Recording a Keyboard on Computer

This is another question we get asked time and time again. How do you record the actual sound of your keyboard onto your computer? Many people get confused about the difference between making a MIDI connection from their keyboard and actually recording the sound

If you do want to record the sound of your keyboard, then a MIDI connection will not do the job. A MIDI interface will only transmit your performance data (for example which notes you have played, how loudly you played them etc) then this information can be used to play software instruments on your computer. It is not a recording of the sound!

Alesis Linelink USB Audio InterfaceIf you want to record the actual sound of your keyboard on your computer then you need to connect the line out (or headphone out if no line out) from your keyboard to your pc, mac or ipad. If you just have a standard soundcard and are looking for a cost effective and reasonable quality solution, then for a small investment you could purchase the Alesis LineLink or equivalent line out-USB interface. The LineLink will connect your keyboard straight to your USB port, bypassing your existing soundcard and outputs studio quality stereo, 16-bit, 44.1 kHz digital audio. The LineLink will connect direct to your keyboard if you have left and right quarter inch mono jack outputs. If you only have one stereo output you will also need to invest in a y-cable converter.


To get a better quality recording result, invest in a professional audio interface. Choose one with line inputs. Then pick the appropriate cables to link from the audio output of your keyboard to the inputs of the interface. Choose a good brand like the Lexicon Alpha Desktop Recording Studio. The Lexicon is a simple well-priced and sturdy device with stereo line in. Perfect for connecting your keyboard and making a nice audio recording.


M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro USB Audio Interface + Mic

What if you want a device with a bit more functionality – so that it will also enable you to connect a microphone as well or maybe a guitar? If you are not keen on taking the back off your computer, or you have a laptop/macbook then the ideal device would be something like the M-Audio M-Track USB Audio Interface, which is a USB audio device with 1/4 inch line in ports. All you’d need to do then is get the right cable to connect the line in on the Mtrack to the audio output of your keyboard. The great thing about this is the M-track also has a mic inputs (complete with pre-amps) if you also want to record vocals, plus it is equally suitable for recording a guitar, so it really is multi-purpose. And it comes with a fantastic music software Package as well (Ignite). Even better is the M-Track has MIDI i/o so you could also make a MIDI connection and use your keyboard as a MIDI controller too. Spend even more and you can get devices with digital i/o plus more mic pre-amps – so you can record several tracks at once.

If you have a bit more to spend, then the M-Audio M-Track Plus USB Audio and MIDI Interface is a more robust version of the M-Track and comes with Pro Tools Express, making it the basis of a full semi-professional home recording studio. It is also available in a pro vocal recording pack complete with microphone and headphones if you want a complete microphone recording solution with software in one box.

This is a really brief intro to the world of Recording – if you want to know more, then there is a fantastic guide to computer music making written by Cakewalk, The Desktop Music Handbook – which covers MIDI in depth, and also features a great guide to Digital Audio.

Did you find this helpful?

Sign up and we'll send you FREE guides, ebooks and our latest helpful home recording tips and tutorials each week.


  1. says

    What software would you recommend for recording? I’m connected through a “Type B”-to-“Type A” USB port, since I don’t have RCA cables for my Casio CTK-2080. Finale is a bit too much, as I’m not out to make sheet music, just record the songs that I’ve learned (to maybe upload them to YouTube for my teacher to see, when I can’t make it to lessons due to work).

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, I assume that because you have been looking at Finale you want to write songs in notation format. Finale is a fantastic program but it is very well featured and expensive – probably way more than you need for simple songs, so have a look at their much cheaper Songwriter software which is a cut down version at a much more affordable price. You can still make audio records that you could upload for your teacher to hear, or you could send them the exported sheet music. I am also assuming that you could easily use your Casio as a MIDI controller if it is connected up to your computer. Songwriter has a built in synth so you can export an audio file from it. Or, you could play the composition back out through your Casio and record that if you wanted. Hope that helps!

  2. Beaver says

    I was like to ask you a Question I am using a m-audio keystation 61 Es and a m-audio fast track pro the keyboard is hook up to the laptop thru USB and so is the fast track pro my problem is I can’t hear the keyboard I see the track Vol move but no sound I am also using my fast track as the playback device could that be the reason why I can’t hear the keyboard how can I fix it I’m using mixcraft 6.0

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hmm, you do need to make sure that you have selected an instrument of some kind in Mixcraft that will generate the sound for you. Then you should be able to output that track to your Fast Track Pro and hear it. Obviously the keyboard makes no sound, and I worry you may be trying to output to the MIDI out on the Fast Track – you won’t have anything connected to that that generates any tone. So have a look in the manual for Mixcraft about using virtual instruments. All the best!

  3. mona says

    Hi. Can you please tell what wire do I need to record the actual sounds from my old keyboard which only has a headphone output? I have an mbox 3. Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, you have 2 XLR mic/line combo inputs on the rear of the device. So assuming your keyboard as a quarter inch stereo headphone out then you need a 1/4″ stereo y-cable connected to 2 1/4″ mono (left and right) jacks, connect to the left and right inputs on the back. If you have a mini-jack headphone socket then you still need dual mono 1/4″ jack y cable connected to 18″ stereo jack plug. Hope that helps!

