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What dedicated mic is good to get to make sure the teacher can hear my piano in good quality?


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The following was in answer to a question about using Zoom for broadcasting piano music, and this is my set up:

1. Use (Logitech C270) HD webcam for video.
2. Use (Yeti blue) separate microphone for audio. (Zoom allows me to choose the mic either from the webcam or the Yeti.)
3. Use internet connection with 75 Mbps download, 8 Mbps upload speed
4. Connect laptop to modem/router directly with Ethernet cable.
5. On Zoom audio settings, Advanced, disable the following:
- suppress persistent background noise
- suppress intermittent background noise

If you don't use Zoom, I can still recommend the Yeti blue microphone for broadcasting; others have also recommended it.

If you are simply sending audio files to your teacher, I have found that my Zoom H4 (not the same company, I think!) or any similar recorder) does a satisfactory job of recording audio. Some of my recordings are in the Pianist Corner Member Recordings if you want to hear how the Zoom H4 records. Positioning of the recorder is important; one has to experiment with different positions to find the best one for balanced sound.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by onaiplatigid
What dedicated mic is good to get to make sure the teacher can hear my piano in good quality?

If you are using the P-515, you should use its "Line Out" signals, rather than a microphone.

You'll need a microphone for your voice. A Shure SM58 (dynamic) or one of the Boya "lavalier" microphones would be OK.

A small mixer (Behringer Q502USB is just enough) will give you a mic preamp:

. . . your voice mic goes into the "Mic" input,
.
. . . the P-515 "line in" goes into two inputs (L and R channel),

. . . a USB cable to the computer makes the mixer output appear as a
. . . soundcard to Zoom.

You can use headphones or your computer's loudspeakers to listen to your teacher.


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Originally Posted by onaiplatigid
What dedicated mic is good to get to make sure the teacher can hear my piano in good quality?

If you are using the P-515, you should use its "Line Out" signals, rather than a microphone.

You'll need a microphone for your voice. A Shure SM58 (dynamic) or one of the Boya "lavalier" microphones would be OK.

A small mixer (Behringer Q502USB is just enough) will give you a mic preamp:

. . . your voice mic goes into the "Mic" input,
.
. . . the P-515 "line in" goes into two inputs (L and R channel),

. . . a USB cable to the computer makes the mixer output appear as a
. . . soundcard to Zoom.

You can use headphones or your computer's loudspeakers to listen to your teacher.


. Charles
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Originally Posted by onaiplatigid
What dedicated mic is good to get to make sure the teacher can hear my piano in good quality?

If you are using the P-515, you should use its "Line Out" signals, rather than a microphone.

You'll need a microphone for your voice. A Shure SM58 (dynamic) or one of the Boya "lavalier" microphones would be OK.

A small mixer (Behringer Q502USB is just enough) will give you a mic preamp:

. . . your voice mic goes into the "Mic" input,
.
. . . the P-515 "line in" goes into two inputs (L and R channel),

. . . a USB cable to the computer makes the mixer output appear as a
. . . soundcard to Zoom.

You can use headphones or your computer's loudspeakers to listen to your teacher.



Charles what's the mixer/mic preamp for?
Can't the line out from p515 go direct to laptop/zoom for my teacher to hear?


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When you call in Zoom meeting you have an option to pick one of your devices as your "microphone" (something the other party will hear). This usually means only one device at once (unless you have some audio mixer device within your sound card or audio mixer software, but let's not explore those options for now). So if you connect your piano directly to computer via line-in, you will be able to pick either your microphone or line-in in Zoom, but not both.

Mentioned mixer (with usb output) allows for your line-in piano and microphone to be mixed into one signal and if connected to your computer - seen as single device, which you can then select in Zoom. With your mixer knobs you can set the volume (and sometimes other parameters) of piano/mic sound separately.

Depending on mixer you want to use xlr microphone, like shure sm58 mentioned above or simple headset microphone with lower model of Behringer mixer like Q302USB.

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I found a software audio mixer -- VoiceMeeter -- that will take several digital audio streams (e.g. a USB mic, and a DP signal after it's been through an audio interface), combine them (as an analog mixer would), and let Zoom use the combined signal as its "microphone".

VoiceMeeter is "by donation" -- free, if you don't want to contribute. It's cheaper than a Behringer mixer, and you don't need any audio cables.

