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I hope I am not going to infringe any of the house rules in starting this topic, and will not be offended if the Moderator points out any such breach to me, but I wonder if anyone on this board has experience of 'do it yourself' recordings and can recommend user - friendly editing software for my computer.

 

My apologies in advance if I get any of the technical stuff wrong.

 

I am occasionally asked to make recordings of myself on CD. This is not for any professional purpose ; sometimes friends and family are kind enough to ask for a recording of a recital of mine, or I am asked to provide a CD of my playing when asking for a recital in a slightly more up - market venue.

 

I record myself on a Sony minidisc recorder, which is not of hi - fi quality, but it gives very acceptable results for my purposes. Slightly to my surprise, this actually gives an analogue signal output, but I have managed to find the correct connector and sound card to enable my computer to process the incoming signal as digital.

 

This is where the problem starts.

 

I used to record onto my laptop (Sony Vaio) which did not have a dedicated audio programme, but using the soundtrack of the video programme. This could then be converted into the appropriate file type and burned onto CD, giving an acceptable result.

 

However, this did not allow for any editing, so was less than ideal if I wanted to present my playing in a more or less finished form.

 

I thought that I could do better than this and looked around for a proper audio editing and processing software program for use on my new PC and bought Sony Sound Forge.

 

I have found this an exceptionally frustrating program to work with ; as with other Sony products, whilst they produce excellent hardware, I find that the instruction manual is either unintelligible or, where it is intelligible, just wrong. After endless hours of pulling my hair out, I have not managed to produce one remotely acceptable recording on the program and am minded to bin the whole thing and start again.

 

Can anyone more computer literate than me suggest either a simple way in which I can achieve what I want with what I have already got, alternatively, recommend a simple program that does what it says on the tin without causing me a nervous breakdown.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

M

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Sound Forge is OK for certain tasks, but makes editing difficult because it only allows 'destructive editing' where the post-edit audio replaces the pre-edit audio and the edit cannot be adjusted. You really need software that allows 'non-destructive editing'. I have used a variety of such packages including Steinberg Wavelab, Magix Samplitude, and Pro Tools, but these would be total overkill in your case. I would actually recommend Sony's Vegas software, because even though it is primarily for video work, it allows fairly intuitive non-destructive audio editing and handles the burning of a Red book CD at the end.

 

I've heard some positive comments about Audacity, but haven't tried it myself.

 

A note about MiniDisc - the quality isn't quite 'CD-quality' as the audio is compressed (a little like an MP3) to fit it onto the disc, but it's fine for your purposes. Quite often Sony don't include a digital output, but an analogue connection to your PC isn't going to noticeably affect the end quality. Your PC soundcard converts it back to digital again, hence why you see it as being handled digitally by the PC. The choice of microphone is the most important decision, and you could do far worse than the small Sony stereo microphone available as an accessory to MD recorders for about £90-100.

 

Hope this helps!

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Sound Forge is OK for certain tasks, but makes editing difficult because it only allows 'destructive editing' where the post-edit audio replaces the pre-edit audio and the edit cannot be adjusted. You really need software that allows 'non-destructive editing'. I have used a variety of such packages including Steinberg Wavelab, Magix Samplitude, and Pro Tools, but these would be total overkill in your case. I would actually recommend Sony's Vegas software, because even though it is primarily for video work, it allows fairly intuitive non-destructive audio editing and handles the burning of a Red book CD at the end.

 

I've heard some positive comments about Audacity, but haven't tried it myself.

 

A note about MiniDisc - the quality isn't quite 'CD-quality' as the audio is compressed (a little like an MP3) to fit it onto the disc, but it's fine for your purposes. Quite often Sony don't include a digital output, but an analogue connection to your PC isn't going to noticeably affect the end quality. Your PC soundcard converts it back to digital again, hence why you see it as being handled digitally by the PC. The choice of microphone is the most important decision, and you could do far worse than the small Sony stereo microphone available as an accessory to MD recorders for about £90-100.

 

Hope this helps!

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Sound Forge is OK for certain tasks, but makes editing difficult because it only allows 'destructive editing' where the post-edit audio replaces the pre-edit audio and the edit cannot be adjusted. You really need software that allows 'non-destructive editing'. I have used a variety of such packages including Steinberg Wavelab, Magix Samplitude, and Pro Tools, but these would be total overkill in your case. I would actually recommend Sony's Vegas software, because even though it is primarily for video work, it allows fairly intuitive non-destructive audio editing and handles the burning of a Red book CD at the end.

