Acoustically recording electric piano

I have:
an electrical piano (Ringway PDP 200)
a microphone (unidirectional, 600 ohms)
an amplifier (with many buttons, equalizers and such, seems very cool but it’s from the 1970s. Still working)
a laptop (with Windows xp)
a complete set of cables and connectors.

I would like to use all of this to make a recording, using Audacity (connecting the microphone to the amplifier, and its output to the laptop).
I know the piano is not the best, but I would like to use the amplifier and the program to enhance the sould, and make it sound “fuller” and “warmer”.
Could you please help me?

Thank you in advance!


PS. I do not want to make a MIDI recording. It’s very important that the recording sounds ‘acoustic’, despite possible flaws (noise, etc.), as the main objective is to pretend I have a real piano. Thanks.

The bit that you have missed out is the computer sound card. Do you know what sort of sound card you have? Is it just the built-in sound card of your laptop?

Yes, it’s the original soundcard of my laptop. I can’t find any information. The laptop is about 5-6 years old (Acer - Aspire 5630).

The audio input of laptop sound cards tend to be low quality - I have an Acer 5735 and the recording quality is really bad, so I use a Behringer UCA 202 USB sound card.

How far have you got so far? Have you been able to record anything?
See here:

How good/bad does your piano sound when played through your amp and speakers?

Right… Unless your laptop has “line-in”, the laptop is the weak link. The mic input on a soundcard or laptop is useless for high-quality recording. Besides typically being noisy, it’s high impedance unbalanced, which is simply the wrong interface for a good performance or studio microphone which has a balanced low-impedance connection (XLR connector).

Otherwise, my biggest concerns would be: Room acoustics, microphone placement, and microphone quality. And of course, instrument quality and performance quality. :wink: It’s a good idea to experiment with mic placement to get a good balance between direct-sound and “room-sound”. Typically, the mic “likes” to be closer to the instument/speaker than you would be as a live-listener… When we listen, we like lots of room sound, but we usually don’t like that much room sound on the recording itself…

a microphone (unidirectional, 600 ohms)…
an amplifier…

How is this all connected? Does the mic plug into the amp, or do you have speakers connected to the amp with the mic picking-up the sound from the speakers?

We might need to talk about your equipment & setup… Especially if there is nowhere to plug-in your mic. :smiley: I assume your mic has an XLR connector?

I would like to use the amplifier and the program to enhance the sould, and make it sound “fuller” and “warmer”.

That’s fine, but let me make a suggestion - Get some adapters so that you can record the direct instrument-output on the left channel, and the amp-output on the right channel. If you record both signals, you will have a choice and you can even mix them if you wish. (The “modern way” is to do all of your EQ, reverb, and other effects with software in post-production.) I don’t know what’s “standard” for keyboards, but it’s very common to record electric guitar both direct and with a mic… Sometimes, they might use 3 tracks - Mic, pure-direct, and direct from the pedals.

I do not want to make a MIDI recording.

That’s a good thing, because MIDI playback is not your piano. It’s the software piano inside the MIDI interpreter.

It can’t be stressed enough that the original recording be as high a quality as possible. “Sweetening” later can be hugely time consuming and many times just fail.

I believe the longest thread on the forum had the goal of recording one (1) acoustic guitar. Got it to work, too. Months later and with completely different equipment.

I didn’t see a money goal mentioned. I join the others in thinking you can’t just plug your mic into your computer.


Well, I since my microphone seemed not to be working well, I plugged the line out of the piano to the line in of my laptop.
I have recorded this, and of course you get a ‘pure’ electric piano sound (although it’s not a midi file, I used the analogical input).

I’ve added brown noise to make it more ‘credible’, but I don’t know what to do with the sound itself.
Any idea of what could I do to ‘sweeten’ or ‘warm up’ the sound?

I’m not actually aiming at getting a perfect, pure sound quality, but to pretend I have an acoustic piano.

Any ideas of how to change the ‘flat’ sound into something more rounded, not so perfect? Maybe adding noise, ecos, etc. ??


If you like the sound of the instrument in the room then you’re pretty much stuck with recording it that way. As you noted, your piano direct sounds OK but sterile and non-musical. Same thing happens when you record your guitar pickup direct – which does work well, by the way. It doesn’t sound anything like it does in the room with the interaction between the speaker, cabinet, amp and furniture.

I tried to use some of the “environment” tools a while ago to add echo to a performance and it didn’t go well. I gave up telling people you could do it that way.

It’s Effect > GVerb if you want to give it a shot. There are other environment tools available and other elves may jump in with their favorites. My work is generally at the recording end of the process.

You can connect your 600 ohm dynamic microphone into your sound card, the problem is nobody makes the adapter that does it.

If you’re good with tools you can build one. It’s not magic and the formula is in the picture. I remember we found one company that made it as a product, but there was only one on earth and I can’t find the info.