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Keyboard & Bass to DAW: USB vrs MIDI

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by BassChap, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. BassChap


    May 17, 2013
    I want to get some recording gear somewhere in next 6 months. Thinking of a recording interface such as the Focusrite Scarlet 2i4 and a DAW such as Reaper.
    Now, my teenage daughter wants to get/buy a keyboard. A local internet store has an interesting discount on a Yahama EZ-220 which seems to be a good choice for her. However, this keyboard does not have MIDI connectors, only a "USB to Host" output.

    Some questions I am having:
    1. Would the USB to Host link record directly into a DAW? I would expect so, but I am asking anyhow.
    2. Would we be able to record my bass, the keyboard and a mic'd acoustic guitar at the same time in a DAW? The bass and guitar through the recording interface and the keyboard directly through USB?
    3. If the interface and the keyboard both have MIDI (the 2i4 has), the all three instruments could be recorded simultaneously through the interface. Am I right?
    4. If both 2 and 3 are possible: is there a preference?

    Hope to get some insights, guys. Thanks.

    Cheers, BassChap
  2. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    IMHO it's better for you to read/learn much first about all this DAW /Home recording topic (there are many in internet such as this http://bandic22.hubpages.com/hub/Beginners-Guide-to-Home-Recording-Equipment there are also many other forum about home recording/project studio that can be a good place to learn) so you'll be better informed before start (buying or) anything about it.
    It's not that hard to start (tho it can be complicated enough as you go along the way as your needs move up) but obviously it's not that easy either.

    I'll answer your questions briefly, Surely many TBers here will be able to help you too:

    1. I don't really know about Yamaha EZ-220, but I think it's one of Keyboard that you can use to be a MIDI controller for your DAW, It has an USB.. to connect to your DAW Computer, just as old MIDI cable (think of it as a MIDI via USB). Via the USB, you can 'control' (play MIDI data) with the keyboard, which can be recorded by the DAW software in the computer. The recorded data thru it is not "Audio data" but "MIDI data" that later you can use it to trigger sound from any other MIDI sound generator.
    Obviusly you also have to buy/have a DAW software for it. In the case of "Focusrite 2i4" audio interface, I see in Amazon.com that it sell already bundled with Ableton Live Lite 8, a good DAW actually.
    FYI There also are what they called 'Virtual Synth' (software synthesizer/sampler etc - sound generators as I said it earlier) that you can use within the DAW software, that can be triggered live by your MIDI Keyboard Controller (in this case the Yamaha) or later by your recorded MIDI data.
    Many DAW software gives you some free Virtual Synth software bundled with it, but actually they are another 'Instrument' that sold separately by same or other manufacturers as/than the DAW manufacturer.

    2. Yes, it can, if you have the right Audio Interface which has enough audio input. From what you describe, you need to have an audio interface with at least 4 (analog) audio input. Or, After I read the spec of the Focusrite 2i4 interface that only has 2 input, it means to record them together, you only can record the MIDI data of the keyboard, not the (analog) audio of it. (Scenario: audio input one for bass, audio input 2 for the mic'd guitar, and the keyboard itself only can be recorded it's MIDI Data, thru it's USB (MIDI) cable direct to the DAW Computer.

    3. Yes. But as I wrote above, the MIDI data from the keyboard could be recorded thru it's USB directly to the DAW software in the Computer (Cubase/Logic/Ableton Live...etc). You can ignored the Focusrite's (old type) MIDI input. With that setup you'll have 2 USB connections from the computer, one to the Focusrite Audio Interface, another to the Yamaha keyboard, and none actual MIDI cable.

    4. Do you mean "Preference" for the audio interface? I never use Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, but from googling it I think it's good enough for you for that purpose. Of course there are so many other options of Audio Interface, various quality, various input/output and various price range.

    Sorry if I don't explain it as good as I'd like to or as you need it to LOL I have English limitation.
    I really recommend you to read and learn a lot first BTW.

    Good Luck.
  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Many keyboards and controllers are dropping the 5 pin MIDI in favor of USB MIDI.
    It just looks like another MIDI device to software programs.

    You can record midi, while playing audio on the keyboard, while you simultaneously record the audio. This is actually a good way to do it as you can easily do things. It makes it easier to revoice with a VST plugin from the MIDI if you want. Most DAWs will automatically take care of any latency between audio and MIDI.
  4. BassChap


    May 17, 2013
    Thanks for the answers, dog & monkey! I just ordered the keyboard.

    Cheers, BassChap.