I have been using Audacity to convert my extensive collection of records and tapes. So I typed out these detailed directions. But I still have one problem--on old recordings where there is a lot of scratches and hisses. I was directeed to the Gramofile site, but this is for Linux machines. There is a small section for windows, but in 1999 Windows was DOS. I put the question on Yahoo answers about 10 days ago (How to get Gramofile to wok on a Windows XP computer? Got no results). Have learned that a Soundblaster card (about $70) will clean up recordings. Anything you can add to enlighten me would be appreciated.
Recording records and tapes to CDs using your computer: If you have records or cassette tapes, you can import music from them into your computer compress it (to, say, MP3 format), and burn it onto CDs (as either audio files [which should play in almost any player] or in a compressed format). You’ll need a working turntable and an audio system in your computer (something that almost all new machines have). The sound must be changed from analog to digital.
You will need a cable to connect the turntable or tape deck to your computer. Some turntables come with a built-in mini-amp and will work well when you connect this type of turntable to the Line in jack on your computer. If your turntable does not have a mini-amp, then connect the turntable to the Line in jacks on the back of the tape deck. Turn the tape deck on and put a cassette tape into the tape deck. Start to play the tape and press the Pause button on the tape deck. While you are recording your album, leave the tape deck in this Pause mode; this provides a mini-amplifier to the recording—otherwise, the sound from the record will be very faint (since the turntable has no mini-amplifier).
Connect your tape deck to the line in terminal. Don’t connect your tape deck or turntable to the microphone jack. If you do, you’ll be disappointed. It records in mono. To record in stereo, you should use the line-in jack. The line-in and microphone jacks actually belong to your computer's sound system. Almost all retail computer models include them. If you must use the mic port, use a 1/8” mini jack. (You can get audio cables at most electronics stores. These plugs are also known as 1/8-inch or 3.5mm.). Run the cable from the line-out port of your tape player (If your player doesn't have this jack, try the headphone jack.) to the line-in port of your computer’s sound system. If you are unsure where to plug into the computer, check your computer’s user manual.
If you must use the microphone jack on your computer (instead of the Line in jack), open the Volume Control. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Volume Control. Click Options, Properties. Click Recording, under Adjust Volume for. Ensure Microphone has a check mark next to it. Click OK. Make sure the Select box under Microphone is checked.
Now test your connection. First, make sure that your computer's line-in is not muted. Click Start, Control Panel. Double-click Sounds and Audio Devices. Select the Volume tab. Under “Device volume,” click the Advanced button. Under Line In, make sure the Mute box is not checked. Then start your record player (or tape player). The player’s sound should make its way to your computer's speakers.
The next part you'll need is a recording program to convert analog music (your tape or record) into digital form to place on a CD. Audacity is a free program that can handle the job of recording. You can find it at audacity.sourceforge.net. Download Audacity 1.2.4b—this has the Click Removal feature under Effects (on the menu bar). Popular software titles Musicmatch and Nero can also handle line-in recording as well as Goldwave ($40-50).
Install and open Audacity. To begin working with Audacity, click the drop-down box on the right side. It will offer options for the recording source. Select Line In. Start your tape player and immediately press the red record button on the Audacity toolbar. You will observe the digital display of the song on the screen. The song is being recorded in WAV format. When the song is finished, press the yellow stop button.
Click Edit (on the menu bar) and point to Select and click ‘All’ on the submenu. Then click Effect (on the menu bar) and click Amplify. Go with the prescribed amplification since this will prevent clipping (distortion).
Audacity has a noise removal effect to remove small clicks and hisses. It also allows you to edit unwanted breaks and more. If you want more creative audio effects and editing techniques, Audacity has online tutorials and a download manual.
If you plan to store the file on your computer or e-mail it, you will want to compress it since WAV files are very large. You can convert the file to MP3, a compact music format. Audacity has a plug-in that will allow you to create MP3 files. Instructions are on its Web site. Or you can use DB PowerAMP, an excellent, free conversion tool, located at: http://www.dbpoweramp.com/
After you finish editing the song file, click File, Export as MP3. (From there you can start burning your music to CDs. Most music programs, such as RealPlayer and Windows Media Player, will burn CDs that work in regular CD players.) Name your song file. Continue until you have recorded each song from the tape or record. In Windows Media Player, you can select which format to burn to your CD (MP3 or convert to an audio file for use in almost any CD player).
You can record each side of the tape or record into one big file and break up the tracks later. Or, you can record each song as an individual file (preferable). You will want to create a file in My Documents—I named this file ‘Music to be burned’ (this will save you time later).
If you plan to store the file on your computer or e-mail it, you will want to compress it since WAV files are very large. You can convert the file to MP3, which will be much smaller. Audacity has a plug-in that will allow you to create MP3 files. Instructions are on its Web site. Or you can use DB PowerAMP, an excellent, free conversion tool, located at: http://www.dbpoweramp.com/
To convert to MP3 format:
You can download the free MP3 encoding program Lame 3.96.1 ((http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Lame_Encoder.htm).
The first time you try to export as an MP3 file, Audacity will ask you for the location of the lame_enc.dll file. Navigate to its location (in the Look in box); after that Audacity will ‘remember’ its location.
Then convert your music file to MP3 format by clicking File, Export as MP3. Navigate to the Music to be burned file and put the song there.
Open Windows Media Player 10 and maximize this window. Click the Library tab. Then click File, Add to Library, By searching computer. In the next dialogue box, to the right of the Look in box, click the Browse button. Navigate to the Music to be burned folder. Click the search button and then click the Close button.
To burn a CD:
Place a CD into the drive to be burned. Click the Burn tab. In the left hand window, click the down arrow in the Burn List row and choose the style where you listed the music that you want to burn. This will display all of that style of music in the left pane. Uncheck any songs that you do not wish to burn. Click Start Burn (above the Burn List row). If the selections exceed the available space on the CD, a message will appear in the window advising you uncheck a/some of the selections.