Transferring Your Old LPs and Tapes to CD Danbury Area Computer Society November 8, 2005 General Meeting Bruce J. Preston
Topics zIs It Legal? zBackground: Different Recording Technologies zWhat Hardware Do I Need? zWhat Software Do I Need? zWhat Kind of Blank CDs? zThe Process zDemonstration
Is It Legal? Simplified Answer: Yes, it is legal for personal use under the “Fair Use” of copyrighted materials umbrella. Fair Use lets the owner of copyrighted material, such as LPs, tapes, CDs, etc., make a copy (or copies) of material for personal use. These copies may be made on a different media - “Format Shifting” which is our case, or for “Time Shifting” - such as video taping a TV program that is shown at a time when you can’t conveniently watch it. Fair Use does not permit you to make copies for distribution to others.
Edison’s Phonograph z Cylindrical Drums z Mechanical Amplification
Monophonic Groove z At a given height up the walls, the distance between the walls is constant, e.g. when left wall moves towards center of record, right wall moves same distance. z The stylus rides the walls and moves side-to-side.
Stereophonic Groove z Walls are independent of each other. z Stylus follows contours of each wall.
Magnetic Tape (Analog) z The amount of magnetically charged iron particles bound to the tape is proportional to the strength of the audio signal. z There may be two (stereophonic) or more tracks. (Anybody here remember 8-track?) z Tape may be erased by re-aligning the magnetic charge and then re-used.
Terminology zSome Recording Terminology yDynamic Range yDistortion The difference in sound level (loudness) between the highest and lowest parts of a sound clip. Discernable ‘wrongness’ in the sound caused by a problem in the source or recording process. Some may be repaired. Clipping Clicks, Pops, Wow Background ‘Noise’
Dynamic Range zFor an LP, the loudness is determined by how far the stylus must move from side-to-side. zMechanical restrictions limit the range of motion for the stylus. zFor tapes, dynamic range is limited on the high end by ‘saturation’ of the magnetic charge, and on the low end by background ‘hiss’.
Distortion zFor an analog recording if the maximum dynamic range is reached, ‘clipping’ occurs, and is very noticeable. zPops - usually caused by a scratch or dust in the groove. zWow - usually caused by a warp in the record or worn belts in a tape deck. zBackground ‘noise’ - Tape “Hiss”.
A Pure Tone z A tone may be seen on an oscilloscope - signal is vertical, time is horizontal. http://www.howstuffworks.com/analog-digital.htm
A Spoken Word z Sound contains many frequencies at various loudness levels. http://www.howstuffworks.com/analog-digital.htm
Measuring Waves z Imagine a piling in the water that has a yardstick z Every second you record the instantaneous height of the water z Now imaging being able to record the height of the water every 1/100th of a second. z Or 1/10,000th of a second.
Digital Recording - 1 z Here we have a signal or “wave form” plotted over time. http://www.howstuffworks.com/analog-digital.htm
Digital Recording - 2 z Here we ‘digitize’ it by assigning each signal strength at an instant of time a number, in this example, between 0 and 9. http://www.howstuffworks.com/analog-digital.htm
Digital Recording - 3 z If we then use the numbers to “play back” the signal, we would get an approximation of the original signal. http://www.howstuffworks.com/analog-digital.htm
Digital Recording - 4 z If the time interval for reading the signal strength is made shorter, we get a more accurate representation. http://www.howstuffworks.com/analog-digital.htm
Digital Recording - 5 zThe signal strength values are recorded as numbers on the CD by using a low- powered laser to ‘burn’ numeric data on a thin layer of metallic film embedded within the CD. zThe signal is ‘played back’ by reading the reflections of the burned spots.
Digital Recording - 6 zInstead of 10 discrete signal levels as in the previous examples, a CD can handle 65,536 different levels. zThe standard ‘sampling rate’ for a CD is 44,100 samples per second. zA CD can hold about 74 minutes of sound when recorded in this way
What Hardware Do I Need? zA turntable appropriate for your records, or a tape player for your tapes. zA preamplifier or receiver to process the signal from the turntable or tape player and send them to the computer. zA personal computer (PC or Mac) with a high- quality sound card that has a ‘mic’ or ‘line in’ jack and a ‘16-bit’ sound card and a 16x or faster CD-R (or CD-RW) drive.
