Recording Your Keyboard on Your Computer

Recording Your Keyboard on Your Computer

Your child is excited about the opportunity of transferring their music from a keyboard to the computer. They’re ready to make music and share it with the world.

But what does that mean? Do you have all the pieces you’ll need to record the notes played on a keyboard over to your computer?

Let’s get one of the most common confusions out of the way. Many people confuse the difference between making a MIDI connection from their keyboard, and actually recording live sound.

A MIDI interface will only transmit your performance data. This MIDI information can be used to play software instruments on your computer, but is not a recording of the sound.Recording Your Keyboard on Your Computer

Instead, if your keyboard has a USB-MIDI connection, you are set to go. Otherwise, you’ll need an interface with MIDI and Audio to make the connection. If you can connect your piano or keyboard to your computer via a USB port, then in most cases this will be the only connection you’ll need.

To record your keyboard, you connect the line output signal from your keyboard to a suitable audio interface. Then connect that interface to your laptop, desktop, iPad or smartphone. And that’s it! Simple, right?

Let’s go through the process to ensure it’s set up correctly.

Step 1: Where is the sound coming from?
Your keyboard may have speakers. But to record, you’ll need to find the line level output. Check the instruction booklet that came with your keyboard. It may be labeled “aux out” or “line out.”

Step 2: What device will you record on?
The audio interface is simply the box you need to take the sound from your keyboard and convert it into a digital sound transmittable into your computer. Be sure you purchase a device suitable for your needs – you don’t want one that connects via laptop if you’ll always be working with your iPad.

Step 3: Choose audio interface
You will need an audio interface to make a quality recording of your piano. There are hundreds online, so the critical components are that it must have two line level inputs. Without line level inputs you will not have a good recording when you are through.

Also, consider what else you want the interface to do/ Record vocals? Be sure you have a mic input. Record a guitar? Make sure the interface has an input suitable for directly connecting the guitar.

Step 4: Connect the cables
This is where it helps to ask an expert. They can ensure you have the right cables for the right connections. If you don’t have the right cables, your sound won’t be high quality as you input it into your computer.

Step 5: Software
Don’t get too hung up on software in the beginning. Many audio interfaces come with recording software, and that’ll be fine in the beginning. There are also plenty of free or inexpensive apps. Audacity is free and excellent on both Macs or Windows laptops. You can also use Garageband.

Step 6: Play with the results
As you record, listen to the recordings through the interface. You can plug in your headphones or listen through the speakers on your monitor. Remember that the sound quality is only as good as your equipment. Upgrade as you see fit.

Are you ready for a new keyboard?