Huge .wav files from Cakewalk Express

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Huge .wav files from Cakewalk Express

Postby mcgyver42 » Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:01 pm

I'm a software engineer just dabbling in music generation. I bought a MIDI-to-USB interface cable to capture MIDI info from a keyboard. Cakewalk Express came as a freebie, so I'm using it, and I've been successful at the capture part. I've figured out how to render an audio track from the MIDI info using the computer's sound card, and export that audio as a .wav file. The intent is to burn these tracks onto an audio CD. There's only one MIDI track on each, a grand piano voice, and I'm rendering a pair of audio tracks (left and right stereo.)

The problem? The .wav files created are HUGE! On the order of 50 MEGABYTES or more! They seem to play fine, but they don't zip down much, and I need to transfer them to another computer.

What's up with this? Are there settings somewhere that control the size? Is there a better way to do this? A buddy of mine creates MP3 files instead, but he uses different software. I don't seem to have that option.


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Re: Huge .wav files from Cakewalk Express

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Postby Butch » Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:42 pm

Audio format; Compression factor
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Postby mcgyver42 » Fri Nov 21, 2003 7:55 pm

Well, yeah, duh! I know that wav files don't have great compression factors, but a 5 minute single voice file should NOT be 50 megabytes!

There's got to be more going into this file than needs to. Or a way to create some other format. Realaudio files can't be burned to CD, so... what?

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Postby Butch » Fri Nov 21, 2003 8:31 pm

I work with Midi files so I'm not in to audio.. but I would Think cutting the Vocal lines out and pasting them on other tracts maby you can reduce the size that way,

a line like this

Hello everyone{------Air&Background Sound------} My Name is Joe {------Air&Background Sound------} I,ve Ben Bla Bla Bla for 20 Years {------Air&Background Sound------} Thank you {------Air&Background Sound------} !!!

maby cutting the {background sound} out will help.. and just space the vocal line out the way it was...
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Postby mcgyver42 » Fri Nov 21, 2003 8:48 pm

Yeah, actually, there are no vocals. There is only the piano. Tracks of 3 to 5 minutes in length all produce .wav files of about the same size; 50 megabytes. This leads me to believe that Cakewalk Express is being lazy and allocating a huge file for every audio export; then it just fills in minimal info and saves it off.

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Postby andychap » Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:03 pm

When you record a wav file it records the silence as well as sound so the amount of content doesn't matter. 50 Meg for a 5 min track seems about right. You can search the net for a wav to mp3 convertor and then you can compress at about 10:1. You can also compress to wma format, the same 10:1 ratio. A lot of wave editors support wma even if they don't support mp3.

Remember when compressing you will lose a bit of quality. So converting it back to wav on another computer would decrease quality. If it's transfer via email then it's really the only way to go. If the computers are local then you could look at networking, burning to CD or portable storage devices then you can keep the original wav quality.
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Convert to MP3

Postby Axeman » Wed Dec 03, 2003 7:28 pm

Cakewalk Express may not have an mp3 encoder, but that is the way to go. That 50meg wav file will compress to around 5-6Megs as an mp3, and depending on the bitrate quality you set for the mp3, there may not be an audible loss of quality. I would suggest burning the waves to CD-R so you can swap them, and save the mp3 encoding for the final product. Too much format swapping can have undesired effects on the signal quality eventually.
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Postby GretscGuy » Fri Dec 05, 2003 12:07 am

Your file size is right in line with what it should be. A 5 minute stereo .wav file will be the same size no matter if it's a single piano or a 300 track project. You may want to try lowering the sample or bit rate.

Here is a guide for you that will help you guestimate your final .wav size.

44.1kHz 48kHz 96kHz
8-bit 5MB 6MB 12MB
16-bit 10MB* 12MB 24MB
20-bit 13MB 14MB 28MB
24-bit 15MB 17MB 34MB

The left hand column (8, 16, 20, 24 represents your bit rate)
The top row (44.1, 48, 96 represents your sample rate)

Numbers are based on stereo 1 minute audio

If you look at 16bit @ 44.1Khz you will see it is 10MB, your file was 5 minutes long and was 50MB. This makes sense to me:

5 Minutes X 10MB per minute = 50MB

That 5 minutes can be a piano, a full band or a huge orchestra, it will still be 50MB (this is why headroom and eq are so important in the digital world!)

Hope this answers your question!
Good Luck
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