  4. pogoXD says

    I have a Yamaha PSR E313 keyboard. All I wanted to do is connect it to my PC’s microphone jack from it’s head-out jack. I connected the lead wire (6.1mm – 6.1mm) to my synth. Then I used a 6.1mm – 3.5mm converter jack to directly connect it to my PC. Now I downloaded a certain home studio-recording software. When I played and recorded the first time, I was quite disappointed ‘coz along with my keyboard’s sound, it recorded the surrounding “Whiz—whizz–buzzz” sound, which happens usually when I am recording a voice directly on my phone, through the phone’s in-built sound recording software. Previously, I downloaded nTrack Studio and it worked way better than I had imagined with my guitar. So I sought to try it out with my synth as well.
    Now my wish is to have a multi-track audio recording software so that I can record a complete song using only my keyboard. But at the same time, the only possible way for me to connect my keyboard to the PC seems to be the one I just mentioned.
    Please tell me whether there is a problem with my software, or sound card, or the arrangement used to do the stuff.
    Waiting for response.
    P.S. Please email for it may not be possible for me check out this website later on again.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, I don’t think it will be the software that is the problem. To improve the quality I would look at buying a USB audio interface and connect the keyboard to the line in. At a budget level something like the Lexicon Alpha is a really nice quality device for a few pounds. If you want one with MIDI too then the M-Audio MTrack is good for a little bit more. Then you will need a cable that splits the headphone stereo out to L and R mono signals. If you invest in a small device like that it will improve the recording quality hugely. The PC input is designed for Skype type mics really and is perfect for that but not for any more serious recording. Hope that helps. Good luck with that.

      • Greg says

        I have the same questions as PogoXD. Thanks for your answer. It was helpful.

        I am planning on getting a Korg Pa600 keyboard. The back of which looks like this:

        Let’s say I am getting Lexicon Alpha.

        What type of a wire do I need to successfully link the keyboard to Lexicon to PC? Can you point me to the required wire(s) model/type on Amazon? I am pretty much new to keyboard to PC connectors and I would appreciate your help. Don’t want to buy the wrong wire by mistake, as this is already a huge investment!


        • Jane Sherratt says

          Hi, you would need 2 TS quarter inch jack to connect the PA600 to the Alpha. Then all you need is connect the Alpha up to your PC with the USB lead it should come with. Very easy! You will then need headphones or speakers connected to the Alpha to monitor it all. Should be nice :)

        • Jane Sherratt says

          Hi, you would need 2 TS quarter inch jack to connect the PA600 to the Alpha. Then all you need is connect the Alpha up to your PC with the USB lead it should come with. Very easy! You will then need headphones or speakers connected to the Alpha to monitor it all. Should be nice

    • Jane Sherratt says

      If you have balanced sockets then go for the balanced leads they will be better, lower noise etc. But not all devices have balanced ins and outs. So it just depends on what you are connecting to what. Hope that helps

  5. Paul Rosen says


    I’m trying to record from a Roland ep880 keyboard, using an Alesis LineLink, and nothing is happening. I’ve got Audacity on my PC laptop, but one thing that concerns me is that the laptop is 64 bit and the cable is 16 bit. The computer said it had found drivers for the cable, but I can’t tell what it thinks is connected!



    • Jane Sherratt says

      If you give Alesis a call they should be able to help you with set up. Check their web site for telephone number. Make sure you have selected the Linelink as the recording device in Audacity, you might need to manually select it, and then check you are listening through your standard computer speakers or headphones.

  6. says

    Can you comment on recording a keyboard in stereo to a PC. There are many USB audio interfaces with 2 line inputs…no problem. I don’t think USB (output) transmits a stereo signal. My laptop only has two 3.0USB inputs. No 2.5mm jack. I read some page about using 2 USB inputs to record stereo. Not sure how to go about it. Thanks

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi David, if you purchase a USB audio interface with left and right inputs, you will be able to record in stereo through the one USB connection, no problem. Hope that helps!

  7. Rebecca says

    My friend is trying to record piano and vocals onto her mac laptop into the protools software. She is going to be using a yamaha piano but doesn’t know which cable to use to connect it to her laptop. We are looking for clear clean sound and don’t want to ruin either laptop or piano in this experiment. What do you suggest?

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Rebecca, I am assuming this is a Yamaha digital piano as you talk about cables? The ideal way to record it will be via an interface with suitable inputs for the line outputs of the piano. The cable(s) you use will depend on the output of the piano (does it have a stereo output or does it have left and right out) and the inputs of the interface. Without knowing the exact model I can’t specify, so refer to the manual of the piano or look carefully at the outputs. Does it just have a stereo headphone socket, or does it have more thank that? You can split the stereo signal into left and right. Many interfaces will have a left and right input, quarter inch jack. But again without knowing what equipment you have cannot be exactly specific. The way to avoid damaging any equipment is by making sure all the volumes are down to zero when connecting up and gradually increasing the volume.

  8. João Gabriel says

    Hi, Jane.

