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Thread: Piano Recording Question

  1. #1
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    Piano Recording Question

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    Hi all,

    First post here, and new to recording, so go easy. I'm trying to record from an electric piano (Kawai CA67) via a Presonus Audiobox USB 96 hooked to my computer with Windows 10 and Studio One Artist. My setup is:

    >> Piano hooked to Audiobox
    >> Audiobox hooked to computer
    >> Headphones (Beyerdynamic 990 pro 250 ohm version) hooked to headphone output of Audiobox

    Since this is my first time recording something, I'm running into a few issues. First, I was quite surprised at how soft of a volume clipping occurred. Is this normal?

    Second, the headphone volume is very soft, even with the Audiobox phone output at max settings. I tried to buy a headphone amplifier at Guitar center and hooked it up as follows:

    Audiobox headphone output --> amplifier --> headphones

    But it just seemed to start introducing clipping to the headphones at a +1dB amplification, rendering it basically useless. My main question is: can I Y-cable the piano output as such without lowering recording quality:

    Piano --> y-cable
    Y-cable output 1 --> Audiobox --> computer
    Y-cable output 2 --> headphone amplifier --> headphones

    This way I can get full headphone volume and deliver a lower volume to the Audiobox and avoid clipping. Will the signal delivered to the Audiobox will be lower quality due to the splitting, or is that not something I need to worry about?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
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    Oct 2005
    Ranelagh Tasmania
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    The first thing you need to sort out is why you are getting low levels in the first place.

    Do you have the mixer knob on the audio box turned towards input (at least half way)?

    Is the wave form of the recorded signal looking healthy, or is it hardly there at all?

    Have you connected the Kawaii to the Audio box via the Kawaii's line out? I think it also has a line in, and using this will not get you very far.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. The audio box mixer knob is all the way at input, the peaks of the wave form at the loudest part of the song im recording are about 75% between zero and max, and I'm definitely using line out (line in is actually a 1/8th inch port).

    Could it be the high headphone impedance? I will say that when I record and then export as an mp3 and play it through my computer speakers, it's a bit quieter than I'd expect, but still a healthy volume. Also when I use the piano with headphones only I have to crank the output volume way up, unless I set it to high impedance headphone option, which seems to amplify it. Though this doesn't work when recording, as it clips.

  4. #4
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    The clipping on the input needs considering first. The limit in the spec is -3dB so you need to be careful about the level from the piano, because peaking is easy. Output wise, with 16Ohm or greater headphones, it's common to run out of volume. If you can record clean this should be better, so I expect your problem is the two conspiring together. A bit of distortion on the input side then makes your output distortion worse.

    If you're playing known safe music through your extra amplification on the output from the Presonus, and it's loud enough and clean, then if the piano is peaking it's on the input side. It's worth experimenting turning down the piano output and turning up the Presonus input gain. Electronic pianos often distort running flat out. Pianos are very tricky to record because of the percussive peaks often not fitting very well with meter ballistics. A meter with a peak hold can be more revealing of how hot the signal really is.

  5. #5
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    You should run a single 1/4" instrument cable from the Kawai L/Mono line out into your Audiobox mic/inst input 1 or 2. Connect USB out from back of Audiobox into computer. Adjust Kawai line out level knob to send out a usable, but not a hot signal, adjust Audiobox mic/inst gain knob, input mixer and gain, then headphone volume accordingly. This is a very simple - you should not be having any issues with this hardware setup.

    Do you have your audio track configured correctly in Studio One? I'd say that's where your problem resides.

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