|What is the Wave Maker?
A common task for a musical director is to create tapes or CDs for his cast or orchestra. This was once a cumbersome process at best--working with third party audio recording and compression software, and then timing playback just right... That's where the Wave Maker comes in--a sort of Swiss Army audio recording tool.
What do I need to do before I can begin making waves?
First you need to get the audio that's to be recorded into the PC. If you're just using sound from the PC (no external synthesizer), the sound is already in the PC. However, if you have a synthesizer, you'll need a cable that will connect from your synthesizer's (or mixer's) output to your PC's audio input.
Next, you need to tell MIDI Maestro where the audio will be coming from. This is done in the section labeled "Audio recording hardware." The "device" refers to the hardware in your PC that will be digitizing the audio (converting it from sound into bits of information)--generally this will be the name of your sound card. Most sound cards have multiple "inputs" from which to choose:
||When should I choose this one?|
||If MIDI playback comes from your PC speakers|
||If you have a synthesizer, and can use a cable to connect its output to your desktop PC's sound card.|
||If you have a synthesizer and have a laptop that only has a microphone jack, and no line-in port.|
CD-quality audio is 44.1 kHz, 16-bit stereo. Unless you're recording large amounts of uncompressed .WAV audio, you'll want to leave the format setting at this default.
The white box in the "Audio recording hardware" section is actually a meter that will show audio activity. If you've made a valid device/input selection, you will see the movement on the meter when you play notes on your keyboard, or speak into a microphone if you're using the microphone jack. If you're using the Wave or MIDI input setting, you may not see anything on the meter until music is actually playing.
The Gain slider allows you to set the "recording level." If you see the audio activity meter constantly at its maximum (all colored in, no white remaining), chances are your audio is going to sound clipped or garbled. To fix this, lower the gain (move the slider to the left) until the meter shows some movement away from its maximum. Conversely, if the audio is too "low" or quiet, you might try increasing the gain. Note that for laptops that use the microphone jack as the "line-in" jack, it may be necessary to keep the gain setting at its far-left position.
What choices do I have for the format of the audio files that the Wave Maker will create?
Uncompressed waveform audio files require about 176KB of disk space per second (1411 kbps) of recording with the default format of 44.1 kHz, 16-bit stereo. The licensed version of MIDI Maestro is capable of compressing audio into ".wma" files using state-of-the-art codecs such as Windows Media Audio 9.
If you choose to compress your audio files, you should choose a CBR (constant bit rate) format. You will find the sound quality of begins to degrade quickly with bit rates lower than 192 kbps.
Where will the Wave Maker put my new waveform audio files?
By default, MIDI Maestro will put your new files into the same folder as the song(s). If it will be easier for you to find your new file(s) (when using a CD writing program for example), you may instead specify any folder on your PC.
A third option exists, which is to place the audio files on "new waveform tracks." You'll probably only want to use this option when you have selected "do not automate song play." This feature provides a way for you to quickly capture sound and place it as an audio clip in your song.
By default, the Wave Maker uses the song's title (with a WMA or WAV extension) when creating waveform audio files. You may choose any other name, however, by selecting the "Use this prefix..." option. The Wave Maker will add a number to the prefix to avoid duplicate filenames.
Now I just click the Begin button?
By default, the Wave Maker will record the current song and then stop (you may also choose to record a section of a song by selecting the section before opening the Wave Maker). If you have a set open, select "Record entire set" if you want all songs recorded. The Wave Maker automatically rewinds songs and advances from one song to the next. The "play through cues" feature insures that playback does not stop for cues. All "skip" cues are still executed, and all "vamp" cues will be played through twice (one repeat). The "fade out" timer allows extra recording time after all MIDI notes have been played.
When you click Begin, you should see activity on the audio meter when sound is played. If there is a problem, just click cancel and check your settings. If you chose not to automate song play, you will either have to manually start and stop MIDI Maestro (using external control), or begin playback from whatever other sound source you are recording.