need help: audacity/editing sound for dummies

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pipacsos
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Post by pipacsos » March 7th, 2006, 4:04 pm

Hi People,

I downloaded Audacity 1.2.4 some days ago. I wanted to download the stable version, but I got the beta version in the end. What really bugs me is that in the left bottom corner sometimes a line appears saying that "recording time remaining: x hours y minutes z seconds". It started at 30 hours and it is getting less and less. Does it mean that this free software can be used only for 30 hours for recording??? Do anyone of you see this at your version??

Thanks,
Mariann
Last edited by pipacsos on March 8th, 2006, 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mariann

kri
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Post by kri » March 7th, 2006, 4:11 pm

That limit to recording time is per recording. Audacity will only allow you to create up to so many hours in one recording (I think 180). Audacity is still completely free, for the full version.

jimmowatt
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Post by jimmowatt » March 7th, 2006, 5:00 pm

pipacsos wrote:Hi People,

I downloaded Audacity 1.2.4 some days ago. I wanted to download the stable version, but I got the beta version in the end. What really bugs me is that in the left bottom corner sometimes a line appears saying that "recording time remaining: x hours y minutes z seconds". It started at 30 hours and it is getting less and less. Does it mean that this free software can be used only for 30 hours for recording??? Do anyone of you see this at your version??

Thanks,
Mariann
Yes, I've seen it.
I assumed that it was connected with disc space remaining.
I figured it must be doing a calculation as to what disc space you've got and how much time it can fit on that.
It does use a huge amount of space for its own project files

pipacsos
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Post by pipacsos » March 8th, 2006, 7:10 am

jimmowatt wrote:
Yes, I've seen it.
I assumed that it was connected with disc space remaining.
I figured it must be doing a calculation as to what disc space you've got and how much time it can fit on that.
It does use a huge amount of space for its own project files
Thank you. Do you know how to get rid of the background ssssssshhhhhhzzzzzzzzzffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff as well?
I am experimenting with the waves without much sense, I just try it and listen to it what has changed compared to the previous version, but can you give me a hint how to use the equalizer with much more sense than just clicking here and there? The waves are just sticking close to the 0 level line in the middle and every now and then there's a huge wave that doesn't seem to end in the 1 to -1 area, but wants to go above or much below that line. What is the best setting for the microphone input volume to avoid the white noise?
If it were just a repetition of the very same topic, just send to the thread where it is discussed in this "for dummies" depth, plz.

THanks,
Mariann
Mariann

hugh
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Post by hugh » March 8th, 2006, 8:42 am

the hiss is most likely related to your microphone...when I made the change to a cheap ($30) Logitech USB mic, it cleared up a lot of my background noise problems.

also, check in Preferences/Audio I/O/Recording Device...see if changing to a different recording device will help.

pipacsos
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Post by pipacsos » March 8th, 2006, 9:33 am

hugh wrote:the hiss is most likely related to your microphone...when I made the change to a cheap ($30) Logitech USB mic, it cleared up a lot of my background noise problems.
actually my laptop (Acer) has a basic noise, and I don't mean the ventillator that switches on every now and then. Do you think that this could be the reason as well? Are USB mikes better than the older ones with this traditional sort of endings?
Mariann

harvey
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Post by harvey » March 8th, 2006, 9:34 am

pipacsos wrote:The waves are just sticking close to the 0 level line in the middle and every now and then there's a huge wave that doesn't seem to end in the 1 to -1 area, but wants to go above or much below that line. What is the best setting for the microphone input volume to avoid the white noise?
Mariann,

Your description suggests the volume level of the microphone input may
be too low. If you are using Windows, open the Windows Volume Control
(aka "system mixer"), switch it to Recording Control, and look at the
section labeled "Microphone" to see where the Volume slider is set.

You want the input recording level to be as high as possible without
clipping, which I'm pretty certain is what you're talking about by the
occasions when the recorded wave form goes to the 1 and -1 areas.
If your set-up is working properly, you should not be getting wild
swings in the level of the recording, which is what you indicate.

(On my PC, I have it to maximum, and the signal level is still not as
high as I'd like.)

If you're not sure how to set the input level, let me know. I'm
writing a guide on this topic for the LibriVox documentation wiki.
I'll post the section on the Windows mixer for you.