    I was wondering two things concerning connections; both concern using a keyboard with usual midi in and out as a controller. Suppose I use a USB/Midi cable to connect a keyboard to my computer USB port, would it have the same final effect as using, for example, a midi controller in a direct USB-USB connection? Some time ago the latency issues used to make it completely unworthy and put us all to stick with a sound card with midi ins, however, considering today’s USB 3.0 port (in case it matters, I’m not sure), would I be ok using my keyboard as controller through such a connection in terms of quality? I’m asking because I’m not 100% sure about buying a synth or a midi controller. But I’d go for the synth just in case the midi-usb was quality ensured as I want to buy a separate quality sound card, but a little later.

    Second, considering that I’ve chosen the synth, are there models that make it possible to have the same USB-USB connection that midi controllers provide so that I avoid the midi-USB connection I was asking about above?

    Thanks a lot!

  9. Francis says

    Hello there!

    I have a Roland F-120. I want to be able to record exactly what I am playing. What cable do I need, and what software do I need?

    I just bought a midi-to-usb cable but can’t work out what software to get and the above article makes me think it won’t work anyway.

    Alternatively, do you reckon there is a way of accessing the recordings from the F-120 itself, from it’s “recorded songs” function?

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Francis, you would have to refer to the manual of the Roland F120 to see if there is a way of accessing the songs. It would depend on what format they are recorded in. If you just want to play back the songs and record them on your computer then the most cost effective solution would be something like the Alesis Linelink which would hook up the Left and Right outputs of the piano to your computer via USB. If you want to go and and do more recording, it might be worth buying a higher quality USB Audio interface such as an Avid Fast Track Duo or a Focusrite Scarlett 2I2 which have suitable line inputs for your keyboard – you would just need to mono quarter inch jack cables. You are right, you won’t be able to record the sound of the Roland with the USB-MIDI interface, but it will come in handy if you want to use your Roland to work with MIDI sequencing software.

  10. john says

    Hi! I am trying to start recording on my laptop,I hv keyboard yamaha psr E333,I jst wnt to knw hw to start recording,both voice and everyother things

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, a good start would be to invest in a budget USB Audio and MIDI interface with some simple software. One that has microphone input, MIDI i/o and line i/o so you cover all the bases in connnecting up your keyboard and voice. A good one to start with is the M-Audio MTrack which comes with Ignite software. Very easy to set up and get going, the software has a complete set of starter video tutorials and is quite well featured without being difficult to use or overwhelming.

  11. says

    Hi Jane,
    I have a Technics SX-PX 207 – pretty ancient now but a great sound (20 yrs old). All I want to be able to do is to make good quality backing tracks as accompaniment. So i need to record from the Technics to the computer laptop.
    Someone suggested buying Alesis i02. Then Another suggested Alesis Linelink. Could you confirm which one to use and do I need any other connectors? Alao do I need to use Windows or would Audacity be better? Thanks

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, if you can afford the IO2 Express over the linelink, it is a much better option. Better quality, more functionality, also you can direct monitor, connect mics, use the MIDI i/o etc. It will come with some recording software, but I would certainly use Audacity over the recorder built into Windows. Free and very easy to use with good functionality. Hope that helps.

  12. says

    heb een USB 2.0 Midi Interface kabel met 2 1/0 poort gekocht om mijn laptop met Technics 1600 keyboard aan te sluiten en zo mijn muziek op te nemen met programma van Audicity, het lukt me niet, heeft u een oplossing? (google: henk keyboard)

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, you need to get some MIDI software, Audacity is only suitable for audio recordings and does not have MIDI. If you sign up to our newsletter then we will send you a guide to some free music software programs that will allow you to use MIDI as well as Audio. Sorry I cannot answer in Dutch!

    • Peter says

      Since I’m a native Dutch speaker myself, I think I may be of assistance here. The gentleman asking the question seems to understand English, to a degree, but unable to write in that language. Therefore, I assume that he is elderly or advanced in age and, in my personal impression, not well-versed in modern technology. So perhaps Jane might be so kind to copy my Dutch-language posting, below, to an email. later on, and send it over.

      Ik begrijp dat u muziek die u op digitale piano maakt in Audacity, op uw laptop, wilt opnemen. Dat is echt heel simpel.

      Zoals Jane al zei: Audacity werkt zonder moeilijk gedoe met MIDI. MIDI kan wel, op zich (Audacity heeft er de instellingen voor), maar het is behoorlijk ingewikkeld om dat voor elkaar te krijgen. Uw MIDI interface kabel zal in de toekomst echter vast nog eens voor MIDI applicaties van pas komen.

      Als het goed is vindt u aan de zijkant uw laptop, naast elkaar, twee gaatjes. Dat zijn de HOOFDTELEFOON-uitgang en de MICROFFOON/LIJN-ingang, respectievelijk. In allebei past een 3.5mm stekkertje – ook wel mini-jack genoemd.

