar).

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780661 11/13/18 02:58 PM
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Unfortunately, turning up the master volume on the piano to max didn’t resolve the low volume issue. No crackling when the gain is low though. Any other ideas?

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780675 11/13/18 03:59 PM
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The inputs on the front panel can operate in two different modes and you probably have selected the wrong one. All this is described in the user's manual and the mode is selected with the "Input Source Button" which is the one on the front panel with the Fender Stratocaster shaped symbol. The symbol is not illuminated when the inputs are in "line in" mode and is lit up when the box is expecting a signal from a Fender Stratocaster or Precision Bass or any other electric guitar or bass.

(I don't own a Presonus Audiobox iTwo, but glanced at the user's manual, which is always a good idea before attaching devices to other devices.)

Last edited by clothearednincompo; 11/13/18 04:00 PM.
Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
clothearednincompo #2780684 11/13/18 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
The inputs on the front panel can operate in two different modes and you probably have selected the wrong one. All this is described in the user's manual and the mode is selected with the "Input Source Button" which is the one on the front panel with the Fender Stratocaster shaped symbol. The symbol is not illuminated when the inputs are in "line in" mode and is lit up when the box is expecting a signal from a Fender Stratocaster or Precision Bass or any other electric guitar or bass.

(I don't own a Presonus Audiobox iTwo, but glanced at the user's manual, which is always a good idea before attaching devices to other devices.)


Thanks for your idea. I did read the manual before and had it selected for “line in” mode. I also tried it in “instrument mode” (illuminated symbol) and there wasn’t much of a difference (maybe a little louder)

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780691 11/13/18 04:47 PM
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Have you tested clothearednincompo suggestion? How about the volume you get on the headphones when connected to the audio interface? Is the volume also low? If the master volume on your CA78 is at 90-100% and the audio interface is properly set up it should work. If not, the problem may be the iphone recording setup, which I never used. Are you able to properly record other audio sources using the same iphone adapters and app? Have you tried recording the iOS presonus app designed for the presonus interfaces? Can you describe what adapter(s) you are using to convert the the 2-channel stereo signal coming from the presonus into the iphone?

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780693 11/13/18 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommm777
Originally Posted by stamkorg
The sound is not saturated, it is not a problem of volume or output level.

It looks like a problem with the buffers.
What is your setting? Especially, which sampling frequency and buffer size did you select for this recording?

If you just want to record your piano audio output, I suggest to set the sampling frequency at 44100 Hz and the buffer at a max (512 or 1024), and try again.



I’m plugging it straight into my iPhone and recording the video through the camera app. Is there a way for me to change my sampling frequency and buffer size in the camera app?


Sorry I cant help with an iPhone.
Could you try to record on a computer to see if there is a difference?

Last edited by stamkorg; 11/13/18 04:52 PM.
Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780700 11/13/18 05:34 PM
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If all else fails, consider recording video and audio separately. The video with the iPhone, with the video's audio simply recorded "over the air" with the built in microphone (low quality, obviously). At the same time, use the CA78's built in recording feature to also record the audio to a USB stick in WAV format. Then load both the video (with its low quality audio track) and the WAV recording into a video editing software and replace the low quality audio with the high quality WAV track. The wave pattern of the video's low quality audio track and that of the WAV track should be similar enough, that you can position the WAV correctly to be in sync with the video.

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
arc7urus #2780768 11/13/18 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by arc7urus
Have you tested clothearednincompo suggestion?

Yes. See post above.

How about the volume you get on the headphones when connected to the audio interface? Is the volume also low?

I hear nothing when I plug in headphones into the audio interface

If the master volume on your CA78 is at 90-100% and the audio interface is properly set up it should work. If not, the problem may be the iphone recording setup, which I never used. Are you able to properly record other audio sources using the same iphone adapters and app?

I haven’t tried.

Have you tried recording the iOS presonus app designed for the presonus interfaces?

I just tried this and it was slightly louder, but volume was still low.

Can you describe what adapter(s) you are using to convert the the 2 channel stereo signal coming from the presonus into the iPhone?

Standard usb to lightning cable


Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2780794 11/14/18 03:04 AM
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This can be caused by bad cables. Change out the cables you're using.


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Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
PianoManChuck #2780889 11/14/18 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoManChuck
This can be caused by bad cables. Change out the cables you're using.


I tried some other cables that I had lying around. Didn’t work.

It sucks, but I realized that I can increase the sound volume in iMovie on my phone pretty easily, so that has been my temporary solution.

Thanks for all of the recommendations, everyone!!

Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Tommm777 #2781050 11/14/18 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommm777
I realized that I can increase the sound volume in iMovie on my phone pretty easily, so that has been my temporary solution.


Boosting the volume in software may work, but I doubt the results will be terribly good.

It would be far preferable to capture good quality, good volume audio to start with.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Crackling noise when recording digital piano
Kawai James #2781092 11/14/18 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by Tommm777
I realized that I can increase the sound volume in iMovie on my phone pretty easily, so that has been my temporary solution.


Boosting the volume in software may work, but I doubt the results will be terribly good.

It would be far preferable to capture good quality, good volume audio to start with.

Kind regards,
James
x

Agreed. I’m going to try a different audio interface.

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