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Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
#2802044 01/14/19 06:14 PM
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Hello everyone. Happy to have found this forum. I'm wondering if anyone would know how I can do this. I have a Yamaha P35 digital piano keyboard. It has a MIDI in and out ports in the back and and a headphone jack (quarter inch). I have a quarter inch to 3.5mm adapter that I plug my Bose headphones into when playing.

I live in a small condo, with paper thin walls, so I always practice with headphones on so as not to disturb my neighbors. I recently found this piano teacher who lives in another state and I want to do skype lessons with her. However, since I have paper thin walls and do NOT want to disturb my neighbors I'm wondering if I can somehow do the whole lessons via the cables/headphones and not through the air. Is this possible?

My thinking is this but not sure if it possible:
I see they make 3.5" audio to USB 2.0 cables. Could I use that cable and use one end (3.5mm audio) to plug into my headphone jack in the back of the keyboard and the other end (USB 2.0) into my laptop. I'd also need to hear everything too. So how do to that part? I was thinking I'd plug my headphones into the headphone output jack in the laptop (since there are no other plugs left on my keyboard). If I did all that, would she be able hear me through skype playing and talking and I'd be able to hear her? Can this all be done or is a pipe dream?


Thanks in advance for any info!

Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Chitownpiano #2802051 01/14/19 06:37 PM
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A USB to audio cable could be more intended for microphones, and voices, not music (less quality). You may invest on an audio interface like Behringer UCA222 (and corresponding set of cable).

You may need a software which mix all signal and send them to Skype. I would look at Voicemeeter Banana (VB-Audio), but I have never used it really.

Ideally, you should send piano+voice(mic) and hear piano+skype... not sure the software would be so flexible to permit multiple mix. (You don’t want to send skype signal back to skype, nor hear your own voice on the headphones.)


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Frédéric L #2802075 01/14/19 07:24 PM
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Thanks for the response Frederic. So you think my scenario and what I'm trying to do is definitely possible if I have the right equipment and software? I'm happy to buy it. Just need to know if it will work for sure.

Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Chitownpiano #2802156 01/15/19 04:17 AM
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But I don’t know if there exists a software which permits what you want.


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Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Chitownpiano #2802159 01/15/19 04:43 AM
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If your teacher is able to receive MIDI directly or a audio file generated by your performance, that will make your life easier.

Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Chitownpiano #2802167 01/15/19 05:45 AM
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Have a look at the Voicemeeter tutorials and documentation. You may be able to find a way to configure the inputs and outputs as you want as Voicemeeter allows for different audio feedback mechanisms. An alternative for the skype input is to manually select the input device so that you are either in "piano mode" or "voice mode".
https://www.vb-audio.com/Voicemeeter/banana.htm#Documentation

Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Chitownpiano #2802418 01/15/19 08:16 PM
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I'm interested in this thread too. I have a similar situation, only I want to use a VST too, which complicates matters slightly...

I did buy some virtual audio cables for Windows and for the Mac to be part of my solution, but haven't been able to set it all up properly.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Chitownpiano #2802439 01/15/19 09:11 PM
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My setup for both, piano and guitar Skype lessons, consists of:

Audio output from DP, Condenser microphone, and electric guitar, all go into a small audio mixer.
Outputs from mixer, go to audio interface inputs ( in my case, a Komplete Audio 6 )
Audio interface connected to PC via USB.
Audio output from interface, into 2 powered speakers. (could alternatively use headphone output instead.)
Audio interface selected as Inputs and Outputs in Skype.

This has served me well for several years.


Rob
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Tyrone Slothrop #2802446 01/15/19 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I'm interested in this thread too. I have a similar situation, only I want to use a VST too, which complicates matters slightly...

I did buy some virtual audio cables for Windows and for the Mac to be part of my solution, but haven't been able to set it all up properly.


I managed to get a VST into Skype, using Voicemeeter, but the quality was terrible. Possibly, my PC just isn't up to the job :-(

The only other way I can think of, is to run the VST on a second computer, and feed the audio output via a mixer, into the Skype computer.


Rob
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Chitownpiano #2802450 01/15/19 09:26 PM
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Some thoughts:

a) "Prior art":

If you Google:

. . . skype piano lessons hardware

you'll get a bunch of hits -- some Web pages, and some YouTube videos -- that describe what you'll need. Of course, opinions will differ.

