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How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

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How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby mayu » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:15 am

I play the piano emotionally pressing keys differently.
How can I record exactly what I play emotionally for CD.
I heard ZOOM h4n is not enough for high quality recording.
Should I buy audio interface and connect to PC?
Can you explain step by step?
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby BJG145 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:11 am

Hi mayu - welcome to the SOS forums.

The first thing is that in order to get the best recording out of your P155, you should be recording directly from the left and right aux-out sockets on the keyboard, rather than via the speakers.

The output from keyboards is "line level", but the H4N input is "mic level". The H4N doesn't have a line-level input, which is unusual, but you could connect them up using a DI box to convert.

(Incidentally this thread describes the same setup, and the advice given here is to connect them directly and simply set a low volume on the keyboard. That doesn't sound ideal to me, but you could give it a try.)

The H4N should be perfectly capable of making good recordings in this way, though you may find a computer more convenient. If you want to use a computer you'll need some kind of USB/firewire audio interface or a suitable soundcard. You'll also need some recording software - Audacity is a free and simple audio recorder, but I'd probably suggest going a step further and looking at Reaper.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Elf » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:35 am

Welcome!

I'd echo the advice above - don't record the piano's speakers. That would be a very crude way of doing it.

Tha H4N is a good little device (I have one myself), but it probably isn't ideal for your use. A small audio interface for a computer would be a good choice - and one with MIDI would be ideal. You can do a LOT more with a MIDI than you can with recording only the audio. I won't confuse you with all of the details now.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Bunk » Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:27 pm

As above...I record from my Roland Juno into Reaper on the computer; you can get an interface for very little outlay and some of them even come with a "lite" version of production software. So it won't cost you a fortune but will open up all sorts of possibilities. Even Reaper's dirt cheap really as well.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby mayu » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:17 am

If I use Audacity, should I need to buy firewall audio interface?
Or without audio interface, can I record high quality sound from piano?
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Skerrick » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:43 am

yo, buy a focusrite 2i2 or 2i4, get a 1/4 inch cable, plug one end into the L (mono) and run it to the L input on the front fo the card, or run a cable from the L and R on the keyboard to the L and R on the soundcard if you wanna record stereo. simple as that, buy the focusrite scarlett 2i2 or 2i4, install the drivers, open your DAW, record.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Skerrick » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:47 am

yeah man, if youre recording via a usb keyboard or a midi interface you can adjust the velocity (volume) of each note individually and the recording process will automatically take care of this.
i made a song using literally only my yamaha m06 and this is how it came out:
http://soundcloud.com/skerrick/sundaze
you can hear the keys have their own respective velocities etc.. if you buy a focusrite 'scarlett' 2i2 or 2i4 you can do this very easily. you just need the soundcard. otherwise youll have a very hard time getting music into your computer.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:12 am

mayu wrote:If I use Audacity, should I need to buy firewall audio interface?
Or without audio interface, can I record high quality sound from piano?
I think you mean 'Firewire'?

You can use Firewire or USB, but for what you need a USB interface will be fine.

You won't get 'high quality' by plugging into any typical computer input, I'm afraid. That is why audio interfaces exist.

An interface with good, reliable driver software is important, so maybe look at something from RME, such as the Babyface. A lot of folk around here rate Native Intruments Komplete Audio 6 too.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby BJG145 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:39 am

For a cheap solution, something like the M-Audio 2496 would work perfectly well and you can pick them up on eBay for £40. You might find a USB box more convenient though. As the Elf says, you'll find MIDI very useful, so you may as well get an interface with MIDI built in like the Komplete 6 / Focusrite 2i4 / M-Audio 2496, among many. The choice depends on budget.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Matt_Moose » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:38 am

Remember that MIDI and audio are different. If you "record" MIDI into your PC, you will get the sounds your PC makes (probably from a sub-standard audio/General MIDI soundset) and it won't sound anything like the actual P155 piano sound you want to record.

MIDI sends messages to tell something else to play a sound.

Audio is the sound you want to record, so you have to hook up your "recorder" to the audio outs of that device. In your case, the L/R outputs of the P155, into an audio interface ie a "box" that will probably connect to your PC via USB. (The "box" converts the audio from the P155 into audio the PC can record).
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:56 am

Matt_Moose wrote:If you "record" MIDI into your PC, you will get the sounds your PC makes (probably from a sub-standard audio/General MIDI soundset) and it won't sound anything like the actual P155 piano sound you want to record.

This isn't correct!

If you send the recorded MIDI back to the MIDI in of the P-155 it will play the P-155's piano sound EXACTLY as if it were being played by hand. That's why it is such a big advantage - record the MIDI, hone/edit the performance, record the audio.

You don't need to use sounds in the PC at all - just use the P-155s and the P-155's piano sound.

Matt_Moose wrote:MIDI sends messages to tell something else to play a sound.

