Goal: Record high-quality audio, without distortions and clippings, from digital piano to PC, mix recorded audio, make amateur compositions.


  • This is just an amateur thing in a casual home setting
  • My Yamaha YDP-S30 digital piano has two 1/4" stereo outs
    • The brochure and owner's manual says nothing about Line Out or Aux Out
  • I am running a powerful Windows 7 PC without a sound card running Cubase 5
  • I plan to purchase an audio interface
  • I am a complete beginner to the basics of digital recording, but I already understand:
    • the distinction between MIDI and recorded audio
    • the difference in method and output quality between:
      • recording using an external device:
        • recording using a condenser microphone (highest studio-like quality)
        • recording using a crappy laptop mic or cellular phone mic
      • recording directly from the output jacks

Main Questions:

  1. What process would you recommend for recording the highest-quality recorded audio? What should I know about this process (e.g. turn the PC volume all the way up for line-in recording)?

    Without using an external microphone, and only using the headphone jack out on the digital piano, is connecting that to an audio interface, and connecting the audio interface to my PC going to give me excellent sound quality (defined as no distortions and clippings)?

  2. Is an audio interface a necessary purchase for high-quality headphone jack out recording? Which audio interface should I purchase? Is this audio interface a good purchase?

Trivia Questions:

  1. What, if any, are the differences between aux out, line out, and headphone jack out in the context of digital piano recording? Is headphone jack out just line out?

  2. What is the difference in recording quality among audio recorded from aux out, line out, and headphone jack out, assuming they are paired with the best possible corresponding X in?

  3. Which X in should each corresponding X out be connected to? Does this have to do with impedance levels? What is impedance as explained to a 5-year old and why is it important?

  • This question appears to be very broad, covering multiple different questions in one. You may want to consider breaking it out to individual questions that can be answered directly. – AJ Henderson Feb 28 '14 at 15:44
  • Hi Jason, as you'll have seen, you have bits of answers in the accepted answer below. Please ask separate questions so they can each be answered. – Rory Alsop Mar 1 '14 at 1:50

Line & auxiliary outputs are typically mono. Line level is a rating of typical operating level (usually +4dBu on pro equipment, and -10dBu on consumer goods), and headphone out specifications can change by manufacturer, and a lot of the time by the device itself. Auxiliary outputs are mostly the same as a line output but commonly used as an additional, or alternate route to send the audio. I am going to say that experience will be your best teacher for a lot of things, so for consistency and likelihood of real-world application, I will make some recommendations for you.

First, you should try and use your 1/4" outputs. You mentioned quality a few times, and a headphone output and that Behringer card, for me, would be a last resort. You should look to spend $100-150 on a more reputable USB interface from a manufacturer like Focusrite, Tascam, or even Presonus. Look for something with two 1/4" inputs and adjustable level controls (particularly gain and volume). Because recording quality is partly dependent upon the equipment, the skill of the person using it, and of course the talent of the [musician], by your definition of no distortions or clippings, this should set you up on the right path.

In Cubase you will probably need to use Stereo Audio Tracks to record, and you will want to adjust your keyboard output, and interface input so that Cubase registers an input level above -10dB, and below 0dB (0dB is clipping), get it to sound good somewhere between -6dB and -3dB and you are doing pretty good.

Xout goes into Xin. Left out-left in, right out-right in. Nothing to do with impedance. Impedance to a 5year old is that even though the triangle fits in the square slot, the square matches the square slot better.

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