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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by drewr
Of course nobody here has any way of previously knowing this, but in the mid to late 90’s, i thought about - how hard would it be to develop a device that was not a full PC but had enough intelligence to function solely as a USB host
but a USB host still needs software/drivers in order to actually do anything. So the question is, what do you want to plug into it? You can currently get devices that are USB hosts that do nothing except provide MIDI connections.

Yep.


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I may be missing something here, but what would be the advantage of connecting the keyboard to the audio interface? Do you want to record within the audio interface?

You want to connect to an amplifier to drive headphones or speakers.

Is it better than using line outs? Maybe or maybe not.

From the op

Quote
for the purpose of then attaching monitors and or headphones on the output side of the interface box and thereby listening to the DP’s audio via this set up IE. not listening via the DP’s on-board speakers or line outs or headphones jacks?

Last edited by Purdy; 09/17/21 06:12 PM.

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Originally Posted by Purdy
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I may be missing something here, but what would be the advantage of connecting the keyboard to the audio interface? Do you want to record within the audio interface?

You want to connect to an amplifier to drive headphones or speakers.

Is it better than using line outs? Maybe or maybe not.

... or how about - the manufacturer came up with (likely) some half-baked rationale “trade off” 😉 for not providing line outs on what otherwise may be a decent, niche, low end DP with lots of appealing features except for wimpy built-in speakers ..... and no_bleepin_lineouts! 😐


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If a DP doesn't have line out, just use the headphone out. Works fine.


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... oh geez, here we go again .... who’s on first .... third base, i don’t know wooooOOOOoooo .....okay, i feel better now 🙂



MarkOfJohnson, do you suggest connecting DP’s stereo headphones output ports via a Y cable that breaks out to two 1/4 inch plugs each attached to monitors will generally work the same as, say, plugging the same monitors into a DP that has line outs?

This works for me but i thought headphones outputs and line outs outputs are each designed for different uses / impedances.


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I don't understand the logic or the benefit of having an audio interface in order to connect amps, speakers or headphones. If you don't need a computer, you don't need an audio interface: connect your output (analog, digital, whatever) to your amps or monitors.

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"MarkOfJohnson, do you suggest connecting DP’s stereo headphones output ports via a Y cable that breaks out to two 1/4 inch plugs each attached to monitors will generally work the same as, say, plugging the same monitors into a DP that has line outs?"

Yes. Volume level won't be identical, but it will work well enough.

"This works for me but i thought headphones outputs and line outs outputs are each designed for different uses / impedances."

The electrical characteristics of these two kinds of output are not identical and indeed are designed for different uses. But no matter, headphone output can be connected to a line in without problem. Just don't turn it up to the highest volume when you first connect it. Start at low volume and increase if necessary. Some DPs activate different processing for the headphone output, but I suspect not the cheaper ones. And if there is special processing for headphone out, look for a way to turn it off in the menus.

Headphone output is designed to drive a load of say 10-400 ohms and send 1 mW or so. So connecting anything with input impedance of 10ohms or higher will be fine. A line in has a much higher impedance of say 10k ohm, and hence will receive signal from the output no problem at all. The output stage impedance is in serial with the input impedance, the input has nearly all of the impedance so it will 'see' all of the voltage, which is desirable. The current to the line in will be much less than the current to the headphones, which is also fine. And questions of efficient power delivery are not relevant because all we need is voltage to the input, not power.


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I can think of only one reason: Perhaps an external DAC might be believed to be better than that inside the piano's.

But such a belief is without suspect (yet).

And it might be irrelevant ... because it's the piano's samples that limit the sound quality. Solve that first, before improving the DAC.
Originally Posted by vagfilm
I don't understand the logic or the benefit of having an audio interface in order to connect amps, speakers or headphones. If you don't need a computer, you don't need an audio interface: connect your output (analog, digital, whatever) to your amps or monitors.

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One of the advantages, the point, of analog audio over USB is to provide a full function link between your DP and a computer. If a DP has the capability of audio over USB it can interact fully... MIDI, analog, whatever between the computer and your DP.

I have a Roland RD 2000 and it has these capabilities.

Regarding using an interface's digital to analog converter... this is a misunderstanding. Roland does not output 44.1 digital from its keyboards. It outputs only MIDI or analog. You either must use their internal sound machines or pass MIDI out to a device (your computer) that can then process that MIDI such as DAW... which then putts out say a 44.1 digital signal to either the computer's own digital to analog converter, or, as I do in my rig, send it out via another USB cable to an outboard DAC (not a digital interface, but a true, simple DAC).

Why Roland does not output 44.1 digital (or any other sample rate) PCM is a guess but I suspect it is to copy protect its proprietary sound banks. But that is my assumption. I contacted Roland about this as I wanted to use my super high-quality outboard DAC but no, they said their products won't do this.

