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Topic: NWC to WAV to MP3, WMA, MP4, or OGG (Read 45796 times) previous topic - next topic

NWC to WAV to MP3, WMA, MP4, or OGG
Question: How do I make an audio file from my NWC composition? That is, something that can be streamed over the Internet, or burned onto an audio CD.

Answer: There are three steps: First, create a MIDI file of your music. Second, record the MIDI file to WAV audio format. Third (optional), compress the WAV to another format such as MP3, OGG, WMA, or MP4. I will discuss all of these steps, and provide links to free software.

STEP ONE: Create a MIDI file of your NWC composition.

This is easy. Simply "Save As" MIDI type 1. But be sure that you also save your composition in NWC native format, so you can easily edit it.

More info: Another user reminds us that fermatas and breath marks are honored within NWC, but are not part of the MIDI specification. So if your music uses fermatas or breath marks, do it another way (such as by temporarily changing the tempo, or by adding extra notes or rests) before saving as MIDI.

A MIDI file is a set of instructions to a computer, just as sheet music is a set of instructions to a musician. When a MIDI file is played, the computer calls a database of digitized instrument definitions. The quality of the database determines the sound, just as the quality of real musicians determines the sound when they play from sheet music.

In other words, a MIDI file, when played, sounds different on different computers. Also, MIDI cannot be recorded onto an audio CD, since CD players are not equipped to provide their own instruments.

If you want your music to sound the same when played on any machine, or if you want to burn it to a CD, then you need to pre-record your MIDI file to an audio format that already contains the sounds of the instruments. Such a format is Windows WAV. When you pre-record MIDI to WAV, your computer plays the MIDI using an instrument database, but instead of sending the result to the sound card and loudspeakers, it saves the result as a WAV file. That brings us to:

STEP TWO: Record the MIDI file to a WAV audio file.

How to pre-record your MIDI file to WAV? There are two strategies: (1) You can actually play the MIDI via your sound card, and direct the digital output to the input of a recording program. This is done within your computer, not by wiring sound-out to sound-in via external cable. (2) You can get software that does the recording virtually, without using your computer's sound card. In fact, you may not even need a sound card!

Method (1) is self-explanatory. But here are the tricks: (a) The output from your MIDI player must be steered to the input of your sound recorder. Exactly how to do this depends on your system. On mine, I use the advanced properties of the volume control panel, and choose stereo mix. (b) Recording is done in real time, so music that plays for 20 minutes will take 20 minutes to record. During this time, if there are any system interruptions, you will hear them as noise in the recording. (c) The quality of sound will be as good as, or as bad as, your sound card delivers. Laptops generally have low quality sound cards that cannot load better sounds, so this method is not the best for laptops.

Method (2) requires software. If you purchased the "Pro" version of Quicktime, you can use it, but it may not be the best. Some other possibilities:

Synthfont (free):

You will also need to obtain some sound fonts. The Synthfont page tells you how.

Tim Brechbill's free, self-configuring version of Timidity:

You need his "My Timidity." This was mentioned some time ago on the NWC forum by Tim, a NWC user who put up the links page. Ensure that the program is configured to produce an RIFF output file. The Timidity interface is not self-explanatory. But it works.

You can also try:

Be sure to read all instructions.

STEP THREE (optional): Edit the WAV file,
and compress the WAV file to another format

You can edit the WAV file with the free Audacity:

If you use Audacity, also be sure to get the LAME encoder.

The dbAMP Music Converter is free and very useful:

(Be sure to download coder and decoder plug-ins, depending on your needs: MP3, MP4, WMA, OGG ...more)

Re: NWC to WAV to MP3, WMA, MP4, or OGG
Reply #1

  • Marsu
  • Virtuoso
Re: NWC to WAV to MP3, WMA, MP4, or OGG
Reply #2
Thanks Robert for the SynthFont links!
That's what was missing on my systems.

Re: NWC to WAV to MP3, WMA, MP4, or OGG
Reply #3
What are the advantages of saving as a MIDI file before converting to WAV,  as distinct from a straight conversion of the NWC sound, as played, to WAV?

Re: NWC to WAV to MP3, WMA, MP4, or OGG
Reply #4
None if you're going to record it playing, unless you wish to post-edit your midi file in a sequencer such as Cakewalk etc. But the mentioned programs above, which do the midi-to-wav recording without really playing your file, require a midi file.

Re: NWC to WAV to MP3, WMA, MP4, or OGG
Reply #5
When I go to "save as" I only get "Standard NWC File" or "Uncompressed NWC file" I don't get any other options.

Re: NWC to WAV to MP3, WMA, MP4, or OGG
Reply #6
When I go to "save as" I only get "Standard NWC File" or "Uncompressed NWC file" I don't get any other options.
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