View Full Version : recording software

Mar-03-2004, 11:01am
I loaded audacity on my home system (for the 'project') last night and it worked like a charm...at least for about 25 seconds of recording. After that it just stopped. I'm assuming this is a computer spec issue (probably RAM). For those using audacity, what system specs do you think are necessary to get by with?


Mar-03-2004, 11:14am

Audacity is working great for me except it doesn't delete out all the wrong note i hit and it doesn't correct for my poor timing and worst of all, i still have to poor my own beer. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Seriously, doubt you have worse computer specs than i: Windows 98 with a CPU=333MHz & RAM=160MB! The food for the gerbil is getting expensive, too.

Maybe try reinstalling the software. Also, don't run anything else with it (e.g. close all other programs, including your internet connection).

Hopefully someone with more TECH knowledge can chime in.


Mar-03-2004, 12:14pm
I tried it on one of my older computers and it worked just fine.

Pentium 133 Mhz, 32 Meg RAM, Windows 95

I was reluctant to try it on that machine because it is far below the minimum system requirements stated for that program. I did notice a slight reduction in perfomance over Cool Edit 96 which I usually use.

John Zimm
Mar-03-2004, 12:26pm
Say, I know nothing about this kind of software but would like to learn. Where would one obtain Audacity? I'd like to have something better than media player to record, I'd especially like to mix multiple tracks at some point.

Resident Luddite.

Mar-03-2004, 12:34pm

i got audacity at: CNET (http://www.downloads.com).

just do a search for it there. you'll also have to download a piece of encoding software that will allow you to save the files as MP3s.

you can get the encoder at: Lame Encoder (http://mitiok.cjb.net/)

let me know if you have any trouble.


Mar-03-2004, 12:55pm
Stanley -- I really think that any near-modern computer will be able to run Audacity. I think what's happening is when you create a new file, it will ask, in general terms, "How long do you wish to record for?" I think this is where it's set to a default of 30 seconds (last time I used Audacity I had that come up). You can put in what time you want, depending on your system anyway -- but you shouldn't have any problems going over several minutes, RAM wise. Hope this helps!

John Zimm
Mar-03-2004, 2:20pm
Thanks Craig, I'll try that out tonight.


Mar-03-2004, 3:04pm
Thanks Dedian, I'll check on that.


Mar-03-2004, 4:29pm
Stanley, after re-reading your first post I think I understand what may have happened. When the wave window fills completely (after about 25 sec.) you do not see anymore of the recorded patterns but it is STILL recording! There is a scroll bar below the window which you can move to the right to re-center the recording progress.

Mar-03-2004, 6:30pm
I like Audacity a lot. Has anyone found any good tricks for getting tracks in sync with each other? I never can quite seem to get them right.

Martin Jonas
Mar-04-2004, 7:11am
This is a very timely thread, as the new stable version 1.2 of Audacity has just been released this week. You can get it at the Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) homepage. I had problems with the old version (1.0) on XP, but the new version resolved this.


Mar-04-2004, 11:08am
hmmmm, still having problems with the software. After some random recording time it just stops. So, I decided to re-loaded the program and thought I had the cure (it worked like a charm on the first try). But the same thing started happening (random time stops). Sometimes it will record for 8sec and sometimes just over a minute. And I've tested it playing the same piece and it would stop after completely different time intervals. Doesn't make sense...

So, it doesn't seem to be the scroll bar stopping, with the recording continuing (thanks anyway, pickinpox). And I haven't found any default time setting (no window prompts me at the start, and with different time-outs playing the same piece...thanks dedian). The version on my work computer seems great, so I don't know what's up.

Anyhow, here's the full history to date. I copied the initial version off of my work system (fast internet connection) and took it home and loaded it up. Then I tried to re-install from a internet download at home, but I didn't remove the initial install. Today I will try a uninstall and will try the 1.2 version from the above link. Maybe that one will work.

Unfortunately, I won't have too much time to mess with it tonight...as I'll be attending a Radim Zenkl peformance in a local musician's studio. And I'll probably just want to play when I get home!

Thanks for all the help and I'll keep you posted of my progress.

