Gone are the days of using a cassette tape and boombox to make crackly, static-filled recordings of your own musical compositions. Instead, one of the benefits of playing a digital piano is the ease with which you can make quality recordings and share them. You can do this several ways depending on the type of digital piano you have.
You might want to make a recording to hear how your musicianship is improving, or perhaps you want to record so you can play or sing along with your own music. On the other hand, maybe you need to make a recording for a project or give it to a friend. Digital music makes this easy. Keep reading to find out how to record a digital piano.
Most digital pianos have built-in multi-track recorders. Of course, you’ll want to refer to your owner’s manual for the specific details, but the process is pretty simple.
Depending on your model of digital piano, you might be able to save your work to a USB device or SD card so you can copy it to a computer. In addition, you may have the option to save the recording as a .wav file, which includes the actual sounds, or a .midi file, which only consists of the data about the sounds.
Some digital pianos have multi-track recorders, which means you can split your recordings into several layers. For example, you might want to record just the right hand on track one and just the left hand on track two. Or perhaps you want to record the piano part on track one and add a strings sound to track two. There are plenty of options for onboard recordings.
If your digital piano does not have a USB or SD port, you might want to choose a different method of recording so that you can play your music on devices other than just your digital piano.
MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. This popular technology has been around for about 30 years, so you are very likely to find a MIDI line out on the back of your digital piano.
To record using MIDI, you will need a MIDI cable and something to record on, such as an iPad or a laptop. The hardest part is finding the right cable for recording because you’ll need it to connect from whatever port your digital piano has to whatever port your recording device has.
For example, your digital piano may have a USB midi line out, which you could connect to your laptop using a USB line in. Or perhaps you are recording to an iPad, in which case you’ll need to record using a cable that has a MIDI interface to your digital piano and an adapter to go in the lightning port of your iPad. Again, your user manual will help you with this. You can also check out this article about connecting multiple midi devices.
Next, you’ll need something to record on.
I prefer to use my digital piano as a MIDI controller and record into Garage Band on my iPad. Still, you can use any app or software that can record MIDI, such as Cakewalk, Wave From, or Piano Time. Here’s how:
You can also record the audio of your digital piano using software or apps such as Garage Band, but this time you’ll need an audio cable, not a MIDI cable. You can use the audio line out from your digital piano. However, you’ll need to use a microphone line-in for your recording device. So you’ll need to figure out what type of cable you need, depending on the ports on your digital piano and on your recording device. In some cases, if your recording device, such as your laptop and your digital piano, both use Bluetooth, you could stream directly to your recording device by pairing it with Bluetooth.
You’ll need an app or software that records audio, not MIDI. This could be Garage Band, QuickTime, or some other recording software. You can find some Garage Band tips and tricks here.
Your software may ask you to convert your file to .wav or .mp3, two popular file formats used for saving music. These formats make your music playable on your phone, mp3 player, or other electronic devices.
Although recording your digital piano may seem complicated at first, once you practice it a few times by following the steps outlined above, you’ll be able to figure it out. Don’t forget to consult your owner’s manual for the cables you’ll need for your digital piano and make sure you can connect them correctly to your recording device. No matter which of the following methods you use to record, always take the time to save your work:
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