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Thread: Novelty #3 free waveform editor: Audacity

  1. #1
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    Default Novelty #3 free waveform editor: Audacity

    I use PEAK on the Mac and Wavelab on the PC (both of which are very good, if a bit pricey); haven't tried this but have heard that it's very good...and you can't beat the price:

    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

  2. #2
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    Default Cassette tape to CD

    Yes revi, you cannot beat the price. And the features.

    A friend of mine bought a couple of new cars for him and his wife. The cars are identical except for different shades of blue. Unlike the old cars, these only play CDs. He brought me the cassette tape and asked me if I could transfer it to CDs. I told him to return the cars and get a combo CD/cassette player. Not what he wanted to hear so I'm trying.

    What I have to work with:
    1. A cassette tape of Dance Music of the Forties such as Glenn Miller and others, WW II stuff. The tape itself is TDK D60 IEC1/TypeI, Dynamic Performance, High Output. It is a copy and I have no idea what the originals came off of but apparently not phono. So no need for RIAA equalization. Each side is a little over 30 minutes so I have a 63 minute project. It is in stereo so probably remastered clips.
    2. JVC rack mount cassette player/recorder.
    3. iMic but i don't know which version. There are at least three versions but the only way to tell for sure is to open it up and look at the circuit board. No desire to do that.
    4. M-Audio Revolution 7.1
    5. A Radio Shack stereo RCA to miniplug cable which works for either the iMic or the Revo 7.1. And it gives a nice tight fit at both ends of the cable.
    6. Final Vinyl v1.1.2 software. A freebee that works with iMic.
    7. Audacity v1.2.3 software. A freebie that works with iMic or the Revolution 7.1.
    8. Toast Titanium v6.0.9.
    9. OS 10.3.8.
    10. What very little I know and remember about audio and cassette tapes. And virtually nothing about this hardware and software except Toast.

    It took me a full day to learn about the JVC, iMic, and Final Vinyl. My biggest problem was too much gain on input. I finally got that one figured out. My other problem was that a few times while I was experimenting, the iMic would would only digitize one channel. I never was able to figure out why tho I experimented thoroughly with various USB inputs, each of the two USB ports on my QS/PF as well as several of the USB ports on a USB PCI card. Maybe an early version of iMic.

    It took me about a half day yesterday to figure out Audacity which has a ton of features and just a few warts (but nothing serious) and the Revo 7.1 and save the result, 2 tracks corresponding to sides A and B of the cassette, in the Audacity format, then export them to aiff. The reason for creating 2 tracks is so that for short trips he can choose track 2 instead of having to go thru 30+ minutes of track 1.

    The big downside is that this is all done in real time except of course the burn in Toast which I did at 4x.

    This morning I burned several CDs and have tested them on the QS/PF, my home theater, a portable CD player, and a car CD player. Works for all of them but of course no guarantee they work in his car or home stereo. We shall see. k

  3. #3
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    Default I'll have to check it out!

    Kaye,

    Now I'm feeling guilty! I'd heard about this beast but never tried it; I'll have to put it on one of the machines here.

    As regards archiving/converting material from cassette...eh...there's a great deal that can be addressed on this topic, certainly much more than I know.

    Forensic audio-types are, not surprisingly, masters at this.

    Now, regarding this project, I guess it has already been completed, but in case something similar comes up (watch out for those friendly favors!), there are some things that can come in handy.

    Doing some EQ-ing (equalization) may help reduce some artifacts (e.g., rumble or tape hiss) and, in conjunction with dynamic effects like compression, amplification or normalization, you can get a better signal-to-noise ratio. Maybe even sweeten up the mix or make it more punchy. Normalization, which crunches the dynamic range a bit, may be the most useful. Geez, it's been a while, but are the D-series TDK tapes the ones with the red package? This is a non-chrome tape, right?

    As regards getting the stuff into the Mac, why didn't you just take it directly into the M-Audio card? I have Delta-DIO in a PC over here and it's a real runner (I use it for S/PDIF transfers to the PC when needed). I'd wager that the A/D converters in your M-Audio card have higher headroom than the iMic.

    Also, in that it appears that you're clipping on input...which really can't be fixed digitally....you're by far best off trying to attenuate the signal _before_ it hits the A/D converters as A/D converters tend to be not-so-forgiving once they're overloaded. I'd try using another tape deck (if you have one...I've kept an ol' tank 3-head Nakamichi precisely for this purpose...haven't used it in years and am afraid at finding out what it's resale value is now ;-)

    iw

  4. #4
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    Default One more note...

