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#686040 - 02/26/07 12:09 PM How to record piano on your computer  
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mahlzeit Offline
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Hi all,

I wrote an article about it recording audio and MIDI from digital pianos and keyboards. If you are a newbie to recording you may find it useful.

Here it is:
http://www.originalsolopiano.com/how-to-record-piano.html

Let me know if you have any suggestions or other comments. smile


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#686041 - 02/26/07 12:25 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Great link, I was wondering how easy it all is to do it though, I would like to post recordngs on the net for people to listen to, I know box.net is a popular one, but its all confusing to me at present, I have all the right capabilities to record though. Do I need software to run on the computer such as cubebase to put a recording on the net. I thought you could just firstly record the piece on the piano, save it onto the memory in the piano, then transfer the file through the usb cable to the computer, then change to an mp3 file, but I dont really know. Then theres MIDI, and do I need to use that if theres the audio recording option? Whats best? Can MIDI be converted to MP3?

#686042 - 02/26/07 02:25 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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mwf,
In windows you can use Sound Reocrder, but better is to download Audacity for free to capture your recordings. Cubase can do much more than Audacity but is not (usually) free.

#686043 - 02/26/07 02:34 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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That IS good.
I like all the pics.

Being a computer programmer, midi is what got me into piano. Well, that and my Gramma.

You'ld think that midi would be SERIOUSLY popular with the piano playing crowd, but I'm not really seein' that... Wonder why that is...

People just don't wanna go through the bother of the wires or somethin?

I'll have to put in a link to that from my site.

Thanks smile

...Steve


http://PianoCheetah.com - my weird piano practice program
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#686044 - 02/26/07 03:04 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Using MIDI is actually quite easy. I just discovered it, and am using the recording program Matthijs recommends in his article (the one he wrote himself). And you just need a USB cable, that's all. Now I'm gonna check out some editing programs to try and get it into mp3 format...

It's indeed a helpful article, by the way smile

#686045 - 02/26/07 03:06 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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some older dp's may need a midi-to-usb cable

#686046 - 02/28/07 05:06 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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The bit I dont understand is, my DP is new and has midi sockets and USB sockets, so how come it all works by just using the USB links as jeruzalem describes above, then the MIDI sockets are not being used-yet its called recording using MIDI!! I am confused, help.

#686047 - 02/28/07 05:40 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Quote
Originally posted by mwf:
The bit I dont understand is, my DP is new and has midi sockets and USB sockets, so how come it all works by just using the USB links as jeruzalem describes above, then the MIDI sockets are not being used-yet its called recording using MIDI!! I am confused, help.
Basically, there is a MIDI-USB converter inside the piano. The data protocols at both the piano and computer ends are MIDI.

It would make software more complicated and older software wouldn't work if a new protocol was used for USB connections so the data is exposed as MIDI data to any software on the computer. This is done by the USB driver supplied with your piano.


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#686048 - 02/28/07 05:43 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Quote
Originally posted by Triryche:
mwf,
In windows you can use Sound Reocrder, but better is to download Audacity for free to capture your recordings. Cubase can do much more than Audacity but is not (usually) free.
But Cubase is bundled free with the Zoom H4 recorder if you buy that... wink


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#686049 - 03/01/07 03:59 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Ok thanks, I will be trying to record with a digital piano not an acoustic.

Just one more thing I am thinking about-is the sound-quality the same when your performance on the piano is converted over to MIDI data, basically is the final sound/performance exactly the same on the computer when made into a file, as it is when you play on your piano? Do you loose sound quality/expressivness? My DP has very nice sounds/richness and I dont know if thats all kept when converted to MIDI-then to be played back onto the computer/laptop in my case.

Cheers

#686050 - 03/01/07 05:02 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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No, it's not.

MIDI is data. Audio is sound. If you want the sound of your synth, then you need to capture and record audio.

However, with softsynths like Ivory, your midi file can sound like you played it on a 9' Bosendorfer. It really depends on the reproducing equipment that your computer is hooked up to and not the sound card, which can do CD quality these days, minimally. Many are better that CD quality.