The thread moved over to the "Digital Pianos" forum.

Purrblast -- thanks, that's a good description of the problem, and how the mixer solves it.


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I have a very simple setup using an I pad pro on a monopod. I use a $89 h1n zoom, an apple usb 3 to camera interface and an Anker Ethernet adapter to get 50 gb upload / 100 download speeds to my iPad. The h1n can also be used on its own as the mic or can use it as an audio interface for external mics. If I want professional level recordings I use a mixer to a couple of behringer c1 condenser mics. Very clean compact system running off iPad and I can record high quality audio/video files already synced using onboard video camera. No post processing needed. Just hit record and your done.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
The following was in answer to a question about using Zoom for broadcasting piano music, and this is my set up:

1. Use (Logitech C270) HD webcam for video.
2. Use (Yeti blue) separate microphone for audio. (Zoom allows me to choose the mic either from the webcam or the Yeti.)
3. Use internet connection with 75 Mbps download, 8 Mbps upload speed
4. Connect laptop to modem/router directly with Ethernet cable.
5. On Zoom audio settings, Advanced, disable the following:
- suppress persistent background noise
- suppress intermittent background noise

If you don't use Zoom, I can still recommend the Yeti blue microphone for broadcasting; others have also recommended it.

If you are simply sending audio files to your teacher, I have found that my Zoom H4 (not the same company, I think!) or any similar recorder) does a satisfactory job of recording audio. Some of my recordings are in the Pianist Corner Member Recordings if you want to hear how the Zoom H4 records. Positioning of the recorder is important; one has to experiment with different positions to find the best one for balanced sound.

Regards,

Under item (5) above, "On Zoom audio settings, Advanced" there is something very important you need to do:
Check the box "Show in meeting option to "Enable Original Sound" from microphone."
Once you start your Zoom session you should see on the top left of your screen a box that says "Turn off original sound". If it says that, good! If not, click on it to turn on original sound.


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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
[...]
Under item (5) above, "On Zoom audio settings, Advanced" there is something very important you need to do:
Check the box "Show in meeting option to "Enable Original Sound" from microphone."
Once you start your Zoom session you should see on the top left of your screen a box that says "Turn off original sound". If it says that, good! If not, click on it to turn on original sound.

Thanks for that which I forgot to add to my prep list. It's critically important.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by onaiplatigid
What dedicated mic is good to get to make sure the teacher can hear my piano in good quality?

Per suggestion of the violin teacher of my daughter, I explored that route. An acquaintance audio engineer suggested the following models, so I bought a MXL $100 mic with a $150 Audio interface (Focusrite Scarlett). The microphone needed that interface for the phantom power. Plus mic boom, software etc etc.

To make a long story short, I returned everything. I tried the setup on a variety of laptops and desktops, in a variety of configurations, with several teachers (my daughter has two violin teachers and a piano teacher, my other daughter has a clarinet teacher and I have a different piano teacher). They all agreed that ANY of the MXL+focusrite setup was much worse sounding than ANY of the embedded microphones in the various laptops (I did not try with an inexpensive external USB microphone that I have). The MacBookPro embedded microphone sounded best to every teacher who compared with the other embedded mics. Plus, no teacher had the patience or the time for me to make more than a handful of different tests (different software setup or microphone placements) at each lesson.

So my bottom line suggestion is: don't invest too much time and money in the project, especially if your teacher does not push you to do so. Also, make sure whatever you buy is returnable with full refund.

Hope this helps.
D.

PS: I am sure somebody will think I am not able to do what I should have done, and they are probably right. Yet, I am no idiot (or so I think smile ) in fact I am a professional software engineer, and also hold a Ph.D. in Physics. The key point is that I am not an audio engineer and after this experience I respect them more (I already respected them before). I am sure that spending hours on the project I could have made the MXL+focusrite sound better than the embedded mics. Yet, life is too short to become an expert in everything. Since every teacher was satisfied with the default mic we have in the laptop(s), I gave up and used that money for other purposes

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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Originally Posted by onaiplatigid
What dedicated mic is good to get to make sure the teacher can hear my piano in good quality?

If you are using the P-515, you should use its "Line Out" signals, rather than a microphone.

You'll need a microphone for your voice. A Shure SM58 (dynamic) or one of the Boya "lavalier" microphones would be OK.