Or tell the instrument that's generating the MIDI to play its own sound!
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Matt_Moose » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:44 pm

The Elf wrote:
Matt_Moose wrote:If you "record" MIDI into your PC, you will get the sounds your PC makes (probably from a sub-standard audio/General MIDI soundset) and it won't sound anything like the actual P155 piano sound you want to record.
This isn't correct!

If you send the recorded MIDI back to the MIDI in of the P-155 it will play the P-155's piano sound EXACTLY as if it were being played by hand. That's why it is such a big advantage - record the MIDI, hone/edit the performance, record the audio.

You don't need to use sounds in the PC at all - just use the P-155s and the P-155's piano sound.
Well, yes, you're correct - but... if the OP is asking a basic question about how to record, we know from experience round here that as soon as we get into "should I connect IN to IN or OUT to IN" it all kicks off. OK, maybe not as much as a problem with USB MIDI as the old 5-pin DIN, but...

The Elf wrote:
Matt_Moose wrote:MIDI sends messages to tell something else to play a sound.
Or tell the instrument that's generating the MIDI to play its own sound!
And avoid the MIDI loop and/or phasing and/or double triggering...
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby mayu » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:38 pm

Thank you!!! I deeply appreciate your help!
What kind of cable should I buy?
I want to buy online, can you send the weblink where I can buy.
I am thinking to buy firewall audio interface because my PC won't work well with USB audio interface. My PC is windows XP.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:47 pm

Not 'Firewall' - 'Firewire'.

Can you give us some details about your computer.

Does your PC have a Firewire interface already? Most don't.

Although many of us use Firewire interfaces (me included) it is generally acknowledged that USB is simpler to set up and more reliable. Firewire is really not necessary for a simple audio interface - and is likely to push the price up considerably.

BJG145 has given you some good examples of interfaces to consider. Try a search or two, read about these interfaces and see how you feel about them. Windows XP is very old now, so you will need to check that XP drivers are available for the interface you like.

Don't worry about cables yet - let's sort out the audio interface first!
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:07 pm

Matt_Moose wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Matt_Moose wrote:If you "record" MIDI into your PC, you will get the sounds your PC makes (probably from a sub-standard audio/General MIDI soundset) and it won't sound anything like the actual P155 piano sound you want to record.

This isn't correct!

If you send the recorded MIDI back to the MIDI in of the P-155 it will play the P-155's piano sound EXACTLY as if it were being played by hand. That's why it is such a big advantage - record the MIDI, hone/edit the performance, record the audio.

You don't need to use sounds in the PC at all - just use the P-155s and the P-155's piano sound.

Well, yes, you're correct - but... if the OP is asking a basic question about how to record, we know from experience round here that as soon as we get into "should I connect IN to IN or OUT to IN" it all kicks off. OK, maybe not as much as a problem with USB MIDI as the old 5-pin DIN, but...

The Elf wrote:
Matt_Moose wrote:MIDI sends messages to tell something else to play a sound.

Or tell the instrument that's generating the MIDI to play its own sound!

And avoid the MIDI loop and/or phasing and/or double triggering...

...and all of this is why I said above "I won't confuse you with all of the details now"
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Richard Graham » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:35 pm

The H4n can record line levels: it features combi inputs. I've often recorded line levels into my H4. It can be used standalone or you can use it as an audio interface with a PC. I can't see how it would be worse than any other budget interface for recording digital piano. The H4n is the same. http://www.zoom.co.jp/products/h4n/
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:41 pm

Richard Graham wrote:The H4n can record line levels: it features combi inputs.
But no MIDI. I do feel this is important for keyboard work.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Richard Graham » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:14 am

The Elf wrote:
Richard Graham wrote:The H4n can record line levels: it features combi inputs.

But no MIDI. I do feel this is important for keyboard work.


Right enough. I just wanted to correct the first reply that said the H4n could only record mic levels, not line. I was surprised nobody picked this up.

If the OP only wants to record his playing, the H4n wouldn't be a bad choice. If he wants to edit the performance, MIDI would be needed. The advantage of the H4n in a recording only scenario is obvious: you don't need a computer and so you can do it anywhere. Maybe the H4n (which would also give him the ability to record acoustic piano if he could find one somewhere) plus a MIDI interface would give him the best of both worlds.

But he did stress that he wanted to capture *exactly* what he was playing!
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby BJG145 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:45 am

Richard Graham wrote:The H4n can record line levels: it features combi inputs.
I'd got the impression it might be problematic from comments like this...

While the specs label them as line inputs, they are nothing more than Hi-Z unbalanced inputs. So the only way to use them with a mixer or external pres is to use unbalanced outputs with a 15-20 dB pad

http://socialsounddesign.com/questions/4176/pros-and-cons-of-a-zoom-h4n

A balanced mic level signal at the correct impedance is the best way to get into the XLR mic inputs of the Zoom H4n distortion "free". Forget the TRS inputs which may be the right impedance for an electric guitar but totally wrong for a mixer output connection.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/30/865141

Maybe it's OK with keyboards though...I'm hazy on impedance.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Richard Graham » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:03 pm

Interesting stuff BJG. It's true you learn something new every day. For what it's worth, I've used the H4n's predecessor, the H4, to record lots of line level stuff (e.g. vinyl LPs from my stereo), with no distortion problems and decent enough fidelity.