    Kaye,

    I just realized you said the tape was Type I, so, indeed, non-chrome. Yeesh. He should maybe also hit *bay and other sites to see if he can find it on CD (not demeaning your efforts, but without some pretty pricey restoration software, for instance,

    http://www.waves.com/content.asp?id=59

    it's a yeoman's task to get stuff off of dynamic tapes without a lot of artifacts). You may very well be right by telling him to sell his car and get the one with the tape deck. ;-)

    Now, regarding big band stuff, I've got a couple favs:

    Basie in London: no-one swung harder than Basie (dynamite vocals by Joe Williams too):

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...id=1110601423/

    Your mention of Glenn Miller got me thinking how, when in Marshall Field's yesterday (well, it's Fields until it becomes Macy's, I guess...the ones in Chicago are in great buildings), I heard what I'm sure was the Duke Ellington version of "I'm Getting Sentimental over You" with "Cat" Anderson on trumpet. Granted, it was the Dorseys, not Miller, who made the tune famous.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...%3D1110601794/

    Both of these albums were recorded well after the halcyon days of big band...the Basie album dates from, I believe, the late fifties and the Ellingon disk is from the early sixties (some of it recorded here in Chicago).

    Great, great stuff!

    P.S. I haven't checked out the files, but here's some Louis Armstron material online:

    http://www.redhotjazz.com/Sebastian.html

    iw

  5. #5
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    Default

    Cool tunes, though I hate RealPlayer...

    dave

  6. #6
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    Default

    I'm not wild about RealPlayer either...one of those "pushy" apps. Then again, I suppose they have to fight given the giant in Redmond that's encroaching on _everyone's_ turf.

    "Wow, windoze media player works well on windoze and others are compromised!"

    Also, I wanted to add that I think Cat Anderson's solo is the last on that tune, I think Roy Eldridge and Cootie Williams take the earlier solos. I gotta verify this. ;-)

  7. #7
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    Default

    revi,

    Yeah, not chrome tape and it is the red color TDK box. The friend is outta town in Germany so I don't know what the original tape is but this copy seems to be pretty good tho chrome would have been better. Tho I know very little about all of this audio, my son had suggested I copy it off of my home theater cassette deck to his digital mini deck. Then import to the Mac. But I wanted to try the iMic.

    So I used his rack mount cassette deck and eventually got to the point where I was connected directly to the Revo 7.1 from that deck. What I couldn't figure out is how to reduce the gain on the deck. That thing has so many bells and whistles knobs on it which is one of the reasons I have been putting this project off. Plus my son has been overloaded at work including weekends. Leaves early and comes home very late. Plus he is trying to complete taxes when he is home so I don't bother him. So I set the gain with the Revo and Audacity.

    The tape itself seems good tho there are two points in the whole hour long tape where I can hear a momentary slight pitch change. I don't know if somewhere along the line a tape was stretched or the motors varied in speed but since both points are at the same location, it is not my son's deck.

    My son likes to use his digital mini deck on my home theater because I have two boxes that are in the mix. Old stuff but works very well.
    1. Phase Linear 1000 - Dynamic range recovery system, autocorrrelator and noise reduction system. Does lots but hiss and hum noise reduction are part of it.
    2. SAE 5000 - Impulse noise reduction system, for pops, crackles, and clicks.

    I have a Revo 7.1 in both my GigaMDD and QS/PF and another spare. Used the QS/PF for the project. If I ever do this again, I will use his rack mount deck and connect directly to the Revo and Audacity like I ended up doing this time.

    Marshall Field, I know it well and Carson Pirie Scott & Co. Lived in Woodlawn, later Roseland, then much later Schaumburg, Park Ridge, and Lincolnshire. k

  8. #8
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    Default

    One thing I totally forgot to mention is that after exporting in aiff the two tracks from Audacity and before bringing them into Toast, I ran CD Spin Doctor which does 6 things if you want them all:

    3 Noise Reducers:
    De-click, De-crackle, De-hiss
    3 Sound Enhancers:
    Exciter, Wideness, Sub-Bass

    You can choose any one or more. I just chose them all. Each has a slider for how much of the effect you want. I just set them at mid-point. After completion, I dropped the altered tracks into Toast manually tho Spin Doctor will do it automatically if you want. Spin Doctor adds to the name and saves for each track, name_filtered.aiff, so that the original files are still there. k

  9. #9
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    Default

    Found out that I could import directly into Spin Doctor 2, bypassing Audacity. I do like Audacity however since I understand it better and it seems more full featured. Always smart (dumb) to read the Help after using it. Anyway, another software possibility.

    Applying Filters

    You can apply specific filters to one or more tracks or the entire audio file.

    To apply filters:
    1. Click the Filter button.
    2. To select options that can reduce noise, select the Noise Reducer option and choose from these options:

    ´ De-click: Removes loud distortions from LPs.
    ´ De-crackle: Removes softer surface crackling from LPs.
    ´ De-hiss: Removes broad band noise from all different sources (LPs, cassette tapes, video, noisy microphones, etc.).

