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Help Recording Audio

Discussion in 'PC/Windows/Linux' started by phecksel, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. I have some really important audio cassette tapes and need to convert them to computer audio files. My laptop came with a free recorder that will do 60 sec snippets. This is a one time deal and need to record several passages of longer length. Prefer to have something free.

    The microphone picking up the speakers is adequate. Haven't tried a direct connection yet...can't seem to find my adapter plug.

    How big are the files typically to record per minute?

    Thank you in advance for assistance. It's going to get interesting...
  2. mallaig


    Mar 12, 2006
    Have a look at Audacity.

    Audio CD standard (Red Book, 44.1kHz, 16bit, stereo) is about 11MB per minute.

  3. Thank you, got it loaded and working. Now need to figure out how to make it work...that and find my adapter cable :( 
  4. mallaig


    Mar 12, 2006
    It's quite easy really.

    Open Audacity
    1. Edit preferences (CTRL+P)
    2. Click on the Quality tab
    3. Set the default sample rate to 44kHz
    4. Set the default sample format to 16bit
    5. Click OK to close the preferences panel
    If you want to add the ability to save your recording as mp3 you need to install a mp3 encoder. I recommend LAME as do the Audacity developers.
    1. Download version 3.96.1 from here and save the zip anywhere on your PC.
    2. Open the zip file and extract lame_enc.dll into your Audacity plug-ins folder. Typically C:\Program Files\Audacity\Plug-Ins.
    3. Edit Audacity's preferences again
    4. Click on the File Formats tab
    5. Click on Find Library and browse to the plug-ins folder.
    6. Select lame_enc.dll and click Open
    7. Select 160 for the bit rate
    8. Click OK to close the preferences panel
    Back in Audacity select your input source from the drop down menu above the editor window. Line in for when you find your adapter, Mike for when you want to record from the speaker (not recommended!), or Mono/Stereo Mix for any sounds that your computer makes. The latter records anything, e.g. you listening to music, system sounds, program sounds, etc. If you want to make sure to only record the tape find your adapter and use line in.

    As for the quality, selecting anything higher than 44kHz and 16 bit will not yield better results, only (significantly) larger sound files in your case. If you record speech only, you can select as low as 22kHz for wav or 64kbps for mp3. However, stay with 16bit as 8bit introduces a lot of noise. Also, saving the file as mono will reduce the file size to 50% of a stereo one. If your source is a mono source then there is no point saving the recording as a stereo file.

    Don't blow the highlights - the blinkies sound terrible. :wink:

    Hope it helps.
  5. Excellent instructions!

    It's a long story, but it will get ugly. The biggest problem I'm going to have is bumping the volume on selected passages. voices were soft, and unhearable on most equipment. My audio system can pull the voices out, and for those may get forced into using the microphone. Don't know what's going to happen line in from the tape deck, because my adapter plug is temporarily misplaced...I know the quickest way to find it, buy a new one :)  The comment on 2 vs 1 channel is a good one. I need to look to see what's playing back on the tape deck. If it's only one channel recorded, my life just got at least a little bit easier.

    Thank you again for the help...I should be screaming mid next week, this project has to be done in 1.5 weeks.
  6. mallaig


    Mar 12, 2006
    Well, I happen to be a sound designer so I know a thing or two about this. I'm more than happy for you to send me the digital recordings and I can try and clean them up for you.

    PM me if you're interested.
  7. Ah, too late to recommend Audacity or Reaper. :) 
  8. mr2monster


    Jun 29, 2007
    Well Tim pretty much covered all the bases i was going to cover....
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