 

I've heard some positive comments about Audacity, but haven't tried it myself.

 

A note about MiniDisc - the quality isn't quite 'CD-quality' as the audio is compressed (a little like an MP3) to fit it onto the disc, but it's fine for your purposes. Quite often Sony don't include a digital output, but an analogue connection to your PC isn't going to noticeably affect the end quality. Your PC soundcard converts it back to digital again, hence why you see it as being handled digitally by the PC. The choice of microphone is the most important decision, and you could do far worse than the small Sony stereo microphone available as an accessory to MD recorders for about £90-100.

 

Hope this helps!

 

I do a fair amount of recording and use a Roland Edirol R09 with a 4g memory card: http://www.rolandus.com/products/productde...px?ObjectId=757.

 

This gives 4 1/4 hours of recording at 44khz - 24bit. I have an Audio Technica Stereo microphone, which is stunning but for quick recordings, the unit has built-in stereo microphones, which are also superb. It records directly as a .wav file and has a usb connection, so one can drag and drop the files from the card onto the Harddrive. I use Steinberg's Wavelab for editing.

 

Peter

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Audacity is always worth trying - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ .

 

We use this at school for all the 'jobbing' tasks including GCSE coursework discs, class recording, concert recordings and material for podcasts and I find it very easy to use, it sounds good and it is free to download. My colleague also uses an Adobe programme ('can't remember which - Pro perhaps?) this costs and is a little easier to use for podcasts etc. though generally more complex. I have also used Audacity on a lap top for my own recordings.

 

 

AJJ

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I'm probably going to get banned for mentioning this, but recently i tried to make a copy of something that was available as a free broadcast from the BBC website, but only in streaming format, ie can't be saved onto the hard drive for later use (that would normally have been fine, but where I am at the moment the internet connection is so wobbly that when it works you just have to save madly and worry about the rest later). I must have installed and uninstalled half a dozen so-called freeware programs that ripped or copied streamed music, and none of them worked with the BBC streamed data - except Audacity. It evidently records whatever is passing through your audio card and captures it.

 

That said, there are plenty of adjustments and I got the levels totally wrong. I later tried recording a differnet streamed file and compared it to the exact same file that I already had via CD, and the quality was noticably poorer with Audacity, though that may just have been me having the levels up too high or somehting. Still,k it doesn't cost anything and is clearly useful for the occasional item.

 

I have Vegas but never yet managed to fathom out how to use the wretched thing....

 

On the subject of microphones, any suggestions for good inexpensive kit? The Sony EC907 or 908 (I think that's the number, same microphone, nbut one has attachment for video camera, the other for lectern) is regularly cited as very good by people recordingt musical instruments; I have one for my camcorder that I have been quite satistfied with, though it does seem to lack bass a bit. It was around £50.

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On the subject of microphones, any suggestions for good inexpensive kit? The Sony EC907 or 908 (I think that's the number, same microphone, nbut one has attachment for video camera, the other for lectern) is regularly cited as very good by people recordingt musical instruments; I have one for my camcorder that I have been quite satistfied with, though it does seem to lack bass a bit. It was around £50.

 

To be honest, I wouldn't use any of the Sony range of microphones, because they are primarily intended for speech, not instrument. The harmonic range only goes down to 100 hz, which is above 8ft C (64hz) so if you want to record unaccompanied voice, the Sonys are second to none, but once you add an organ forget it.

 

Peter

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I'm probably going to get banned for mentioning this, but recently i tried to make a copy of something that was available as a free broadcast from the BBC website, but only in streaming format, ie can't be saved onto the hard drive for later use (that would normally have been fine, but where I am at the moment the internet connection is so wobbly that when it works you just have to save madly and worry about the rest later). I must have installed and uninstalled half a dozen so-called freeware programs that ripped or copied streamed music, and none of them worked with the BBC streamed data - except Audacity. It evidently records whatever is passing through your audio card and captures it.

 

That said, there are plenty of adjustments and I got the levels totally wrong. I later tried recording a differnet streamed file and compared it to the exact same file that I already had via CD, and the quality was noticably poorer with Audacity, though that may just have been me having the levels up too high or somehting. Still,k it doesn't cost anything and is clearly useful for the occasional item.

 

I have Vegas but never yet managed to fathom out how to use the wretched thing....

