No 'front line in' option new laptop to digital piano

Audacity 2.0.2. Have a new fancy laptop Toshiba Satellite P50t - A -125 using WINDOWS 8 & just re-downloaded Audacity; laptop has 2 audio sockets - output headphones - the other input which when plugged into my digital piano (stereo) - doesn’t give an option for “Front Line In” on the Audacity input menu - the other options are microphone & windows mapper which record horribly noisy no good. My old laptop was fine and when plugged in I could select the ‘Font Line In’ and get great recorded sound from the dig. piano to the laptop onto Audacity. Why can’t I do the same? Expensive laptop and expected to be able to record my piano just as successfully! ANy ideas?

It is disappointingly common for laptops to have rubbish sound cards for recording - even on very expensive laptops. For most users the only use of the sound card is for playing videos on YouTube and using a microphone for Skype/Google Voice and so on. In a highly competitive market, few manufactures “waste money” on the sound card - it’s one area where they cut corners to keep the price down. This has given rise to a huge range of “add on” sound card upgrades.

The most cost effective sound card upgrades tend to be USB sound cards.

I use a Behringer UCA 202 (about $30) which is hugely better than the built in sound card on my laptop. The UCA 202 is a “no frills” device and has only “stereo line in”, “stereo line out” and a headphone socket. There is a volume control for the headphones, but no level control for either the line in or out, so it is necessary to adjust the output level of the thing you are recording (the keyboard) and adjust the playback volume with your amp/speakers when playing back from the Line Out. I’ve had mine for years and use it to record from a mixing desk and output to a good quality amplifier and I’m delighted with the sound quality. I wrote a review of the device here:

Thanks Steve, only just found your reply ages ago, sorry.
Thanks for trying to help. Do you mean if I buy a UCA 202 soundcard, or similar, and plug it in the new laptop, then plug in the digital piano in the input socket, then record off the piano via Audacity, I’ll achieve at least the quality of my previous ‘Line-In’ option?

Do you mean if I buy a UCA 202 soundcard, or similar, and plug it in the new laptop, then plug in the digital piano in the input socket, then record off the piano via Audacity, I’ll achieve at least the quality of my previous ‘Line-In’ option?

Yes… Piano (analog) → UCA202 (USB) → Computer.

Sometimes latency (delay) is an issue when monitoring through a computer, so if your piano doesn’t have built-in speakers, it’s usually best to use a Y-Adapter (splitter) so that you can record while monitoring the analog output with no delay.

Note that most consumer “USB soundcards” are like laptops with only mic-in and headphone-out. These are worthless for high quality recording, since the mic input only interfaces with “computer microphones” and is the wrong interface for any performance/studio mic with a low impedance balanced connection and an XLR connector.

The Behringer is usually the most economical solution, and the sound quality is quite acceptable. But, you can get all kinds of [u]Computer Audio Interfaces[/u]. These are usually sold where they sell musical instruments & equipment rather than places that sell computers & computer accessories. You’ll need to make sure you get one with line-in. Many times, they will have inputs that can be switched between mic & line, or between mic, line, and guitar. These “professional” audio interfaces will have low-impedance balanced (XLR connector) mic inputs for studio/performance microphones as well as phantom power for studio condenser mics. Many of these devices have a headphone and/or monitor output and can do zero-latency monitoring.


Thanks SO much for your very helpful reply. Great to get someone answering directly and relevant to what my needs are - and so promptly, so thanks very much again!
Have looked up the Behringer and at others on the link you gave. The UCA202 you suggested sounds the right one to try, though there were a couple of negative comments - one saying you play back on the same device. I want to just plug it in the new laptop (with WIN8), plug the digital piano into the Line-in and record on Audacity, then instantly play back on the laptop (fine for that purpose) to make a couple of adjustments in Audacity; then possibly add more tracks on Audacity by playing back the first track and recording my new piano track on top of it at the same time. It’s not clear if I can do this? Also want very good recorded quality - would it be good enough? (likely to just be just piano with a few tracks recorded over each other in Audacity; but may extend to recording vocals on top of the piano too).
I have built-in speakers in the piano, so the latency issue sounds fine. Would be great if you could just reply again regarding what I’ve just said, then I’ll go ahead and get one.

2 other small questions on Audacity:

  1. I’d recorded a piece with 2 tracks, only I’d cut something from the 2nd track at one stage - so it made the rest of it after the cut all out of sync with the 1st track. How can I add in a blank section of time to shift the rest of it in sync again? I realise that I should have selected a part and made it silent rather than cutting it out…
  2. When I do make a cut in a track, how can I prevent the nasty cut/interference/crackle sound that remains where the cut is? some of my pieces are spoilt by it.

Forever grateful for your help.

Quick one again!
Had close look at capabilities and qualities & my needs and it could be the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is the way to go that still has a USB 2.0 connection ( as good as firewire?) though can’t find out if it will be OK with USB 3.0 too (?); it also has 24-bit and 96kHz much better pro quality and still seems simple if 1/4" connectors will work. The higher quality Behringer FCA202 seems more complicated. Any comment?!

When you plug a USB sound device into a Windows machine and try to use it, Windows naturally assumes you want to go both directions, so it arranges the pathways to make it so – whether you wanted it that way or not. You can easily re-assign sound pathways in Windows Control Panels and in Audacity, but it’s good to know it’s going to do that.

The UCA202 is one of the perfect, low latency devices we reviewed for the overdubbing tutorial.

There have been postings from people that had troubles getting the Focusrite to work. Search the forum. Also please know that it’s not a mixer even though it looks like one. Whatever you plug into the LEFT side is only going to appear on the LEFT of your show. A finished show is going to require post production. And yes, it’s a good deal more versatile than the little UCA202. It’s not $30 USD, either.


Hi Guys,

Our interfaces are compatible with USB3.0 ports and Audacity. In the past, I have occasionally seen some issues caused by connecting to USB3.0 Ports. This is mainly due to the inconsistencies between chipset manufacturers - Generally these can be resolved with updating chipset drivers. It is also worth noting that using a usb 2 device in a usb 3 port will not give any performance benefits, all it does it slow the speed of the usb 3 bus down to usb 2 speed.

Of course, if you want anymore assistance on this, please feel free to contact us through!


No-one seemed to answer these, so…

Place the cursor at the start of the cut and Generate > Silence.

Edit > Find Zero Crossings before the cut, or cut at the onset of a strong beat. See: .

Please start a new topic if you have follow-up questions about editing tracks.


Thank you all very much for your replies - very helpful. I did look up all the Audacity links as you suggested and videos and it has helped a lot - thanks also for the Behringer and Focusrite feedback, as well as the separate questions on using Audacity (sorry won’t mix issues again!). Will certainly use this forum again as it has been excellent.