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Many keyboards have lush stereo patches that sound great by themselves. The trouble is that the sound can quickly get buried in the mix as you add other keyboard sounds. In this video, I'll show you the best way to record keyboard so they fit better in the mix. While some keyboards now come with XLR connectors that allow you to plug directly into the console or DAW with the standard mic cable, most will require you to either use a direct box or two for stereo or connect directly to the instrument inputs on your console or preamp. After you've plugged the keyboard into the direct box and the output of the box into a console, mic preamp, or DAW, flip the ground switch to find the quietest setting.
Set the levels so the peaks never go beyond -6 dB and generally stay around -10 dB. (music playing) Many of the newer keyboards have sounds that are artificially made stereo using the built in chorus effect, which doesn't always translate when mixed together with other instruments.
Listen to both outputs of the keyboard individually and choose the one that's not chorused. You can tell which one that is because it doesn't have the distinct warble that the chorus channel has. You can always make it stereo later when mixing. (music playing) Many new keyboards also have piano sounds that are optimized for mono, which will sound better than just one side of the stereo output or the stereo blended into mono.
Look for a patch that's distinctly marked as mono and use that.
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