-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro
#686051 - 03/01/07 05:19 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Oh I see now, so perhaps when it comes down to it, I am better off recording onto cassette, through my stereo/hi-fi like I used to-its easier then using a computer/MIDI and the quality remains original to the piano sound since its audio recording. I know it wont be brilliant because its onto tape, but it would be better than a MIDI recording playback which strips the piano sound into numbers and can only be played back through different less sophisticated tones.

#686052 - 03/01/07 09:14 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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You'll figure it out...

Have you looked at tweakheadz guide yet? I think I gave you this link, maybe somewhere else?

Here it is again...here you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about midi and digital recording...

http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm

There's a lot to learn!


-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro
#686053 - 03/02/07 12:14 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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To mwf,

> so perhaps when it comes down to it, I am
> better off recording onto cassette, through my
> stereo/hi-fi like I used to-

Noooooooooo... :p

> its easier then
> using a computer/MIDI and the quality remains
> original to the piano sound since its audio
> recording. I know it wont be brilliant because
> its onto tape,

Well, perhaps it would be a little EASIER, but, you'll lose quite a bit of quality and if you forget the notes, you'll have a tough time getting em from that low quality recording...

> but it would be better than a
> MIDI recording playback which strips the piano
> sound into numbers and can only be played back
> through different less sophisticated tones.

The piano SOUND isn't stripped into numbers.
The keystrokes are recorded EXACTLY as you played them. Same time, duration and velocity (key pressure, volume, whatever) EXACTLY.

And you can play back with EXACTLY as sophisticated tones if you send the midi on your computer back to your digital piano.
DON'T play it with windows media player frown

No point in recording a monster sized MP3 file when midi stores your EXACT performance perfectly.

You can also use a computer program to display your performace - which keys you pressed, etc can be displayed and you can store fingering in the midi file so you have a perfect copy of your performance right there to prompt you how to play it once it's forgotten. (or rusty).

You could also email said midi file to me smile
So I could ooo and ahh at your performance as it's played back on my Yamaha CP33 (i wish - it's an Ensoniq KS-32 but the piano sound doesn't totally suck).
And I could print out your midi file and learn to play the song exactly like you play it. If I've got your chops which i highly doubt.

But mostly, i just use midi since it takes up WAY less space on the ole hard drive and since it's almost as good as sheet music. (If not better in some ways)

...Steve


http://PianoCheetah.com - my weird piano practice program
#686054 - 03/02/07 02:47 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Quote
Originally posted by mahlzeit:
Let me know if you have any suggestions or other comments. smile
That is a very nice educational article that sums up quite well with the help of the very helpful images. Great work!

Regarding recording of acoustic pianos, you might mention the PR-1 recording device from Kawai: http://www.kawai.de/pr1_en.htm

I assume that I have your permission to put a link to your page on my next update of my own digital piano page, http://www.af.lu.se/~fogwall/piano.html

#686055 - 03/02/07 05:11 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Hi fogwall, of course you may link to the page... that's the whole point of the internet. smile

That's a very cool page you have about digital pianos, by the way!


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#686056 - 03/02/07 03:13 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Hi mahlzeit,

I made my first recording by following your guide. Could you please give me feedback on my file (sounde etc). I think I normalized it correctly but some of the options were a little different. The sound sounded a little soft to me. I used my keyboard Audio Out to the sound card Audio In. Thanks.

Sample

#686057 - 03/02/07 04:07 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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mahlzeit Offline
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Sounds pretty good to me! smile

A few small remarks (nothing too serious):

It seems to be mono (or not very stereo). I assume you know this.

I don't know how you normalized the recording, but when I import your recording into Audacity and then click Normalize, it still makes it louder.

If you listen *really* carefully, you can hear "artifacts" in the sound. Hard to explain in words, but there like little impurities caused by either: too much noise reduction (I don't know if you used any) or the MP3 encoding.

Something you may also want to try is to play really soft and really loud, to see how well it captures each of these extremes.