      Van de hoofdtelefoonuitgang van uw digitale piano gaat er vervolgens een kabel naar de MICROFOON/LIJN-uitgang van uw laptop. Maar als er phono in- en uitgangen (rood en wit gekleurde contactjes voor audiostekkertjes die in Nederland vaak “tulp” worden genoemd), op uw piano aangebracht zijn – zoveel te beter: dat zal de kwaliteit van het geluid van uw piano ten goede komen.

      Er zijn doorgaans vier phono in- en uitgangen naast elkaar, twee gemerkt In en twee gemerkt Out. Als dat inderdaad het geval is, dan hebt u een verbindingskabel nodig met een rode en witte “tulp” aan het ene eind en een mini jack aan het andere. Desgewenst kunt u voorts de hoofdtelefoonuitgang van uw laptop met de versterker van uw sterro-installatie verbinden. In dat geval gaan de “tulpen” in de betreffende (rode en witte INgang van uw versterker, en de minijack in de hoofdtelefooningang van uw laptop.

      Verder dient u dan nog Audacity in te stellen. Ik ga er gemakshalve van uit dat u Windows als operationeel systeem benut.

      Onmiddelijk onder de bedieningsknoppen, in de linkerbovenhoek, staan vier smalle, langwerpige vakjes, met een pijltje naar beneden rechts van ieder. Als u op dat pijltje klikt, roept u een menuutje op.

      Het meest linkse (of dat ernaast) toont drie opties voor ingebouwde Windows geluidssystemen. Bovenste en onderste vermelden meestal MMS of Wasapi. De middelste wil nogal eens varieren.

      Het keuzemenuutje daar weer naast toont, opnieuw, een aantal opties. Welke het beste werkt in combinatie met de voorgaande is een kwestie van uitproberen. Dat is voor iedere laptop verschillend. En het vakje ernaast tenslotte dient om opname in mono of stereo in te stellen.

      Voor verdere vragen: ik geloof dat er een Nederlandstalige handleiding is (verkrijgbaar via sourceforge). En dan nog een nuttige tip.

      Het gebeurt wel eens dat Audacity-geluidstoevoer zichzelf uitschakelt. Ga dan naar Sound in uw systeem. Daar zult u vermoedelijk vinden dat de Audacity INgang zichzelf spontaan op ‘Mute’ gezet heeft. Een simpele muisklik (links) breit dat weer recht.



  13. Peter says

    Hello Jane,

    You may be the very person for solving a compatibility issue.

    I recently acquired Garritan Jazz & Big Band. It’s Windows only, as per usual. And for instrument reproduction, a MIDI interface is necessary, of course.

    Of my piano keyboards, the smallest (ca 5 octaves) is a Gem, equipped with MIDI In & Out -and, hence, in use for general MIDI duties. For Garritan Jazz & Big Band, however, I’d like to bring an old electric 88 spring key piano back (brand unknown) into the fold. Yet this was built in pre-MIDI times, originally, so the only output here is jack (the big’un – to connect an amp, for instance).

    My regular USB MIDI interface (e.g. between Gem and PC) has 2 DINs, at one end, marked In and Out. So if these are to work with the electric 88 spring key piano, I’d need something to fill the gap between piano jack and MIDI interface DINs.

    I hope you’ll be able to shed some light on what this might be.



    Of fairly recently, a US company called Jam Origin introduced a (PC) application called MIDI Guitar. This allows guitar players to turn instruments into MIDI controllers, simply by plugging a guitar lead into the computer and adjusting four sessions. The same applies to bass and violin as well; but for piano not (yet).

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Peter, I’m pretty sure that if your piano was built pre-MIDI and doesn’t have MIDI ports you aren’t going to be able to use it easily as a MIDI controller – unless you find, as you suggest, some kind of pitch-MIDI converter device. Again I know of guitar-MIDI devices but not one for keyboard as such. Sorry I can’t help more!

  14. divin jacob says

    how do u record sounds that u play on the keyboard itself??i’m using korg pa600.i dont want to record the styles.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, the Korg PA600 has unbalanced 1/4″ jack left and right output. You need an audio interface with line inputs and you simply need the right cables to connect the outputs of the Korg to the inputs of the interface. That will give you the best result. Thanks for your question.

  15. Mark Jnr O'Byrne says

    Hi I have a Yamaha DGX650 what can I use to record and play the piano while hearing it only from my computer headphones since I play the instrument during the night. Thanks a lot in advance for replying.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, if you had a suitable audio interface you could connect the headphone output of the piano to the line input of the recording interface. You would then direct monitor via headphones through the interface – either when you were playing or recording.

  16. julian says

    Hi jane I got a Yamaha xs8 and a ur22 USB audio interface, the ur22 got line 1 and 2 input, I got a y cable that split the stereo signal and I connect then to the line 1 and 2 but the sound I get is not the same like went I use the headphones connected directly to the keyboard.. then I got a Yamaha audiogram6 this one has 2 line input and 2 mono left and right line inputs I connect the y cable from the stereo output keyboard to the mono r/l and it sounds great… y buy the ur22 because is 24bit and the audiogram is 16bits, but now I got this stereo quality sound issue… what can I do!!?

