I am completely lost trying to record music on my chromebook
July 27, 2016 4:41 PM   Subscribe

I have two chromebooks and a Yamaha YPT-320 keyboard. I have been trying like heck and failing at finding a way to record sounds from the keyboard to the chromebook. I would like to record multiple instrumental tracks that I could bring together and mess with in a garageband/ableton type program.

In my attempts to solve this problem, I have bought a midi to usb cable, an aux cord, and a usb microphone doohickey for the chromebooks. None of this has resulted in any sort of decent recording. I've tried audiotools, soundtrap, and soundnation, but to no avail. I was able to get some notes to record into soundnation but it was static-y and I couldn't hear the notes as I played them. I can't afford a new keyboard or to get a new computer, so I'm kind of stuck with what I've got. Do any of you have any advice on how I can go about making music with my chromebooks and entry level keyboard?
posted by holmesian to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have garageband/ableton? I would record into those programs, as well as use them for manipulation. All of these pieces of software have different menus to get your computer to read information from the midi keyboard, but you should be fine with the keyboard and midi->USB cable on the hardware side.

I would also look into using getting ASIO4ALL setup. This is an audio driver that can use the chromebook's existing hardware in a way that will reduce latency.

In Soundation, you want to use the MIDI button towards the bottom right. I'm on vacation, so I don't have access to a MIDI keyboard to walk you through the entire thing step by step, but I think if the USB driver is set up, it'll find it automatically. I recall soundation having lots of latency issues, though. You might want to explore some of these.
posted by lownote at 5:06 PM on July 27, 2016

It looks like there's some kind of command line sound recorder for chromebooks built in. Try hitting 'Ctrl+Alt+T' and then typing 'sound record 60'. That should record 60 seconds of audio.
posted by gregr at 5:10 PM on July 27, 2016

If you are adept enough with computers to feel comfortable switching a Chromebook to Linux, I'd suggest doing that and use Audacity to do the recording. Failing that, have you tried Twisted Wave?

The static could be caused by problems with the audio driver in Chrome OS and switching to Linux might help. But it could also be low quality electronics and no driver change will help.

For what you're doing, an old $20 windows XP machine from 2007 would be fine. I have a nice quality audio and midi interface I'll send you for free if you memail me.
posted by Candleman at 6:51 PM on July 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

The OP has a CHROMEBOOK not a windows machine ASIO4ALL is for Windows not ChromeOS.

Are you using this Soundation https://soundation.com/studio Chrome Browser based multi-track.

I just had a quick play with it on my Macbook in my Browser and it works ok for the built in programming instruments. You can program a drum machine track and a bass but I don't have an audio input to plug in to test.

Are you recording the Audio input or recording the Microphone input?

Or you are trying to get a MIDI playable "virtual" instrument?

I think you will have trouble getting the Chromebook to respond with Low Latency to MIDI input. But I would think that you could record the Audio directly instead.

Can you explain what you actually have plugged in and to where and with which cables?
posted by mary8nne at 5:55 AM on July 28, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you all for your responses! I'll address a few things, and apologies in advance, I'm new to the technical side of this.

mary8nne - That's the Soundation program I was using. And I'm hoping to record the audio input. I'm hoping to get what comes out of the keyboard speakers to be recorded on the computer. Not necessarily trying to turn it into a midi controller.

I bought one of these and a 3.5 mm audio cable. I plugged the 3.5 mm cord into an adapter into the audio port on the keyboard and then the other end into the microphone input jack on the USB dongle.
posted by holmesian at 10:34 AM on July 28, 2016

I just set up Chromebook with a Linux chroot using crouton and am typing this from it. I've installed Linux on many systems, and this was by far the easiest! It should open up a whole different world of software, if that's of use to you.

I have no idea if it will improve your audio quality, though. I'd suspect candleman is right about it maybe being a hardware issue - after reading some Amazon reviews for that USB audio gadget, I got the impression people were rating it highly as a way to save computers with broken soundcards, not because the audio quality was superb.
posted by sibilatorix at 2:26 PM on July 28, 2016

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