AUDIO CABLES: Cleaner Recording

Good Day everyone!

I’m currently trying to explore recording using my Roland FP-30. The keyboard has a 3.5mm and 1/4" audio ports. I have a 3.5mm cable, both audio jacks (male), which I use to connect it to my laptop and record using Audacity. The problem is that there is a constant underlying hiss/buzz/noise in the background when I start recording. I want to eliminate this without post processing to retain most of the original sound of the piano. I am a newbie with these things but I’ll do my best to understand everything :slight_smile: Here are my questions:

    • Is it because of the 3.5mm cable?
  • Is it because of the 3.5mm port in my latop
  • Will it be better if I use the 1/4" port and with a 1/4" to 3.5mm cable (that will be connected to my laptop)?

I know the XLR or USB connection will sound better.

  • Will the recording quality be better if I connected the keyboard with a
    (1) a 3.5mm to XLR converter then connect it to a XLR to 3.5mm cable to connect it to my laptop?
    (2) a 3.5mm to XLR, then to a XLR to USB then connect it to my laptop?
    (3) a 3.5mm to USB then be connected to my laptop directly?
    (4) a 3.5mm to USB connected to a USB to 3.5mm then be connected to my laptop?
    (5) a 1/4" to USB then to a USB to 3.5 then be connected to my laptop?
    (6) a 1/4" to USB then be connected to my latop directly?

Basically, what will I connect to my 3.5mm or 1/4" so that the sound recording quality will be cleaner?

I will be grateful for your prompt reply. Best regards! Thanks in advance!

constant underlying hiss/buzz/noise in the background when I start recording.

Unless you have an older Mac or a Desktop Windows machine, you don’t have a stereo line-in connection and that’s almost certainly where the damage is coming from.

I know the XLR or USB connection will sound better.

In general, the USB connection is for MIDI, not sound. MIDI is a list of instructions where the computer tells the keyboard how to play something. It’s the electric equivalent of sheet music.

“Play B Flat loudly on a Grand Piano for six seconds and then let go.”

Whether or not the keyboard actually makes any sound is irrelevant to MIDI.

The 3 pin XLR’s advantage is the ability to go long distances in hostile environments. Say, a stage with lighting controls whose sound system is 75 feet away. For short distances in your house, there is usually little or no advantage.

I saw the blowups of the keyboard and didn’t see either the 1/8" or 1/4" connection.

Both of my keyboards connect from the headphone 1/4" to a large sound system and then on to a computer if I need a recording.

Both older MacBook Pro laptops have real stereo line input connections and I’ve done paid professional work with them. Short of that, the Behringer UCA-202 is a terrific stereo USB interface.

Picture a musical keyboard in place of my sound mixer.

Further, the UCA202 is certified for perfect overdubbing in Audacity, so you can play three part harmony to yourself.


Hey there! Thanks for your reply!

First off, my laptop is a Dell Inspiron 14 7000 with i5 which runs on Windows 10. Sorry, I don’t understand why it doesn’t have a stereo connection.

I also understand the concept of MIDI Data, and how it can’t be processed by Audacity as it only works with audio.
But is it possible to use a 3.5mmc (1/8") or 1/4" to a USB to record audio?

  • (1) - Anyway, how can I record very cleanly without a USB Interface?
    (2) - Can a cable that has a 3.5mm or 1/4" jack and a USB jack in the other end be used to record audio?
    (3) - Is that USB Interface essential for cleaner audio?
    (4) - Or will it be easier if I recorded instead with a DAW app (using transmitted MIDI Data) by using a USB Type 2 port connected with a USB Type 2 and a USB Type 1 cable (both jacks) to my laptop?

Here are pics of the keyboard I am using.

Hey there! Thanks for your reply.

FIrst off, my laptop is a Dell Inspiron 14 7000 with i5 that runs on Windows 10. That’s why I don’t understand why there is no stereo line in connection and why there is a damage.

Also, I understand the difference of audio signals and MIDI Data and why Audacity cannot process thru USB.

Here are my questions now.

  • (1) - Is is possible to use a 3.5mm or 1/4" cable with a USB Jack on one end which will be connected to my laptop to record?
    (2) - Will it be still the same eve if its a XLR connection?
    (3) - Is the USB Interface essential when recording cleaner audio?
    (4) - Wiill it be easier if the USB Type B port to record MIDI Data with a DAW App through a Type B to Type A cable?
    (5) - In connection with the DAW App, I’m want to get a Mainstage but since I am running on WIndows, I can’t. I want to get Mainstage because of its capability to change patches during a live performance. Now, what is the best alternative to Mainstage that is capable to change patches? Can Ableton do this? Can Ableton record MIDI?

Best regards! Thanks in advance!

Here are the ports on my FP 30 keyboard.

You should forget recording MIDI. It’s sheet music. If you record a MIDI performance and play it on your computer, it will play the MIDI instruments on your computer, not the instruments in your keyboard. It’s like handing sheet music to someone. They will play the song OK, but on their instrument.

Generally, the carefully sampled instrument sound on your keyboard is higher quality than the software inside the computer, particularly if you pick an unusual MIDI number. So recording the music from the keyboard is a terrific idea.

I don’t understand why there is no stereo line in connection

Look at your instructions. In general, that sound connection on the left is for a headset. Stereo headphones connected to a mono microphone for chat, communications, conferencing and Skype.
Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 21.01.17.png
Nobody uses a stereo connection any more. Even Mac gave up. Some computers can switch that socket between different types of connection. Consult your instructions.

The On-Line promotion doesn’t even admit the laptop has sound at all. It goes on for several minutes how terrific the picture is. Good luck.


Consult your instructions.

I can’t stress that enough. The quality of this hand-off determines the quality of the music. If you offended the sound gods, the music connection will be noisy, mono (not stereo) and easy overloaded and distorted. For some machines, that’s normal.


I took a moment to look up the “Dell Inspiron 14 7000”. The unit has the typical single 1/8" jack headset connection, almost certainly the TRRS Stereo out plus microphone in arrangement.

As Koz pointed out this is not suitable audio recording. You are going to need an external audio interface like the Behringer in Koz’s picture.