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Record form the Audiogram at the same recording quality as the output. I’m not sure why the line outs of the XS8 are different to the headphone out – you’d have to look in the manual. The other option is to record the headphone instead.

    • snogglethorpe says

      The UR-22 interface (for whatever reason) doesn’t treat the two inputs as a stereo pair when mixing them into the monitor/headphone outputs, rather it sums them as two mono sources. This seems like a misfeature to me (some other interfaces make this switchable), but I guess its more intended for somebody recording guitar+voice or something…

      See here for a more detailed review:

  17. Peter says

    I’d need to connect USB MIDI interface (from digital piano) to both main desktop and (auxiliary) laptop. Another USB MIDI interface, from piano MIDI In & Out, isn’t feasible, practically. And for an additional, smaller digital piano neither money nor space is available.

    Simplest would be (to my mind, anyway) some sort of adapter, at the interface’s USB end, that allows the connection to branch out (in a Y shape, basically). Would you know if such an aid is in existence? I think an ordinary hub won’t do here.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, sorry, don’t think that is going to be possible as far as I know. Sorry about that. If anyone reading this knows different, hopefully they’ll chip in and correct me!

  18. Sudheer Kumar says


    I have Yamaha PSR E333 key board, Could you please let me know which connectors I need to buy to record the songs using my laptop(Dell inspiron 11 3000 series). Also let me suggest the software which will give the notations of songs recorded.



    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Sudheer
      You are going to do best if you buy an audio interface to record the sound of the keyboard – even if it’s an inexpensive line out to USB cable such as the one made by Alesis. If you want to create notation then you will need to make a MIDI connection as well (or instead if this is the only thing you want to do). Many Yamahas already have USB connection to do this, if your PSR E333 does not then you will need a MIDI-USB interface

  19. Anne Grabow says

    Hi Jane, thank you for all your informations on this website!
    I bought two mono-cables and connected my Roland E-500 to my external device “Audiobox USB” and I managed to record the stereo sound of it to my computer. But I wish to monitor my recordings through my headphones only. Unfortunately the speakers of my keyboard are playing as well. I tried both ways- using the headphone output of the soundcard: the keyboard´s speakers also make sounds. Using the headphone output of my keyboard: No sound comes out of the headphones AND through the internal speakers. The headphone-output is not broken – it works when the audio-output cables are not connected.
    I would be happy if you knew how to solve this problem as I don´t want to annoy my housemates. Thank you!

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Anne, if connecting the headphones silences the piano altogether, could you record from the headphone output of the keyboard rather than the line outputs? You would need a stereo to twin mono y cable.

      • Sreejith says

        Hi Jane

        I just bought a Yamaha PS E243 keyboard.
        a couple of questions where i need your advise:

        first, which cable I can use for recording to my laptop? My Laptop has only one sound port (for both speaker and recording – same jack)
        Secondly, What software i can use ? I bought a USB-USB cable and tried most of the audio programs but they dont record anything.

        • Jane Sherratt says

          The USB cable will only be transmitting MIDI data, so you need to use some sort of MIDI software to benefit from hooking up the keyboard via USB. You could then create sounds with virtual instruments. Try something like Reaper (extended free trial). If you want to actually record the sound of the keyboard then you will need to connect the PHONES/OUTPUT to an audio interface with appropriate line level inputs – you’ll almost certainly need a splitter cable to connect the stereo output to the left and right inputs and then you should be able to get a good quality recording. Hope that helps

    • Jane Sherratt says

      You will need to connect the headphone out to line in on a suitable audio interface. Look for a decent branded interface with line in. You will then need a cable that connects stereo 1/4″ jack to the inputs on the interface. Difficult to say which would be the best – you get what you pay for though! Good brands include Focusrite, M-Audio, Avid etc

  20. mihir says

    hello… i have a casio ctk3000 model
    i want to record songs or music piesces that i play …. i have a usb cable…
    when i connect the cable to my laptop… nothing happens… plz help me…
    do i need a recording software to do this…
    if so will u recommend any..!!
    plz help

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Yes, you will need recording software. It is very likely that the USB cable is just transmitting MIDI data, so you will need some kind of MIDI software. Try a free application like scorecloud ( or download the MIDI-OX utility if on PC (MIDI Monitor if on Mac) to test that data is being transmitted OK.

  21. says

    Hi Jane,

    Greetings! I have a Yamaha PSR S 650 workstation keyboard which to some extent gives a fantastic sound. I want to audio record when I play the keyboard live. How do I do this. What are the equipment needed to record. I also have bought Mixcraft 6 software. Can I audio record directly from keyboard in this software. Please advise.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, to record the audio sound, you have a 1/4″ stereo phones/output jack on the keyboard. You will need to connect that to a suitable USB audio interface to record into Mixcraft. One with a suitable line-level input. You could also get one with mic input as well if you want to record vocals or other acoustic instruments. Hope that helps

  22. Z Sogor says

    Hi Jane,

    I was wondering if you can help me: I’m trying to record from a Casio ctk-6200 to my laptop. I’m using Audacity. I’ve tried connecting the keyboard to the laptop by a USB cable, and also by an audio cable, but Audacity doesn’t seem to see the keyboard and I can only record through the laptop’s built-in microphone.
    I’m not sure if my laptop is too old and the soundcard is just not good enough for this? Appreciate any help, thank you!

