I'm just getting into recording music, so I'm very new at this.

My preferred method of recording would be to connect the audio output of my keyboard (in this case a Casio CTK-4400) to the auxiliary audio input of my laptop using a 1/4 inch TRS to 3.5 mm TRS male-male cable. I purchased the necessary cable, used it to connect my keyboard to my laptop, and recorded the keyboard's output through Audacity. However, the recordings I made contained a great deal of loud white noise. Additionally, the output of the keyboard (even at a very low volume) registers as a fairly high volume on the keyboard.

What do I need to buy/do to get better audio from my keyboard in this way? Do I need to attenuate the signal somehow (with an amp maybe?) before it reaches the laptop? Or am I missing some vital step in the process?

Thanks for any and all help!

  • 2
    Can you clarify whether you are getting a lot of white noise or whether the keyboard is so loud that it is overloading the computer input and distorting?
    – S. Imp
    Apr 22, 2018 at 1:01
  • ...and can the output of the CTK-4400 be attenuated just by turning the volume down? Apr 22, 2018 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


Don't be afraid to turn the output level of the keyboard WAY down when recording. The output does double duty for headphones and as a Line Out. You might simply be grossly overloading the input.

Look at the recorded waveform picture in Audacity. Does it look like this

enter image description here

or this - maybe even worse?

enter image description here

  • I think this answer is helpful, and that it would be more helpful still with some explanation of what the images are showing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we can see here that the amplitude of the sound being recorded is close to the zero limits on both sides in the first and has exceeded them by a large margin in the second. The amplitude of the input needs to be adjusted until it never approaches the zero limits even at its loudest point. Personally, I would keep the keyboard at max and adjust the gain or input on the recording channel.
    – dwilli
    Apr 24, 2018 at 22:30
  • There very often isn't an input level control before the ADC (Audio > Digital converter) on a computer audio interface. You have to hit the input with a level that won't overload this first stage. Because once the waveform has 'hit the buffers' and had its top chopped off at the ADC, it stays distorted. There's nothing you can do in software to put the top back on the waveform. All you can do is make the disasterously distorted signal louder or softer.
    – Laurence
    Apr 25, 2018 at 9:54
  • @LaurencePayne I think your last comment is what's happening with me too. Do you think external USB sound cards on Amazon can fix this? Is there a way to record audio (not MIDI) from a keyboard other than using expensive amplifiers or sound interfaces? Sep 20, 2021 at 5:08

If you want to record the sounds created by your keyboard (the audio not midi) then you need an audio interface (external soundcard). These have the proper jacks and optimized circuitry for recording instruments and vocals. If you want to use your keyboard as a midi controller to play the midi sounds in your laptop, just connect it via USB. Your model supports USB plug and play.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.