Recording woes of a beginner

I have just joined Audacity forum because I don’t know the basics of recording. (Am using Win 7).
I have a Yamaha keyboard PSR E413 and I’d like to record music of my own, eventually in MP3 format.
This keyboard does not allow transfer of any songs, already in the memory store, or those played.
So I bought a simple audio cable, connecting one end to the keyboard out-jack (using an adapter) and other end to the line-in jack of the computer (Realtek soundcard). As soon as the keyboard jack has the cable in, the speakers seem disabled.
I opened Audacity, clicked the record button and played some test stuff on the keyboard. There’s just a faint sound during play. In Audacity, a line is drawn almost straight with just a few feeble bumps about. When I played back, no tune was played.
So I connected the keyboard to the computer by USB. Still not much of a difference.

  1. Must the keyboard be connected to the computer for any sort of recording?
    What else beside the audio cable is wanted?
  2. I disconnected the audio cable and only played on the keyboard connected to the computer. Now of course I hear myself play but the recording is again feeble.

Clearly I am doing it all wrong. Help much appreciated please.

THE USB connection is for MIDI computer control which Audacity doesn’t support very well.

I have a Yamaha PSR-240 and a much larger DGX-505. In both cases I split the keyboard headphone connection between the external sound system and my recording computer.

That’s how I did both of my short test sound clips.

Are you connected to a PC tower soundcard and are you using the stereo Line-In (sometimes blue)?

The idea is to record in Audacity 2.1.0 loud enough so the bouncing sound meters turn yellow.

So with Audacity recording, make sure the Audacity recording sliders are all the way up and then keep advancing the keyboard volume control until the Audacity sound meters start bouncing. I know you can’t hear it yet.


Probably the hardest newbie adaptation is to rely on the sound meters. It’s natural to insist on listening to the work at all times while you’re producing a product, but you don’t really have to do that, and it can get you into trouble.

It’s not recommended, but I did a high quality sound recording once with no speakers or headphones, just on the meters. There’s no shortage of people trying to produce podcasts or audiobooks where having a technically perfect recording is required, but falling far short because of sound level and control problems.


Dear Koz,
Kind of you to comment and advice. Your recordings are real loud and clear.
I 'd be grateful for your responses to the following:

  1. Yes, my PC is a an HP model with tower. There are several jacks; I connected to the line-in one (blue one).
    Isn’t that OK?
  2. Must the keyboard stay connected to the computer? Or will the audio cable between keyboard and computer be sufficient? I notice that my midi driver keeps getting disabled easily.
    With the audio connected to the keyboard, the latter goes mute and my playing is barely heard by me but the higher the recording volume, the speakers make quite racket but recording of the tune played. (I do get the yellow band)
  3. So if Audacity doesn’t support Midi well, must the recordings be done via audio only? Is any other equipment needed (such as audio interface) or something else?

Audacity cannot record from MIDI input and cannot be controlled by MIDI input.

All it can do is import a MIDI file (without being able to play it), cut and paste edit it then export it as a new MIDI file.

It is important that you look in Audacity’s Device Toolbar and choose the line-in recording device. If you record from stereo mix or the built-in mic you will not record correctly.

Which speakers - the keyboard speakers? In this case you can use an adaptor that doubles the audio out, or enable Transport > Software Playthrough (on/off) in Audacity to listen as you record.


Thanks, Gale, for that crucial advice. I just didn’t bother with the Device Toolbar.
I certainly didn’t tick the ‘line-in’ option.
But I have returned the simple audio cable and ordered Alesis Linelink USB audio interface which is a better option (according to Jane Sheratt of“The LineLink will connect your keyboard straight to your USB port, bypassing your existing soundcard and outputs studio quality stereo”
I was referring to the keyboard speakers which go mute (not quite dead) when the output jack is connected to an audio cable.

Alesis Linelink USB audio interface

I know you’re chomping at the bit, but you should probably mention purchases here before you make them so we don’t have multiple people working at cross purposes.

I use the Behringer UCA202 USB interface because it not only adapts your work, but it gives you a real-time headphone connection with volume control as well.

You can force Audacity to play the music to your headphones on the soundcard HeadPhone Out connection (Green or Black) but it will almost certainly be late or have an echo and it will make you crazy trying to play music with it.


Thank you, Koz for that suggestion.
My Alesis Audi interface arrived today and I installed it.
The result is OK but not great.
As I am now just starting out on the road to recording, I’ll be trying out better interfaces.
So I’ll keep your recommendation of a Behringer very much in mind.