UR22 Recording Audio Not Same as Recorded


I recently setup a mini-studio using Steinberg UR22 and Cubase AI 7 on with a PC laptop (Realtek audio card). I use a Nord Stage 2 keyboard and use both MIDI and “real-time audio” recording. The setup looks exactly like this (where my Nord Stage 2 is connected to the two line-in connectors on UR22):


Most thinks work fine except one little problem I just don’t understand. I mainly use headphones connected to the UR22 and the sound I get when playing on the Nord Stage 2 doesn’t sound the same as when connecting the headphones directly to the Nord Stage 2. If I record the sound using the line-in connectors and then playback (still using headphones) the recorded audio in Cubase it sounds as what I would expect!

I just don’t understand how there can be any difference!? The recorded (playback) sound should be the same as when I am recording/playing?

Please help this confused beginner :slight_smile:

This is probably something that most have experienced, as I have too…that is, until I start adjusting levels, panning etc within my interface’s control panel, not to mention checking DAW software levels etc. After that, I can compare again and there’s not much of a difference. You know you ARE going through another device after all. Get to know your equipment.

In what way does it sound different? Are you perhaps listening to a direct signal and a monitoring signal simultaneously and hearing phase issues?

It doesn’t sound as clear, a bit muzzled. A bit more like the sound is in a box, not in an open space. It also feels like the sound is a bit more “synthetic”.

With monitoring signal I guess this could be the headphone output? The sound I hear in the headphone comes from a line-in connector (direct signal I guess) on the sound card, so I guess your description is correct. What is a phase issue and is it possible to solve?

I simply can’t understand the logic in that while recording something from the line-in connector to Cubase and listen to it with my headphones it sounds bad. When playing the same recorded sound from Cubase to the headphones it sounds perfect. This means that the line-in signal is indeed as it should but that if I listen to it as the sound is coming retrieved on the sound card it’s different.

Try turning the ‘mix’ knob either fully up or fully down while recording(up if you need to hear backing tracks from Cubase, down if all you want to hear is your own playing).

What I think is going on is you’re listening to both the input signal and the recorded signal simultaneously. The recorded signal has a slight delay which causes the phase issues you’re hearing.

I have tried that. Actually I have recorded both versions now. They doesn’t sound as different when listening to it now actually, but still I think you can hear what I mean. Please click the download button to avoid artifacts.

The “bad” (listening while recording) version:

The “good” (listening to the recorded sound) version:

The “good” version do sound exactly like my Nord Stage 2 when I use the headphones there. The “bad” (it’s not bad, just not perfect) version is a bit muzzled and more like in a box.

Yes, they’re indeed different. (May I ask how you recorded the realtime output?)

I don’t have time to check this in Cubase, but it sounds like the ‘bad’ is mono and the ‘good’ is stereo. That could be caused by the way you went about recording the realtime output though, which is why I ask how you did that :wink:.

I recorded using a small recording device with a line-in. So I just connected the headphone of the UR22 to the recording device line-in and recorded both versions. They are therefore recorded in the exact same way.

However I also hear that the “bad” recording is mono and been doing some research. The Roland UA-22 is quite similar to UR22 but have a stereo / mono / off switch for monitoring:


I think this is what I am missing. The UR22 simply monitors in mono, not stereo I think.

Ok, sounds like you recorded that the right way then. I don’t own a UR22 but I think it would be strange if the UR22 couldn’t monitor in stereo :confused:

edit: seems that’s exactly the problem. From the sound on sound review:

In that case you have 2 options: either use direct monitoring when recording and live with the fact that it’s mono, or lower your buffersize and monitor through Cubase and live with the delay (which is unnoticeable if your DAW can run at the lowest buffersize.)

What is the most common option? Do most people have the stereo mixing and therefore doesn’t care about the problem or is it more common to listen to the “live audio” from the DAW (with possible delay)?

Totally depends on how sensitive you are to a delay really. I can personally play any instrument just fine at the lowest buffersize which gives a roundtrip of ~4ms on my system, and if I’m forced to higher buffer sizes I monitor through my analog desk which is even faster than direct monitoring :wink:. If your rig can’t achieve low latency then I would personally always prefer mono monitoring. It’s just for when doing the recording anyway, as long as you can clearly hear what you’re playing it’s not a big deal.

I don’t know what is most common, I imagine many interfaces do offer stereo direct monitoring but I clearly don’t know much about that as I assumed the UR22 did as well :wink:. If you’re not relying on software fx during monitoring I think the best option is analog monitoring like I do on my mixer, but that’s not really an option for you without another investment. I’d say try both and see which you prefer!

Great! When I record audio does Cubase play the recording throught the sound card automatically? I will try to lower buffer sizes and listen from my DAW instead. I guess that’s prefered so that I really get the actual sound. I guess the only reason I am even having a problem with this is because when I play my piano I really need to get the right feeling. Small variations in the sound make me a bit uncomfortable with the result. Strings, organs etc. sound kinda ok using direct monitoring but the piano I know too well :slight_smile:

I saw in your signature that you have “POWERPLAY PRO-XL HA4700”. Is this the mixer you talk about? How is the setup you have connected?

BTW, I am really grateful for you helping me! :smiley:

EDIT: Do you think something like this would be able to convert mono to stereo for me?


I would actually really like an extra module connected to my headphone monitor output because it could be standing on my keyboard which make some cable problems easier and it’s a very cheap device :slight_smile:

I can relate, if you have a nice piano you want it to sound nice :slight_smile:.
My setup is a bit complex but most important: I have a Mackie ONYX 1620i which is a 16-channel analog mixer with 16in-2out firewire audio interface built in. It allows me to route any input to Cubase, but every input also goes into the mixer so I can create a monitor mix without touching Cubase.
The powerplay is a 4channel headphone amplifier which I use when recording multiple musicians. Great value for money and some clever features. Doesn’t sound great but as I said, it’s only for recording so that matters less.

Converting mono to stereo is unfortunately not possible. When the UR22 sums the left and right channel together there’s no way to separate them again. Yes, there are devices that can ‘make up’ stereo information from a mono source to create a stereo effect but it’ll never be the same as the original signal. The product you posted doesn’t seem to do that, it’s a headphone amp with a 2 channel mixer which is clever in its own right, but not exactly what you’re after. It might be cheap but not cheaper than an extension cable for your headphones :wink: