Input from group for recording setup

With the holiday shopping season in full force, I would like to enter the modern world and buy a basic recording setup so I can play for fun on Zoom or possibly record and make a collection of songs for giggles. I have an ancient Yamaha Motif ES8 and Logic Pro but plan on buying everything else. New MIDI cables (what brands are best), microphones, etc. I can either hookup to my iMAC on the other side of the room or use an older Macbook Pro / 2021 iPad Pro.

Any hand holding would be appreciated from the community.

There’s a thread just a few years old that I just saw and will start studying for ideas. Any updates from the thread would be appreciated but I suspect it has most of everything I need.

Hi Leo,

I assume you’ll be using Logic Pro for recording; there’s a bit of a learning curve but it’s very powerful and a great tool. Scott started a thread on it.

A key question is whether you want to use internal sounds from the Motif or just use it as a MIDI controller, adding a virtual instrument with your Mac. You mentioned MIDI cables so I assume it’s the latter. If so, the input into your Mac will be via USB. I believe the Yamaha Motif series has a USB out port, so all you need is a USB cable that connects your keyboard (USB A male connector) to your Mac (USB-C or whatever it uses). No 5 pin MIDI cables are needed.

If you want to use internal sounds from Motif, then you’ll need a D-A converter (you’ll probably want one anyhow). Most people get the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Also, if you want to record your voice you’ll need (obviously) a microphone which, assuming it’s a conventional and not a USB microphone, will also go into the D-A converter.

To summarize:

  1. USB cable connecting computer to converter
  2. USB cable connecting keyboard to computer
  3. microphone cable going into converter

You’ll want the computer readily accessible at the keyboard so use the Macbook. (ipad would probably work also but I don’t know about multiple inputs).

If you get the Focusrite converter it comes with step by step instructions of how to setup the connections and the settings in the Mac; but you’ll need to know what to do with Logic.

Hope this helps.

Greg

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Greg,

Your post was perfect and exactly what I needed. Can you explain the pros / cons of using the Motif sounds vs using it as a MIDI controller? I suspect the 2nd option would be better as there are lots of software to add virtual instruments and you could do more (not to mention that my keyboard is so old that I imagine the software sounds are more advanced now).

Do you have a recommendation for a microphone? I don’t sing but I could end up finding a singer that I could accompany once I reach that level.

Appreciate the post.

Leo

@leo,

Greg’s pretty much laid out how you might proceed. Unless someone is fronting you the money or gifting everything, I’d set things up in phases. Since you don’t sing (neither do I), a microphone isn’t really necessary at first.

I’d focus on getting your Motif communicating with Logic Pro. Then take some time to get up to speed with Logic. You can get some of the basics down pretty quickly and then study more to figure out the finer points. I’ve included time in my practice routine for learning Logic.

Also there’s something to check out. Greg said:

If you want to use internal sounds from Motif, then you’ll need a D-A converter (you’ll probably want one anyhow). Most people get the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Also, if you want to record your voice you’ll need (obviously) a microphone which, assuming it’s a conventional and not a USB microphone, will also go into the D-A converter.

I use a Roland RD-2000 as my MIDI controller. I know nothing about the Motif, but I found a video that showed me how to use my keyboard to play either the onboard sounds or a virtual instrument using just one simple USB connection. You might want to explore online to see if that’s possible with your keyboard. It might save you some money and probably a lot of headaches figuring stuff out. :smiley:

Post anything further about this on the thread Greg mentioned. I’ll try to help you out, and I’m sure Greg or someone else will be glad to chime in.

Enjoy your adventure with Logic Pro. I’m looking forward to hearing your efforts. :musical_keyboard:

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Hey @leo

I have the exact setup that @gregb mentions regarding mic, midi cables, and Focusrite converter - photos below.

The Shure SM7B mic is widely used by podcasters, educators, and I believe also for folks who want professional quality audio for Zoom meetings.

One addition I have is the Cloudlifter which works nicely with the Shure SM7B mic to improve the sound quality.

I highly recommend this setup for ease of use and the quality of the audio.

You will see below that my keyboard is connected directly into my MacBook via USB, and the other USB is coming from the Focusrite converter.

Like @scott1 I’m a big fan of Roland keyboards and the RD88 is the one I’m using at the moment.

Here’s a thread with some photos on connecting your keyboard to your computer using a MIDI cable:

I find these basic cables from Amazon to do job just fine:

It’s also the same cable that connects printers to computers, so if you have a non-wifi-connected printer in your house you can test with that cable.

You might want to purchase a longer version cable from Amazon depending on how far your piano keyboard is to your computer. I have the 10 FT cable.

@Scott,

Thank you for some great advice!

It never occurred to me to integrate learning software into the practice routine

@Hayden,

Thank you for the photos as this really helps make sense of what needs to be done!!

I want to upgrade my Motif ES but won’t allow myself that luxury til I progress to a level that I can comfortably say, “I earned it”. I’ll keep the Roland keyboards in mind.

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@Hayden,

I was looking at your setup more closely this morning and noticed you have Midiculous Pro on your laptop.

What is your current opinion of this app these days? I like to use it to play back music to figure out notes but haven’t gotten around to learning the software for more of its powerful features.