 

On the subject of microphones, any suggestions for good inexpensive kit? The Sony EC907 or 908 (I think that's the number, same microphone, nbut one has attachment for video camera, the other for lectern) is regularly cited as very good by people recordingt musical instruments; I have one for my camcorder that I have been quite satistfied with, though it does seem to lack bass a bit. It was around £50.

 

Hi

 

As others have said, there are plenty of audio editing programmes around - all have their advantages & disadvantages. I've used both Audacity & Wavelab Lite - and for simple edits, there's not much to choose between them. I can't currently afford anything more up-market!

 

As to your point re. comparing a BBC stream to CD - I'm not surprised that the resulting files are different - internet streaming uses quite high rates of data compression - in effect, throwing away elements of the recorded sound that the programme designer's think aren't audible. Given good studio monitor speakers, you can hear the difference between MiniDisc & an uncompressed .WAV file (I've tried it) - let alone the results of more severe data compression.

 

As to mucrophones, I'm not totally up to date. I use a c.£30 Audio Technica stereo mic into a MiniDisc recorder for basic "archive" stuff - for anything more serious, I record on a laptop (via an audio mixer) using the best mics I can lay my hands on for the purpose (I have a nice pair of Coles ribbon mics which get an occaisional outing). If you're looking to buy, then I suggest taking to a Pre-Audio supplier - I've dealt with Cunnings recording Associates in Wandsworth for many years (0208 767 3533). Some of the current Chinese-made mics are extrtemely good value for money (not as good as the top European brands - but then you're talking real money!)

 

Focal press have a number of books on recording techniques - a peruse of one of them might also be a good idea.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

(former Radio producer/Recording Engineer)

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I do a fair amount of recording and use a Roland Edirol R09 with a 4g memory card: http://www.rolandus.com/products/productde...px?ObjectId=757.

 

This gives 4 1/4 hours of recording at 44khz - 24bit. I have an Audio Technica Stereo microphone, which is stunning but for quick recordings, the unit has built-in stereo microphones, which are also superb. It records directly as a .wav file and has a usb connection, so one can drag and drop the files from the card onto the Harddrive. I use Steinberg's Wavelab for editing.

 

Peter

 

I just bought the newish ZOOM H2, http://www.samsontech.com/products/product...6&brandID=4 with built in mic's tried it out for the first time at a choral evensong, and even though I was quite a distance from the choir, the results were very good. It also records onto 4 channels using the 4 built in mic's. so it can be mixed into 5.1 surround sound . I use an old version of soundforge (version 4 I think) and it does what I need.

regards

Peter

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On the subject of microphones, any suggestions for good inexpensive kit?

 

Consider Oktava mics, but get them from the SoundRoom (only).

Great value for money, I use them (omni) with a Fostex FR2LE; at the price hard to beat.

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I have a nice pair of Coles ribbon mics which get an occasional outing

Still in the top ten mics ever designed (and particularly good for the organ in fact); but then you'd know that, given:

 

(former Radio producer/Recording Engineer)

:blink:

 

Paul

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Still in the top ten mics ever designed (and particularly good for the organ in fact); but then you'd know that, given:

:lol:

 

Paul

 

Hi

 

Yes - they are very good. I have used them for organ recording - the results were excellent. The only problem with them is mounting the things - they are quite a lot heavier than most modern microphones. They are actually still in production - currently selling for about £5-600 each - I was very fortunate when I bought mine.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Thanks again for the very helpful material that continues to be advanced by my original question.

 

In particular, that Zoom H2 seems a jolly nifty piece of kit. Hmmm. Perhaps I deserve a late Christmas present.

 

M

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... My colleague also uses an Adobe programme ('can't remember which - Pro perhaps?) this costs and is a little easier to use for podcasts etc. though generally more complex.

AJJ

 

The product from Adobe is Adobe Audition, originally known as Cool Edit Pro before bought by Adobe. I use version 2.0 for most of my audio editing, including preparing tracks for CDs (it can be used to burn the tracks to CD, too), editing recordings of live performances, and capturing some audio streaming on the Web. It has become more expensive as more features have been added, and has far more to offer than I actually use.

 

A demo version (used to be 30 days before timing out) can be downloaded from:

http://www.adobe.com/go/tryaudition

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I'm probably going to get banned for mentioning this, but recently i tried to make a copy of something that was available as a free broadcast from the BBC website, but only in streaming format, ie can't be saved onto the hard drive for later use (that would normally have been fine, but where I am at the moment the internet connection is so wobbly that when it works you just have to save madly and worry about the rest later). I must have installed and uninstalled half a dozen so-called freeware programs that ripped or copied streamed music, and none of them worked with the BBC streamed data - except Audacity. It evidently records whatever is passing through your audio card and captures it.

