The Digital Piano
For my simple computer-based recording system, there are three essential elements: the sound source (musical instruments), the audio interface, and the computer hardware/software. I'll talk at length about the latter two elements in upcoming posts. Here, my focus is on the "workhorse" instrument - the keyboard. Other instruments, such as guitar, violin, cello, and voice, are also possible sound sources. But since I am a pianist, the keyboard instrument gets full attention here !
I should point out that the choice of specific brands/models for equipment throughout this blog reflects my own preferences, based on functional capabilities and performance of the equipment that I need for my artistic purposes. Furthermore, I am limited in budget, so that has a substantial impact on the equipment selected. I am not endorsing any particular brand/model -- no advertisement is intended !
That said, I was 'sold' on getting a mid-level Yamaha digital piano. In my opinion, Yamaha has the most advanced technology for both sampled sound and mechanical keyboard action. Simply put, I sound better and play better on a Yamaha !
I could afford to acquire a new Yamaha Clavinova CLP-685. This piano is the least expensive model that has all the advanced technology I wanted in its grand piano voicing and action, including binaural sampling of the Yamaha CFX grand piano, the touch and release (escapement) of the counter-weighted keys and the 88-key linear graded hammers. That's my Yamaha Clavinova in the photo above.
In addition to being my grand piano, the CLP-685 provides hundreds of other synthesized voices that can serve as my 'virtual instruments' for sound sources. While the keyboard comes with a MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) output that can be used to record instrument tracks on the computer, I solely use the analog audio signal output of the CLP-685. I prefer to capture the full dynamic nature of a 'live' performance in the analog signal that is recorded to audio tracks on the computer.
The analog signal from the Yamaha keyboard instrument is output via two 1/4" TS
(Tip-Sleeve) jacks - a left channel and a right channel. These analog signal connections, shown as "AUX OUT" in the photo below, require the appropriate instrument cables to connect to the next piece of audio gear in the recording chain. I will talk a lot about cables and connectors in the next session.