Transerring audio tapes to pc wth ext soundblaster

  andy625 11:43 24 Oct 05
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I have recently set up a pc (p3 600mhz, xp pro) with an external soundblaster card to record my audio tapes onto pc. It works ok, except occasionally the recorded track on the pc "jumps" and misses a split second of the music.

I've tried altering the "edit tape hiss etc" settings and saved it in a couple of different bps's like 128 and 96 (i think, from memory). Also set input to "what you hear" as well as "line in/mic", and no change.

I have the stereo connected to soundblaster using the headphone socket on the stereo as there's no "line out".

Has anyone alse tried recording tapes with this setup? If so, any suggestions??

  splork 12:15 24 Oct 05

What software do you use to record the audio?

  splork 12:17 24 Oct 05

Ideally, if you're capturing at CD quality 44khz 16 bit on a system like that, you need to close all un-needed apps and programs, defrag your hard-drive beforehand or better yet create and use a seperate partition for your audio recordings. Even better again is to have a seperate HD for audio, at that quality it's writing data at about 10mb/sec to your hard-drive, and any interruptions will more than likely cause the glitches you're hearing.

  splork 12:21 24 Oct 05

Tape only goes up to about 12-14khz if i recall, you could safely drop to 32khz 16bit .wav without any loss of quality. Encoding directly to mp3 while recording will increase the workload too.

  andy625 13:37 24 Oct 05

Thanks splork,

It sounds like I have the quality set too high. I'm using the creative program that came with the soundcard on he smart recorder tab. I don't know a lot about recording music except that I've copied in a few cd's using media player. I haven't messed about with the default settings in the creative program too much, only reducing the quality to 96bps as I know thats what I've scanned in the cd's at.

The pc has recently been reformatted, and there isn't any other software on there appart from the wireless network card stuff.

I normally save the music as wma files, again only as this was the default in media player when I did my cd's, and as I now have about 50 I thought I'd keep it all the same.

When you say about 44 or 32khz, I take it that is the same setting I have, although mine is in kbps I think (I'm at work now so can't check).

  splork 13:46 24 Oct 05

Well to be slightly technical, the .wav recording frequency needs to be double the highest frequency of the audio you are recording. When you re-encode it to mp3 or wma the quality of the audio changes, for example 128kbps MP3's usually lose a lot of bass which are obviously low frequencies. If you can set your encoding software to use VBR (variable bit rate) it will adapt the encoding to get the best sound quality and the smallest file size. WMV is touted by Microsoft to be as good as mp3 at half the bit rate but only your own ears can tell you if you are happy with the result. When i say khz I mean thousands of samples per second, you need to record as .wav to avoid the skipping audio.

  splork 13:48 24 Oct 05

This is an excellent free audio encoder/CD ripper click here which supports more formats than Windows Media Player.

  splork 13:59 24 Oct 05

I meant .wma not wmv

  andy625 15:01 24 Oct 05

So, are you saying that if I want to end up with wma/mp3 files, I would be better to record as wav at about 32khz, and then re-encode it to wma (or mp3)?

  andy625 09:29 26 Oct 05

Splork, I took your advice and re-copied my tape with the destination file set to 32khz 16bit wav. This created each track at around 30Mb. I then converted all the tracks to wma format at 80bps, and hey-presto, all jumps have disappeared.

I copied the files to my pda's sd card and listened to them on the way to work this morning and the quality seems fine. The only comment I would make is that they seemed to be a little bitout of balance, ie a bit too much right channel. I don't know whether I should check what it sounds like on headphones before I convert, or whether its because of my car stereo performance. I think I can live with it/sort it out though.

Thanks for your help. Now for the other 150 cassettes!!....

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