 

Capturing the actual data stream will provide better results than having the audio pass through an audio card and then recording and re-encoding this. Unfortunately, this can be quite complicated, but I manage to do so using VLC media player. The two most difficult tasks are finding the actual URL for the source of the streaming (often buried in the middle of a page of HTML code generated when you click on the 'listen now' button that you don't normally see) and actually getting this information into VLC. There are instructions for doing this available if you search for them, and the reward is a copy of the streamed audio with no loss of quality from what is on the server.

 

With a great deal of work, it is even possible to set this up to start and stop at predetermined times, saving you from being at your computer when the audio is streamed.

 

And, of course, there are audio streamed programmes that are legal to record.

 

Good luck!

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A note about MiniDisc - the quality isn't quite 'CD-quality' as the audio is compressed (a little like an MP3) to fit it onto the disc, but it's fine for your purposes. Quite often Sony don't include a digital output, but an analogue connection to your PC isn't going to noticeably affect the end quality.

 

The latest generation MiniDisc from Sony (Hi-MD: MZ-RH1 or with an included microphone - not suitable for organ recording - know as the MZ-M200) allows the audio to be stored uncompressed (WAV format), has a dedicated volume control for recording, and allows you to transfer ALL your MiniDisc recordings, even those previously not allowed, digitally via USB to your computer. It will even work with Macs now. If Sony had done this five years ago, the MiniDisc recorder would have taken off big time, but in what might be the last hurrah, they have managed to get the design close to okay. The battery life is amazing!

 

All the current generation of less expensive flash based recorders (Zoom H2, Edirol R-09, Sony PDM-D50, Marantz PMD620 and 660 etc) apparently have, as one reviewer wrote, two out of three things right, but never three out of three. Some have either poor quality sound from their internal microphones and/or poor quality preamplifiers for external microphones, for example. With the Sony PDM-D50, which otherwise appeals to me, to have XLR balanced inputs with phantom power and good quality mic preamplifiers requires buying an add on unit from Sony about the same size as the recorder itself and around the same price. Ouch.

 

Until a unit is produced that really does what I want, I'll stick to my Sony Hi-MD MiniDisc player fed from a pair of Rode NT-3s (with batteries in each mic) for portability and independence from mains power, the same microphones running on phantom power from my treasured Tascam DAT recorder for better quality when mains power is available, or for best quality mics via a mixer fed via USB into a notebook.

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I use a c.£30 Audio Technica stereo mic into a MiniDisc recorder for basic "archive" stuff - for anything more serious, I record on a laptop (via an audio mixer) using the best mics I can lay my hands on for the purpose

 

The cheaper single point Audio Technica stereo microphones can suffer from the same problem as the Sony ECM-MS957 and 907 - very poor bass response. For example, AT's PRO24 lists a frequency response from 100 Hz to 17 kHz and AT's ATR25 specifies 70 to 18,000 Hz. A couple of friends in the recording industry have suggested I should have bought a pair of Audio Technica microphones instead of my Rode NT-3s, so my advice only concerns the need to check the frequency response of the cheaper offerings, particularly if they offer user selectable beam patterns via a switch. This is implemented in a way that wipes out low frequencies!

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The cheaper single point Audio Technica stereo microphones can suffer from the same problem as the Sony ECM-MS957 and 907 - very poor bass response. For example, AT's PRO24 lists a frequency response from 100 Hz to 17 kHz and AT's ATR25 specifies 70 to 18,000 Hz. A couple of friends in the recording industry have suggested I should have bought a pair of Audio Technica microphones instead of my Rode NT-3s, so my advice only concerns the need to check the frequency response of the cheaper offerings, particularly if they offer user selectable beam patterns via a switch. This is implemented in a way that wipes out low frequencies!

 

My AT mic is an AT 825. The frequency response is 30-20,000 Hz

 

http://www.dv247.com/invt/2630?gclid=CNfI3...CFQOVMAodYyrw-w

 

These often come up on ebay for around £80.

 

Peter

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The cheaper single point Audio Technica stereo microphones can suffer from the same problem as the Sony ECM-MS957 and 907 - very poor bass response. For example, AT's PRO24 lists a frequency response from 100 Hz to 17 kHz and AT's ATR25 specifies 70 to 18,000 Hz. A couple of friends in the recording industry have suggested I should have bought a pair of Audio Technica microphones instead of my Rode NT-3s, so my advice only concerns the need to check the frequency response of the cheaper offerings, particularly if they offer user selectable beam patterns via a switch. This is implemented in a way that wipes out low frequencies!

