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Guides: How to Get Your Musical Creations Off Your DS

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

With a lack of Export feature for most music software on the handheld, we show you how to preserve and share your masterpieces

DS-owning music enthusiasts have quite a few tools at their disposal for composing their latest and greatest, laying down that melody that came out of nowhere for use later or just plain old messing around with bleeps and bloops. It’s great fun, but when you’ve spent a considerable amount of time on a piece in, say, Korg DS-10 or Rytmik, only to find yourself unable to get those tracks off your DS to share with others; well, that’s not a happy place to be.

Now that immortal sound effect you recorded and remixed into a parakeet squawk in the Nintendo DSi Sound channel doesn’t have to go to waste! Let this guide help you alleviate these composition-sharing frustrations and force it upon let the world hear your opus.

This guide doesn't apply only to DS, as the 3.5mm headphone jack is universal and available on most Nintendo handhelds (barring the Game Boy Advance SP). Why, if you have the proper adaptor you can capture your Mario Paint shenanigans following these same steps. For this guide, we're just going to use a DS.

What You’ll Need

  • Audio-in jack on your computer. This is typically the spot where a microphone would plug in.
  • One 3.5mm (1/8”) male-to-male cord: Can be found cheap where electronics are sold (you can also check Amazon).
  • Sound editing program: Most computers come with one, be it Garageband or Windows Sound Recorder, but for our multi-platform demonstration purposes we’ll be using the open-source program Audacity.
  • If you'd like to save your songs as MP3 files using Audacity then you'll need to install the LAME MP3 codec. There's a handy how-to on the Audacity site.

Let’s Do This

1. If you haven’t already, download and install Audacity from the link above. It's available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux for the low price of free. Once installed, run the application. It should be nice and blank, as pictured.

Untitled
A fresh project in Audacity.

2. Get your song ready to play on your DS. Once you plug in the 3.5mm cord into your DS's headphone jack you won't be able to hear it, so make sure everything is ready.

3. Plug one end of the 3.5mm cord into your DS's headphone input, and plug the other end into the audio-in jack on your computer. If you have trouble finding it, check for a small microphone icon on the side/back of your computer. It should be the one next to where your speakers plug in.

4. With everything plugged in and your song ready to go, hit the red Record button in Audacity and then play your song. When it's finished, hit Stop in Audacity.

5. Recorded! You've probably got a few seconds of "dead air" before and after your song. Using the Selection tool in Audacity (the one that looks like a text cursor and is in use by default), highlight the dead air sections and hit Delete on your keyboard. Easy peasy.

Untitled
Highlight dead air with the Selection tool and and get rid of unwanted, awkward silence. This is music, not your dinner table.

6. Now you'll want to save and export your song for listening outside of Audacity. Click "File" and choose whether you want to export in WAV, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis. Saving as WAV preserves the highest quality but also creates the largest file. Ogg Vorbis and MP3 both compress and thus lose a little quality, but they make sharing easier with smaller file sizes. If exporting as MP3, fill out the relevant tag information (artist, song title, etc.) and save it.

Untitled
Pick your preferred file type to cement your musical excellence.

Congratulations, you're a super star! Huzzah!

If you want to find a wider audience for your musical creations, the Nintendo Life music podcast NLFM is currently taking submissions for user-created music. Get in touch using the Contact form and you never know, your musical masterpiece could be played to thousands of gaming fans worldwide!

Thanks, Nintendo Life!

No, thank you!

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User Comments (25)

SwerdMurd

#4

SwerdMurd said:

man i've seen this info posted in so many places....do this many people not realize that in-line recording is for toddlers? It's quite common-sense-ey.

Linkuini

#5

Linkuini said:

Thanks! I bet this will work great for my records in WarioWare D.I.Y. and the sound files for my custom Bangai-O stages. Maybe now they'll be audible when I play them back.

jangonov

#7

jangonov said:

Common knowledge for me, but there are some who really have never thought about it. I have a 3.5mm male to male, but rytmic is not in America yet...

Roopa132

#8

Roopa132 said:

I do this all the time with my Korg DS-10 songs. But great that you put it up here for everybody :D

Shiryu

#9

Shiryu said:

Excellent piece. Like @jangonov, common knowledge to me (would not be music creation my biggest hobby http://shiryumusic.no.sapo.pt/ ), but you have no idea how many times I had to explain these procedure to people wondering how they could export their DS-10 creations into mp3.

Varoennauraa

#10

Varoennauraa said:

That Korg DS-10 plus sounds absolutely fantastic in DSi!!! DSi has a better sound chip and it sounded far better that I would ever have imagined! Such a small console, but such beautiful sound! I didn't find the iPhone synths sounding this pleasing! I have always wanted a travellers synth, but I don't have DSi, so...

I hope...no, I need them to make a sequel for 3DS! With so much more processing power and supposedly even better sound chip plus wider screen, I can only imagine its possibilities!