A cool feature of audio over USB, is that you can output an analog signal from your computer... say from a streamer or CD player in the computer, or a DAW (both analog and MIDI)... into your RD2000 and with your headphones, play along. The RD 2000 acts as a mixer and you can control the relative volumes of its internal engines and analog coming in.... again, all from one USB cable. Then, you can fire up your DAW, and record and playback... again sending MIDI or analog to your keyboard. It is so sophisticated, it took me a bit to get my head around the advantages of this.

Again, the whole point of Roland's USB functionality is to eliminate the digital interface box and provide full feature integration back and forth between the keyboard and computer.

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Bruce in Philly

Last edited by Bruce In Philly; 09/17/21 08:07 PM.

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Mac: fully agree, but for that purpose you have digital outputs. But the complain was not "all digital pianos should have a digital output"... It was "digital pianos should be USB hosts to control an audio interface".

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Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
Regarding using an interface's digital to analog converter... this is a misunderstanding. Roland does not output 44.1 digital from its keyboards. It outputs only MIDI or analog. You either must use their internal sound machines or pass MIDI out to a device (your computer) that can then process that MIDI such as DAW...


Peace
Bruce in Philly

I’m sloooooowly learning, the hard way, about newer DP’s that support “audio over USB”, namely Roland and Yamaha as far as DP’s i have interest (future) in some day trying for this purpose.

Some of you may be aware i currently don’t do neither VSTs nor DAWs with my DPs - im generally content with my DPs’ internal sounds - and furthermore shun Windows PCs due to too many years in a support role with that .... as a result i’m not very midi literate , ive been slow to realize ( i think 🤪) that these newer audio-over-usb DPs are audio in one direction - back from the PC/iPad or other usb-capable computer to the DP - whereas, apparently, outbound from the DP’s usb port, be it Roland or Yamaha, is MIDI over the USB .... i think .... if true, this alone answers my main question here; NO!!, USB from DP to an AI box will not allow tapping off audio from the AI to monitors or headphones, because the DP is delivering midi to the AI ! .... i think.


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"Roland does not output 44.1 digital from its keyboards. It outputs only MIDI or analog."

If you connect a DP to a computer by USB only, and you get to hear audio from the DP on the computer (ie _not_ a VI on the computer driven by MIDI)... then there is a digital audio signal going from the DP to the computer. 'USB audio' is a digital signal. USB can't carry an analog audio signal, there are only 4 pins in there. USB audio is digital protocol.

When I connect Roland FP90X to my macbook, my macbook sees:
Digital Audio Input: 44.1kHz 2channel 24 bit.
Digital Audio Output: 44.1kHz 2channel 24bit.

I hazard to guess if you record via the USB in, then the DP uses its internal computer to generate digital sound, sends it up the USB, and the computer records it. It never goes to analog until you play it back.

Here is an interesting detail to this signal path. When I send FP90X audio over the USB to the computer, it _does_ apply the reverb effect, but it does NOT apply any EQ from the DP. Moving the EQ sliders on the FP90X you hear no effect on the computer, but you do hear it on the line outs.


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drewr said that this is "for the purpose of attaching monitors and or headphones on the output side of the interface box ..."
So it's either the analog output from such an external interface, or the analog output from the piano's internal DAC.

The fact that you cannot attach a DAC to a USB-to-host port renders this not possible.
But even if it were possible it's just six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Originally Posted by vagfilm
Mac: fully agree, but for that purpose you have digital outputs. But the complain was not "all digital pianos should have a digital output"... It was "digital pianos should be USB hosts to control an audio interface".

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Regarding using an interface's digital to analog converter... this is a misunderstanding. Roland does not output 44.1 digital from its keyboards. It outputs only MIDI or analog.

That is incorrect in regards to the FP-x keyboards and I suspect whatever will replace the rd2000

I was interested in outputting audio out the usb interface to an amplifier because for some reason on the fp90x the speaker and line out volumes are the same but you can output full volume on the usb audio interface and have a lower volume out the line out, speakers, and headphone.

There are devices as already mentioned that will act as usb masters to convert to a midi din connector.

I’m just surprised no Audio interface maker has implemented the same feature.


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drewr said that this is "for the purpose of attaching monitors and or headphones on the output side of the interface box ..."
So it's either the analog output from such an external interface, or the analog output from the piano's internal DAC.

Well it’s not always clear what what the amp does with the analog signal, it might digitize it and then go back to analog.

Yes at this juncture it is moot as there is no DP that can be a master and send usb audio or audio interface that can be a master and receive it directly.

I believe there have been some keyboards synths? with s/pdif outputs and there are definitely amps with that as an input.


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My Yamaha P121 does digital audio over USB in BOTH DIRECTIONS. I can play a software instrument say from an iPad app and I can also record digital audio say when using the video camera or into an recording app.

