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Making your own Practice CDs

Dear Listers,
I received many wonderful responses to my question, "How do you make
practice CD's. Here are the responses I received. I really didn't dare
edit them, as I am sure different things will work for different people.
Thanks so much for your help!
Suzie Schatz-Benson

I don't make practice tapes, but I have done this for
accompaniment - I have a digital piano, so I went to
my local music store and asked what I needed to do to
hook it up to my computer. They sold me a package that
included the midi cables (which hook up to the USB
port on the front of my hard drive, very easy) and
software, so I just hook it up, start the software,
and play the accompaniment on my keyboard and it
records it as a midi file, which I can then convert to
.wav and burn onto a CD.

hey, here is a simple cheap way to do it. You have a computer im assuming,
so get a regular microphoner for your computer, (you can get one at
wal-mart) next you need a program called "Music Match Jukebox" hit record on
the menue and you just do what you have always done. save the song and burn
it on to your CD, you can get professional quality mics to record concerts
and mix them with the same program ( a cheap way to make your own cds of
concerts and make your own money)anyway,.

I think the easiest thing to do is to buy one of the new home CD
recorders that have become very affordable. I believe that they are
less than $200. In realistic terms, if you sell something like suckers
(such as which are a very popular item in our
school, you can make that much money by just selling 2 cases (16 bags)
of suckers in no time ($14 profit per bag).

Then you would attach your mics to a mixer, and the mixer to the CD

One special note, like all CD recorders for audio settings, you need to
use special media that is labeled for audio use as a normal a computer
CDR won't work for the CD recorder. There are several companies that
sell these in bulk, and I'd be happy to pass on names/websites to you if you

After you've recorded the CD, you can then copy those recordings to your
computer (changing them to WAV files), edit them, if necessary (using
various programs that are available), and then recording multiple copies
with your computer on standard CDR discs (not that expensive). Or you can
change that WAV file or CD file into a MP3 file.

One thing to remember is that some CD (and DVD) players will not play
CDR media; and new CD players have the ability to play a MP3 file
directly off of a CD, as well (meaning hours upon hours of music on one
CD). Someday you will own your entire music collection on something as
small as one CD.

There are some manufacturers who make a CD recorder with Microphone
inputs (XLR or Line Inputs) but to my knowledge, those can be pretty
pricey. I'm guessing that you have access to a mixer and microphones

If you need suggestions for places to buy this sort of equipment,
providing that it is not easily available in Wyoming, please let me

HI, I do this all the time. However, I do use a cd burner to make multiple
copies. Otherwise you would be rerecording every time you need another
one. I use the computer's sound recorder program. Should be under
Programs, accessories, and entertainment. You need to have a external mic
plugged into your computer too. Then push record and you can do the same
thing you did to make the tapes. Then when you are done, you will have a
“wave" file of the music. This is necessary to put it onto a cd, so the
kids can play them in their cd players. Otherwise, they will not be able to
play them on their personal or home cd players. If you save the file
onto your computer, you will just have to reburn another cd if you should
ever need it later. This works pretty well for me. Good luck.

If you want to skip keying it into Finale and burning midi files, or
recording to computer then editing to a cd then I suggest you check into
marantz's new portable cd recorder. It uses xlr standard mics and will
record direct to cd or cdrw.

I am assuming you have gotten many answers by now. I could tell you what I
use--Syballius--but I have found another way.

Just searching on the web, I found
There is a 14 day free trial period. I have had good success with it. Some
stuff I had recorded on cassettes, this program will transfered to my
computer and let me burn it on to a CD. The program itself is $29.95 and I
do plan to buy it. Maybe it can help you out.

I highly recommend using a mini-disk recorder. The recorder/player itself
is around $200, and you can get a good mic online for about $75. It records
with digital quality sound, then you plug it into your computer, your
computer reads it, and you put it on a cd really easily. And, when you're
done with that song - you can erase that minidisk and use it over and over
and over (and the original song and each song after that is saved onto your
computer!) I have a Sony M707 and I LOVE it. I got my mic from - it's a "Sony ECM-DS70P Direct Connection Stereo
Microphone" The Sony recorders come with all the software and cables to
connect to the computer and make it very easy and convenient.

By the way - I also use this little machine to record the students in class,
then plug it into the stereo so they can evaluate their own performance
immediately. These are the best little machines ever made - AND they don't
cost an arm and a leg.

I have a Sony Mini-disc CD. You can record the same way you did with the
tapes, but then you'll need to import it to a computer and then burn it onto
a regular CD. Make sure you get a Mini-disc that can record from the
environment and not just from other Cds! It should cost about $250. Try You'll have to buy the mic separately.

The answer is out there! I don't know the brand name (although I
believe that there are several out there) but I have seen a piece of
equipment that will attach to your computer through the USB port (which
most computers have today) that will allow you to hook your cassette
player directly to your computer.

You can then play your cassette music into a file that you set up on
your hard drive. Then it's as simple as burning it onto your CD's.

Now I'm sure that there are also digital recording systems that will
give you a better quality recording, but for practice purposes the first
option would be MUCH less expensive (less than $100.)

I think you can do the whole thing for $40-50,
assuming you've got a computer with a CD burner

Here's what I do. I make a tape of whatever it is I
want recorded for the CD. Then I put the tape in a
tape deck that is plugged into the back of my computer
(you'll need a cable from Radio Shack - $5-10).

Then you have to download a program from Goldwave from This is a shareware program, so you
can try it for free, and then, if you really like it,
you buy the license for $40. If you don't purchase the
license after a time, some of the features may not
continue to work.