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#686058 - 03/02/07 05:53 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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mahlzeit,

Thanks!

I recorded it using stereo. In Audacity the Left and Right channels show input signals too. How can I check the stereo setting other than the Left and Right channel inputs?

I normalized using the suggestions in your guide. First I highlighted a section after the song that had no sound and selected Noise Removal -> Get Noise Profile then Cntrl+A then Noise Removal -> Remove Noise under step 2.

Finally I selected Cntrl+A then Normalize -> OK leaving both checkboxes checked by default.

I Exported as WAV then converted to MP3 using WinLAME and the 190kbps default setting.

How do I over-noise reduce? How can I improve my MP3 encoding?

Thanks for the help!

#686059 - 03/02/07 07:07 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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mahlzeit Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Agent:
I recorded it using stereo. In Audacity the Left and Right channels show input signals too. How can I check the stereo setting other than the Left and Right channel inputs?
Hmm, this reminds me: you have to tell Audacity how many channels you'll be using for the recording. If it is set to 1, then you'll only record mono. See Edit, Preferences, Audio I/O, the Recording section.

If the sound is being recorded as stereo, then the track should show two channels of data, one on top and one on the bottom.

So you might want to verify that the recording channels are set to 2, and that you're actually seeing two channels.

I should add this to the article... smile

Quote
Finally I selected Cntrl+A then Normalize -> OK leaving both checkboxes checked by default.
That's what I did too and it made the sound a lot louder. What does the number in the Normalize screen say (under "Normalize maximum amplitude to")? For me it says 0.0 dB, which is the maximum. Maybe yours is lower, like -3.0dB?

Or maybe -- and this is just a guess -- WinLAME made the sound softer again...

Quote
How do I over-noise reduce?
If there is a lot of noise in the recording compared to the real signal, then noise reduction will produce averse effects. Not only will it filter out the noise, it will also filter out some of the good stuff.

Quote
How can I improve my MP3 encoding?
In WinLAME, you can choose "Custom settings" which lets you choose the quality of the sound. The higher bitrate you choose, the better it will sound but the larger the file will be. It's a matter of experimentation.


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#686060 - 03/03/07 12:42 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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mahlzeit,

I checked again and yes I am recording two channels. Here are screenshots of the two normalizing areas. I can't select 0db for some reason. It's -3 or nothing. Is this option hidden somewhere?


Noise Removal

Normalize

#686061 - 03/03/07 05:55 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Ah, what version of Audacity are you using? I use version "1.3 (beta)". Even though it says beta, it works just fine. (I probably should mention this in the article as well. laugh )

Note that normalizing to -3 dB will do just fine for piano recordings; that's still loud enough. So it's not a big deal.

If you *are* recording two channels, then I suppose your digital piano just doesn't output very stereo sound, i.e. it has a "narrow stereo field". Maybe the instrument has an option to "widen" it.


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#686062 - 03/03/07 07:08 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by mahlzeit:
[QB] Hi all,

Here it is:
http://www.originalsolopiano.com/how-to-record-piano.html

THank you for the link and the help.
After years of recording midi direct to computer via the game port, my new laptop had no such gameport entry/
My piano shop tells me midi is on the way out and will be replaced by USB. Do not know if that is so, but I bought a Tapco Traction USB connection between piano and laptop and it works beautifully. You can record via microphone with it also. Excellent sound quality.
Have to edit by sound waves, though. Still trying to find a way to take the music to a programme which will put the music as notes on a stave, as Cubase and Personal Composer did with midi input┬ž
Any help and suggestions always welcome!

Iris

#686063 - 03/03/07 07:29 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Hi Iris,

MIDI isn't going anywhere soon; what the people from your piano shop probably meant is that most MIDI now uses USB connections instead of the old 5-pin DIN plugs and gameport connectors.

What you have -- the Tapco Traction USB thing -- is an external sound card, so yes, that only records audio. But you can also buy a MIDI-to-USB interface that can record MIDI.