For completeness, it may be that Audacity has a way to set the input
levels directly. (I suppose I need to get Audacity so I can see how
it works for writing user guides.) I use Cool Edit 2000, which does
not set levels itself. I also use Total Recorder, which does have
this ability, so, with it, I don't need to bother with the system
mixer. Total Recorder has two sliders, one for play-back volume and
the other for recording volume; very convenient.

pipacsos
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Post by pipacsos » March 8th, 2006, 9:48 am

harvey wrote:
Your description suggests the volume level of the microphone input may
be too low.
Wow that was a quick answer! Thanks. And you just guessed perfectly, cos the volume level of the mike was really set too low. Under this there's a checked off thingy. This is the only one that is checked. I don't really get it, does it need to be checked=off?? If I undo the checked sign, then my laptop makes even more hiss. Any ideas?
If you don't know how to do the above, let me know. I'm writing a
guide on this topic for the LibriVox documentation wiki. I'll post
the section on the Windows mixer for you.
You description how to do it was so precise that I could do it straight away on my own, but any links are welcomed , thank you :)

Are the Cool Edit 2000 and Total Recorder freewares?
If you know any free softwares to record with, just let me know. Audacity is the first one ever that I use for recording sound.

Mariann
Mariann

harvey
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Post by harvey » March 8th, 2006, 11:24 am

pipacsos wrote: Under this there's a checked off thingy. This is the only one that is checked.
I don't really get it, does it need to be checked=off?? If I undo
the checked sign, then my laptop makes even more hiss. Any ideas?
In theory, the check-off thingy (check box) should be checked for
just those inputs you want to record. The usual case is to record
just one input. I've never tried this: but, since it's a mixer, you
should be able to mix multiple inputs to record them together. But I
digress. I just experimented on my PC: the check box for Microphone
on the Recording Control has no effect (another mystery of computing
to unravel). Unchecking the box did not increase the noise level like
you experienced; I'm speculating, but the difference may be due to
difference between our PCs in their audio hardware and related
software.

On the Recording Control program: Options > Advanced Controls (check
this). If you now see an Advanced button on the Microphone channel,
click it. See if that dialog has a check off thingy (:-) for "Mic Boost";
uncheck it if necessary. I get lots and lots of hiss when it's checked.
Are the Cool Edit 2000 and Total Recorder freewares?
If you know any free softwares to record with, just let me know.
Audacity is the first one ever that I use for recording sound.
Total Recorder is not free, but it's inexpensive. I've been using the
Standard Edition for about five years; it's the best $12 I ever spent
on computers. I use it regularly to record streaming audio and radio
broadcasts of music. Its elementary editing capability works just
fine for editing most speech, where all I do is crop out the good stuff
from among broadcast introductions and advertisements. Over the last
several weeks, I've been using it "by hand" to chop long audio books
in MP3 files into separate files by chapter as I listen.

However, for LibriVox editing, you'd want the Professional Edition
($36) for its much better editing features (I've only toyed briefly
with it). My experience with Cool Edit (which is similar to Audacity)
and Total Recorder suggests that the Professional Edition of Total
Recorder is likely to be easier for a beginner to learn and use. You
can download a trial version for free from http://www.highcriteria.com/

If you haven't discovered it yet, the documentation wiki has a number
of pages on software.
Start here: http://www.librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/SoftwareWeUse

A free program you might try is Exact Audio Copy (listed at the link
above). It can record and has a Wave editor. I toyed with its editor
for a project similar to LibriVox (where we use the main program to
rip recordings of speech from audio CDs), but I can't say how
satisfactory it would be in practice for audio editing. The editor
has a noise filter.
Last edited by harvey on March 8th, 2006, 1:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

kri
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Post by kri » March 8th, 2006, 11:49 am

Mariann, one of the problems could be with your sound card. If you have a not-so great quality soundcard, and are using a normal input mic (as opposed to USB) then it will probably generate a lot of hiss. Supposedly, the USB mic bypasses the sound card, and goes straight to the computer. That way it doesn't matter the quality of your sound card.

Tom Storer
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Post by Tom Storer » April 28th, 2006, 2:42 am

Hi, everyone. I'm just getting started here and must be doing something wrong, but what?

