Author Topic: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels  (Read 691 times)

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Offline danmc

PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« on: April 16, 2017, 12:16:55 PM »
I'm trying to record some audio from a Yamaha PSR-EW400 and am having some issues.  In particular, I am trying to use the USB digital audio output (not MIDI out but the digital audio).

I have downloaded the Yamaha Steinberg USB driver from yamaha. Under reaper preferences, I picked ASIO for the audio system, Yamaha Steinberg USB ASIO for the ASIO driver.

Things *mostly* work. I can add a track, press keys on the yamaha and see the VU meter move and arm/record the track and it "takes". The two issues I'm having are the following:

1) the levels seem quite low. To put a number on this, single notes at a time on #22 (one of the organ sounds) shows levels of around -30 dB in Reaper.  I'm guessing this is because they've set levels so that if you hit 48-notes at once (this kbd has 48-note polyphony) that you would not ever clip. However, for a single note line like what I'm wanting to record it puts the level really low. I've not figured out a way to bump that up before it gets into reaper and I hate to have to bump it up that much after the fact because it seems like I'll get into quantization noise fairly easily starting with 16-bit samples. I think I lose somewhere around 4-5 bits with the amount of digital gain that would be needed.

2) When I pick ASIO for the audio system, the audio *output* from reaper ends up feeding into the yamaha. And... and this is the worst part, it appears that what happens is that external audio (like the digital audio the computer is sending out) is added in with keyboard generated audio, and then sent to the speaker and also the digital audio out. Well.... you can guess what happens if I have the metronome going or some other track playing to make sure I play the keyboard part at the right spot. Yep, I get the met into my recording!

Surely there is some simple setting somewhere that tells reaper/the computer (windows 8.1) that audio out should *not* be sent to the yamaha but rather to either the speakers or headphones.

For the record, I'm sure that the recording path is via the digital audio because I've tried turning down the volume knob on the yamaha so I can't hear anything at all and I can still see stuff on the VU meter and can record. That was my sanity check to make sure I wasn't doing something silly like yamaha speaker -> laptop built in mic.

I've also experimented with other sound systems under the reaper prefs beside AISO (direct audio and WASAPI) but still end up with the crazy low levels. 
Thanks so much.
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2017, 02:52:53 PM »
On the PSR-E/YPT models that I have, most of the preset voices have low volume settings, so that's the first thing to check. After you select the voice you want to use, go into the Function menu and navigate to the "M.Volume" or Main Volume function to see what it's set on. Increase it until the levels in REAPER are to your liking. Yamaha generally recommends using a maximum volume of 100, but the Grand Piano voice is typically set to about 122 (the exact value has varied from one model to the next), so there's no reason you can't go all the way up to 127 if you want, as long as you adjust the Master Volume as needed to avoid distortion. In any case, many of the other voices have preset volumes of 60 or less, which I think is too low. Once you've adjusted the voice settings to something that sounds good to you, you can save the adjusted settings to a Registration for later recall.

You should also adjust the Master Volume knob, as well as the "MasterEQ" function setting. I suggest using the Grand Piano voice (number 1) as your baseline when adjusting the Master Volume, then leaving the Master Volume alone and adjusting the "M.Volume" function (or "D.Volume" or "S.Volume") for each voice you want to use. Lastly, use the "MasterEQ" to choose an equalizer preset that brings out the specific frequency ranges you want for those voices.

As for your other question, there's a "LoopBack" (or Audio Loop Back) function that controls whether incoming audio is output. It is turned on by default, so be sure to turn it off. On the other hand, you probably shouldn't be outputting REAPER's audio to the keyboard.
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443
 

Offline SciNote

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2017, 05:20:54 PM »
I'm curious as to how this plays out, pun semi-intended!  I have currently shelved plans to buy the E453 (which, of course, is essentially a 61 key version of the EW400), but one reason why I would is the direct USB audio out -- but if it doesn't work well, then it isn't worth it.

I know my E433 definitely has some absurdly low preset volume settings on some of the sounds, but it is mainly sounds in the XG-Lite range of voices.  When I was looking at the E453, it seemed they corrected this issue, somewhat.