A small mixer (Behringer Q502USB is just enough) will give you a mic preamp:

. . . your voice mic goes into the "Mic" input,
.
. . . the P-515 "line in" goes into two inputs (L and R channel),

. . . a USB cable to the computer makes the mixer output appear as a
. . . soundcard to Zoom.

You can use headphones or your computer's loudspeakers to listen to your teacher.


If I'm going to use Behringer Q502USB, how can I plug the piano and microphone in it when they are both USB? (The connector/wire from the piano and the microphone is USB) This device doesn't have a place to plug USB.

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If you have a physical mixer,

. . . connect the "Line Out" jacks (which carry analog audio) of the P515 to two "Line In" jacks of the Q502USB. (I use the two "Line Out /Left" jacks).

. . . Connect the microphone (analog output, with XLR connector) to the "MIC" input of the
. .. Q502USB. (If it's a condenser mic, turn on "phantom power".)

. . . . . You _cannot_ use a USB mic as an input to the Q502USB -- you must use an
. . . . . analog mic, with XLR output. Like a Shure SM58, or many others.

. . . Use a USB cable between the Q502USB and the computer.

. . . Tell Zoom to use the Q502USB "Left" channel as its audio input.

. . . Adjust the MIC and piano channel volume with the knobs on the Q502USB.

The Q502USB has its own analog-audio-to-USB converter, and it should appear to Windows in the list of possible Zoom inputs.

Last edited by Charles Cohen; 09/10/20 04:32 AM.

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So I have to buy an analogue jack for my piano. What's good to get?

So I have to buy a new mic again with an analogue output. Like Shure.

Last edited by onaiplatigid; 09/10/20 04:33 AM.

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It seems more complicated than the software route. What if after doing this, the sound that the ZOOM gives to my teacher is crappy (low quality, delayed, choppy, cuts) again?

Or is doing it this way (mixer) ensure CD crystal stereo quality like sound to zoom meeting participants?

Last edited by onaiplatigid; 09/10/20 04:36 AM.

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Originally Posted by Del Vento
. . . PS: I am sure somebody will think I am not able to do what I should have done, and they are probably right. Yet, I am no idiot (or so I think smile ) in fact I am a professional software engineer, and also hold a Ph.D. in Physics. The key point is that I am not an audio engineer and after this experience I respect them more (I already respected them before).

You have my sympathy. There's a lot of "common knowledge" that's not easy to find in one place, and a lot of incomplete, and poorly-written, documentation for the bits and pieces. So there's often some fiddling involved.

The bits and pieces, in many cases, weren't designed to work together. "Computer audio" is one world, and "pro audio" is another, and there aren't good standards for making them talk to each other. Not yet, anyway.

If you found a setup that makes your daughter, and her teachers, happy, you've fulfilled your parental obligation. If you want a new hobby, you know where to find it.<g>


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Originally Posted by onaiplatigid
It seems more complicated than the software route. What if after doing this, the sound that the ZOOM gives to my teacher is crappy (low quality, delayed, choppy, cuts) again?

Or is doing it this way (mixer) ensure CD crystal stereo quality like sound to zoom meeting participants?

The microphone, mixer and audio interface will solve NONE of these problems. These are all the results of the Internet being packet switching rather than circuit switching (long story, search on wikipedia if you care about the details). In packet switching "perfect" video/audio calls are impossible. In short, each "piece" of your video and audio may arrive to the destination in any order, even after a long time. Or it may never arrive. Hence the cuts, the delay, the latency. That's just the way it is. Video/audio calls are made possible only "approximately" with a "firehose" approach: let's use a firehose when a 1/8" pipe would suffice, and hope that the extra volume will mitigate the problem caused by the packet switching.

To further mitigate this problem, if both you and your teacher have MIDI-enabled instruments, you can try InternetMIDI (Google it, it's on sale right now, but there is a demo version a little bit hidden in their website). That will send only MIDI signals (rather than audio) to your teacher. Since MIDI is much less data volume than audio/video, this makes the "firehose" approach possibly better: now you'd need a hairline pipe and instead you are using the firehose. In this condition the packet reordering, packet loss and other internet downsides should become less severe. Note I wrote "should" not "will for sure". You still need the audio/video conference software, but you'd use that just for the voice part of the lesson, not for the "playing the instrument". Disclaimer: I haven't tested this software (yet) and I plan to do so -- I have no interest in that company.