Equipment: I've got Audacity and a Pantronics USB headset/mike that cost me 60 euros so it ought to be decent.

Operating system: I'm on Windows XP Home Edition.

Problem: My recording level is way low, like -50 dB.

What I've done so far:

1) I set my Audacity preferences as described in the LibriVox wiki's Audacity FAQ page:

. my recording device is the headset/mike
. recording channel is mono
. default sample rate is 44100 Hz
. default sample format is 32-bit float (other settings on the Quality tab are default)

2) I went into Windows Control Panel > Sound and audio devices and set the default audio recording device to the headset/mike, then clicked Volume for that device and set the volume slider to the maximum.

3) I went into the advanced parameters of my sound card. I have four choices for input: Wave/MP3; Synth MIDI; audio CD; line input. I don't know which corresponds to my microphone, but I'm assuming it's line input. I tried putting that to maximum and all the others to mute. Then I tried putting Wave/MP3 to maximum and all the others to mute. These changes had no effect on my recording level.

Can any of you kind souls help me out of the wilderness? Many thanks in advance.

kri
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Post by kri » April 28th, 2006, 6:34 am

I would recommend not putting the other volumes to mute, because you may have forgotten and get confused later when something doesn't work.

Have other people at LibriVox heard your recordings and heard the same thing? It could be something wrong with your speakers, or your system. Would you mind posting a test recording so we can hear and maybe get an idea of what's wrong?

Tom Storer
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Post by Tom Storer » April 28th, 2006, 8:47 am

Hi, kri. Thanks for answering!

Nobody has heard these recordings since I'm a complete beginner here. But I'm sure there's nothing wrong with my speakers or my system: I can play other WAV and MP3 files with no problem. When I make a recording in Audacity, the input monitor shows very low levels, and when I export the project to WAV and play it, sure enough, the sound is extremely faint. I'd be glad to post a test recording, but... where? I don't see an option here for attaching files.

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Post by kayray » April 28th, 2006, 9:00 am

Tom Storer wrote:Hi, kri. Thanks for answering!

Nobody has heard these recordings since I'm a complete beginner here. But I'm sure there's nothing wrong with my speakers or my system: I can play other WAV and MP3 files with no problem. When I make a recording in Audacity, the input monitor shows very low levels, and when I export the project to WAV and play it, sure enough, the sound is extremely faint. I'd be glad to post a test recording, but... where? I don't see an option here for attaching files.
Upload to your own webspce, if you have any, then post a link in this thread. Or, use the dreaded http://yousendit.com service to send the file to yourself, then post the resulting link here. Good luck! I'm confident that we'll be able to get you recording in no time. :)
Kara
http://kayray.org/
--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

harvey
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Post by harvey » April 28th, 2006, 2:13 pm

Tom,

One of the factors about sound on Windows that confused me for a while
(don't have experience with Macs on this matter) is that the play-back
volume is completely independent from the recording volume. That
means that setting the play-back volume (to max) has no effect at all
on the record volume; so you may hear loud-and-clear through your
speakers what's coming from the mic, but it may not be getting through
well for recording, if the recording volume is set low. Conversely,
you can mute play-back for your mic and still get good, loud recordings.

This draft page may be helpful:
http://www.librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/HowToSetTheRecordingInputVolumeLevel

As mentioned there (although it needs screen shots), Audacity gives
you direct control over the signal source and its volume. In the
upper center of the window is a pull-down menu to select the source:
set it to "Microphone" (presumably it's already at that or you wouldn't
have gotten anything). Just to the left of the pull-down is a slider
with a drawing of a mic to its left. That sets the recording volume
(using this slider is the same as using the Microphone slider on
Window's Recording Control.)

If this doesn't help or solve your problem, let us know.

I use Cool Edit 2000 on Windows XP Home Edition. Even with the
recording volume on the mic input set to max, the recording I get
still isn't as loud as I'd like (ranges mostly between -5 to -20 dB).
In other words, I can't get anywhere near loud enough to cause
clipping. Fortunately, what I do get is loud enough that I can
amplify it after recording without side effects (such as one gets with
too low a signal-to-noise ratio). See the first screen shot under
"Example 1: Voice Characterizations":
http://www.librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/AudioProcessingConcepts

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