As for adjusting the master volume knob, danmc said that he turned it all the way down to make sure he was using the digital output, and he said he could then hear nothing out of the speakers, but was still recording music through the USB -- Here's the quote:

"For the record, I'm sure that the recording path is via the digital audio because I've tried turning down the volume knob on the yamaha so I can't hear anything at all and I can still see stuff on the VU meter and can record. That was my sanity check to make sure I wasn't doing something silly like yamaha speaker -> laptop built in mic."

So this makes me wonder, how do you adjust the overall level output through the USB audio?  Yes, the main, dual, and split voice levels should affect the volume of those parts individually, and I would imagine that the Master EQ should work, as well.  But you'd think there should be some sort of master output level for the USB.  Maybe it's in one of the function settings?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 05:22:55 PM by SciNote »
Bob
Yamaha PSR-E433
Yamaha PSR-520
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2017, 06:36:29 PM »
From page 37 of the Owner's Manual (emphasis added):

Quote
NOTICE
• Use an AB type USB cable of less than 3 meters. USB 3.0
cables cannot be used.
If you are using a DAW (digital audio workstation) with this
instrument, set the Audio Loop Back (page 60) to OFF.
Otherwise,
a loud sound may occur, depending on the settings
of the computer or the application software.

NOTE
The volume can be adjusted on the computer, and also by
using the instrument’s [MASTER VOLUME] control.
If you
want to adjust the volume balance between the audio input
from the external device and Song/Style/Pattern, use the
[ASSIGN] button to select Function number 5, then turn Knob
A (page 46).
The audio input volume from the [USB TO HOST] terminal can
also be adjusted in the Function Settings (page 58, Function
005).

So it looks to me like the Master Volume knob does in fact affect the volume of the sounds going to the USB audio output.
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2017, 07:13:03 PM »
Also, if the Audio Loop Back is turned on, it's possible that the balance is off between the audio coming in through the USB and the sounds being generated by the keyboard (see page 47):

Quote
Number/Effect
5
Volume Balance/
Pattern Retrigger

Try This
Knob A: Connect an audio device or a computer (page 36), then turn this knob while
playing audio on the external device. You can adjust the volume balance between the
performance on this instrument and the audio input.
Knob B: Select the Section C of the Pattern “002 FrenchDJ” and start Pattern playback.
Turn this knob to the right while holding down the Section button C, and you can progressively
shorten the Retrigger rate like a DJ would in performance.

EDIT: One last thought is that it might be a good idea to use the Knob A balance setting to make sure the balance is set to 100% keyboard and 0% audio input. That is, I'm not sure how the balance setting works, but I'm wondering if it varies from 0%/100% to 100%/0%, with the middle setting being 50%/50%. You want to make sure the keyboard is transmitting its own sounds at 100%, rather than being reduced in any way to mix it with the audio input.

Since I don't have a PSR-E453 or PSR-EW400, I'm in the dark about how these things work, other than the descriptions given in the manual, so please do let us know the outcome. :)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 10:33:03 PM by SeaGtGruff »
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443
 

Offline SciNote

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 12:58:04 AM »
From page 37 of the Owner's Manual (emphasis added):

So it looks to me like the Master Volume knob does in fact affect the volume of the sounds going to the USB audio output.

Interesting.  Wonder why he was still getting sound on recording when he turns down the volume knob.  Maybe it has to do with the Audio Loop Back function that may have been switched on.
Bob
Yamaha PSR-E433
Yamaha PSR-520
 

Offline danmc

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2017, 05:56:01 PM »
Thanks so much for all the suggestions.  Here is what I've found.

- loopback.  It is function 58 and was on by default.  When I turn it off that solves one of my problems!  Yay!  Using the ASIO sound system and Yamaha Steinberg USB ASIO driver, I can't seem to find a way to route reaper output someplace other than the EW400, but with loopback off, the sound (from reaper) plays on the yamaha speaker but it doesn't get looped back.  Loopback on/off does not appear to affect the digital output level from the EW400.

- M.Volume is function 11.  For voice 22 it was set at 65 which is pretty low.  So I cranked that up which helped a bunch.

- Volume balance seemed to affect the balance between EW400 style and voice.

- I'm quite sure the master volume knob is not affecting the digital output level.  I held down a key and turned the master volume knob from min to something loud while monitoring the level meter in reaper and saw no meter change while the level in the speakers changed a lot.

Anyway, with the loopback solved and turning up the M.Volume I think I'm in much happier place.    I actually did read over the manual but just missed the loopback thing. 