Mar-04-2004, 1:29pm
Sorry I couldn't help ya Bill... From what you said, about copying from work and not uninstalling and all, it does sound like there's some sort of config error in its installation -- if things aren't registered just right sometimes it causes problems, though usually programs just don't run. I bet the uninstall/reinstall will work much better.

Mar-04-2004, 8:30pm
Bill, one thing you might want to check is the amount of diskspace you have available on your computer.

Mar-04-2004, 10:55pm
I'm running it on a 400 Mhz PowerPC G3 running Mac OS X with 384 megs of RAM. It works great. We've recorded two practice sessions using it. It does all I need it to do. I like how I can take something recorded in mono, split the track, copy one channel, and then paste it into the other to have pseudo stereo. The recordings actually sound better than the recording the band made in a studio before I joined. We were going to go to a studio but I think now we're just going to sit around my kitchen and record then have it copied somewhere. It will save a lot of money.

Mar-05-2004, 2:30pm
If you have problems with Audacity, you might try Goldwave (www.goldwave.com) . It's shareware, but is functional before registering. I've used it before, and liked it just fine. When unregistered, you just get the reminder to register popping up when you open the program, etc. It never pops up while you're recording or playing back though.

Mar-05-2004, 3:44pm
Or, if you want to spend just a little money, Cakewalk Music Creator does a good job. The version I bought was about $40 at Staples. You can lay down as many tracks as you want, and can also include midi tracks if you like. I downloaded Audacity - hadn't heard of it before. I'm going to play with it a little tonight and see what I think of it. But I would strongly recommend the Cakewalk software.

Mar-05-2004, 4:46pm
What would people recommend for a mic/pickup setup to use with Audacity or one of the other recording software packages?

Think cheap but functional.

Mar-05-2004, 5:29pm
still having probs w/ audacity....grrrr!!

Not sure how informative this is but here goes...

Win 98
Pent II
8G HD (5G not used)

90% resources available when nothing's open
75% resources available after audacity is opened.

Tried a full uninstall and re-install of 1.2. The first recording attempt went well until about 1.5 min into it when it stopped. Every try after that has had less recording time (sometimes as low as 10sec.).

Maybe I'll have to check into the goldwave software....


Mar-07-2004, 8:29am
If you are using Audacity (free, right?), then are you guys into elaborate mic setups? #What's the cheapest thing you are using that's giving good results via audacity? I've gotten some great responses to this via a different thread but I was asking for some quality setups. #I don't have time or money to run out and spend a couple hundred (or even a hundred bucks on a 2 channel mixer and mic, plus new special soundcard right now. I need cheap, efficient way of recording a bad sounding version of sally goodin', and a way to hear myself in teh future.

(...or in less words, what daikon said two replies before me! )

Martin Jonas
Mar-08-2004, 5:23am
I need cheap, efficient way of recording a bad sounding version of sally goodin', and a way to hear myself in teh future.
That's exactly what I've been doing yesterday (except that my picking kept breaking down halfway through the tune whenever the mike was open, so I clearly need to practice some more). I'm using Audacity (free), a dynamic Phillips vocal mike (1.20 Pounds on Ebay) and a B-Tech BT26 pre-amp (20 Pounds). My computer happens to have an Audigy 2 soundcard, but I don't think it'll make all that much difference if you just use normal on-board sound instead for this purpose. I'm pretty happy with the sound quality, but not so much with my picking and I think the acoustic in my study isn't very sympathetic to recording (that's my excuse for sounding crap, anyway).


Mar-08-2004, 9:40am
I downloaded Audacity yesterday and dug out the cheap plastic mic that came with a friends computer. It certainly did the job for this project anyway so thanks for the tips. Eventually I may try to get a real mic etc....

Mar-08-2004, 11:39am
Does anybody remember a post about building a microphone from parts bought at Radio Shack.

I'm fairly sure it led to a link where John Reishman describes building a Stereo Microphone for a mini-disc recorder.

I don't think that I imagined this but I cannot find anyting searching on the Cafe or by Google using relavant seach terms.

Mar-08-2004, 12:00pm
daikon: I have that link, but I'm at work... I'll try to get it to you later today. I believe it was off a page with lots of how-to builds for instruments. I got to that page from MIMF, if I'm not mistaken... If I find anything I'll edit this.