One other thing that you must do is checking everything you can regarding your internet connection, to make sure it's in the best situation. For example, microwave ovens (even in other rooms or nearby apartments) interfere with some channels of WiFi. You have to make sure you have no such oven on while using those channels -- or switch to different channels. Your teacher needs to do the same. And this is just an example, the full list of things to consider is two page long.... I am mentioning this example since it's less known than "make sure you are not distant from the wireless router, and you do not have too many routers connected to each other making additional hops, and make sure other family members are not watching netflix during your music lesson and plenty of other "obvious" things. I know, it's a pain.....
Then it comes your internet vendor... Sadly they hide all these things by saying their internet is "fast internet" and at most provide a bandwidth number calling it "speed" (which is plain wrong, the "latency" if anything is the speed). Google these things too if you want to educate yourself on these other aspects, in the end all related to packet switching.

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Originally Posted by Del Vento
The microphone, mixer and audio interface will solve NONE of these problems. These are all the results of the Internet being packet switching rather than circuit switching (long story, search on wikipedia if you care about the details). . . . .

+1 (to all of that post).

Several of my friends improved their Zoom results by using an Ethernet cable, instead of WiFi, from their routers to their computers.

. . . That's something to try, it's not a guarantee of success.


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Originally Posted by Del Vento
The microphone, mixer and audio interface will solve NONE of these problems. These are all the results of the Internet being packet switching rather than circuit switching (long story, search on wikipedia if you care about the details). . . . .

+1 (to all of that post).

Several of my friends improved their Zoom results by using an Ethernet cable, instead of WiFi, from their routers to their computers.

. . . That's something to try, it's not a guarantee of success.


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Originally Posted by Del Vento
Originally Posted by onaiplatigid
It seems more complicated than the software route. What if after doing this, the sound that the ZOOM gives to my teacher is crappy (low quality, delayed, choppy, cuts) again?

Or is doing it this way (mixer) ensure CD crystal stereo quality like sound to zoom meeting participants?

The microphone, mixer and audio interface will solve NONE of these problems. These are all the results of the Internet being packet switching rather than circuit switching (long story, search on wikipedia if you care about the details). In packet switching "perfect" video/audio calls are impossible. In short, each "piece" of your video and audio may arrive to the destination in any order, even after a long time. Or it may never arrive. Hence the cuts, the delay, the latency. That's just the way it is. Video/audio calls are made possible only "approximately" with a "firehose" approach: let's use a firehose when a 1/8" pipe would suffice, and hope that the extra volume will mitigate the problem caused by the packet switching.

To further mitigate this problem, if both you and your teacher have MIDI-enabled instruments, you can try InternetMIDI (Google it, it's on sale right now, but there is a demo version a little bit hidden in their website). That will send only MIDI signals (rather than audio) to your teacher. Since MIDI is much less data volume than audio/video, this makes the "firehose" approach possibly better: now you'd need a hairline pipe and instead you are using the firehose. In this condition the packet reordering, packet loss and other internet downsides should become less severe. Note I wrote "should" not "will for sure". You still need the audio/video conference software, but you'd use that just for the voice part of the lesson, not for the "playing the instrument". Disclaimer: I haven't tested this software (yet) and I plan to do so -- I have no interest in that company.

One other thing that you must do is checking everything you can regarding your internet connection, to make sure it's in the best situation. For example, microwave ovens (even in other rooms or nearby apartments) interfere with some channels of WiFi. You have to make sure you have no such oven on while using those channels -- or switch to different channels. Your teacher needs to do the same. And this is just an example, the full list of things to consider is two page long.... I am mentioning this example since it's less known than "make sure you are not distant from the wireless router, and you do not have too many routers connected to each other making additional hops, and make sure other family members are not watching netflix during your music lesson and plenty of other "obvious" things. I know, it's a pain.....
Then it comes your internet vendor... Sadly they hide all these things by saying their internet is "fast internet" and at most provide a bandwidth number calling it "speed" (which is plain wrong, the "latency" if anything is the speed). Google these things too if you want to educate yourself on these other aspects, in the end all related to packet switching.


Thank you for taking the time writing this and I can tell you are very smart person indeed. Unfortunately, I'm not. And I understand none of what you said. I hope someday I will be able to comprehend a bit of it.

Last edited by onaiplatigid; 09/10/20 01:12 PM.

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