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#686040 - 02/26/07 11:09 AM How to record piano on your computer
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
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. \:\)
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#686041 - 02/26/07 11:25 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mwf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 419
Loc: Peterborough, England
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?
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#686042 - 02/26/07 01:25 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1451
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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.

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#686043 - 02/26/07 01:34 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
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 \:\)

...Steve
_________________________
...Steve
http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#686044 - 02/26/07 02:04 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Jeruzalem Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 15
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 \:\)

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#686045 - 02/26/07 02:06 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1451
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
some older dp's may need a midi-to-usb cable

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#686046 - 02/28/07 04:06 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mwf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 419
Loc: Peterborough, England
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.
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#686047 - 02/28/07 04:40 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Mike Warren Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 192
Loc: Cairns Australia
 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. [/b]
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 04:43 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17777
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 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. [/b]
But Cubase is bundled free with the Zoom H4 recorder if you buy that... ;\)
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#686049 - 03/01/07 02:59 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mwf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 419
Loc: Peterborough, England
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
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#686050 - 03/01/07 04:02 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
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.
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#686051 - 03/01/07 04:19 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mwf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 419
Loc: Peterborough, England
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.
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#686052 - 03/01/07 08:14 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
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!
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-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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#686053 - 03/01/07 11:14 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Stephen Hazel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 734
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
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 \:\(

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 \:\)
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
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http://PianoCheetah.com - writing my own piano practice program ...yeah, I'm crazy like that

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#686054 - 03/02/07 01:47 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer
fogwall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 160
Loc: Sweden
 Quote:
Originally posted by mahlzeit:
Let me know if you have any suggestions or other comments. \:\) [/b]
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
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#686055 - 03/02/07 04:11 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Hi fogwall, of course you may link to the page... that's the whole point of the internet. \:\)

That's a very cool page you have about digital pianos, by the way!
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#686056 - 03/02/07 02:13 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Agent Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 405
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

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#686057 - 03/02/07 03:07 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Sounds pretty good to me! \:\)

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 04:53 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Agent Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 405
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!

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#686059 - 03/02/07 06:07 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
 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?[/b]
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... \:\)

 Quote:
Finally I selected Cntrl+A then Normalize -> OK leaving both checkboxes checked by default.[/b]
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?[/b]
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?[/b]
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 - 03/02/07 11:42 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Agent Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 405
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

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#686061 - 03/03/07 04:55 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
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. \:D )

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 06:08 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer
sylvainiris Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/07
Posts: 46
Loc: France
[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§
Any help and suggestions always welcome!

Iris

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#686063 - 03/03/07 06:29 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
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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No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#686064 - 03/03/07 06:43 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Agent Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 405
 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. \:D )

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. [/b]
Oh....that would explain the differences \:D 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.

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#686065 - 03/03/07 11:23 AM Re: How to record piano on your computer
sylvainiris Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/07
Posts: 46
Loc: France
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

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#686066 - 03/03/07 02:34 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
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 03:30 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Agent Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 405
mahlzeit,

How about this recording with your suggested changes?

Casio PX310

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#686068 - 03/03/07 05:20 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
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.
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#686069 - 03/03/07 11:16 PM Re: How to record piano on your computer
Agent Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 405
mahlzeit,

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

Casio PX310

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