What Hardware Do I Need? TurntableReceiver or Pre-Amplifier PC with Sound Card Hard Disk CD burner
What Hardware Do I Need? zTypical requirements for a PC are yPentium II class, 233MHz processor (400 MHz for Windows 2000 or XP) yWindows 98/Me - 64MB RAM, Windows 2000/XP - 128MB RAM yat least 1GB of available hard disk space zCables (next slides)
What Hardware Do I Need? z The ‘output’ signal on the preamplifier or receiver is usually provided via a pair of “RCA phono-plug” jacks. z Turntable or tape deck is usually connected via “RCA phono-plug patch cables”
What Hardware Do I Need? z To get from your preamplifier or receiver to your computer you need a cable with a pair of RCA phono-plugs on one end of the cable, and a 3-conductor stereo ‘mini- plug’ on the other. z You can get this cable at RadioShack, or many other electronics stores.
What Software Do I Need? zCD Burning Software yEZ Creator yNero Burning ROM yRecordNow zAudio Editing Software yCakewalk Pyro * yVoyetra Audio Surgeon * * Newer versions than mine include burning software One from each category:
What Kind of Blank CDs? zYou typically want blank “CD-R” CDs. zYou may purchase ‘spindle packs’ of 25, 50 or 100. At larger quantities, they may be as little as $0.10 each. They are often sold with rebates available as part of the Sunday newspaper flyer promotions from Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, etc.
The Process zSelect the correct format for the saved audio file - based upon how you intend to play it back. ( CDA, WAV, MP3 ) zAdjust the ‘recording level’ - CRITICAL! z“Play” the sound source into the computer, recording as you go. This is known as ‘ripping’.
The Process z“Check” the audio cut - make sure that you haven’t exceeded the maximum recording level which would cause clipping. Clipping can not be repaired. z“Edit” the audio cut - remove excess lead- in, excess trailer, remove pop, hiss, etc. z“Save” the audio cut.
The Process zAssemble your target CD from cuts and place them in the selection window of your CD burner software. z“Burn” the CD. zTest play the CD.
Demonstration zHow to Connect the Equipment yTurntable to Preamplifier or Receiver yTape Player to Preamplifier or Receiver yPreamplifier or Receiver to Computer
Demonstration zAdjusting the Recording Level Demonstration of what ‘Clipping’ sounds like (and looks like on the PC screen) if you used too high a recording level. zEditing lead-in and trailer. zRemoving pops and otherwise improving audio quality. zBurning a CD.
Demonstration ziTunes yFreeware from Apple for Mac or PC xOrganizes by multiple categories xDownloads from Apple Store xInterfaces to iPods xBurns CDS
Demonstration ziPod MP3 player Photos Playlists Games Calendar Audio Books Notes Stopwatch Contacts
What I used for the demo. zRecording Software: Audio Surgeon zBurning Software: RecordNow! The method would be much the same for other products, these happen to be the ones that I use. RecordNow!is the full-feature ‘upgrade’ of the burning software that came bundled with my notebook computer. I tried the free demonstration versions (downloaded from publisher web- sites) of both Voyetra’s Audio Surgeon and Cakewalk Pyro, and just happened to prefer the ‘feel’ of Audio Surgeon.
Sources zVoyetra Audio Surgeon yAvailable by download at $29.95 zwww.voyetra.com
Sources zStomp RecordNow! by Veritas yNow www.sonic.com xDownload$29.99 to $69.99 xVarious versions, capabilities, packaging zSonic also markets and continues the EZ Creator brand previously by Roxio (which started out as Adaptec!)
Sources zNero Nero Burning ROM ywww.nero.com $79.99 to $99.99 yoften bundled with a new CD-R or CD-RW drive