Connecting a keyboard to a mixing console.

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by RomanM, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. RomanM

    RomanM Active Member

    When I plug the keyboard directly into an input I get static. Even on the lowest of volume. When I connect the keyboard to a DI box and take the output of the DI into a preamp, I get little sound. I have literally tried everything. And I have run out of ideas. Help would very much be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    More info pls. Moved.
  3. RomanM

    RomanM Active Member

    What kind of info?
  4. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Input of what?

    Connected via what cable, to what DI? and how?

    Also: make of keyboard, type of outputs, type of inputs.

    I'm going to bed now and if you can just give a little detail, I'm pretty sure your issue will be solved before I awake.

    With most of this stuff its trial and error - or more accurately, precise testing will always show the problem. But when you just say 'keyboard to input' we can't bring any knowledge to bear.
  5. RomanM

    RomanM Active Member

    Oh OK.
    Input of the mixing console. It's an unbalanced 1/4 to 1/4 cable going from the keyboard into the DI. The cable from the balanced output of the DI into the preamp on the console is an XLR to XLR. The DI is a pyle pro PDC 21. They keyboard is a Yamaha YPT210. The output is an unbalanced 1/4 jack.
  6. SharkFM

    SharkFM Active Member

    Some ideas
    Try another keyboard just to test.
    Check your cables with a meter.

    Keyboards are a bit strange. On my Korg I struggle to get a decent gain and also get humming if Phantom power is switched on
  7. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Doesn't that keyboard have only an 1/4" stereo headphone jack for output? If that's only what it has, read on. Many keyboards have separate 1/4" Left/Mono and Right outputs. The Left/mono output is electronically designed to combine the left and right outputs to mono, unlike (normally) a stereo headphone output. There is no information in the Yamaha manual that states if it's electonically designed to function as a combined-to-mono output, nor is there any warning not to use a TS cable. They don't want us to know, apparently.

    It's POSSIBLE that if you are plugging a TS cable into it, then you are shorting one channel (probably left) to ground. The manual doesn't specify. It DOES say that it can be "connected to a keyboard amp" but doesn't specify whether it'll run combined L/R mono out of that output. I'm not sure there are many headphone outputs that will, but then, I don't know everything.

    Did you try an 1/4" TRS to two 1/4" TS (mono for separate left and right) "Y" splitter cable from the keyboard to two channels (or a stereo channel with L/R inputs) on the mixer? The plus side of that is that you will get the stereo sounds from your keyboard, should you desire.

    Also, you may need to be touchy with the keyboard volume. Too high will generate distortion, too low will generate even more hiss than will naturally be present in that set up (which there will likely be some, no matter what).

    Buy a splitter cable. Maybe you can even trade in that "Pyle" of...for a cable, wherever you got it? (The Pyle brand really shouldn't be anywhere near recording/mixing devices. Just a little suggestion). With power off to all devices, plug everything in. With the volume of the keyboard to minimum, and the input trim(s) and channel fader(s) of the mixer channels you are plugged into all the way down, turn everything on. You'll set the gain staging here for the best signal, lowest noise.

    With your main faders on the mixer set to unity ("0", optimal, whatever), and the channel fader(s) set the same, start playing something on the keyboard (or have it play a song). SLOWLY start turning the keyboard volume up.

    If it starts blasting right away, then you may need to deal with padding that "too much" signal down. That's another subject, if it happens. If you can get it somewhere around the middle of the keyboard volume range (maybe about 1/2 to no more than 3/4 up), then you may be OK. If you have to max out the keyboard volume, and it still isn't loud enough, then turn the keyboard volume down to about 1/2, and try turning the input trims of your mixer channels up somewhat. (Remember...leave the channel faders and master faders in their optimal settings while doing all this. You're only dealing with the keyboard out level, and the channel input level at this point). If you have to max out your input trims, and it's still too low, then turn your input trims back down to about 1/2, and turn your keyboard volume back up a bit...probably no more than about 3/4. Juggle those two until you hear (and see on your level meters) the most robust signal, with the least amount of the (likely) inherent hiss that the keyboard will likely generate through the headphone outputs.

    It may even be helpful to plug a set of headphones out of your mixer to more readily hear the amout of hiss present between notes, and to work to minimize that while doing your final tweaking.

    If my suspicions are correct, buy a splitter cable, ditch the DI box, and try all that...and please report back.

    Good luck,

  8. RomanM

    RomanM Active Member

    I will have try that. Thanks for that info!! I did do some tweaking and I eventually got it to the way I want it. I just tried different ways of connecting the equipment together.

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