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#656351 - 11/05/02 06:13 PM How do I record/create a CD of my playing?
JaneDoe975 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 2
I have been playing piano since I was a child. A couple years ago, I bought a low-end digital piano to pass the time until the day I can afford to buy a grand (far, far in the future). I was not interested in any of its (decidedly minimal) bells and whistles; I merely wanted something that sounded like a piano, and that I could plug headphones into since I live in a large apartment building. I'm very happy with my purchase.

Recently, it occurred to me (okay, so I'm a little slow on the uptake...) that since this piano is digital, it's feasible that I could record my playing with a computer and ultimately burn a CD of my songs....and oh wouldn't that just be the perfect Christmas gift for my doting grandmother? Why yes, it would. \:\) Unfortunately, I know nothing about how to go about this process, so this is where I'm hoping someone can provide me with some information.

I have this digital piano (Kurzweil Mark 3). And I have access to a PC computer running Windows 2000 (with USB ports, if that helps). And I have a CD burner (in the past I have created CDs by converting .mp3s to .wavs and burning the .wavs onto the disc). So now what? How does this process work? What do I need in the way of connectors, software, hardware, etc.? What do I need to know that I don't know already? About how much will the equipment/software cost? I should note that I have no desire to edit or supplement the music in any way...I merely want to end up with a CD of pure piano music.

Any help or advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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#656352 - 11/06/02 01:08 AM Re: How do I record/create a CD of my playing?
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
Jane your just about THERE if you have a CD burner. You may have to spend $10 or $15 bucks on cables and plugs or jacks to get from the LINE-OUT of the piano to the LINE-IN of your sound card. You didn't specify having a sound card but I assume your computer came with one installed. I don't THINK it has to be a "full-duplex" card either, which, if you don't know what that means, don't worry about it.

You probably also have a WAV recording program somewhere on the computer. (Voyetra is one common brand name, yours may be different.)

Your CD burner came with a program which will allow you to .....well you've already burned WAVs to CD's so all you have to learn is how to record your playing into WAV files.
Its pretty simple, BUT there are a couple of caveats. Wav files can be "sampled" at several different frequencies, from 12,000 samples per second up to 48,000 samples per second. The higher the number, the better the recorded sound, and the bigger the WAV file will be. One minute of music takes about 10 Megabytes when sampled at 44,000 cycles per sec (kHz) , 16 bit , stereo.

The Caveat here is that Wav files sampled at 44000 WILL transfer to CD's but Wav files sampled at 48000 will NOT transfer to the CD. So, you have to make sure when you set up your wav recorder program that you set it to record at the correct sampling rate, or you'll end up having nice recordings on your computer that you CAN'T burn to the CD.

OK, that's the general warning, now, I'll add you should check in the CDburner documentation to see if I'm correct with the specifics. (i.e.. I know with my HP CDwriter, 44kHz WILL record to CD while 48kHz will NOT record. Its probably that way with yours too, but Im not positive. You can check this, of course, by recording something simple at 44kHz and 48 kHz and seeing if the CDBurn program rejects one of them.

Hopefully your recording program has an editing feature, so that you can record the same song for 15 minutes at a whack, save the whole 180Meg file, and then pick out the 2 or 3 minutes take that you like the best. They usually show a waveform across the screen and you can highlight the part you like best, copy it to the clipboard and then save the clipboard. (This saved file is what you'll probably end up putting on the CD) These programs often come as freebies on the computer, and if you DON"T have one, there are some downloadable demos online. I have Voyetra AudioView, as I mentioned earlier, and CoolEdit and FruityLoops are 2 other names I know that have demos somewhere. If you don't have anything, tell me and I'll look up those sites, but you probably have something workable on your system now.
Theres probably a "Volumn Control" or "Recording Options" dialogue box that you may have to adjust to make sure the souncard is recording from LineIn instead of MidiIn or Microphone in.

You'll want to cable from PIANO LINE-OUT to Computer Soundcard LINE-IN.
Soundcard LineIn jacks are usually mini-stereo jacks. (one hole= Right & Left signals)
Piano LineOuts are sometimes RCA Phono plug, more often full size PhoneJacks and almost always have 2 holes 1 for Right signal, the other for Left.
Radio Shack has adapters from one size to the other, as well as "splitters" that go from 2 mono plugs at one end to single stereo plug at the other.

So you'll probably need:
TWO "MalePhoneJack-FemaleRCAPhonoPlug" adapters, 1 for PianoLineOutRight,1 for PianoLineOutLeft. $5 for both

ONE splitter "RCAPhonoPlugMale x RCAPhonoPlugMale" to "Male mini-stereo jack" for soundcard input (maybe Sub-mini-stereo.........they keep SHRINKING this stuff,,,,you'll have to check sizes to make sure.
These splitters can be on cables from 2 feet to 15 feet long depending on how far between your piano and your computer. Around $10

I wouldn't think you would need any Midi cable or Midi connectors for what you describe. Although if you HAD the connectors and Sibelius or Finale Transcription program, you could ........oh well, thats a whole different project.

Hope this helps, I don't think it's as complicated as I made it sound. Plug it in, play, see if it records. Good luck,
Bob

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#656353 - 11/06/02 02:00 PM Re: How do I record/create a CD of my playing?
Rick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/01
Posts: 559
Loc: Chicago
I'll just add to what Bob said. If you don't plan on doing any editing whatsoever to your resulting files, then you can go ahead and create mp3's right off the bat. But if you want to edit them, then you will need to convert the mp3's to WAV's anyway, so you might as well start with WAV's. I use a program that I bought at Best Buy called Dartpro 32 (from MacMillan Software). It allows me to do many things, including splicing the "good parts" of my recorded playing together to create a decent composite recording. It also lets you modify any file by removing applause, increasing or decreasing the amplitude (volume), etc. No program that I know of lets you edit an mp3 file directly, so before you do the editing you must convert the mp3 to a WAV (two steps using Musicmatch Jukebox). Then when you're done editing, you convert it back to mp3.

One last thing: If you have some mp3's on your hard drive, and all you want to do is burn them onto a CD, there is no reason to convert them to WAV format first. That is, unless your burning program differs drastically from Easy CD Creator (which I use).

Rick

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#656354 - 11/06/02 04:40 PM Re: How do I record/create a CD of my playing?
William88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 107
Loc: MidAtlantic
That actually was the cleanest, most concise explanations I've heard. Thanks guys. I had managed to make it work a couple of times, but not well. Now I see my mistakes I made. Of coyrse, now I've got to find a new use for all of those imaginative curse words I discovered while trying to figure out the recording process before. \:D
_________________________
Purveyor of Steinway, Boston, Weinbach, Kawai, and other fine pianos

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#656355 - 11/06/02 05:00 PM Re: How do I record/create a CD of my playing?
JaneDoe975 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/02
Posts: 2
Thank you so much, both of you! This sounds much less complicated than I was imagining it would be. I'm pretty certain that I don't already have a WAV recording program, but I will poke around online and take a look at the ones you mentioned. You've given me an excellent place to start. Thanks again for all the detailed info!

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