1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Music Mic'ing a Keyboard

Discussion in 'General' started by Gabe, 11 Nov 2008.

  1. Gabe

    Gabe New Member

    Joined:
    19 Jan 2005
    Posts:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi guys, I have a Yamaha DGX 520 keyboard, and was interested in setting up a microphone to it so I can do my own song recordings while playing, but I am completely new to the whole scene, and I know my keyboard has the USB connections to connect and what not, but where can I start? Where do I get a microphone and what kind do I need to hook to the keyboard, and what software is needed? Thanks guys. Remember, I'm lost :(
     
  2. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

    Joined:
    26 Jun 2008
    Posts:
    7,231
    Likes Received:
    219
    ouch.
    That's a really tough one.
    Software can start really easily (and fairly basic), with products such as Apple's Garage Band (if you're on a mac), or even Adobe Audition. It gets really expensive and really complex once you start looking at bigger suites (Cubase SX, ProTools, to name a few).
    The equipment varies equally.
    From a mic plugged into a line-in and a good set of headphones down to a complete setup of midi controllers, triggered drumkits and all that jazz.

    Generally, my recommendation is:
    Software: something where you can do basic mixing, panning, maybe some compression and layering... layering is important. Preferably something to sample with as well, as getting that "perfect sequence" down for the 50th time in the song might prove tricky.

    hardware wise:
    Good microphone (nothing under a Behringer mic, preferably a big condenser mic, otherwise a Sure SM58/SM58beta) - they cost good money.
    Good sound card that can preferably take XLR-in and mono- as well as stereo 6.5mm Line in (think high end audigy with a breakout box).

    alternately, you could always use a pc mic and a stereo line-in with sound recorder...
    my advice is to search around a bit for things like "home recording" "home studio", etc.
     
  3. Techno-Dann

    Techno-Dann Disgruntled kumquat

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2005
    Posts:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    27
    Unless you really like the sound that the onboard speakers produce, you should also consider recording from the keyboard's headphone port - just run a 1/8" stereo cable from the headphone port on the keyboard to the microphone port on your PC.

    For inexpensive recording, I'm a fan of Audacity. While it doesn't have all the features of ProTools and the rest, it's still a good recording system, and more importantly, it's free.

    Once you've got the software set up, you'll have to adjust the keyboard volume until it doesn't clip. Adjust the volume on the keyboard until playing as loud as you can just barely doesn't max your recording program out.

    That's the cheap solution, anyways. You should be able to get the cable required for $10 or so at Radio Shack.

    (Edit) If you're wanting to record the sound from the onboard speakers (which may sound rather different from the headphone port), you could do a lot worse than buy a stereo DAC (I've gotten good results with the Tascam US-122L) and a pair of SM-57s or SM-81s. It'll cost a lot more, but especially with the 81s it'll give you a rather versatile two track recording system. (/edit)
     
  4. Thacrudd

    Thacrudd Where's the any key?!?

    Joined:
    27 Oct 2006
    Posts:
    1,216
    Likes Received:
    83
    ^^ what he said. That's a pretty nice keyboard you have there and it includes a headphone out. Just run a cable from your headphone out jack to the audio input on your computer. Start up audacity and you should be ready to record! That is a good starting point for you to get a feel of how digital recording works.
     
  5. Gabe

    Gabe New Member

    Joined:
    19 Jan 2005
    Posts:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0
    ah i like your guys' solution, so that definitely sounds like a low bargain way for sure! so just i am thinking of getting a professional microphone though, spending about no more than 100 bucks on ebay, so i'll consider the SM58 as mentioned above, since it seems like a good mic, since i have a soundblaster 5.1 right now i'll probably upgrade to the audigy 2, and then i should be set... correct me if wrong :p
     
  6. Techno-Dann

    Techno-Dann Disgruntled kumquat

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2005
    Posts:
    1,672
    Likes Received:
    27
    I'm not sure if upgrading your sound card would do you much good, actually. Neither the 5.1 or the audigy 2 are recording cards, so I wouldn't expect to see much improvement for your money. (I could be wrong, though.)

