I have a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-360 with a 1/4" stereo headphone jack; Audio quality is very good through it. I'm thinking about getting a cheap USB audio interface (less than $50, I don't mind used) for recording it to my laptop, but I'm not sure if I need it, and if I could instead use my built-in sound card, a 1/4" adapter, splitter, and 3.5mm to usb audio adapter etc.. I have so many specific questions, but I'll start with: What would be the purpose of an audio interface for recording one-track stereo to my medium to low end laptop? I'm most concerned for quality.

  • 2
    An external USB interface will always win on quality over the built-in audio chip, even a cheap Behringer one. Look for something like a second-hand Focusrite Scarlett or Steinberg UR. (Btw, use the line outputs, not the headphone output.) Jun 30, 2019 at 21:16
  • Have you tried recording using the built-in sound card? I've found some to be good enough for recording from line-level sources. Jun 30, 2019 at 21:45
  • I got a cheap behringer UM2. As expected, recording from the headphone jack is not the best. The problem is, I used an RCA to 3.5mm cable and 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter, and JEEZ was it noisy and sound was low quality (on either 1/4" input). Noise-to-signal ratio was terrible, and if I turned it up, It would distort way too much. I'm going to assume it is the cable and adapter since they were both cheap. I'm going to start a new thread here with a new topic: music.stackexchange.com/questions/86606/…
    – Galaxy
    Jul 8, 2019 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


Your Clavinova has a stereo AUX-OUT (next to the AUX-IN, in the back panel, by the power cord). You can connect a stereo output (if your interface accepts 2 channels), or a single mono cable when you connect only the LEFT AUX. Don't use the headphone jack.

As @guidot mentioned, the main benefit of using an interface is that the end result quality is dramatically better. I would never advice to use the analog out from the headphone jack directly into a sound card, as the level is so low that your signal-to-noise ratio (the relative power of the signal, compared to the normal background noise from the connection, RF interference, etc) will make your recordings sounds very poor.

As you mentioned, a used, entry-level interface made anytime in the last 5 or so years is more than enough. I would also recommend a Focusrite Scarlett, as @Your Uncle Bob suggested, which you should be able to find used for around your price point. For hobby usage, most Steinberg, M-Audio, Behringer, Tascam or Line6 models would do.

  • What's this based on, implying that unlike the Scarlett (which is a range of audio interaces), products from these companies are for hobby usage? That's just bollocks. Jul 1, 2019 at 20:04
  • You're right, I wasn't clear enough. I should have said "Focusrite Scarlett Solo or a Scarlett 2i2, as well as all entry level models by Steinberg, M-Audio, Behringer, Tascam or Line6 models. What I implied is NOT that products from these companies are for hobby usage, but rather that in my opinion (based on experience with all of these brands) for a hobbyist only starting to think of recording, the entry-level models from these companies are good, easy to become familiar with, and good quality worth of my recommendation. By the way, that's a fairly rude reaction.
    – FrK
    Jul 2, 2019 at 17:18
  • Sorry for the rudeness. I honestly read your post like "Scarlett is pro and the others are for hobbyists". Jul 2, 2019 at 18:38
  • Yeah, that's not what I meant at all, but I can see why maybe it read like that. As I said, what I meant was that my top choice would be a Solo, but all the other brands have equally good choices (actually my Steinberg 242 might as well be a siamese with my keys (2 midi controllers going into a dedicated laptop running Cubase).
    – FrK
    Jul 2, 2019 at 18:45
  • I don't want to bash any of the brands, but I and people I know have had very good experiences with both the Scarlett 2i2 and Steinberg UR 22 Mk II interfaces, as well as some of their higher-end models. I also have a UR44, and it's even better, with hardware effects and more of everything, but it's not bus-powered. I've been using mix-in-the-box PC DAW systems for 20 years, and now with this generation of audio interfaces it feels that all problems have finally been solved, especially if you use Mac for the DAW. (I'd treat Behringer with suspicion though, as their "entry-level" is very low) Jul 2, 2019 at 19:02

This depends on entirely, what you intend to with the recording afterwards. If this is just for record/playback the analog recording (even with built-in sound-chip) may do.

For anything more ambitious I would suggest to get a cheap midi interface. The abstraction level is much higher and changing the instrument to something your Clavinova does not provide, surely adds a degree of freedom.

  • Thanks. I think I would rather get an almost-guaranteed sound quality interface rather than those (questionable) cords I mentioned. I would use midi, but as for the sound style (NOT quality), I'm very happy with the clavinova's, and better ones would cost more than an interface in my price range. Not to mention the software.
    – Galaxy
    Jul 2, 2019 at 15:16

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