One thing nobody's mentioned yet is a decent Webcam. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be small enough to mount on a mic stand, and give your teacher a good view of your hands on the keyboard. That, and a bunch of other things, are covered here:

http://www.theresemilanovic.com/taubman-tuition-info/info-on-piano-lessons-via-skype/

http://musiclessonsresource.com/for-teachers-teaching-music-lessons-online-with-skype


b) One setup that is likely to work:

. . . Buy an audio mixer with a USB output -- e.g. Behringer Q802USB.

That is (essentially) a combined "audio mixer" + "audio-USB interface", in one box.

(I'm sure there are "How to use an Audio Mixer" videos on YouTube, probably with the Behringer 802-series for demonstration. It's a learned skill -- there are three different "gain controls", between the mic and the final output.)

. . . Buy a "dynamic vocal mic" (Shure SM58 is a professional choice, Behringer XM8500 is cheaper), or a good-quality "lapel mic"
. . . (check "podcasting equipment" reviews for those) with an XLR connector.

. . . Get a mic stand for the mic (if it's hand-held), and an XLR-to-XLR mic cable to connect to the mixer.
. . . Adjust the mic stand so that you can speak into the mic, from a few inches away, while you're sitting at the keyboard.
(No mic stand is needed, for a lavalier microphone).

. . . Buy (if you don't have one or two already) one (or a pair) of "multimedia loudspeakers" for your laptop. You won't need
. . . . "studio monitor" quality; something with 3" woofers and several watts per channel will be adequate.

. . . If your DP doesn't have "Line Out" jacks (separate from the 'Phone' jack), you'll be using the DP's "Phone" jack to
. . . get its audio output. You'll need a "stereo splitter cable" -- one end will fit your DP "Phone" jack, the other end splits
. . . into two 1/4" "TS" phone plugs.

. . . If your DP _does_ have "Line Out" jacks, you'll need two "guitar cables" (1/4" TS plug <--> 1/4" TS plug), one for each
. . . . "Line Out" jack.


. . . If the mixer requires software drivers, load them onto your laptop.

Wire the Skype inputs:

. . . Microphone --> "Mic Preamp" mixer input (it'll have an XLR jack).

. . . Left-channel DP output to a _line-level_ mixer input (1/4" phone jack)

. . . Right-channel DP output to a _line-level_ mixer input (1/4" phone jack).

Run a USB cable from the mixer to the laptop. Turn down the mixer gain controls. Power-up both boxes and the DP.

Start Skype, go to "Audio Settings". Under "Microphone Settings", you'll see several input choices. One of them will belong to the mixer (perhaps "USB Sound Device", but it could have another name). Pick that one.

Adjust the mixer controls so that when you speak into the mic, from a few inches away, Skype gets a good sound level.

Play on the DP, and adjust the mixer gain controls so that Skype gets a good sound level. If you're using "Line Out" from the DP,
you should hear your DP loudspeakers normally. If you're using the "phone" output, the DP speakers may be muted. In that case,

. . . Plug _open-back_ headphones into the mixer's "Phones" output (and adjust the mixer's "Phone Gain" for proper headphone volume).

That sets up Skype's "student-to-teacher" direction.

For the 'teacher-to-student' side:

. . . Plug the multimedia speakers into the laptop's "Phone" output.

. . . Adjust levels in Skype and on the multimedia speakers.

Make a Skype "test call" ("Echo" service). If everything is working right, you should be able to say a few words, and play a few notes, and hear them played back through the speakers without distortion.

The way this all works:

. . . Your teacher hears both your voice (through the mic) and your DP (through its "Phones" or "Line Out").

. . . You hear your teacher (he'll have a mic, and probably a piano), through the multimedia speakers.

_None of this is difficult_, the second time you do it. Expect some head-scratching, the first time.


Interfacing the Webcam is up to you -- but that's the easy part.

There are cheaper ways to skin the cat. But this setup is quite flexible, and should give you high-quality sound for your lessons.

PS -- written in haste. I _think_ it's all in place . . .


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
R0B #2802451 01/15/19 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by R0B
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I'm interested in this thread too. I have a similar situation, only I want to use a VST too, which complicates matters slightly...