    • Jane Sherratt says

      You should be able to connect your Casio to the mic/line input on your laptop, and select it as the recording input in Audacity. You must make sure you pick the input port and not the built-in microphone. You can do this in the Edit->Preferences dialog box in Audacity or you should see the available inputs and outputs as drop down options above the recording timeline. I don’t think the USB cable will work to record the sound – it probably just enables you to make a MIDI connection to transmit performance data. Regards Jane

  23. Jerry says

    Jane, I am so Happy I found your articles here!! I’ve been looking for answers for many years as well. I did start using Midi since it all started in the 80’s. But I could Never Grasp the entire concept. At the top of this article you mentioned recording the actual sounds from the keyboard Only, not through the Midi software. Doing this always screwed me up. Because I would play a sound from the keyboard onto Track 1 of software, ok. Then record another track on 2 with a different sound, again an actual keyboard sound. Then track 3, channel 3, etc. etc. then sometimes when I played the recorded tracks back as the song I just made, sometimes i’d get the Wrong sounds now playing on the tracks! Like a piano sound was on Channel 1, track 1, I’d hear maybe a flute playing back when the whole song is played back! This always baffled me on how to fix it. Then would do so many adjustments in the software along with the keyboard, then mess everything up, then I’d give up for weeks, and try the whole song making process all over again, just making it worse. But seeing this article and mentioning connecting the Keyboard to the computer using the cable you described, along with using the sounds Only from the keyboard, is what I always wanted! Now, do I still use a Midi software program even though it’s Not really Midi, or is it still? Because I still want a program that I can use a track at a time, with each different picked sound at a time from my keyboard. Then on one of the tracks I would use my drum machine kit on, you know? Or the drums/rhythms that are built in the keyboard. I use to use Cakewalk years ago. Now I use Sony Acid Music Studio 8. But again this is all the Midi thing. So again do I still use a Midi software program for recording the way I mentioned? I am also thinking about skipping all this computer/midi stuff and getting out my Tascam 4 track cassette recorder that stored, which does the recording in a simple way. Please Help me or anyone else that can comment!!?? Thanks Much!

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Jerry
      Most DAW recording software will let you record MIDI tracks and Audio tracks. Sony now have a later version of Acid but according to the blurb on their site “ACID™ Music Studio is the perfect tool for loop-based music creation, audio recording, MIDI production, effects processing, and studio-quality mixing” so you should be able to do both MIDI and audio recording. Refer to the manual for the software and make sure you are creating the right kind of track for what you want. Regards Jane

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Jerry, any DAW will allow you to record and mix audio tracks, or MIDI tracks, or a combination of both. I really wouldn’t go and buy a 4-track casette recorder. Even if you download the free recording software Audacity you will be able to record and mix multiple audio tracks. Give that a try before you give up! The key is to get a good quality audio connection between your hardware and your computer. Hope that helps. Jane

  24. Derek Jones says

    Hi Jane,
    At the moment I am using the Focusrite iTrack solo interface.
    I have the Akia MPK225 controller and running my DAW which is Samplitude music studio.
    Now the iTrack solo interface can record my voice through a microphone and I also have the option of plugging my electric acoustic guitar in to it.
    On sampltitude I can record my voice and guitar with no problem at all, but when I try to record a midi instrument that is on my DAW it will rub out the music sample and won’t record what I am playing at the time, I keep getting an error message up.
    I know the difference between Audio recording and Midi recording but I am wondering if the issue I am experiencing is to do with the iTrack solo interface.
    I have been looking at the Fucusrite scarlett 6i6 interface but I am not sure if I need it or not ?
    I would be very gratefull for any comment or advice you have for me.

  25. Francisco says

    Hi. I have a Yamaha P-105B and I am interested in recording my improvisations. I am currently using a Nokia 808 Pureview with High Amplitude Audio Capture microphone (Dynamic range up to 107 Db) and it works pretty well. I saw a Line 6 backtrack + Mic for sale and it looked like it might be the perfect tool for me but it is intended mostly for guitar players and I haven’t read about anyone using it with a digital piano.

    I am concerned if I could actually plug my digital piano to the device and record directly via 1/4 (and at the same time hear the music coming out from my Yamaha P105 speakers off course) and if it would be better than the mic recording with the room sound (I like to play using the sustain pedal most of the time). I have a Creative Soundblaster X-fi XtremeMusic board on my computer and I have done some recordings with line in but for some reason the sound on the room recorded with mic is a little bit richer than what the line in recording.