Thanks so much for the help.

-Dan
 
The following users thanked this post: SeaGtGruff

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 02:07:15 AM »
Dan, given what you've reported about the Master Volume knob and the digital audio output, I guess when the Owners Manual mentioned adjusting the volume with the Master Volume knob, it was referring to the audio coming back from the DAW.

By the way, I was going to say something before but was hesitant to do so. On another site there were some members discussing the USB audio coming from a Yamaha synth, and one member said that he likes to cut the ground wire (if I remember correctly) inside the USB cable, because doing so improves the quality of the signal (if I remember correctly). I've never tried doing that, and don't recommend tampering with cables or wiring unless you know exactly what you're doing-- and since I wouldn't know what I was doing, that's why I've never tried it. So I'm not endorsing or recommending it, but am hesitantly mentioning it in case you have any interest in researching it further.
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443
 

Offline danmc

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2017, 05:41:30 AM »
Dan, given what you've reported about the Master Volume knob and the digital audio output, I guess when the Owners Manual mentioned adjusting the volume with the Master Volume knob, it was referring to the audio coming back from the DAW.

That is consistent with what I observed experimentally.  That knob just acted like a master volume to the speaker.

By the way, I was going to say something before but was hesitant to do so. On another site there were some members discussing the USB audio coming from a Yamaha synth, and one member said that he likes to cut the ground wire (if I remember correctly) inside the USB cable, because doing so improves the quality of the signal (if I remember correctly). I've never tried doing that, and don't recommend tampering with cables or wiring unless you know exactly what you're doing-- and since I wouldn't know what I was doing, that's why I've never tried it. So I'm not endorsing or recommending it, but am hesitantly mentioning it in case you have any interest in researching it further.
I'd be interested in understanding what that setup was and what made them think that.  As an EE I am skeptical.  I would expect that issues around USB cables would be fairly binary meaning totally working or total failure with the window between the two to be fairly narrow.  But usb audio is also not my area of expertise so there could be something I'm not considering.

Thanks again for all the help.  I very much appreciate it!

-Dan


 

Offline SciNote

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2017, 09:11:38 AM »
So then that goes back to one of the original concerns.  If the master volume does not actually control the digital output volume through the USB, then that could be a concern.  For example, I might want to do a fade-out while recording, and it doesn't look like that is possible, though it could easily be added after recording a song to Audacity.  But also, as what was the original concern, it means you cannot easily adjust the overall volume of a digital recording from the keyboard without adjusting the Main, Dual, and Split voice volumes separately, which would often mean reprogramming registrations where I have sounds with that information stored.

Like danmc said, you can always raise the volume of the recording on the DAW after the recording is done, but if it is too low to start with, you may lose sound quality.  Wonder why Yamaha did that.  My guess would be to avoid excessively loud volumes, which could cause distortion.
Bob
Yamaha PSR-E433
Yamaha PSR-520
 

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: PSR-EW 400 low digital audio levels
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2017, 12:04:10 PM »
Yes, the reason I'd assumed that the Master Volume affects the digital audio output level was because it made sense for it to be that way-- especially since it does affect the analog audio output level-- so finding out that the Master Volume does not affect the digital audio output level is surprising to me.

One possibility for fading out the digital audio might be to use an expression pedal-- except the PSR-E models don't have a jack for an expression pedal. In fact, I'm not actually sure whether an expression pedal would work for this, since I've never used one. I do have a MIDI keyboard controller that has a jack for an expression pedal, so I'll probably buy one and use it indirectly with my Yamahas; in fact, I'm not sure why I didn't buy one years ago!

An alternative might be to use the DAW or an app to send CC messages to the keyboard to reduce the volume (expression) of each channel. I think there's also a SysEx message for Master Volume, although I don't know whether the PSR-E models will respond to it.

In fact, when using the keyboard with a DAW, the most flexible approach is to turn off Local Control, bounce the keyboard's outgoing MIDI from the DAW back to the keyboard (so it's acting like a controller for a separate sound module), and then record the audio output in the DAW. That way you can use the DAW to merge the keyboard's MIDI messages with those from other controllers-- or from the DAW itself-- so you can dynamically change the selected voices and adjust things like Channel Volume, Expression, and other parameters "live" rather than having to set up a lot of registrations ahead of time.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 12:05:49 PM by SeaGtGruff »
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443