have a simple
recording utility built-in: Sound Recorder (in the
Start Menu's Accessories/Entertainment
sub-menu). It stops recording after 60 seconds or so, making it less
than useful for recording music, though perfectly usable for creating
short sound-effect clips to use with system events like errors or
need a more sophisticated recording program. There are lots
of options, many of which can be downloaded-- though in most cases,
users will need to buy a product code to continue to use a program
a trial period. On the Internet, you may want to go to someplace like Download.com
and search for recording or
Doing so got me 131
Windows hits and 17 Mac hits-- though many are for CD burning,
'ripping' audio from CDs inserted into your computer, or other things
that while interesting, may not be what you want to do right now.
checking out: Audacity,
and free recording program, available in
Windows, Mac (both classic and OS X) and Linux.Unix. Plug-ins (to the
free, open-sounce Lame) are
to save in the popular MP3 format; these are available for most (but
all) versions on the site.
lack in Audacity is that (at least as of July 2003) it doesn't provide
VU meters-- a way to keep an eye on the levels while recording. This
makes it difficult to know in real-time whether you're recording is too
loud (and distorting) or too quiet to be usable. There are
of other options-- though many downloadable programs are demo-ware,
which will work for a limited amount of time, then may disable
themselves unless you purchase a serial number.
Stop the presses!
versions for Audacity now have VU meters, making this a very usable--
and free program. Check it out!
checking out: WavePad is
a small, simple, free
audio recording application with some nice features including built-in
CD ripping and burning, MP3 support (along with other audio formats),
noise reduction, and more. Musicians will like its ability to play
tracks slowly without changing pitch.
Rosoft Audio Recorder
is free (Windows) recording software- if you are recording from an LP
or tape, it can automatically find the silences between tracks and
split the recording. (Note:
the free version of this software automatically installs theAsk Jeeves 'My Search' toolbar
into Internet Explorer-- which can be uninstalled using Add/Remove
Software if unwanted).
checking out are:
or US$249 for the 'pro' version) is well thought of, but I don't have
any first-hand experience with it. CoolEdit was purchased in May 2003
by Adobe, who are going to re-release it as a commercial program to be
called Adobe Audition.
XPis the US$59 'lite' version (of a US$350 full
XP version has more power than I need! This is what I used when I made
this tutorial, though I'm moving to Audacity.
is free and usable, but its many features are poorly documented.
Acoustica: free for 30 day trial, then US$10, this
includes a 6-band parametric equalizer to adjust the audio quality of
recordings from LP or tape. Groove
free for 15 days, then US$39. This program records an entire side of an
LP or tape at once, then analyses it, splitting it into individual
tracks (automatically or manually), removing LP pops, cracks, and
or removing tape hiss. (1 MB download). Very
it may take some fiddling with the defaults to split
sides into individual tracks, especially on quieter, acoustic
Laundry: a set of modules to clean scratchy
and remove tape hiss. Demo version is limited to 3 minutes of
recording/processing. (2 MB download) WaveCorrector: another clean-up program. Demo is limited
minutes processing. (1.5 MB download)
(US$7; free trial
version) will automatically create new files for each track as you
record an LP or tape
A good place to check for
Harmony Central, with resources and news for
Atari, Amiga, BeOS, and Unix.
I've mostly used SoundForge XP and GrooveMechanic. GrooveMechanic is
especially nice, as it lets you record an entire side of a tape or LP,
then attempts to split it into individual tracks-- a task that can be
done manually, but is tedious at best.
should be hooked up to
your audio hardware, and have software up and running. It's time to
put the vinyl on the turntable or the cassette tape in the tape deck
just turn on the radio), and load up your chosen recording software.
record, you may be asked what quality to make your recording... if you
aren't asked about this, check your software's Preferences or settings
to make sure they're what you want. Here's the dialogue
for SoundForge XP Studio 5:
choices-- a 44.100
kHz sample rate, 16-bit sample size, stereo, will provide CD-quality
recordings. Figure on needing about 1 MB of drive space for each minute
something, just to make sure everything is connected properly and your
levels are at reasonable. 20 seconds or so of music ought to do it
(unless your music has very quiet and very loud portions, in which
case, you should check some of each)...
Stop and play it back on your computer. Hopefully, it worked and sounds
good... if not, keep fiddling with the level controls, both on your
audio gear and on your computer until you find that happy medium.