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  1. #1
    Silver Lounger
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    Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    I have decided to try and convert my huge collection of old cassettes (all voice only lectures) to CD. Here is where I have gotten to thus far:

    1. Downloaded and installed "Audacity"
    2. After hours of Googling around and trial & error in the program, I can now "record" from the cassette player to the PC.

    Now, here are some questions I need answers for:

    1. Audacity has the option to "export" the recorded digital file to either ".wav" or ".mp3" format. Which is preferred, re: possible editing and play back devices?
    2. Does "Audacity" have editing capabilities? or should I use something like "Nero Wave Editor"? The only thing I am anticipating that would require editing is the removal of the "dead space" that will be encountered when I have to turn the cassette over to continue the tape on the reverse side.
    3. File size vs. minutes?? I noticed that a recorded section saved as a .wav file is nearly 7 times larger than the same file saved in .mp3 format. But both require/use the same amount of time. Thus, should I be concerned with the "Time" and not the file size when deciding upon which format to use?

    Just a reminder, this is my first attempt at working with audio files. I've only burned "Data CD's", so this is totally new territory for me and of which I am woefully ignorant. Let any replies please take this into account. <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>

    Jeff
    Jeff
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  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    On the *.wav vs *.mp3 size/quality point, you may want to look at some of the detail in <post#=536775>post 536775</post#>. For all I know, you may well be happy going for *.mp3 - for which you will need to "lame" codec (which you may have already installed). The time is exactly the same. The sound quality is what makes the difference in size.

    There are definitely editing capabilities in Audacity. If you are simply removing dead air - without being too fussy - try highlighting the dead air and then using the scissors icon. "Pure" dead air will be indicated by a completely horizontal line.

    HTH
    Gre

  3. #3
    Star Lounger
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    As mentioned, audacity will record and do some editing for you, such as removing blank space, fade in and out, normalize (make your peak levels more or less the same if a file is built up from various sources). It also has other effect plugins that I have not found to be too useful, but ymmv. For tape or vinyl digitizing you may want to consider another program for restoration (pop, click, hiss, hum removal). I have found Groove Mechanic to be pretty good and it's pretty cheap.

    Some things about audacity ui are less than intuitive, but it works pretty well once you have figured it out.

    .mp3 is a lossy compression, so if you want to re-import to audacity for later editing, keep the native audacity file or use .wav. There are lossless compression formats, notably .ape (Monkeys Audio), requires their software (free). There is a plugin for winamp to support playing .ape's directly. Yields about half the size of .wav's

    Try googleing "vinyl to digital", "analog to digital" and similar for lots more- including how to optimize your recording (levels, how to connect devices, etc.)

    hth, Dave

  4. #4
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    Thanks to everyone for your input. I've just completed my first project and I must say I am very impressed with the results. The only thing I am rather disappointed with is that it seems that you have to keep the exported wave file even though the project has been saved in Audacity. I was hoping that if I saved the original project as an ".aup" file, that I could then delete the rather large ".wav" file and then export the project as a ".wav" file at another time. This would obviously save loads of HDD space. Perhaps I'm not understanding something or doing something right. But in my testing, after saving my recorded project and then deleting the exported ".wav" file, which I burned to CD and then re-opened the project in Audacity and exported it again as a ".wav" file...... even though the file size was 242 megs, it was blank, i.e., no sound....... straight line.

    Any additional help here would be appreciated. Other than that, I'm a happy camper. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Jeff
    Jeff
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  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    About the simplest program I've found for this purpose is the Analog Recorder that comes with the Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition. I don't personally use it, since I'm a perfectionist (as well as a control freak) but it's very adept at what it does.
    -Mark

  6. #6
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    That .aup file you tried to re-export may have been missing the folder with the many accompanying files that actually are the music. If you start your project with a file- save as, and name a location, you will get a folder with the same name along with your .aup file (otherwise it may go to some default temp location- check preferences). Together they are about the same size as the .wav you can export. If that is not the case, then I am not sure what happened.

    Dave

  7. #7
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    Dave,

    When I saved the project, I saved it to a designated folder in "My Documents", i.e., "Audacity Projects". In that folder I have the ".aup" file, which is 137 KB. And, there is a sub-folder with the file's name, e.g., "filename_data", which contains 474 objects and is 5.78 MB. When I open the ".aup" file in Audacity, it appears to be fine... i.e., there is "sound" showing in the graphic. I then export it as a .wav file and looking at the file in Explorer it shows it as being a .wav file and 242 megs. But when I open (play) the file in WMP, it is "dead"..... no sound. Okay... so I open this .wav file in Audacity and it is nothing but a straight line????

    What am I missing here? I seems reasonable to think that one could take the ".aup" file and export it at will as a .wav or .mp3 file and it should play, right?

    Jeff
    Jeff
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  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    I'm not an Audacity user but I play one on TV. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> Seriously, if it's anything like the audio editors I use frequently, then the AUP file is probably a session file that contains metadata about the project and not the actual source file(s).

    Depending on the amount of work you plan to do with audio editing, I would strongly suggest seeking out a program that can natively handle the MP3 format. The space savings alone are quite worth it.
    -Mark

  9. #9
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    Not sure what is up, but checking a project I am working on, the audacity files are about 1.21 gig and the exported .wav is 811 meg. In preferences-quality, my sample rate is 44,100 Hz and Sample Format is 24 bit. On the File Formats tab- Uncompressed Output, I am using- Wav (Microsoft 16 bit PCM). I use winamp as a player, but that shouldn't matter. You should be able to simply export an audacity project, play it (wav or mp3 or ogg), re-import to audacity, edit away and play from there as well. I'd say check your output format, beyond that I dont know.

    Dave

  10. #10
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    Re: Need help with 'Audacity' - Cassette to CD

    I agree with Mark. The AUP file only contains metadata about the locations of the project files and the effects and such. It does not contain actual sound data.

    You can export MP3 with Audacity if you have the LAME Encoder installed. I haven't done this for over a year, but I remember that it is possible and easy once you install the LAME dll. (Google for LAME Encoder and you'll find it easily.)

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