    Thanks for replying and for the job done here,

    Kind Regards,


    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Francisco, the Soundblaster is recording a very ‘dry’ signal. Try applying some reverb and EQ in your DAW software. The reason the mic sounds richer is it is capturing some of the natural reverb of your room. If you want to upgrade your interface look for one with good quality line-in, rather than one which is dedicated to guitar. Many interfaces will do both very well though. Stick with a good brand like Tascam, Focusrite, etc and you should get a nice quality result. But you will still be recording ‘dry’ so will need to apply effects when mixing your recording to get the sound you want. Regards Jane

  26. Bikash says

    Hi Jane,
    I am using casio ctk6300in ( I am new to it ) I want to record both audio and video at the same time I am using a DSLR camera ( Nikon D 90 )which doesnot have audio in , so only way is to record directly but in that case I cant play it loud coz that will disturb others and my house owner may kick my butt and throw me out. is there any other option , like connecting the keyboard to smartphone ??? any other option ????

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Bikash, I suggest you record from the line outputs, and connect headphones as well so that only you can hear what you are playing! Regards Jane

  27. says

    I have a question. If I do this, it doesn’t transmit MIDI date right? So, I wouldn’t be able to edit velocity or quantize? It this correct?

    If there is a way to use my keyboard and edit the MIDI data, that would be a GODSEND.

    • says

      If it is indeed impossible to do this, is there a way for me to create my own MIDI instrument by recording each individual note from one of my keyboard’s samples, then mapping them to their corresponding keys?

      I use Logic Pro FYI.

      • Jane Sherratt says

        See my last answer. Record MIDI tracks in Logic, edit them, then play them back to your keyboard. I am sure that will be the way forward for you. Regards Jane

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, if you record the sound of your keyboard as an audio file then you can’t do the MIDI editing tasks you mention. If you make a MIDI connection then you can do all the MIDI editing on the computer, you should then be able to play back to your keyboard as the MIDI output device. Hope that helps

  28. Robbie says

    Hi Jane
    I’m currently thinking of buying a digital piano. I am confused between choosing the yamaha p35 or the p105. One of my main concerns is recording my playing. I play with a band but normally compose at on my own home. I would like to keep track of my work in progress so recording is important for me. I know that the p35 has midi port whilst the p105 has a USB port instead. Any suggestions which is best in this case pls? Thanks!

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Robbie
      The Yamaha piano with the USB port will enable you to make MIDI connection without any other equipment. If you purchase the one with just standard MIDI port then you will need to buy a MIDI interface. Bear in mind in either case, this will be recording the MIDI signal, not the actual sound of the keyboard. To do that you will need to run the Line output of the keyboard through an audio interface. Hope that helps.

  29. Phil Blake says

    Hi Jane,

    I have a Yamaha P-80 digital keyboard. I saw your comment about how the MIDI does not actually record the actual sound or song I want to record. So I was going to purchase the Alesis LineLink AudioLink Series Dual-1/4-inch-to-USB-Cable. The question is do I need additional software to make the recording? I just want to record the song, have a file of that song and put it on my iphone or computer. The P-80 has 2 headphone jacks. Not sure if I’ll need to use both jacks or just one.



    • Jane Sherratt says

      You can record using a simple recording program such as Audacity, which is free and very easy to use. You can then export as an MP3 (see instructions on Audacity site for how to do this) and play it back on your phone etc. The problem you may have is the 2 headphone jacks will both be stereo outputs, the Linelink as mono left and right. If you use that Linelink you will need to purchase a Y-Cable to allow you to plug a stereo jack into one of the headphone sockets, that splits to two mono sockets for the Linelink Such as this one: the Hosa YPP-117

      • Phil Blake says

        Thank You very much. Linelink came today, I’ve downloaded Audacity and I’ve ordered the Y cable. Your blog was very, very helpful. Again, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

          • Sanj says

            Jane I have a Yamaha PSR 293 keyboard and I have it connected to my laptop via USB. I am already using my laptops headphone out ports to larger speakers so I can hear and record sounds on my laptop from my keyboard. The keyboard has a button saying “PC” I selected this using PC1 (assuming since its connected to my PC). I am using FL Studio 11 to record any sounds. In order to get sound into FL Studio 11 from my keyboard would I need to :

            1) Select anything unique on my laptops soundcard
            2) Use a USB interface and connect keyboard to the interface using the 1/4 port
            3) Or change something in FL Studio to allow sounds to come in

            Thanks for your time. Your very informative.

            Sanj Mann

          • Jane Sherratt says

            The USB connection from the keyboard will be a MIDI connection, to record the actual sound you will need to do 2 and 3. ie you will need to purchase an audio interface to record the audio output of the keyboard, and you will need to choose that as the input in FL Studio – this is assuming you have the version which will enable audio recording. Hope that helps.

  30. Rakesh Mittu says

    Hi Jane
    I have been recording from my korg pa900 to garageband since 3 years by using 3.5 audio lead from keyboard to imac.Everything was fine.Since I bought new iMac there is no audio in new mac.So I bought new USB to 6.5 audio cable.Now the problem is a hissing sound coming when I press note.I am very much familiar with garageband and tried everything include adjusting noise gate.Please help.Thanks in advance!

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, if everything was working OK before, you will need to refer back to the manufacturer or seller of the cable you bought. Maybe it is not working right? It may be you need to spend a bit more on a higher quality interface.

