I'm confused and can't record sound

I just downloaded audacity as recommended for an online song writing course that is starting in 10 days. I need to learn this program by then. I play keyboard and have been reading everything and trying to hook up Audacity to record using my keyboard. I used a 1/8 in cord to quarter in jack to connect a line from my piano to my laptop. On my LT are two places to put on a cord. one is for mic and one is for headphones. The tutorial said if that is all you have then to use the mic outlet. I used a line out from my keyboard. I carefully read all the tutorials about how to set the computers sound to Windows Direct Sound and primary sound driver, although I tried MME, too. I’ve spent hours trying to wade through tutorials. When I try to record from my piano it looks like it is recording something although the picture of the wave is identical from beginning to end. I tested other applications on my computer and the sound is there.

I did read that using a USB connection might get better results, but I would think using a cord should produce something. What am I not understanding? It could be a matter of a simple setting. Up until now, to record something I’m writing I put my Nook in front of a speaker. Not very good quality but at least I have a copy of it. Can I DL audicity to my Nook, or would it be too much for such a small device? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

That should have worked. If it’s a standard part of your computer, then Audacity should be able to find it.


Audacity has to be designed to work with a computer type. So far, only Macs, Windows, and Linux.

There’s a lot of info there. Post back if you still can’t get it to work or the sound isn’t right.


The USB service on a keyboard is most likely key motion and machine control (MIDI), not music. So that’s likely not a good option.

I record the headphone connection on my keyboard. It doesn’t have a stereo music connection.


koz, so you put the cord into the headphone jack, not the mic? Because in the tutorial somewhere it said to use the mic. The only sound I got was hissing. From another post I read they thought that sound might be the fan,and my fan is not very quiet. Will this be an issue? but first I have to get it record the sound. I tried playing about 15 seconds of piano. Wouldn’t the wav form be different. It was the same all the way across so it led me to think maybe it was picking up the fan sound. I will try again tomorrow and use the headphone jack. Ultimately, this is what I was hoping I could do: Playing the piano with my headphones on so only I could hear what I was being recorded into the computer program. After recording I could then switch the headphones to the computer for playback and editing. my husband sleeps during the day and I don’t want to disturb him. Does this sound like a possible thing to do? I am determined to learn this!

Koz is saying to connect the headphone output on the keyboard to the mic in on the laptop. Whether or on that will work acceptably depends on the nature of the laptop’s Mic input. Most don’t deal well with line-level (or headphone level) signals. But if the keyboard has a volume control for the headphones it might be possible to adjust that so that the signal doesn’t overwhelm the mic preamp in that case it might be a better choice than the line-out, but the line-out of the keyboard should also work.

However none of this explains the symptoms you describe, we expect that you might get horribly-distorted sound but not no sound at all. The hiss you describe sounds like normal electronic noise that is present in all analog audio circuits. The trick is to keep the signal (the show as Koz likes to say) much louder than the noise and the noise won’t be noticed. (This is what is meant by “signal to noise ratio” which you will see on spec sheets for equipment).

Back to the problem of no signal – You should check that you are selecting the correct input within Audacity. On the top toolbar there is is a dropdown menu next to the little icon of a microphone. Many laptops have built-in microphones in addition to the microphone input (my laptop labels these “headset mic” and “built-in mic” respectively) depending on the sound chipset in the laptop you may also see options like “Stereo Mix or Microsoft Sound Mapper” which are choices you probably do not want. (I believe the latter will choose whichever input is selected as “default” in the microsoft control panels, but it’s better to select the device directly).