Basic Budget USB audio interface to record my digital piano and voice i.e. 2 separate tracks to laptop

So I have a digital piano and a microphone. Would like to try recording them into laptop on 2 separate tracks to mess around with. Maybe some day a mate with a guitar will play too. Right now I want to dip the toes in cheaply. Is there such a thing as 2 input (piano/mic) and 2 independent put to the laptop?

Separately, I haven’t checked yet, but the microphone I purchased months ago, one of those podcast looking things (yes I’m clueless) , is that connection likely to work with these “xrl” connections I’ve read about?


Whose make and model number are? You gotta get us close.

The XLR connection is used on grown-up analog microphones.

That thing with the orange screen in the middle is an XLR-type microphone. This is usually where you slide into hundreds of dollars for a good quality microphone.

The last rock concert you went to was using XLR type microphones.

What kind of connection does the digital piano have? My digital keyboard has a USB connection and an analog connection for headphones.

The shift from recording one thing to recording two can be rough. Going up to three puts you in full sound production mixer and interface.

There are ways to cheat. Record your keyboard on the computer, listen to the keyboard with half-a headphone and record your voice on your phone. Transfer the voice track to Audacity and mix with the keyboard.


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So if you want 4 channels, it won’t be a cheap dip. :wink:

OK, Audacity is not commonly used for recording 4 channels simultaneously on Windows. This seems to work OK with MacOS and Linux, but the drivers available for use with Audacity on Windows are in general not up to snuff.

Most multi-channel hardware requires ASIO drivers on Windows, which is available for Audacity, but it requires local compilation (which is tough). Many other DAW’s support ASIO directly so when you need the 4-channel support you may need to look over there.

Personally, I have a 4-channel Presonus AudioBox 44VSL which DOES work for me under Windows WASAPI. I also have an Alesis MultiMix8 which used to give me 4-channels with Audacity 2.0.4? under an obscure protocol WDM-KS, but this is no longer available. I also believe Behringer does NOT work with MME or WASAPI for more than 2 channels.

Many users are using the Focusrite interface which supports many instruments but is similarly limited to 2-channels under MME and WASAPI.

If any one has any information on any other multi-channel hardware that records 4 or more channels simultaneously under MME or WASAPI, please post here. :grinning:

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What does “budget” mean? There are lots of “stereo” (2-channel) audio interfaces starting around $100 USD and most of them are quite-good… Good enough for professional (or nearly professional) recording at home… As long as you live in a soundproof recording studio. :wink:

Switchable mic/line/instrument inputs are common. You can record one thing on the left and something else on the right and them mix & pan later, including mixing with other existing tracks.

These only work with XLR mics. “Computer mics” are not interchangeable with “pro” stage/studio mics.

Another option is a USB mixer. These are in the same price range as an interface but they usually have multiple inputs. The USB-output to the computer is usually the same 2-channel stereo mix as the analog mix. (There are higher-end mixers that double as multi-track interfaces.)

A mixer can be “easier” for monitoring because you can monitor without going through the computer. (Some interfaces also have zero-latency direct-hardware monitoring, and IMO it’s a good feature to look for.) When you monitor through the computer there is always some latency (delay) and depending on a lot of factors, sometimes the delay is noticeable and long-enough that it’s difficult to “perform” with a delayed-echo in your headphones.

Most “podcast mics” are USB. You can only record from one “device” at a time so you can’t use a USB mic and an interface at the same time. Many pro podcasters use a regular analog XLR mic and if they have multiple mics, that’s what they are using. There are few mics with both analog and USB connections.

The advantages of a USB podcast mic are that the USB interface is essentially free and they are super convenient. But they are also very limiting, and you can’t use the mic with a PA system, etc.

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Most keyboards & digital pianos have MIDI. Audacity is NOT a MIDI application but MIDI opens-up LOTS of possibilities. Modern keyboards have USB MIDI ports. Older MIDI devices used a special round MIDI connector and a special MIDI interface was required. Sometimes the USB port on a keyboard doubles as MIDI and audio, or sometimes it’s just MIDI.

MIDI isn’t audio… It’s “notes & timing” plus some other information. I call it “sheet music for the computer”.
The actual sound is generated by virtual instruments (software), or you can send the data from your computer and the keyboard can “play itself”. (MIDI files are small compared to audio files.)

You can “capture” your MIDI performance and change/correct the notes & timing later. Or you can change the virtual instrument or play drums on the keyboard, etc. Most of the background music you hear on TV and in movies is MIDI… Just “one guy”, a keyboard, and a computer and you can have a whole band or orchestra.

About the only thing it can’t do is sing lyrics. …But that’s probably “coming-soon” with AI. And soon music won’t have any soul! :frowning:

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Thank you all for those responses (most of which I tried to understand as much as possible!)

So…my digital piano is a Kawai ES920 which tells me it has Line Out jacks 1.4", Midi In/Out jacks,
Usb to Host Port Midi and Bluetooth Midi. Sounds like it has enough options!

My microphone sounds like it is not probably useful for what I’d like, but perhaps it could record to an audio file and that file could be mixed in the future with midi input from my piano (am I talking nonsense here!) - microphone is:

I’m probably overstating what I’d like to do. I really want to be able to play a piano piece, get that into digital format, and hypothetically, do a vocal track (even though I can’t sing :slight_smile: ) and tinker around. Separately, I would like to toy with what I understand are VSTs i.e. sampled pianos etc. to hear myself play the piano but with better piano sounds (and record those too for playback through the piano or other speakers).

Hope that makes sense. Thanks for the link to the audio interfaces, will look at those - yes, budget meant around $100, as this is just trying to figure it all out and will never be for professional purposes, just home use.

thanks again!

It sounds like you may be a customer for overdubbing. Lay down a click/metronome/drum or rhythm track for three minutes. Play that back into your headphones while you play music or sing to it. Then play both of those back while you add another track. And keep going. You want to sing all three Andrews Sister parts? No Problem.

That’s a little sticky to set up and you need a microphone/interface/mixer that will mix computer playback with your live performance in real time.

This Sampson G-Track will do that.

No, I don’t recommend Apple Earbuds for theatrical mixing, but it would work and I just used them to illustrate the connection.

The G-Track does not belong to me. I borrowed it for the picture. I told the owner that if he didn’t keep an eye on it, I was going to take it home with me.


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