Edit: This may not be the same page, but it should be pretty similar: http://www.minidisc.org/jim_coon/

Mar-08-2004, 2:01pm

That's the one.


Does a standard PC mic input jack allow for 2 channels (i.e, biaural input). If not, I assume that one could rig one of these up monoaural.

Has anyone out there in Cafe-land used one of these DYI microphones or a similar setup?

I'm thinking that this could be a cheap solution for home recording.

Or, are the Radio Shack mic elements no better than what comes with a standard cheapo PC microphone?

Mar-08-2004, 3:03pm
Most sound card mic jacks are mono -- at least my sound blaster live is (through searching it looks like its the norm). Could a preamp of some sort be used with the DIY stereo mics and then run into line in? I have to say I'm not very proficient in recording with anything but my cheap mono mic, so I'll look forward to any responses to daikon http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif


Mark in Nevada City
Mar-08-2004, 10:38pm
For anybody on Mac OSX--the new Apple "GarageBand" application is incredible! I started with 4tracks way back when and have been "eyeing" pro software for some time (glad I didn't make that investment). GarageBand is bundled with new Apple computers or as part of the $49 iLife package (with iTunes, iPhoto, blah, blah, blah). Extremely intuitive multi-track recording with typical Apple flair. It may require one of the latest OS upgrades though. Now to get my chops up to speed so I can make use of it!

Cheers, mmm

Martin Jonas
Mar-09-2004, 9:00am
Most sound card mic jacks are mono -- at least my sound blaster live is (through searching it looks like its the norm). #Could a preamp of some sort be used with the DIY stereo mics and then run into line in? #I have to say I'm not very proficient in recording with anything but my cheap mono mic, so I'll look forward to any responses to daikon http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Yes, the B-Tech BT-26 pre-amp I mentioned earlier in this thread brings levels up to line level and connects to the line-in jack of the soundcard in stereo. You can connect microphones in three ways:

1 mono microphone: same mono signal is transmitted on both stereo channels.

2 mono microphones: one microphone signal for each stereo channel.

1 stereo microphone: stereo signal from the mic is amplified and passed on to the soundcard in stereo.

The pre-amp, incidently, also has a phono mode to connect a turntable to an amp without phono stage.

I assume other pre-amps are much the same.


Dan Adams
Mar-10-2004, 9:14pm
Questions: I did download Audacity and after purchasing a nifty little Optimus mic, I can record. Trouble is; the recording has a certain static to it that follows the tune. Ideas? Also, I downloaded the Lame-3.95.1 version, but if I go to convert to MP3, the Audacity program claims it can't find the Lame program. Ideas? The Lame website is a little lame in itself! There seems to be no definite place to download the program. At least for us one-click dummies. Unless I'm totally missing something. I've recorded a beginners version of 'Sally,' a version with slight variations, and a slightly more complex version with variations and embelishments. Now I have to learn to 'track over' with both mandolin and guitar back-up. Of course I'm trying to accomplish all of this with 15 spare minutes each night. Maybe if I have more time, like quit my job, play mandolin.... Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, Dan

Mar-11-2004, 9:29am
plinker: does audacity want a codec or a program? If you downloaded the full lame encoding program, and audacity is expecting just a codec, that may not work the way you're wanting. The codec is in ia package called "Lame is not mp3", I believe, that will give you a .dll to install - there will be a .inf in the zip file that you can right click on, and go to "install" to add the mp3 codec to the mix. I'm assuming when you went to the lame website it was the site for the project, which will just have sourcecode (not very usefull!), but some other sites have compiled dlls.

Mar-11-2004, 10:45am

i put up a "how to" thing at Mandolin Project (http://www.mandolinproject.150m.com) to help with the MP3 conversion process. hope it helps if you haven't figured it out already. e-mail me if you have anymore trouble.


Mar-11-2004, 5:32pm
Thanks, but I know how to do it, I was trying to help plinker http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif Your instructions don't include where to get the lame_enc.dll -- this isn't a standard dll. (well, on my computer it isn't).

