How to record digital piano to a Mac

Written by simon foden Google
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How to record digital piano to a Mac
You can record via the speakers or the output of your digital piano. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Your Mac will have the Garageband programme pre-installed. This programme lets you record audio and midi, as well as mix and master your recordings. If you want to record a digital piano into your Mac, Garageband or the more advance Logic programme are the best ways to go. Depending on the equipment you have your disposal, you can either record it to the Mac via the microphone or via an audio interface, for a direct line in. The latter approach results in a cleaner recording.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Garageband or Logic
  • Audio interface (optional if using Garageband)
  • Firewire or USB cable (if using audio interface)
  • 1/4 jack cable (if using audio interface)

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    Recording via audio interface to Logic

  1. 1

    Connect the audio interface to the Mac, using either a Firewire or USB connection, depending on the output requirements of the interface. The audio interface enables you to connect external audio to your Mac for direct recording. The advantage here is that you don’t get any background noise, as you would using a microphone, and the signal is clearer.

  2. 2

    Connect a 1/4-inch jack cable to the output socket of your digital piano. The output socket may be labelled as “line out.” This provides a direct signal to the soundcard.

  3. 3

    Connect the other end of the jack to the input socket of your audio interface.

  4. 4

    Launch Apple Logic. Logic will automatically recognise that an audio interface is connected. Hit File, select New and type in the name of the recording. On the left hand side of the Logic window, click the + button and select Audio. This creates an audio track ready for recording.

  5. 5

    Hit a key on the digital piano and observe the level meter. If it goes red, reduce the volume to avoid distortion.

  6. 6

    Hit the record button in the Logic interface, or hit the R key on the keyboard to start recording. When you’re finished, hit the spacebar.

    Recording via built-in microphone

  1. 1

    Position your digital piano so the speaker is within 12-inches of the Mac. Since you’re recording via the built-in mic, it’s important to get the sound source as close as possible without obstructing access to the Mac.

  2. 2

    Open Garageband. Click the Apple icon, select Preferences, then audio and select the in-built microphone as your input source. This designates the microphone as the primary recording source.

  3. 3

    Hit a key on the digital piano and look at the volume meter in Garageband. If it goes red, either reduce the volume on the digital piano or move the piano further away.

  4. 4

    Hit Record on the Garageband interface and play your piano part. Since you’re recording via microphone, Garageband will pick up ambient sounds and noise, so close the doors, turn off your phone and do everything you can to make the recording environment as quiet as possible.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the built-in metronome in Garageband or Logic to help you stay in time.

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