  31. YamahaYPG235 says

    Hi. I just bought Yamaha ypg 235. Can you help me how to do step by step to record while singing and playing the keyboard. What microphone and filter and all that. Thank you very much for your help.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, this is beyond the scope of a blog comment reply, but your requirement is a very common one, and I am going to see what information I can put together for you,
      All the best,

  32. Pratik Patrick says

    Hi Jane
    I have Casio CTK 810in Keyboard. It has USB connectivity with PC(USB type: B). It’s GM level 1 MIDI Compatibility. I know how to record the sound of it to PC. My questions are >>
    1. Can i connect it directly to any production software say-Ableton live or Magix music maker with USB?
    2. Can i use it as a MIDI keyboard for the software above mentioned with or without using MIDI interface?

    Currently i’m using it with a mixer with inbuilt audio interface to record my tunes in PC.

    Thanks a lot.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi there, you should certainly be able to use it as a controller in Ableton or Mixcraft, and you shouldn’t need a separate interface. Look in the manual for the keyboard for details of how to set it up, but it should work if you connect it up correctly

  33. Robert Smith says

    Hi there,I have been playing my digital piano which is a yamaha clp340 for a couple of years and have recorded some music just using my mobile phoneand the sound quality is awful please see link below

    .Would you kindly be able to advise on the easiest way to get a better quality recording please ,I am finding it all quite confusing reading about different cables etc so the easiest explanation would be much appreciated also what software would you reccomend.I would still like to recird the video with my phone then somehow sync the audio to it after finishing recording.the connections I have under the piano are usbo devise (b) usb to host aux out (2 holes aux in ( 2 holes ) midi in….out….thru.
    Hope that all makes sence.Many thanks Rob

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Rob, the USB connection is only to transfer MIDI data back and forth, it will not allow you to record the sound of your piano. If you want to record the sound of your piano you will have to connect the headphone output (I think that is the only audio output on this piano) to an audio interface so you can record. Set up your recording software to record (Audacity or something similar would do) and start recording then make the video as usual. At the beginning of the video, play one note three times with a slight pause in between. It’s not quite a clapper board but should help you align the audio you record on your computer with the video on your phone in your video editing software. Once it is aligned you can separate out the audio from the video that you recorded on your phone and delete the phone audio. It’s going to be a bit of a fiddle but it is possible. Hope that helps a bit. Watch out for a page update I am going to try and make a step by step guide to doing this.

  34. Robert says

    Thanks Jane. ..your reply is much appreciated. I’m sure it will help and I look forward to your step by step guide on this.

  35. Tim says

    Hi Jane

    I have a Yamaha P-105 with a USB-to-Host connection port (as well as line-level AUX outputs) and would love to know whether there is a ‘simple’ way to record my stuff to a pc. There is no midi port. The keyboard does allow one to record one song internally for playback purposes etc, but that’s about it. It only stays in memory till it is overwritten by your next recording. To say that I am technically challenged, is putting it mildly! I noticed in a previous post that you mentioned Audacity as recording software one can use in the process as well, which sounds good.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.


    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi Tim
      I am in the middle of creating a complete step-by-step course on recording keyboard, so if you hop onto my mailing list (go to home page and subscribe there is easiest) then you will be contacted when it is available. Meanwhile, to record your keyboard in Audacity you will need to connect the audio out of your keyboard to a suitable audio interface connected to your computer to get the best result. The USB connection will transmit MIDI, the line level AUX output will be the output you will need to connect to the interface. Watch this space, obviously a lot of people struggle with the basics of this so I will be hoping to make it clearer!

  36. Heman says

    I am recording using the Alexis Linelink,Yamaha YPT 400 and a Windows 8 Laptop and the Y Converter. So far so good. I have no problems in recording except minute latency.

    but the main problem is that I want to hear from the keyboard what I am playing while NOT recording as well. Please help me.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, so I just looked at this keyboard and see the only audio output is the headphone socket, so I guess you are recording from that? Unfortunately the only way to hear will be to disconnect the y-cable as I guess that plugging into the headphone socket mutes the sound. Unless perhaps you add another link in the chain and get a headphone splitter so that you can plug headphones in as well as the y-cable convertor? Seems a bit convoluted but might work. Right now I am creating a step-by-step course on recording keyboard, so if you are interested make sure you subscribe so you get a notification when it is ready. I will try the headphone splitter out myself to see if it is a viable option Regards Jane

  37. Eddie says

    My problem is similar to Pogoxd. I have a Yamaha PSR E413.
    For recording I am a beginner.
    I connected the keyboard with a simple audio cable (MAPLIN), with adapter to the keyboard out-jack and the other end to the line-in jack (blue) of my computer (Win 7 with RealTek soundcard).
    I opened Audacity and clicked record button and played for a bit on the keyboard (as you said the sound is muted). But the recording was mostly a straight line with feeble bumps.
    Playing back gave no sound.
    So it seems that a simple cable is not enough.

    • Jane Sherratt says

      Hi, I am in the process of uploading a complete course on YouTube on exactly how to record your keyboard on your computer. If you subscribe to my channel I will shortly be uploading the videos about recording your keyboard using an audio cable as you have described.
      The first two videos are live with more coming very soon. They are already recorded, just need to upload them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *