I need help with my piano...

  • I need some electronic guidance over my Yamaha Ydp-135 electric piano. Its a lovely thing, and I'm itching to do some micro looping with it, but sadly for some bizarre reason it only comes with 2 stereo headphone outputs, and no line out. I've tried using a microphone to line out, and it works, but there's a faint horrible screeching noise in the background. I know these outputs need attenuating to line level, but I've no idea how to go about it. I've tried searching for devices that can transform a headphone output to a line level, but no luck.

    Any help would be much appreciated :-)

  • Do you have the specs for the headphone outputs? Headphone amps usually only boost the voltage a little over line level to drive high impedance phones so in general you can get by just treating it as a line out. If the piano has volume control for the outputs I would experiment with those to see if it helps with the clarity of the signal.

    If that doesn't do it then there's a whole world of boxes available to fix problems like this. I can recommend ART http://www.artproaudio.com/ and Radial http://www.radialeng.com products.

  • Sadly I don't, my dad seems to think it will be around 1w. All's it says in the manual about wattage is the power consumption and output of the internal speakers which are x2 6w.

    I've tried the mic pre amp and ive gone directly into my motu 828mk2 using a stereo jack to 2 phono/jack and that was worse.

    Will check out them links now!

  • I'm not 100% sure what I'm looking for, is this what I need maybe?

    http://artproaudio.com/art_products/audio_solutions/di_boxes/product/pdb/

    or this

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Art-Artcessories-Dual-Z-Direct-passive-DI-Direct-Box-/290710984687?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item43afb997ef

    Should it be passive?

    Thanks.

  • Weeeeelll... It's hard to say exactly what you need but a DI box (direct box/direct injection box) is the best way to step down line level to mic level. Plus you get the advantage of making the signal balanced (better for ground noise rejection and AC hum). If you spring for a transformer isolated DI you get even better noise rejection.

    But in all honesty I think the screeching noise is probably not a ground or AC problem. It could be the low voltage DC power circuit of the headphone amp bleeding noise into the signal or some other unshielded circuitry in the piano so it's not a guaranteed fix passing the signal through a DI.

    If you want to try it I would say try a passive DI as then it's one less power supply/battery to worry about. The one in the eBay listing looks like a decent choice as the low pass filters and isolation, as well as the switchable attenuators, might just give you the combination of tools you need...And 35quid is a decent price for all that.

    edit: Also... Go for a stereo/dual mono DI and get a 1/4" stereo to dual 1/4" mono cable. You might find that your piano sounds are mono and just doubled up for headphones, and that the noise is on one channel and not the other.

  • That's great! Thanks for all your help :-)

    The screeching theory does sound very possible after you explaining. It's just a shame they never put a line out on my piano. My Dad said that maybe we could tap into the speaker outputs if worse come to worse, but that's a last resort IF its at all possible. Yes, the cable I am using is a QED mini jack to 2 phono's with jack extensions either side so it should coincide with what you said last possibly.

    Decisions decisions..Do I go for the Art, or a cheaper Behringer equivalent for £26

  • I'm kind of a Behringer naysayer 'round these parts, ESPECIALLY when it comes to their budget audio line... Stuff always breaks and the audio quality just isn't there. If you search "behringer" on here you'll find me saying that over and over.

  • If you're going to do a recording, and care about getting good quality, do not go for the behringer. I've heard nasty things about it. And I would suggest staying away of the Art as well. Mainly because a passive DI is just a transformer... And good quality audio transformers are pricey.
    But, if you just want it do do the stepping down to mic-pre level and do not care about noise and frequency bumps, go cheap.

  • Cheers guys,

    Well I'll defo stay clear of Berhinger then...

    @Ombudsman

    So you can get a much dearer version of the Art then (dual), if I wanted a guaranteed 100% noise free headphone - line.. Could you please provide a link to something like this just to give me a rough idea of what I'm looking at.

    Mind you I could always try the Art as the seller does except returns..

  • Heh... As Ombudsman says, "good quality audio transformers are pricey" and I suggested ART as the budget solution of what you're looking for in an attempt to keep some perspective: You may prefer something along the lines of a Neve Portico 5017 that will set you back $1000+ but considering you can pick up a YDP-135 for near $1000, I suspect that you don't wanna spend the same again, or even half, for a DI as you would be better off buying a new piano.

    The ART products I've used have all been clean but, purists would say, color your sound. In my opinion, the coloration is minimal and not unpleasing, tending on the warm side... And, to be fair, noise removal is possible with cheaper DIs but it depends how detailed/anal you want to get with your signals as to what level or removal is acceptable.

    I personally use Radial DIs which are more expensive than the ART one you were looking at, coming in at a few hundred bucks a channel. Radial are good enough for me, probably a little overkill for what I am doing. I'm not trying to be Pink Floyd...

    I'd say give ART a try and see what you think. Send it back if it doesn't work out. Check the return policy first!

  • BTW http://www.canford.co.uk/ are a good source of technical info... You're in the UK, right? Give them a call or drop them an email. They deal with broadcast solutions and know what they're talking about and what products will do the job better than most.

  • God yes I don't want to be spending anything more than the 35 squid Art DI. I was just curious on how much a tip top one would cost, but I suppose its like anything, the sky's the limit! Its just all the years tinkering around, I've never actually come across these boxes before, and didn't realise they were needed in the professional world of audio.

    Yes I'm in the UK, and I've heard of Canford so I will drop them a line before I go for the ART, and I'll double check the returns policy too :-)

    Will get onto it asap tomorrow :-)

    Thanks for all your help again!

  • ART is fine... It's just not the first company I would look to. But they have been known to make some really good stuff for not much money.
    Radial is great!

  • Great!

    I've just spoke to Canford, and spoke to a very helpful guy at tech support. First he advised me on a few things I had already tried, but unfortunately their solution was 1 transformer per channel at £100 each. He then advised me to go on the internet, so I told him about the Art dual on ebay, and he gave the thumbs up too :-)

    I'll order it asap and let you know how I get on.

    Thanks for all your technical help too!