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#686064 - 03/03/07 07:43 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Quote
Originally posted by mahlzeit:
Ah, what version of Audacity are you using? I use version "1.3 (beta)". Even though it says beta, it works just fine. (I probably should mention this in the article as well. laugh )

Note that normalizing to -3 dB will do just fine for piano recordings; that's still loud enough. So it's not a big deal.

If you *are* recording two channels, then I suppose your digital piano just doesn't output very stereo sound, i.e. it has a "narrow stereo field". Maybe the instrument has an option to "widen" it.
Oh....that would explain the differences laugh I guess working in the computer field has made me Beta adverse. I'll download 1.3 and start using that. I'll also look into widening the stereo field of my keyboard.

#686065 - 03/03/07 12:23 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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tHANK you, Matthijs, for putting me straight on that. I shall look for the midi-USB interface, which, to be honest, is what I THOUGHT I was buying when I bought the Traction. Then I can continue to use the old software and edit real notes...........
THanks again
Iris

#686066 - 03/03/07 03:34 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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First make sure the Traction doesn't already have a MIDI input/output. Would be a shame to buy something new if you already had the functionality available to you...


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#686067 - 03/03/07 04:30 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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mahlzeit,

How about this recording with your suggested changes?

Casio PX310

#686068 - 03/03/07 06:20 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Hmm,

It's actually worse than the previous one. There's this weird "echo" on loud tones. I don't know what causes that. Maybe it's the noise reduction. Remember that this step is optional, and you're better off without it if the noise is neglectable.


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#686069 - 03/04/07 12:16 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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mahlzeit,

Thanks for all the help. I hope you don't get tired of this. Here's another try.

Casio PX310

#686070 - 03/04/07 07:31 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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It sounds alright, but there is a slightly noise on the line. I guess you did this without noise reduction? Then I suppose this is as good as it's going to get... smile

By the way, most people will listen over speakers and to them the noise is inaudible anyway. Only a sound nerd like me with headphones on might hear it. laugh

And no, I don't mind... In fact, I have to thank you for helping me make the article clearer. wink


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#686071 - 03/04/07 11:31 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Ok. I'm not satisfied. I really want to find out what I'm doing wrong. Do you think it could be the cable? It's a cheap $7 cable with 2 mono 1/4" to 1 stereo 1/8". I plug it into the on-board soundcard's input jack. Maybe it's my soundcard? I'm going to make an unedited wav file to see if you can tweak it. That will rule out my equipment.

link

#686072 - 03/04/07 12:54 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Looking at your WAV file, the volume is really really low! If this is the level at which you've recorded it, you may want to move your volume sliders/knobs up quite a bit.

If this is as loud as it gets, then putting some kind of amplifier in the middle would help. Normalizing a recording amplifies the sound (and the noise in it!) digitally, so maybe an analogue amp would produce a better result. I don't know.

By the way, I don't think you're doing anything terribly wrong... maybe you just have reached the level of recording quality that your equipment is capable of.

If you want to get better sound, buy a digital piano or sound module with balanced outputs, shielded cables, and a better soundcard.


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#686073 - 03/08/07 07:36 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Audacity = excellent software ...
thx for this suggestion,,


Quote
Originally posted by Triryche:
mwf,
In windows you can use Sound Reocrder, but better is to download Audacity for free to capture your recordings. Cubase can do much more than Audacity but is not (usually) free.


-cheers!!!
#686074 - 03/08/07 05:44 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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To Agent,

make sure if you have a microphone input, that it is muted during the recording.
And any other inputs besides the Line-In.

(Maybe Matthijs already mentions this on his page?)

Double click the little speaker for the volume control,
In the Options menu, pick properties.

Choose the recording radio button.

Mute anything other than your line in.


Not sure if this will do the trick, but it's worth a shot...

...Steve


http://PianoCheetah.com - my weird piano practice program
#686075 - 03/08/07 05:54 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Heh, good suggestion. I hadn't mentioned that in the article, but I'll add it. I think most soundcards only allow recording from a single input at a time, but no doubt someone will have a soundcard that allows more than one. Thanks, Steve. smile


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#686076 - 03/08/07 06:27 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Thanks. I did mute the mic in but I'm not sure if there are other inputs to consider. I'll check it out.

