simple software for digital piano recording

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sue
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simple software for digital piano recording

Postby sue » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:06 pm

Hi everyone,
I'm quite surprised that this forum has been hiding from me for such a long time :shock: .
I have a digital Yamaha P-95. I found a workaround how to record the music (Audiocity and headphone line out cable), however, people kept telling me that the quality can't be good (I have no frame of reference, it sounds normal), so I got the MIDI cable.

I got it working but I'm lost with the software.

Could you please recommend a simple software to me?
What I need is only record what I play, be able to cut it and save as MP3 or LAC.
I would appreciate a function that writes down the score of what I've played.

I've got MusE but I haven't found any useful tutorials, it can obviously do tons of stuff because my usual hit and miss approach doesn't work :lol:

I'll be grateful for your tips and links!
Sue

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Michael Willis
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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby Michael Willis » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:12 pm

I'm curious about what's wrong with the Audacity + line out setup? Seems like it should be ok, but it depends on what you want. Sure, you're probably not going to get a world-class recording that way, but it seems like a decent way to start out.

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby Basslint » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:03 am

sue wrote:Hi everyone,
I'm quite surprised that this forum has been hiding from me for such a long time :shock: .
I have a digital Yamaha P-95. I found a workaround how to record the music (Audiocity and headphone line out cable), however, people kept telling me that the quality can't be good (I have no frame of reference, it sounds normal), so I got the MIDI cable.


A digital piano typically has two outputs:
1) Audio -> It outputs what you hear if you play the piano, basically
2) MIDI -> It outputs data much like notation, no audio at all! Audio then would have to be played by an external sampler or synthesizer on your PC

A digital piano typically sounds much better than a computer because some very skilled people carefully tried to make the piano sound as good as possible. So, if you use the MIDI cable, you throw away those carefully designed sounds! If you are interested in the piano sounds rather than using the P-95 as a MIDI controller, you should clearly use the audio output instead.

Now, what people told you was right - the output you were using is no good for recording music, because it is not designed to do that. But they probably weren't trying to push you toward MIDI, or away from Audacity (which is perfect for recording a single track) - you should simply record audio from another source.

And since from what I've seen on the web your digital piano does not have a master line output or other suitable outputs, if quality is your concern then you should probably buy a microphone a decent preamplified USB interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Steinberg U22 and record using Audacity or Ardour. This is probably the only way to make sure that your recordings will be of good quality without losing the "piano" sound Yamaha carefully designed.

If you are on a budget and just don't want noisy recordings and don't care if the sounds you use are inferior to those provided by the P-95, use MIDI. But if you are going to use MIDI, you can't really use Audacity - use Ardour, QTractor or MusE/MuseScore instead.
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Linuxmusician01
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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:23 am

The kind people at Yamaha themselves also answered this question in a quick reference document called 'Computer related operations' (link). It basically comes down to connecting the P-45 to a omputer w/ a USB cable. Unfortunately the document mentioned above refers to the Manual for this and the Manual refers to that document again, bringing you into an endless loop.

If I were you I'd connect the P-45 to my Linux computer and issue the following command to see if it "behaves" like an external audio device (i.e. like a sound card):

Code: Select all

cat /proc/asound/cards

If it turns up like an audio device you, again, can record your performance with Audacity. The doc 'Computer related operations' also says that you can record the notes you play (your performance) via Midi. The USB port on the P-45 also functions as a Midi port (as do the 5-pin DIN connections of course).

The manuals are not very clear if you ask me but it is relatively easy to determine if the P-45 is compatible with Linux considering audio and/or Midi over USB. I'd use Jack to connect Midi over USB. Do you know how to use Jack audio yet? If not, you're in for an (for beginners unpleasant) surprise. ;)

Good luck!

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby sue » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:51 am

wow,
thank you guys!
Although it's all Greek to me, I've made of it quite a lot :-)

A digital piano typically sounds much better than a computer because some very skilled people carefully tried to make the piano sound as good as possible. So, if you use the MIDI cable, you throw away those carefully designed sounds! If you are interested in the piano sounds rather than using the P-95 as a MIDI controller, you should clearly use the audio output instead.


I see, so basically, I was mistaken about what the cable provides. It only 'sends' the notes/keys and the sound will sound what a program gives it - not what I hear from the piano itself. So, this could be useful if I wanted to record, let's say, a flute or guitar - something that my piano cannot really produce. Well, that could be a nice playground for long winter evenings 8)

if quality is your concern then you should probably buy a microphone a decent preamplified USB interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Steinberg U22 and record using Audacity or Ardour

You lost me there, since I'm really just a user, unfortunately without any music-tech education (I'm just learning on my feet :lol: ), however - thank you, I'll look into it!

bringing you into an endless loop
:lol: how nice of them, I love when this happens :roll:

Do you know how to use Jack audio yet? If not, you're in for an (for beginners unpleasant) surprise.

Sounds familiar, I think I've once installed it but I'm not sure whether I wrapped my head around it or what happened. :D

If I were you I'd connect the P-45 to my Linux computer and issue the following command to see if it "behaves" like an external audio device (i.e. like a sound card):

how has it been behaving up until now, then? I guess as a microphone? I'll look into it as well - thank you!

So, at the end of the day, I can go back to my 'workaround' for the time being :-) it's also good to know :-)

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:48 am

sue wrote:
If I were you I'd connect the P-45 to my Linux computer and issue the following command to see if it "behaves" like an external audio device (i.e. like a sound card):

how has it been behaving up until now, then? I guess as a microphone? I'll look into it as well - thank you!

So, at the end of the day, I can go back to my 'workaround' for the time being :-) it's also good to know :-)

Ha ha. It has been behaving as a standalone piano, but it is much more than that. It's a very nice device if I look at it's website. Good luck recording your music! :)

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby sue » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:55 pm

Additional question :-)

Since you obviously have superior knowledge of this matter here 8) could you please give me some tips, how to set Audacity to actually record the best I can via the line out cable in mic line in? (music-wise, not skill-wise :-D)
I've been trying to figure out what's the best Hertz and other settings for piano recording, but it's all hit and miss with me.
I'm glad that I've managed to get rid of a cracking sound in the background without using filters (which didn't help at all) and also figured what it was 'over-amplified' - but these issues are audible..

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby glowrak guy » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:45 pm

sue wrote:Hi everyone,
I'm quite surprised that this forum has been hiding from me for such a long time :shock: .
I have a digital Yamaha P-95. I found a workaround how to record the music (Audiocity and headphone line out cable), however, people kept telling me that the quality can't be good (I have no frame of reference, it sounds normal), so I got the MIDI cable.


Sue

http://libremusicproduction.com/article ... arted-jack

This page covers many fundamentals for those new to linux audio,
so popcorn and coffee. No rush, experiment at leisure.

The output quality is fine from the headphone jack. Yamaha knows fundamentals.
It can be enhanced, as is the case with any hardware device, by using
software plugins and utilities. Audacity will add the effects you've installed in linux,
to a menu, so you can select all, or any portion of imported audio,
choose an effect, test or apply it, and use undo/redo as needed.

Left-click and drag from point-to-point to select portions of audio,
or 'select all' from a menu option. For precision, there are zoom-in/zoom-out
buttons, + or - and the numeric display gets more precise as you zoom in,
handy to remove grace notes, flubs or change the volume of something
you pounded, or wiffed on.

If using multiple tracks to arrange parts, or fade-in a new part, deleting some part of the sound
will throw off the entry point, so instead, just lower it's volume (amplitude) of the unwanted part
to -49 or so. There are scores of audacity youtube videos exposing it's many features.

Another handy recorder, is the one-button jack timemachine, just for recording,
it's options are 16 or 24 bit, and .wav or .w64. I use .w64, and import them
into audacity for editing. It actually buffers the sound source, recording
10 seconds or so, before you press record, in order to perhaps catch special moments.

I often use both, playing a recording in Audacity at a different-than-normal tempo,
record that with timemachine, and often route the sound through rakarrack multi-effect app,
and use a visual jack patchbay
(qjackctl is a good choice) to connect everything.
This will be covered well in the tutorial site at the link above,
along with rate and audio device choices etc

Note that Audacity itself won't appear in the patchbays, until you press play, or record,
so you will pause the action, make the desired connection to effects and timemachine,
then un-pause the play/record action. 'portaudio' is how audacity will be named
in your jack patchbay, and audacity requires a preferences selection to use jack.
(if you know these steps, I write them also for others hopefully finding things later on.
It's good to post your basic linux system and audio gear details, as more questions appear.
Welcome to the forum! (rakarrack has many presets that go great with Yamaha keys sounds,
but keep the yamaha input volume lower than normal when testing, as the sounds output varies,
and some defaults are louder than others)

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby Basslint » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:14 am

sue wrote:Additional question :-)

Since you obviously have superior knowledge of this matter here 8) could you please give me some tips, how to set Audacity to actually record the best I can via the line out cable in mic line in? (music-wise, not skill-wise :-D)
I've been trying to figure out what's the best Hertz and other settings for piano recording, but it's all hit and miss with me.
I'm glad that I've managed to get rid of a cracking sound in the background without using filters (which didn't help at all) and also figured what it was 'over-amplified' - but these issues are audible..


Which problems are you hearing right now? If you send us an audio clip, we might be able to help you improve your sound.
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. [Acts 4:32]

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:33 pm

sue wrote:[...]I've been trying to figure out what's the best Hertz and other settings for piano recording, but it's all hit and miss with me.

CD quality is 44.1 kHz sample rate and 16 bit sample quality.

sue wrote:I'm glad that I've managed to get rid of a cracking sound in the background without using filters (which didn't help at all) and also figured what it was 'over-amplified' - but these issues are audible. [...]

Use the output level and input level monitors (from Audacity) to determine if levels are too high. Music production is something that is done by educated professionals with a lot of experience. It's very difficult. But making an acceptable home recording should be as complicated (or simple) as recording something w/ an old cassette deck. Also make sure that cables have a good sturdy connection. Cracks and pops are often a result of wiggling plugs. Make sure your piano is set on a sturdy table and not one of those wiggly things made out of metal pipes.

Good luck!


P.S. You do not (yet) need to know about Jack Audio I think.

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby glowrak guy » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:54 pm

Linuxmusician01 wrote:
P.S. You do not (yet) need to know about Jack Audio I think.

Without Jack Audio, this forum is a ghost town :wink:
That's a bit like giving someone a car without a steering wheel,
because the road ahead is a straight stretch, but a curve will
appear soon enough, even a desired curve. I can almost
guarantee Sue is smarter than I am, just travelling in
new and exciting territory, which is half the fun :wink: :wink:
Cheers

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby Michael Willis » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:54 pm

glowrak guy wrote:That's a bit like giving someone a car without a steering wheel

Last month I took my daughter to an empty parking lot and let her sit in the driver seat. Accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake, just to get used to it.

glowrak guy
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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby glowrak guy » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:52 am

I also used safe places for kids driving practice, and blindfolded them to master
the feel of engaging/releasing the clutch on a 5-speed manual transmission...
They could quickly relate to the car budging as the clutch began engaging,
and sense the opposite when the pedal was pushed in again. That first gear
and reverse are the only hard ones when learning
Cheers

sue
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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby sue » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:10 pm

Nice, we got to cars :D I drive a stick :lol:

Anyway, thank you guys for all your input, I will look into Jack audio later ;-) I remember installing it a few years ago and I wasn't sure what it was good for. Now, I don't even remember why I did that.

Here is a thought, though, I bet you know these fancy programs such as syntesia and flowkey (at least, that they exist :-D). I was thinking that since I have the midi cable, I could have some fun with that.
I wonder whether people can really learn from it. I've never been able to learn anything from that :lol: it is such a strange way to learn something. I need music sheets, with my notes and whatnot :-D, However, maybe I could use it for my own recordings to see later what I have played, or just to have fun with it.

Would you recommend a handy alternative for linux? I've tried to google it but references would be great before I start installing 'names' and full my PC with a lot of mess (my usual approach :oops: )

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Re: simple software for digital piano recording

Postby Basslint » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:16 pm

sue wrote:Would you recommend a handy alternative for linux? I've tried to google it but references would be great before I start installing 'names' and full my PC with a lot of mess (my usual approach :oops: )


You can use Linthesia which derives from Synthesia itself, it's not a clone. :D
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