I did buy some virtual audio cables for Windows and for the Mac to be part of my solution, but haven't been able to set it all up properly.


I managed to get a VST into Skype, using Voicemeeter, but the quality was terrible. Possibly, my PC just isn't up to the job :-(

The only other way I can think of, is to run the VST on a second computer, and feed the audio output via a mixer, into the Skype computer.

Have you tried any of these virtual audio cable software solutions?


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Tyrone Slothrop #2802466 01/15/19 09:52 PM
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Yes, Voicemeeter, as I mentioned.


Rob
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Tyrone Slothrop #2802470 01/15/19 10:05 PM
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Missed the incredibly short time window for editing, but wanted to add:

I used a VST piano in Cubase, and fed the output into Voicemeeter, but was getting too many pops and clicks, no matter what buffer settings I used.
In the end, it was all just too much hassle.

I am going to try using a second PC to feed the VST output into my Skype computer, but I think that with the limitations of Skype audio, it will probably not be worth it.

I will also try it with Zoom.us, which I have been using recently, and find the audio and video quality superior to Skype.
I have a second Skype and Zoom account on another computer, so can test it all here at home.


Rob
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
R0B #2802472 01/15/19 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by R0B
I will also try it with Zoom.us, which I have been using recently, and find the audio and video quality superior to Skype.
I have a second Skype and Zoom account on another computer, so can test it all here at home.

For Zoom, see this and the links inside for Zoom settings for piano.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Chitownpiano #2802474 01/15/19 10:49 PM
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I have already optimised Zoom audio, and just tried playing a VST inside Reaper on my laptop, with the audio output fed into the mixer connected to my PC, and did a Zoom call to myself on my phone, and it all worked perfectly.
Having problems using it with Skype though. Will have to do more tweaking to get that to work.


Rob
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
R0B #2802477 01/15/19 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by R0B
I have already optimised Zoom audio, and just tried playing a VST inside Reaper on my laptop, with the audio output fed into the mixer connected to my PC, and did a Zoom call to myself on my phone, and it all worked perfectly.
Having problems using it with Skype though. Will have to do more tweaking to get that to work.

What Zoom audio settings do you use?


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Tyrone Slothrop #2802483 01/15/19 11:10 PM
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From memory, I changed a setting to 'Preserve original sound'
Also uchecked 'automatically adjust volume'


Rob
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
R0B #2802487 01/15/19 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by R0B
From memory, I changed a setting to 'Preserve original sound'
Also uchecked 'automatically adjust volume'

Thanks.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
Tyrone Slothrop #2802562 01/16/19 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by R0B
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I'm interested in this thread too. I have a similar situation, only I want to use a VST too, which complicates matters slightly...

I did buy some virtual audio cables for Windows and for the Mac to be part of my solution, but haven't been able to set it all up properly.


I managed to get a VST into Skype, using Voicemeeter, but the quality was terrible. Possibly, my PC just isn't up to the job :-(

The only other way I can think of, is to run the VST on a second computer, and feed the audio output via a mixer, into the Skype computer.

Have you tried any of these virtual audio cable software solutions?


I have software from Voicemeeter. I used it to route an audio stream into skype but never tried the setup requested by the OP. Voicemeeter can indeed generate pops/clicks but these can be removed by using different audio drivers (the selection is done inside voicemeeter) and/or increasing the buffers (and latency) so that the software has enough time to properly process and mix the inputs into the outputs. The Voicemeeter tutorials and forums discuss how to do this.

BTW, I also downsampled and converted the audio stream to mono before feeding it into skype. If this is not done, skype will internally convert the audio stream and this may be another source of echo, pops and clicks. The setup worked as expected, but skype audio is primarily designed to transport the voice frequency range. Everything outside that frequency range is going to be heavily compressed and therefore the quality of any music streamed over skype is going to be low.

Re: Digital Piano wired to laptop for skype?
arc7urus #2802641 01/16/19 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by arc7urus
[quote=Tyrone Slothrop]BTW, I also downsampled and converted the audio stream to mono before feeding it into skype. If this is not done, skype will internally convert the audio stream and this may be another source of echo, pops and clicks.

How did/do you do that? BTW you on Windows or Mac?


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
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