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Originally Posted by Purdy
There is a thing called usb on the go that allows a port to be a host or a slave and it has been around for awhile.
Oh, right, another variant. I don't think this has ever been implemented on anything other than a smartphone or tablet, has it?

Originally Posted by Purdy
In theory there is nothing keeping an audio interface manufacturer from implementing it and allowing direct connection to a keyboard.
I suppose... but also I think you need to determine what its function will be. Whatever it is, it will require more extensive code. It's not just a matter of putting a Host port on it. It will need drivers as mentioned, and some kind of programming (and possibly additional electronics) to then do something with the data that's coming in.

Originally Posted by Bruce In Philly
One of the advantages, the point, of analog audio over USB is to provide a full function link between your DP and a computer.
also as MarkOfJohnson said... there is no analog audio over USB. Digital only.

Originally Posted by drewr
ive been slow to realize ( i think 🤪) that these newer audio-over-usb DPs are audio in one direction - back from the PC/iPad or other usb-capable computer to the DP - whereas, apparently, outbound from the DP’s usb port, be it Roland or Yamaha, is MIDI over the USB .... i think ....
The USB connection is (or at least can be) bidirectional in both instances. For example, a Yamaha Montage/MODX can send and receive audio (and send and receive MIDI) over its USB connection. The MODX USB connection supports (besides MIDI I/O) up to 4 channels of audio input and up to 10 channels of audio output. ON Montage, it's 6 channels of audio input, and 16 channels of audio output.

Originally Posted by Purdy
I was interested in outputting audio out the usb interface to an amplifier because for some reason on the fp90x the speaker and line out volumes are the same but you can output full volume on the usb audio interface and have a lower volume out the line out, speakers, and headphone.
If you want to take the output of the Roland and send it to different destinations at different volumes, maybe a mixer will do what you want. This also kind of gets back to the question others posted, of what use a USB Host function would have on an audio interface. This is pretty niche-y. If there's not a use with widespread appeal, there's not much rationale for a manufacturer to work on providing "a solution in search of a problem."

Originally Posted by Purdy
There are devices as already mentioned that will act as usb masters to convert to a midi din connector.

I’m just surprised no Audio interface maker has implemented the same feature.
So again picking up from what I just said, the device has to be programmed for a function. There is a market for people who want to take the MIDI from their USB-only keyboards and convert it to 5-pin MIDI, and so dedicated host devices have been built for this purpose. There would not seem to be much market for a device to take audio from a USB output of a keyboard (from the very few keyboards that even have that capability) and convert that input to analog audio out, since every keyboard that sends audio out over USB already also has some kind of analog audio output.

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In fact I can use a software piano say from my iPhone and of course hear what I'm playing via my P121's speakers or headphones and digitally record it using the Yamaha Smart Pianist app all at the same time. So it actually seems to be going both directions at once!
Or maybe it records the digital audio after I quit - I'm not sure.

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Thank you all of you.

Lets call all of the foregoing an educational project, P1.


With the same goal in mind, P1.2 puts an old windows PC Host ( XP or 2K) between the DP and AI ...... yes, it may need updated usb drivers .... so, a DP supporting USB audio connects to a host port on the PC and a second host port on this PC connects to say, a 2i2 just for discussion.

Is there software / app requirement to run on the PC so that it knows the audio coming in from DP on one host port needs to be simply sent - untouched - out the second host port? ..... doesn’t look like a complicated task as far as software goes, but does such a program exists or would it be better to use, say, an iPad capable of 2 host ports? Plus or minus that, this setup will have a DP outputting digital audio thru a computer to a 2i2 that converts digital audio to analog outputs - headphones and or monitors .......?


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There would not seem to be much market for a device to take audio from a USB output of a keyboard (from the very few keyboards that even have that capability) and convert that input to analog audio out, since every keyboard that sends audio out over USB already also has some kind of analog audio output.

It wouldn’t have to be a keyboard. It would be any device that was a usb slave that was a digital audio source.

A lot of amps have s/pdif inputs and that would be the preferred source, a digital input, if s/pdif disappears. Something has to replace it. Looks like Bluetooth is and perhaps in the not so distant future the latency in BT will be acceptable.

If your picky enough to have an external amp, I imagine your picky about your audio source.

People complain about a lot less on this forum.

Usb on the go has been used on space constrained things where having a port do double duty can save room or cost.


Probably what would make sense is to have it at the keyboard side.

I don’t know what the market is. The code is already there in the protocol stacks and the keyboards and audio interfaces already have the code to produce or consume the digital streams.

Maybe it is another check the box marketing thing, if no one is making one it might be a way to differentiate your product.

Everything costs money to make or develop. But if you don’t advance your product you get left behind and your development team leaves.

And no, a mixer will not solve my very niche problem which really should be fixed by Roland in the DP itself.


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