I am guessing if there was a problem, in practice, with domestic line-level recording with the H4 series, someone would have noticed by now. That's -10dBV domestic line-level mind, not the levels used in professional kit. I'm guessing the OP's piano is capable of putting out a level which would be acceptable to the H4n. It would be unusual for a piano of this type to feature only the professional +4 dB outputs.

In other words, I think people are over-complicating things, and the H4n will do exactly what the OP said he wanted to do, which was capture his expressive playing exactly as it is, in order to put it on a CD. Granted there are other devices that will do more besides, and yet others which will provide slightly more fidelity (or a more convenient set of controls), but let's not blind the poor fella with science when he was on exactly the right lines to begin with!
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Elf » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:31 pm

Richard Graham wrote:but let's not blind the poor fella with science when he was on exactly the right lines to begin with!
I'd still say the H4N is not the right tool for the job. A simple audio interface with MIDI is neither complex, nor expensive.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Richard Graham » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:32 pm

The Elf wrote:
Richard Graham wrote:but let's not blind the poor fella with science when he was on exactly the right lines to begin with!
I'd still say the H4N is not the right tool for the job. A simple audio interface with MIDI is neither complex, nor expensive.

Maybe not right for you Elf, or me either for that matter, but does the OP strike you as someone who would enjoy messing around with a MIDI routing on a DAW just to record his piano quote exactly as he plays it unquote?
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Kev Adams » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:53 pm

Richard Graham wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Richard Graham wrote:but let's not blind the poor fella with science when he was on exactly the right lines to begin with!
I'd still say the H4N is not the right tool for the job. A simple audio interface with MIDI is neither complex, nor expensive.

Maybe not right for you Elf, or me either for that matter, but does the OP strike you as someone who would enjoy messing around with a MIDI routing on a DAW just to record his piano quote exactly as he plays it unquote?

It's a steep learning curve, true, but with a simple USB interface + good drivers, and eg Reaper, we all know what the benefits would be as soon as the learning curve starts to become a little less fierce.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby mayu » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:31 pm

Ok... I am trying to find my PC's sound card if it can be used with audio interface...
My PC was build by someone.


Here is information of my sound card
Gateway Realtek HD Audio Driver 5.10.0.5404

PC system information:
XP pro version 2002 Service pack3
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo 3.00GHz, 2.98GB of RAM

My PC has Firewire. I use firewire cable to capture video from my camcorder.


Let me know if I can use firewire or USB audio interface.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby Richard Graham » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:49 pm

Best of luck lads! And Mayu, welcome to the weird and sometimes wonderful world of home recording.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby mayu » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:19 pm

BJG145 wrote:Hi mayu - welcome to the SOS forums.

The first thing is that in order to get the best recording out of your P155, you should be recording directly from the left and right aux-out sockets on the keyboard, rather than via the speakers.

The output from keyboards is "line level", but the H4N input is "mic level". The H4N doesn't have a line-level input, which is unusual, but you could connect them up using a DI box to convert.

I have been researching on goole, and I think ZOOM h4n is the best for me.
I want to try the way above. Is it good soung with zoom h4n and DI box directly connected to piano?? I am profound deaf, but can hear a little with hearing AID, so I can't listen and review by myself(but I can play as pianist), so I need your help for best sound result. Thank you!!! I deeply appreciate your help!
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby BJG145 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:09 pm

mayu wrote:Is it good soung with zoom h4n and DI box directly connected to piano?


It does seem as though, strangely, the H4 offered line-in but the H4N did away with it.

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?164883-Zoom-h4n-or-...

You might find that you get perfectly good results simply by turning down the volume. Other people talk about DI boxes or attenuation cables.

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?257056-Zoom-H4N-wit...

If you want to start with the H4N, I'd probably try connecting it directly to the keyboard on low volume with a couple of 1/4-in jack leads and see what it's like. If you've previously been recording the speakers, it'll definitely be an improvement.

(The soundcard in your computer isn't suitable, but you could easily replace it with one that is.)
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby mayu » Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:14 pm

If I buy audio interface, should I install sound card for PC, also??
Or I am looking for audio interface that doesn't require sound card
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby The Elf » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:24 am

The audio interface replaces the soundcard you have now.

You can use the H4N as an audio interface as well as recording directly into it.
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Re: How to record digital piano (yamaha P-155)

Postby BJG145 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:16 am

The Elf wrote:You can use the H4N as an audio interface as well as recording directly into it.

Good point. If you want to try that you'll need to connect it to the computer via a USB cable and download the ASIO driver from here...

http://www.zoom.co.jp/downloads/h4n/software/

You'd also need some recording software. For instance you could download a trial copy of Reaper here.

http://www.reaper.fm/
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