    3. To select options that can enhance sound, select the Sound Enhancer options and choose from these features:

    ´ Exciter: Compensates for loss in high frequencies that may have been caused by aging of the analog source material or use of the De-hiss feature.
    ´ Wideness: Increases the stereo effect of the audio.
    ´ Sub-Bass: Increases the low frequencies of the sound.

    4. Before you apply the filters you have selected, you can choose which tracks (or even the whole audio file) that you want to apply the filter to. Choose them from the Apply To pop-menu.
    5. If you want to automatically make a copy of the tracks or audio file you are experimenting with, select the Create copy before applying check box.
    6. To apply your filters to the tracks or audio file you selected, click Apply.
    k

  10. #10
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    Default

    We touched on several apps for digitizing analog audio.
    1. Final Vinyl v1.1.2
    2. Audacity v1.2.3
    3.Toast Titanium v6.0.9
    4. Spin Doctor v2.0.2 which comes with Toast. I gave my friend 2 CDs without the filtering and 2 with Spin Doctor filtering (pops, hiss, hum). According to him there is a noticable difference.

    Now some info about Jam v6.0.2, Peak Express v4.1 which comes with Jam, and Popcorn v1.0. Just finished loading these on my GigaMDD but have not used them. From the Roxio readmes:

    Basic About Toast with Jam. Toast with JamTM is award-winning software that helps you make CDs or DVDs. Toast with Jam consists of several software applications:

    Toast 6:
    * Toast 6 Titanium v6.0.9. Create and copy data, audio, photo and video discs.
    * CD Spin Doctor 2 v2.0.2. Digitize analog LPs, cassettes and live audio to CD or DVD.
    * Motion Pictures v1.0.4. Turn still photos into pan & zoom movies.
    * Discus RE 3.06B v3.06. Design disc labels, case covers and inserts.
    * Deja Vu. Schedule automatic backups to hard disk storage, CDs or DVDs.
    Jam 6:
    * Jam 6 v6.0.2. Create professional-quality audio CDs and party mixes.
    * Peak Express v4.1. Edit and enhance audio files or soundtracks in video files.

    Popcorn v1.0
    Q. I use Toast. Why should I also use Popcorn?

    A. Both Toast and Popcorn can copy non-encrypted DVD-Video discs, disc image files and valid VIDEO_TS folders. Popcorn offers additional features to compress and extract DVD-VIDEO content to fit on standard recordable 4.7 GB DVDs. These features include:

    Powerful Video Compression
    Compress an entire 9 GB dual-layer DVD-Video to a standard 4.7 GB DVD disc, while maintaining high video quality and full audio fidelity.

    Informative Copy Summary
    Clearly see the video, audio formats and languages to be copied, and the quality and compression levels of the resulting copy.

    Flexible Extraction
    Copy an entire disc with all video, menus and extras with one click. Maximize video quality and use of available disc space by extracting just the main movie, audio and language.

    Full DVD Support
    Supports multi-channel audio, such as Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS, multi-language content, NTSC and PAL video, and widescreen or pan/scan aspect ratios.

    Q. Why should I use Popcorn?

    A. Popcorn offers many key features:

    Versatile Copier
    Copy DVD-Video discs, disc image files, VIDEO_TS folders from hard disk. Compatible with non-encrypted* DVD-Video content, including content from popular ripping utilitiesš.

    Toast Burn Engine
    For over 10 years, Toast has been the #1 selling CD and DVD recording software for the Mac OS. Popcorn includes automatic drive support for all DVD formats including dual-layer, multiple copy settings, buffer underrun prevention, and ToastAnywhereé network recorder sharing. Toast burning technology ensures high quality copies that play on home DVD players.

    Powerful Video Compression
    Compress an entire 9 GB dual-layer DVD-Video to a standard 4.7 GB DVD disc, while maintaining high video quality and full audio fidelity.

    Basic What's New in Toast with Jam Toast with Jam 6 includes all the exciting new features in the awardwinning Toast 6 Titanium, plus these additional enhancements for music lovers and audio enthusiasts.
    * Jam 6. Mix like a DJ and transform your tracks into a professional quality CD. Visually create dynamic crossfades with drag and drop ease. Adjust output levels, trim unwanted portions, set pauses, burn directly from Jam, and more.
    * DVD Music Albums. Create DVD music albums with hours of fullquality digital audio, and on-screen menus and buttons for easy navigation. Supports up to 96-bit audio files.
    * Dolby Digital Sound. Create audio and video DVDs with Hollywoodstandard DolbyTM Digital sound. Superior compression rates deliver full fidelity and help you to fit more on your DVD.
    * Peak Express. Take your audio to its peak. Reduce noise and enhance the sound of your audio and video. Fine tune your CD tracks or reduce hums and hisses in your home movies.

    Lots of choices to pick from. k

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