 

Hi

 

I don't use the cheap AT for anything serious - although the extreme bass actually isn't too bad. The issue with the cheap Chinese mics is also that matching between pairs may not be as good as the more expensive makes - and that can be an issue for stereo imiaging.

 

To a large extent, you get what you pay for.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest spottedmetal
I record myself on a Sony minidisc recorder, which is not of hi - fi quality, but it gives very acceptable results for my purposes. Slightly to my surprise, this actually gives an analogue signal output, but I have managed to find the correct connector and sound card to enable my computer to process the incoming signal as digital.

. . . However, this did not allow for any editing, so was less than ideal if I wanted to present my playing in a more or less finished form.

. . . .I have found this an exceptionally frustrating program to work with ; as with other Sony products, whilst they produce excellent hardware, I find that the instruction manual is either unintelligible or, where it is intelligible, just wrong. After endless hours of pulling my hair out, I have not managed to produce one remotely acceptable recording on the program and am minded to bin the whole thing and start again.

Hi!

 

Have you tried the non-computer route? The small minidisc recorders are wonderful for recording but editing is nigh impossible as you say. But the "hi-fi seperates" stack units are excellent in this regard allowing placement of edit and cut points to within 1/80th second. From memory Sony are better than Sharp in this regard. They are easily and cheaply available on Ebay and function brilliantly, enabling one to cut the recording before the first audience clap, etc. They normally have a digital output, usually coax as well as optical.

 

Again cheaply on Ebay one can get audio CD recorders - the only problem being the availability of audio discs nowadays - and one can transcribe the digital signal straight onto CD. One can then make copies of the audio CD on your computer or import and process the files without relying on the quality or otherwise of the sound card. If necessary one can process further, but this is rarely necessary.

 

However, on one occasion we had a guest appearance of an amazing performer, Jong-Gyung Park, who when she played Liszt you could have been mistaken for believing that the Great Master was there, himself. Sadly I had not anticipated Liszt and the level was incorrectly set causing horrible distortion. My nephew gave me a copy of Coolpro2 for the computer, now sadly unsupported, and this filled in the missing peaks on the imported audio file. If anyone wants to hear the result I can point you privately to the MP3 directory. The result was truly remarkable.

 

Best wishes, Spottedmetal

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Guest spottedmetal
I record myself on a Sony minidisc recorder, which is not of hi - fi quality, but it gives very acceptable results for my purposes. Slightly to my surprise, this actually gives an analogue signal output, but I have managed to find the correct connector and sound card to enable my computer to process the incoming signal as digital.

. . . However, this did not allow for any editing, so was less than ideal if I wanted to present my playing in a more or less finished form.

. . . .I have found this an exceptionally frustrating program to work with ; as with other Sony products, whilst they produce excellent hardware, I find that the instruction manual is either unintelligible or, where it is intelligible, just wrong. After endless hours of pulling my hair out, I have not managed to produce one remotely acceptable recording on the program and am minded to bin the whole thing and start again.

Hi!

 

Have you tried the non-computer route? The small minidisc recorders are wonderful for recording but editing is nigh impossible as you say. But the "hi-fi seperates" stack units are excellent in this regard allowing placement of edit and cut points to within 1/80th second. From memory Sony are better than Sharp in this regard. They are easily and cheaply available on Ebay and function brilliantly, enabling one to cut the recording before the first audience clap, etc. They normally have a digital output, usually coax as well as optical.

 

Again cheaply on Ebay one can get audio CD recorders - the only problem being the availability of audio discs nowadays - and one can transcribe the digital signal straight onto CD. One can then make copies of the audio CD on your computer or import and process the files without relying on the quality or otherwise of the sound card. If necessary one can process further, but this is rarely necessary.

 

However, on one occasion we had a guest appearance of an amazing performer, Jong-Gyung Park, who when she played Liszt you could have been mistaken for believing that the Great Master was there, himself. Sadly I had not anticipated Liszt and the level was incorrectly set causing horrible distortion. My nephew gave me a copy of Coolpro2 for the computer, now sadly unsupported, and this filled in the missing peaks on the imported audio file. If anyone wants to hear the result I can point you privately to the MP3 directory. The result was truly remarkable.

 

Best wishes, Spottedmetal

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