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Hardware Thread, Help with Audio on Sibelious with USB Yamaha Keyboard in Technical; Hi all, I am looking for some help with our Audio/Sibelious/USB Keyboard setup. Ok here is the setup: Win 7 ...
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    Help with Audio on Sibelious with USB Yamaha Keyboard

    Hi all,

    I am looking for some help with our Audio/Sibelious/USB Keyboard setup.

    Ok here is the setup:

    Win 7
    Sibelious 6
    Creative SB0770 sound cards
    Yamaha keyboard with USB connection

    The problem is the quality of sound through the PC when using the keyboard.

    The Keyboard is connected to the Microphone port of the creative sound card and the headphones are connected to the headphone port on the creative soundcard. This allows the pupils to 'play along' with the music as they listen through the headphones.

    I have tried loads of different versions of the creative driver as well as using the Windows 7 native driver and the sound quality is just awful. I am just waiting on delivery of a fairly decnt USB soundcard with loads of inputs so will see if that helps but I am not holding out too much help.

    Can anyone think of an alternative setup to this? I think the problem lies with the keyboard being connected to the microphone port, and it just can't hack it.

    Help please! this is driving me mad!

    Thank you

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    Duke's Avatar
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    I'm just throwing this out there, but if you're using the line-out from the keyboard and plugging it into a mic input then it won't work (properly).

    Line level is pre-amp'd, mic/instrument level isn't, so your sound card is either not liking to re-amp a line-level feed or is doing so and making it sound bad. Is there no line-in on the PCs?

    Typical setup in a music classroom would be midi controller keyboards, Cubase and Sibelius. The midi KB's run over USB, and beyond basic output utilities the soundcard is fairly redundant.

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    That is interesting, thanks...I dont know anything about Cubase...will look into it.

    This whole thing was setup by an external company and the IT department were never informed that it was being installed. Of course the music dept then wanted the computers to be on our domain which we obliged with....but then the outside company washed thier hands of the system becuase we broke the terms of the warranty :-(.

    The creative sound card has 5 inputs but none seem to work as 'line in'. There is a line in on the onboard soundcard and in fact I am now using this as the best quality arrangment I can find is using the line in on the onboard card and the headphone/speaker jack on the creative card.

    However according to the music teacher (who knows about these things) there is a slight delay on pressing the keys on the keyboard and actually hearing it.

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    Just looked at cubase and see it is expensive...ouch.....

    so does cubase convert the USB midi input into audio? Are thier any alternatives (cheaper!)

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjgreen View Post
    This whole thing was setup by an external company and the IT department were never informed that it was being installed. Of course the music dept then wanted the computers to be on our domain which we obliged with....but then the outside company washed thier hands of the system becuase we broke the terms of the warranty.
    Ouch... :-(

    We've got Creative soundcards too and they're alright, although as I said we don't use them much beyond an output for sound. When we used old-style midi (rather than midi over USB) the input for that was on the Creative cards. The delay your music teacher is talking about is latency, and it's one of the more difficult problems to solve on school-budget equipment. More expensive soundcards will have better processors and higher quality drivers that will minimise the latency to an acceptable level. Updating the drivers for your existing cards might be a good start to troubleshooting the problem though.

    Cubase isn't particularly cheap, but it's a whole music creation suite. I'm not sure if Sibelius accepts midi inputs for playing/writing software off the top of my head, but if it does you shouldn't really need Cubase for what you're doing. If you just need the basics and Sibelius won't do what you want then I imagine there's plenty of cheap (FOSS?) solutions for basic midi playback, but to be completely honest I only know the basics of midi stuff.

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    Well I know that Sibelious does 'accept' the USB input as when I go to preferences, select the input device (Yamaha USB KB) and press the keys I can see that there is a little equalizer icon bouncing up and down which shows it detects the input. Whether Sibelious can turn that input into audio...I dont know.

    Then comes the problem of how I would hear the audio being played by the PC (e.g. the music which they will play along to)....obviously I would need to plug a pair of speakers into the headphone jack on the PC to hear this, but then thier would be nothing plugged into the 'output' jack on the keyboard so you would have a room full of kids playing KB's outloud instead of through the headphones.