#686077 - 03/09/07 01:04 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Hi Mahlzeit,

I'm looking for an app to convert midi files into mp3 but with the voice that came with the art vista virtual piano (and maybe some other virtual pianos in future). Your faq recommended VST host and Cantabile, will they allow me to do this?

Also, will they allow me to convert the midi with multiple voices (i.e., combine the voices from 2 different plugin apps?)...haha, I'm new to all this plugin stuff so forgive my ignorance.

Thanks in advance!


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#686078 - 03/09/07 03:36 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Hey Mahlzeit,

I think I figured it out, went with Cantabile Lite that you recommended, very easy to use with the one plugin I have (do you know if I can play a midi with two voices at the same time on catabile lite?)

Anyway, finished my first conversion from midi to wav to mp3 (via audacity with lame).

Kudos, mate, you have my vote for most valuable member. BTW, what commercial program would you recommend? I've only heard of cubase and cakewalk...

Thanks again.


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#686079 - 03/09/07 05:47 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Hi sid, I'm glad you figured it out. laugh

Quote
Originally posted by sid:
(do you know if I can play a midi with two voices at the same time on catabile lite?)
Hmm, I haven't tried this, but if a MIDI file thas two voices then each of these voices has its own "channel". Maybe you can map the channels to different VST plug-ins? That's how I would expect it to work, anyway.

Quote
BTW, what commercial program would you recommend? I've only heard of cubase and cakewalk...
I wouldn't know. I use a very old version of Cool Edit Pro. If I ever get a new computer then I might upgrade to Cubase. But you're better off asking others for recommendations here. laugh


No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!
#686080 - 03/09/07 05:57 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Pretty cool, mahlzeit, man this stuff is like crack cocaine. I think I'll be keeping all my future recordings as midi in future for the obvious reason...that and my need for a couple hundred extra gigs for all the new samples I'll be collecting. One terrabyte, here I come laugh


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#686081 - 09/27/07 02:12 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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/bump awesome thread. Should be stickied laugh thanks mahlzeit


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#686082 - 10/13/08 11:59 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Sorry to drag up an old thread, but there is good info here, and I wanted to be sure I correctly understood the process, as it is described. So let me see if I have this correct.

1. Connect your DP to your computer using, for example, a MIDI to USB cable.

2. Record using something like Red Dot Forever, which captures the MIDI signals.

3. Convert those to an intermediate format, like WAV, using something like SynthFont.

4. Convert your WAV file to MP3 using something like WinLAME.


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#686083 - 10/13/08 12:29 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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That is one possible process, Always.

The other one is:

1. Connect your DP to your computer using an audio cable.

2. Record a WAV with Audacity.

3. Convert your WAV to MP3 using WinLAME.


No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!
#686084 - 10/13/08 12:32 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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True enough, but I am afraid the sound card on my standard IBM, er um, Lenovo laptop would make for a less than perfect recording. I'm willing to trade the extra step for better quality.


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#686085 - 10/13/08 02:30 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer  
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Hey, I've been using my motherboards built in sound card to make my recordings. People have yet to complain about poor sound. The main thing you have to adjust is the volume on line in so that you don't get any "clipping" on the loud sounds. Once yo have that set you can record just fine for putting your piano recordings on the internet. Granted, maybe the recordings sound like crap on a pair of high end headphones but someone will have to send me some to check. :p

I'm pretty sure that Audacity can let you know if clipping is taking place. You pretty much want your volume set as high as it can go so that you don't get any clipping when recording your piano. Luckily, once you set that line in volume you don't usually touch it for much else. Unless you're using that line in to record other things like voice for Skype or stuff like that.

The only way to find out what you're going to get from your recordings is to try it once you get to that point. Also remember that should all else fail you may be able to take your midi recordings and send them to someone else on the forums to "render" using either software or the piano they have and send you back an mp3 of that performance. I'm sure many folks here would be glad to help if you couldn't afford the software to do so on your own for now.


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