Goldwave is kind of like a high-tech tape recorder.
You click on the program's "Record" button, then play
your tape into the computer. It records the sound as a
.wav file (though you can convert it later to .mp3),
and you can visually see a graph of the sound, which
is helpful if you need to do any editing.

Once you've recorded the sound onto the computer, you
can save each sound file (song) with its own filename
and then use a CD burning program to burn it to CD.

The Goldwave program is really flexible, and I've come
to depend on it quite a bit. Anyway, that's how I do
it. It may take a little time to learn how to convert
from tape to CD, but once you've done it a few times,
it takes very little time and is pretty easy to
understand. I'd be glad to help if you have further

I just started doing this and its a snap! All you need is something like
"Wave repair" (freeware) and a tape recorder. Do the same thing you did
before with the tape recorder etc and once it is done, use the earphone out
jack on the tape recorder to patch into the "Line in" jack on your computer
(you can get the cable at radio shack for about $3). Follow the instructions
for your program to 'record' the tape as a WAV file to your computer. On
Wave Repair it is very simple- same "play/record/stop" buttons as the tape
recorder. Play the tape, record it on the computer and away you go!

Good luck!
My suggestion is that you obtain a minidisk recorder. This makes a digital
recording which you can play back into the audio inputs on the computer and
burn the CDs there. I use this system to make recordings of various choirs
I sing with and the quality is excellent.

If you have a desktop PC or a laptop with a sound card, it will be very easy
to plug in a mic.

If you are using Windows, you can use the "Voice Recorder" included in the
Accessories to keep it simple. This will record a file with .wav format,
which can be easily burned into a CD.

he easiest way to do this is to just keep doing what you've always
done, and then copy the cassette to a CD. I make all my recordings
with a small cassette deck at school, then bring the tape home and play
them into a cassette deck that I have connected to my desktop computer.
Using some software (I use CoolEdit 2000) I normalize the recording and
break it up into individual tracks. Then it's just a matter of burning
the CD's. Fairly simple process. I imagine you'll get lots of
different ideas on this one. I hope you find something that works good
for you!

I use a combination of software programs to put together practice CDs and
MIDI files for my choirs. I input the choral parts and/or accompaniment
into Finale (sounds like a lot of work but I've gotten really fast at it),
then load the completed file into Sweet Sixteen MIDI player that allows me
to boost volume on individual voice parts, pan the track over to one speaker
(great for headphones), etc. It allows them to hear their part predominant
but also how it fits into everything else--particularly helpful for
polyphonic pieces.

I can then save the MIDI file to disk, upload to a web site (my preferred
method), or start up Cool Edit Pro (now called Adobe Audition) digital audio
editing software and record to a sound file which can be burned to CD.

If you'd like to hear examples of my MIDI study files, go to:
There are several links to study files there. Hope this helps - if you need
more detailed information, feel free to e-mail me.

One way you could do is getting an MP3 recorder. Why MP3? Because you can
record and then transfer the file to the computer and simply using windows
media player (that comes free windows)you will need to burn (or
create/transfer the file to an audio CD) or just go to click on windows media and get it. MP3 recorders
are little more expensive than mp3 players.

There are many ways to do this, depending on what your present
equipment is capable of. Presuming your CD burner is inside a
computer, and if your synthesizer has MIDI output, you can input all
the music into a sequencing program (which you can get for free;
here's one:
) and then create an audio file using a software synthesizer such as
QuickTime (also free, at least for the Mac). Once you have the file
you should be able to burn it on a CD. The only expense is a box
which will convert from the MIDI cables to USB or whatever input your
computer requires, probably less than $50.

If your CD burner is a separate device which you can connect to a
stereo, all you need is a microphone (and even a really cheap one
will be better than the condenser mic on your tape recorder).

I use Cakewalk Pyro 2003 , downloadable (costs less thann 30 dollars). I
record from a small 4 channel mixer into the computer line-in. Connected to
the mixer, I put the performance CD player into 2 Channels, pan them to one
side of the stereo output, and plug in an electronic keyboard into the other
inputs, and pan it to the other side. You adjust the balance between left
and right, so that the sound going into the computer is what you want. The
program lets you record and edit what you have recorded as far as length,
and then burn a CD. The program also does some other nice things.

i use a minidisc recorder and then transfer it to my computer using an
adapter and a ubs port. the minidisk cost me about $300.

on September 20, 2004 10:00pm
You can aways use programs like finalie or slilbus to make midi files .. but thats the hard way out if there is somethign easier Go for it!
on February 6, 2007 10:00pm
If you use Windows, capella playAlong provides an easier way to create practice CDs. It guides you step by step through the process of going from MIDI, MusicXML, or capella files to a CD. You can then rip the CD to your iPod if you like. For more information and a trial download, see:

Best regards,

Michael Good
Recordare LLC
on July 9, 2007 10:00pm
Hi, Nice to meet you. I am a complete blank when it comes to what you are doing. Some of the terms and all are in my knowledge. I have the computer types you mentioned. Have you upgraded any of your information since you wrote this?
Thank you,
on May 1, 2008 10:00pm
If you are working on the mac platform, you should have an installed software called Sound Studio. You can plug your cassette player (headphone jack) into your sound in jack on the computer, and create an aiff file. Drop that into itunes, convert to mp3. Create a new playlist for your tune and burn the playlist to cd. You also have a mp3 file that can be downloaded to an ipod or uploaded to your web page. There is a mac microphone adapter ($19.99)that lets you add a 1/4" mic you already have via a usb port. Sound studio will also use that and you can record live from your acoustic piano. You can also midi in from an electronic piano. I have found this a really useful piece of software, and best of all, it comes free with the machine!