Have I bought a lemon?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by massivenoob, Jul 29, 2009.

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  1. massivenoob

    massivenoob Guest

    I have recently bought myself an M-Audio Fast Track USB recording device, to record music from my Casio CTK-810 into Ableton Live.

    However things aren’t going as well as I’d planned.

    It struggles to process most sounds properly. Low/deep sounds are a joke – a deep note plays back at almost twice its length. There is enough reverb and echo to make most notes sound absolutely ridiculous.

    The cord connecting my keyboard to the device is cheap ($17), not a proper music cable, but this doesn’t seem to be the problem because every note plays fine when I bypass the device and plug the keyboard straight into my speakers.

    I’ve posted this problem on M-Audio’s forums, but they don’t seem too eager to help me or know what they’re doing.

    My question for you fine people is this: Have I bought a lemon? Am I deluding myself in thinking that a $175 interface can record good quality music from my keyboard? This device seems to say that it is only for guitar and mic. Has anyone had any experience with using it for a keyboard? Or any experience using it at all? If I have bought a lemon, can anyone recommend a decent/good device for recording music from a keyboard?

    Thanks for your time, and please be brutally honest in your replies. I’m not averse to spending money, I just want to make music.
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    See, I already own one of these little babies...

    link removed

    And if I were to be recording keyboard I would get a midi cable and plug it in the back. This seems to be the preferred method.
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Only if you have softsynths or a midi soundcard/module and a program to run them. I suspect massivenoob is trying to record the audio from the Casio's outputs.

    There should be nothing preventing you from recording properly through the MAudio.

    "deep note plays back at almost twice its length. There is enough reverb and echo to make most notes sound absolutely ridiculous." Sounds like possibly a setting problem? Recording at one sample/rate and playing back at another? Check the manuals for Ableton AND the MAudio. Make sure everything is set properly to record and play back at the same bit depth/frequency rate in the hardware AND software for all tracks recorded.

    "Am I deluding myself in thinking that a $175 interface can record good quality music from my keyboard?"

    Well, maybe a BIT thinking you can record good quality audio from a $100 Casio, but the MAudio should be able to record decent quality if set up properly, the computer is set up properly, and you feed a decent signal into it. GIGO.

    Also, you may need to experiment a bit with the Casio output level-MAudio input levels to get as good of a robust, but clean, signal as possible. That may mean turning the Casio up or down from what you are doing presently, and vice-versa on the MAudio/Ableton input.

    If you've got a lemon, it probably isn't really the MAudio. They usually work OK. Check settings and levels before going further.

  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
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    Here's my guess: you are using a balanced TRS cable to connect the headphone output to the TRS input on the M-Audio device, with the switch set to "line". Since the keyboard output is meant for driving stereo headphones and the M-Audio line input is balanced mono, what you are actually recording is the difference between the L and R outputs of the keyboard, which will be mainly added effect.

    To test this, get or borrow a mixer "insert cable", which has a TRS jack on one end that splits out to a pair of mono TS jacks. Plug the TRS jack into the Casio keyboard headphone output and either of the two TS jacks into the M-Audio line input, leaving the other safely dangling. If you get a better recording, post back here and consider what to do. You really need to sum the L+R outputs of the keyboard, which needs a resistive summer or a small mixer.

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