Using Macbook with Roland FP-90 Piano

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by patrickcox, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. patrickcox macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2014
    I have a new Roland FP-90 digital piano and I would like to be able to connect it to my Macbook Air and do two things...

    1. Play Backing tracks on the Macbook (Using Band in a Box) and be able to hear those tracks through my headphones that are connected to my Roland Piano.

    2. Record the backing track and my piano together.

    I am assuming that I can connect the Roland and the Macbook using a simple USB cable since the Roland has this port and says it is for connecting to a computer. I am just not certain what functionality you get from that connection.

    And then should I record on the Roland if that is possible or am I better off recording on the Macbook and if so, will Garage Band work or do I need some other software? And will the USB cable support passing sound both ways between the computer and the piano?

    I am not a professional, just a hobbyist.

    Thanks for any suggestions!
  2. Morpheo macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2014
    The important thing here is that you have basically 2 audio sources: the back-up track, and the FP90. Being able to record *both* on the FP90 would imply that it has the ability to record multiple audio tracks - but, unless I'm mistaken, it doesn't, it only records MIDI events.

    For the connection, you should verify if you see "USB audio codec" in your audio preferences on the Macbook (FP90 must be turned on) - for input and output. If the option is there that means you can record the FP90 signal on the computer, but if it's not there, you need an audio interface with at least two mono inputs.

    I would definitely use the computer for the recording, not the piano, and like you said Garageband is a great starting point. It's actually a great little DAW that might just be perfect for your current needs. (From what I understand you'll need to export your back-up track from Band-in-a-box as an audio file, which will then be imported into Garageband).

    The usb connection can be for MIDI only or MIDI and audio, that's imo the very first thing to check.
  3. patrickcox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2014
    Thanks for your reply. I reached out to Roland and they told me that the USB connection on the FP-90 is "MIDI Only", I believe that is what you thought. That means that I can't stream the backing track back from the computer to the FP-90 and hear it through my headphones. They suggested that I add an audio interface in between the Computer and the FP-90. So that is what I will likely do.

    Thanks again for your help!

  4. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    I'm not sure Roland gave you the best advice. The FP90 will be a good standalone piano. It also has Bluetooth and you can stream music to it via that. It will not record that is just for "playing along"...although the headphone audio of everything could possibly be connected to a separate USB audio-in on the MBA for recording the live mix.

    Morpheo has the right idea. Import your backing tracks into projects in Garageband. Use the Roland as a midi controller to play any midi instrument (piano, organ, wurlitzer, rhodes, bass, guitar, flute, drums et al), on multiple tracks if you like, in Garageband along with the backing track. From there you can "mix" and export/bounce your results to an audio file. You'll be able to fine-tune the mix much better this way and you may discover that you are a genius songwriter and can create your own tracks from scratch.

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