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#673031 - 06/01/03 05:03 PM Piano to Computer question
alangenh Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 4
Loc: NJ
Hi,

I would like some advice on how to connect my Kawai digital piano to my Macintosh Powerbook. I don't want to do anything fancy, just burn some CD's of what I play. None of the connections seem to match up easily however...

on the piano: midi in/out/through, serial, R/L analog output (large headphone plug type)

on the computer: USB, firewire

I can get a $35 USB accessory which would give me a stereo input minijack, but I don't even know how much that would help. What are my best options in terms of low cost and sound quality?

Thanks,
Amy

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#673032 - 06/01/03 08:15 PM Re: Piano to Computer question
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
Alengehn, I have a PC (Dell) rather than Mac, but my sound card had a parallel port in addition to the mini-stereo jacks for LineIn LineOut and MicIn.
I bought a Midi cable that had two round Midi plug/leads at one end that combined to one parallel (17 pin ??) computer plug at the other.
It was about $25 at Radio Shack 3 year ago and I don't even know what they called it, but I plugged it in and haven't had to think about it since.

The only weird thing about it is that the wire marked MidiIN should be plugged into the piano MidiOUT and the MidiOUT plug plugs into the Piano MidiIN port, but even that made sense after a little thought.
I bought the computer in 99, so I'm not sure how much that will help you with FireWires and USB's.

Bob

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#673033 - 06/02/03 09:52 AM Re: Piano to Computer question
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Hi Amy,
I use my powerbook for recording all the time. So the good news is that it can be done. The bad news is that it can be a bit pricey. There may be an inexpensive consumer product that will work, but I don't know of one.

Basically, you need three things to make a recording and burn it to CD. The good news is that you probably already have one of them. Here's what you need:

1. You need an audio interface. This is a device that allows you to input audio into your computer. The cheap $35 USB device that you mentioned is probably an audio interface. I've never seen one quite that cheap before, but most of what I work with is in the professional realm so that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Some audio interfaces have multiple inputs or even microphone preamps (for vocals or other instruments). Sounds like you need something with a stereo input and that's about it.

2. You need recording software. You'll need software that allows you to record a song, edit it if necessary and save it as an .aiff, or SD II file to prepare it for CD burning.

3. You'll need CD burning software. The good news is that iTunes burns CD's, so you're probably already set.

Things you need to know:
Are you using OS X? Make sure the interface and software are compatible with the OS you're using.

I'd highly recommend getting an interface that comes bundled with software. That way you'll ensure compatibility and most likely, ease of use. I'd recommend the US-122 from Tascam ($269 list price) or the M-Box from Digidesign ($495 list?). The Tascam piece also includes a MIDI interface.

Hope this helps.
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#673034 - 06/02/03 01:20 PM Re: Piano to Computer question
alangenh Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 4
Loc: NJ
Thanks for your replies, Bob and Steve! After a trip to radio shack (mostly unhelpful) and some online research, these appear to be some low cost possibilities, although I won't be convinced until I plug them in and see them work...

1. a $40 midi-to-usb cable?
http://www.jandr.com/JRProductPage.proce...duct_Id=3629615

2. a serial-to-usb converter? and a usb cable (I think my parents got one of these converters packaged with a usb mouse once... wonder if it'd work?)

3. an analog-out to analog-in cable, then an analog-to-usb converter?

So I'll probably see if I can find the serial-to-usb converter first, only because it'd be free and I could experiment, and if it doesn't work (which seems likely?), I think I'll try the midi-to-usb cable... I'm hoping that one will work. We'll see.

As for recording software, there do seem to be some freeware alternatives posted on versiontracker.com... like this one maybe:
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/17392

I'll give a few of them a try first, and if they don't work, then I'll think about the commercial software and equipment.

The burning part shouldn't be a problem, I own Toast as well as iTunes, and have OS X.

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#673035 - 06/02/03 02:20 PM Re: Piano to Computer question
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Amy wait!!! Recording MIDI information and recording audio are two different things. Recording MIDI (also called sequencing) is NOT recording sound. It's only recording information. You can't burn a CD of your work using a sequence alone. As I understand it, you're looking to record a song into your computer, then burn the performance to CD. That's not MIDI -- that's audio recording.

Also, Radio Shack is just about the last place I'd look for this sort of thing. What happens when you need assistance? They're not likely to be very helpful.
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#673036 - 06/02/03 02:24 PM Re: Piano to Computer question
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Also, I'd advise against purchasing a MIDI interface from M-Audio. It's not that they don't make great stuff -- they do. However, their MIDI interfaces require you to use an obsolete system extension called OMS (Open Music System). I have a MIDI interface from M-Audio (used to be called MIDIMan) and it's a major pain in the butt.

Here's an alternative:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FastLane/
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#673037 - 06/02/03 03:43 PM Re: Piano to Computer question
alangenh Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 4
Loc: NJ
Thanks for the information! It sounds like MIDI is not what I want... this probably saved me a lot of hassle. Thanks, I appreciate the help!

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#673038 - 06/02/03 10:53 PM Re: Piano to Computer question
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
Amy, sorry I might have lead you astray with my Midi excitement........I use that connection to work with my Finale transcription program, and I do enjoy it.

However, I also record to xxx.wav files via the analog outputs which on my piano are RCA phono plugs. Four total, Left and Right Line IN, Left and Right LineOUT.

I have 2 simple cables one end having a stereo mini phono plug and the other having two RCA phono plugs. One runs from the PianoLineIn to SoundCardLineOut , while the other runs from PianoLineOut to SoundCardLineIn.

Again, perhaps your Mac looks a bit different on the back, but this worked easily for me on my setup.

Holler when you've got it up and recording. \:\)

Bob

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