Dan Adams
Mar-12-2004, 6:30pm
One more attempt, then I give up. So I go to Export file as MP3 in Audacity. A dialog box opens indicating the file is to be saved as an MP3 file. Click, and another dialog box opens explaning that Audacity doesn't perform this function but would the computer like to locate LAME_enc.dll and we only have to do this once. Click yes, a new window comes up asking for a file name, with lame_enc in the slot. I've tried various with various extensions including the lame_enc file name. Click save and a window pops up saying that the computer could not open MP3 encoding library. So much for one-click shopping and easy to use interface. Dedian, there is nothing in either program that indicates there is a .dll to install in a .inf zipfile. I'll admit I'm no computer expert, but by no means am I the town idiot either. Well maybe after this.. If it is simpler that suggested or I'm missing something, let me know. I've even downloaded both programs again thinking the download was not complete. If not I'm all for another program because this is a pain my the behind. But other than that its not flusterating at all. Right!

Thanks, Dan

Mar-12-2004, 6:52pm
hehe, sorry Dan, I think I got you confused! my post about .infs and .dlls was about the lame MP3 encoding package, which Audacity may well have included (I don't have it installed), but probably not. When I wanted to encode with mp3 I needed to download that package. but maybe I'm outdated http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif From what you said in your latest post, it sounds like you don't have the .dll available (lame_enc.dll, which it is searching for). Drop me a PM and I'll try to help, it sounds like there's just one more piece we need to find!

oh and when I say "lame MP3 encoding package" I'm not making a statement of its worth... It's actually called LAME -- it stands for Lame Aint an Mp3 Encoder http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-14-2004, 10:25am
I just want to say that Audacity has opened a whole new vista for me. I have been using N-Track to record but find it so complicated to use for the finished product. Using Audacity to finish off the mixdowns from N-Track cleans them up in ways I had always wanted too......I am not a very technical guy....acutally a techno idiot.....which is why I am dependant on idiot proof software.....hehehe.......and Audacity helps tremendously..... Thanks for the introduction to it from this forum.....I am loving recording again.


Mar-18-2004, 12:17pm
Question re: recording.

When recording, the visible representation of what I've recorded is a little more than a fuzzy line, and only at the loudest points does it spread out thicker than 2 or 3 mm#in width (height). #in the audacity help I read that these "waveforms" (?) should spread out farther. #I don't really know what I'm talking about, but my recording came out kinda quiet....

PS ......using a cheap PC mic.

Mar-18-2004, 1:08pm

well, your recording came out fine, though. did you try turning up the volume on your mic?

i'm using the mic on my PC too, and i had to do that. you can do this under the volume controls:

Mar-18-2004, 9:29pm
Cool, craig! Now we need a new thread on how you made that. That's awesome!

Mar-20-2004, 4:48am
I hadn't seen any replies yet on an earlier post on how to get tracks to line up in sync...I'm recording track 2 as I listen to track 1 and I'm playing along in sync; but when I play it back, it sounds like I have no rythmn or sense of time...they're way off! What gives?

Mar-20-2004, 5:08am
I had exactly the same problem....gave up in the end and just recorded myself playing along with the midi track (in one file). I would love to be able to add things though.

Mar-20-2004, 8:59am
Getting the tracks to line up isn't too hard. I really have no idea what I am doing, but I figured that out in less than 5 minutes!

Use the time shift tool (located in the Control Toolbar - Control Toolbar (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/onlinehelp-1.2/toolbar_control.htm).

Once you select the shift tool, drop & drag the part of want to line up. Does that make sense?

Also, there is an online Manual (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/onlinehelp-1.2/contents.htm)

& a Main Page with FAQ (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help.php)

I can't believe how great this program is! #I used a cheap ($11) microphone from radio shack & I actually don't sound as bad as I thought! Just slighty better than crappy!

Whoever reccommended this program - Thanks!!


Mar-21-2004, 7:01am
Thanks a lot Eric, it sounds easy! I'll try that next time. It would be nice to add chops and stuff too. (just hope the next time it doesn't record the back-up track twice!)

Dan Adams
Mar-21-2004, 8:39pm
Question Again! I'm still having unbelievable problems with the LAME program. This program really is worthless as near as I can tell, or in the true sense of the word, Lame! I go to save the Audacity file 'Export as MP3' and I receive this message; "Could not open MP3 encoding Library?" Or something like that. Have I not downloaded the entire program? My file dirictory indicates that this file is present. I've dumped and reloaded more than once. Where is there a simple download for LAME? Can somebody send me the program or at least the idiots version of the download and how to use the program? This is getting to the point of insanity.