-Even better analogue modelling, or even modular system for downloading more plugins(I would pay a lot for these, like 20€ a piece, or more!) Like putting a virtual MS-50 on top of MS-20(DS-20 + DS-50) And different synth engines
-Kaoss pad and Kaossilator, sampling and audio looping
-Workstation like synth too!!! Also With Karma!
-OK, I started to feel a little surrealistic again, sorry. But that would be awesome!!!!

Someone! Make it happen!

fishman100

#11

fishman100 said:

WOw!
but I've always been bad at these things, but I might as well give it a shot so I can try to start remixing Zelda songs!!!

Magicpegasus

#12

Magicpegasus said:

i never really saw the point of upgrading to a dsi, but every time someone releases a new music tool for the system (especially the ds-10 plus) i get jealous. it seems like there should be a way to send audio data via wireless. recording through a headphone jack doesn't give you the cleanest audio, but it's serviceable. i've released music that features drum tracks and basslines straight out of ds-10 through the headphone jack. search itunes for "so this is olympus" or "agnostic country singer" if you want to give 'em a listen.

MrMartinLee

#13

MrMartinLee said:

Awesome to see Audacity spelled out like this for folks who may not have known about it! Just a quick addition, though: you can set Audacity to "play through" while recording (it's in the Preferences) and then you can listen to your what you're recording by plugging in headphones to your computer's headphone jack. Makes it easier to keep from going into the red in your recording...

treeofmana

#14

treeofmana said:

Magicpegasus,

I was actually reading this interesting article in an Acoustic Guitar Magazine e-mail right before reading this post. The following is copied and pasted:

If your computer has an existing audio input (typically a 1/8-inch mini-jack), you could just use an adapter to make your guitar cable fit, but that's not ideal. To get the optimal tone, it's best to use an intermediary device or interface. An audio interface digitally converts your voice and guitar into data-the stuff that can be stored and retrieved on your hard drive, manipulated onscreen, and then sent to speakers, the Internet, or a recordable CD. Traditionally, an interface is a "box" with a bunch of jacks that accept microphone and guitar inputs (for recording with your guitar's pickup). You plug your mic or guitar into the box and it converts the analog signals (i.e., your music) into digital data. That data is sent to the computer via a USB or FireWire cable, which plugs directly into the computer's corresponding USB or FireWire ports. Audio interfaces usually include multiple kinds of connections (XLR, 1/4-inch, headphones), level-matching knobs and switches, phantom power (for condenser mics), and other bells and whistles.

Another simple way to get your music into the computer, and one that's especially useful if you lack a decent mic, is to use a USB microphone. These mics work just like traditional microphones, except that they convert your signal inside the microphone housing, and the signal travels from the mic to your computer via a USB cable, thereby eliminating the need for any additional hardware

By Jon Chapell

And thus ends the copied and pasted section. If you are looking for the best quality capture, then this would be the way to do it. Another way would be to plug into an external multiple-track recorder. Those run a big range in price but could be simpler in some ways.

I hope this helps,

treeofmana

Magicpegasus

#15

Magicpegasus said:

treeofmana,
thanks for the information, that's really nice of you. the quality problem i was talking about has to do with the the only ds output, the headphone jack. you can use a digital converter box that connects via firewire or usb, but i don't think you'd get any better quality than just plugging the ds straight into your soundcard with an 1/8 stereo cord like this NL artical suggested. i personally did use a "bridge" device, my 8 track mixer, before sending the signal to my pc. that was just so i could play with the eq and record other instruments.

what i was suggesting is that the ds could send digital audio wirelessly. no conversion means no loss in quality. if the ds had usb, optical, or firewire out, it could be done that way too. every headphone out jack has built in amplification, in this case controlled by the volume knob, and this little amp almost always creates a buzzing noise in the line. if you follow this guide you will hear it. it can be cut out by tweaking the volume knob or eq either on your bridge device or the eq in your recording software, but not eliminated.

here's hoping the 3ds supports optical out or wireless audio out :)

IanUniacke

#16

IanUniacke said:

Good guide. Audacity is a great program, especially great that it's free! I hope to hear lots more Rytmik and Korg music :D

By the way you can check out some Rytmik songs I wrote on youtube, search for Ian Uniacke.

pixelman

#20

pixelman said:

Awesome article, thanks for this Panda. I already have Audacity and it rocks! :D

James

#24

James said:

I have loads, actually: two in my PC, two sat in a drawer and one to connect my speakers to my laptop. I love cables, though.

@Kid_A - This will work with anything :)

joevox316

#25

joevox316 said:

Thanks for this!
@SwerdMurd I understand where your coming from, but that's kinda like me (HTML guy) wondering why everyone doesn't know how to declare a global variable. I mean, your average person playing Mario on their DSi isn't going to think "Oh I know! I'll just get a special cord and do me some in-line recording!" lol Not everyone is tech-savvy, on many levels. 'Tis something us techie folk must learn sadly =)

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