    Argh!

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    ok, after a quick look through the guide for the sound card http://www.creative.com/oem/resource...rds/SB077x.pdf it seems that the mic input and line-in input are the same. It may be worth checking the software that creative installs with the drivers to see if there is a setting to enable/disable mic levels.

    As for the delay, it can get quite complicated, I would ask your music teacher (who knows what they are doing) to check the ASIO settings for the card and in the software, the buffer should be set as low as possible (note: too low and the sound will begin to click and stutter)

    as for other solutions

    • Cubase is great but may be too much cost wise and feature wise for what your after
    • Logic - if you want to scrap it all and buy a Mac
    • FL Studio from ImageLine - again not cheap
    • LMMS - Linux MultiMedia Studio this is free, and contains some good software synths that accept MIDI input

    The soundcard does most of the audio conversion it will accept the MIDI input and then tell the soundcard what sound to play based on the patch you have selected.

    Not sure what else there could be

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    Thanks sister_annex. I dont think buying alternative software is an option unfortunatly, but thanks for letting me know the options.

    I have had a look through the software creative installs and it is possible to play around with the mic levels but I have not had much joy. Basically even at the best I can get it, the quality is still REALLY poor. Thats why I have had to use the onboard (realtek) line in to get ok'ish results.

    Will have a look at the ASIO settings and see if there is anything I can do with that.

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    Ok, bare with me on this.... I've not enough coffee yet and my brain isn't functioning correctly.....

    So you want the kids to play along with music...... are these audio tracks or midi?

    I have done similar setups using sibelius on both mac and pc and used a bog standard sound card.

    What spec are the computers your trying this setup on? and ideally do you know what motherboard is being used.

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    The specs are pretty decent, I will go and have a look in a sec (nearly break time) and get the details you need.

    The audio tracks are ones that are pre-recorded in Sibelious so presumably that would come under the audio track catergory.

    Thanks very much for helping...will be back in 10 mins with the specs

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    Right guys, just been down to music and taken a look. These are the specs:

    Windows 7
    2GB Ram
    150GB HD
    Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 @ 2.8GHz

    Motherboard is Intel DG31PR

    Intel® Desktop Board DG31PR - Overview

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    Well the pc is certainly up to spec to do what you want and should have no problems doing what you need.

    I must admit, I've not used creative cards for a while so not sure if these ideas will help

    Couple of things to try.....
    have you thought going from the headphone socket on the keyboard into the mic/line in on the sound card.
    On input setting on the sound card, have you got mic boost enabled

    I'll have a bit more of a think when my head starts to work again...

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    Yes that is the current setup I have.
    If I go from the Keyboard headphone socket to the Mic/line in on the creative card the audio quality is terrible. I have had a look at the mic boost and if it is enabled it is even worse. It performs better with it off.

    The best quality I can get is using the line in on the onboard card and the headphone socket on the creative card.

    Thanks for helping

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjgreen View Post
    That is interesting, thanks...I dont know anything about Cubase...will look into it.

    This whole thing was setup by an external company and the IT department were never informed that it was being installed. Of course the music dept then wanted the computers to be on our domain which we obliged with....but then the outside company washed thier hands of the system becuase we broke the terms of the warranty :-(.

    The creative sound card has 5 inputs but none seem to work as 'line in'. There is a line in on the onboard soundcard and in fact I am now using this as the best quality arrangment I can find is using the line in on the onboard card and the headphone/speaker jack on the creative card.

    However according to the music teacher (who knows about these things) there is a slight delay on pressing the keys on the keyboard and actually hearing it.
    Do you actually have a copy of the warranty? I wouldn't have thought doing anything software related would void the warranty at all. Sounds like they're messing you about - it sounds like your school probably spent alot of money on these machines!

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    no, but the arguments had been going on for months before this. Now we have upgraded them to W7 there is no way they will help us unfortunatly.

    Anyway, that bits not my concern tbh, I just have to try and make it work!

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