    Depending on what you're planning on using the mic for, you should also consider the SM57. The 58 is primarily a vocal mic, it's got a much larger shield designed to protect the mic from drops. It sounds a bit different from the 57, which is designed for instruments and amplifiers. There isn't much of a difference, though, so it's not all that important.

    One final warning: Don't get a SM-81 without a recording interface that can provide phantom power. They don't work without it. Most USB or Firewire interfaces should have phantom support. I know the aforementioned US-122 does.
     
  7. Dizman

    Dizman New Member

    Joined:
    6 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
    That keyboard has midi, so get a $20 USB-Midi adapter and spend your money on some good software (and you probably don't even need to spend much there). There is no need to buy recording gear unless you want to be able to record from other sources as well. The samples you get in a decent midi package will be far superior to anything you can get out of that keyboard. I don't really know windows software, but on OS X garageband should work well.

    By the way, I have that same keyboard and used the cheapest midi adapter I could find and it worked quite well with garageband and logic express (which is a fantastic piece of software).
     
  8. seebul

    seebul Active Member

    Joined:
    9 Aug 2005
    Posts:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    1
    The SM58 is a vocal microphone, not sure why it was suggested but don't buy one for a keyboard. Stick with Shure though, there a quality make and you can always rely on their kit.
     
  9. profqwerty

    profqwerty New Member

    Joined:
    2 Jan 2006
    Posts:
    1,262
    Likes Received:
    18
    Ahh beat me to it! MIDI all the way! As said it generates a far superior sound, and it can be tweaked much more easily on the computer if necessary. Some of the MIDI -USB adapters also include mic / headphone / speaker connections if you want to sing too...
     
  10. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

    Joined:
    26 Jun 2008
    Posts:
    7,231
    Likes Received:
    219
    sorry... i misunderstood the question a bit.
    i was under the impression you wanted to record vocals and the keyboard. the SM58/SM58B are obviously wrong choices then.
    I would personally give MIDI a shot as well, though... it's easy to correct, 100% noise free, and you get some REALLY good samples out there.
     
  11. Gabe

    Gabe New Member

    Joined:
    19 Jan 2005
    Posts:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0
    ah, thanks for the quick responses! yeah i'm on a windows based computer... so just stick with MIDI if i'd like to record just my vocals and my keyboard playing at the same time; and in order to do this task the following is needed:

    MIDI Adapter
    Microphone
    Software
    (No need for an upgraded soundcard if I use the soundblaster 5.1)

    ? Thanks again :p
     
  12. Dizman

    Dizman New Member

    Joined:
    6 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, I didn't realize you wanted to do vocals as well. Let's clarify things a bit about midi first. Midi is just data: the keyboard is just sending the computer data about what notes are being pressed and at what velocity. The software then records those notes and uses them as an input for a software instrument. For example, you press a "C" on the keyboard, the keyboard sends that data to the software, and the software then tells the software instrument to produce that note. This is cheap, because no expensive audio hardware is needed, and it sounds pretty damn good, depending on the software instrument.

    However, recording vocals are completely different. Because you can't, for obvious reasons, turn a vocal performance into note data, you need to mic that. And to get that mic signal into a computer, you need a preamp and an analog/digital converter. To do this somewhat cheaply, you could probably find a preamp for around 50 bucks and use the line input on your soundblaster card. It wouldn't be the greatest set up in the world, but it would sound pretty good. On a higher end, you could get a usb interface with a preamp built in, but that's probably overkill. So your list looks like this:

    Ninja edit: it seems your keyboard has a midi adapter built in, so that's one less thing you need to buy. Just get a usb cable (it may have come with one) and plug it in to your computer.

    USB cable
    Microphone
    Preamp
    Software (what you're looking for is a digital audio workstation (DAW) - I'll look at what's good for windows if I get the chance)
    Misc cables (you'll at least need an xlr cable for the mic and something to go from the preamp to your input on the soundblaster)
     
    Last edited: 13 Nov 2008
  13. kingred

    kingred Surfacing sucks!

    Joined:
    27 Mar 2008
    Posts:
    2,462
    Likes Received:
    87
    For vocals i would reccomend an akg with a good firewire interface.

    feel the warmth.
     

Share This Page