Good thing I have a few mandos to re-string. Thanks, Dan

Martin Jonas
Mar-21-2004, 8:53pm
It's pretty easy, I find. When you download LAME, there is a file called "lame_enc.dll" in the distribution. It does not matter where you put it, just extract it from the Zip file download onto your hard disk. Now, in Audacity, go to "File|Preferences", click on the tab "File Formats" and you will find a button labelled "find library". Click on that and tell Audacity where you put the "lame_enc.dll" file. That's it.


Mar-22-2004, 2:20pm
What brand of microphone should we be using? any recommendations?

Mar-22-2004, 4:25pm
I use a very simple headset my sister gave me for Christmas a few years ago.

Dan Adams
Mar-22-2004, 7:43pm
Once Again. #I went through the process described. #Went to save a file as a MP3, and the final message reads, 'Could not open MP3 encoder library.' #I must not have the file downloaded. #Where did you download the file? #Where do I download Lame with the lame_enc.dll file attached? #This is driving me crazy! #I've downloaded the program at least five times and the message continues to return.

This program doesn't work!!!! Dan

Don Christy
Mar-22-2004, 9:42pm

Is it possible that you have the file within a zip? Windows XP let's you browse inside zip files without unzipping, though I suspect that Audacity needs the file out of the zip. If you've downloaded the program, make sure that the file lame_enc.dll has been extracted from the zip and then when you get the message, find the file (or follow Martin's process). Are you definitely finding the lame_enc.dll file?

Mar-22-2004, 10:31pm
Don described it as well as any, but let me try too.

When I downloaded the encoder, the download dialog box has a checkbox that says "Close this window when finished". I leave it UNchecked. When the download is done, that download box remains there, and I click open, (which opens the file, in this case a zip file.). It is still ZIPPED even though you can view the contents, including the .dll file you seek. I click "EXTRACT", and chose a location on my harddrive (I think I created a new folder called "LAME".). Then "OK". It unzips the file.

Then when prompted in Audacity, I believe I had to navigate to my C:\LAME folder and there it was.

Hang in there. I've had frustrating moments like this before with PC's but once you get em solved, take a few deep breaths adn go play mando.

As a matter of fact, don't ever let a PC get in the way of enjoying that beauty!

Good luck Plinker!

Dan Adams
Mar-23-2004, 9:47am
I'll try it when I get home. Goofy thing is, I used to have to navigate through dos using manual commands, then dosshell, Windows 3.1, and now this point and click thing has got me baffled. Even at work if there is a small computer logistic that needs to be worked out, I get the call. Help! I've turned into a computer illiterate. Thanks for the suggestions, and if I need help again, hope not, I'll beg some more. Pathetic isn't it? I'm sure you'll hear me yell.

Now What Key is SHIFT, Dan

Mar-28-2004, 10:17pm
Plinker, I'm having the exact same problem.....did you ever find a solution? I did unzip the file, so I don't think that's the problem.....I'm running Windows XP, if that makes a difference. Audacity is a pretty nifty program otherwise....

Oh well. Maybe I'll have this figured out by the time I'm ready to post Cherokee Shuffle/Fishers Hornpipe/Your Tune Here.... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif


Dan Adams
Mar-28-2004, 11:07pm
Thanks to Martin and Dedian, I think I've converted my first file to MP3 format. After dumping an reloading both programs a thousand times... I've played it back, now I'm getting ready to send it to my work email to see if the file transfers. The next step is uploading the file on the shared board. I'm not an idiot, well maybe, but it has certainly been more difficult than I suspected.

Maybe you can help with this... I can't listen to my first and/or second tracks of a tune, as I record additional tracks on Audacity. I need to listen as I record additional tracks. Is this possible with Audacity? Once again, any help would be appreciated!

Good luck with the next tune.

Now I get to be a mandolin idiot and a computer idiot, the best of both worlds!! Dan

Mar-29-2004, 10:42am
plinker, does it let you hear any more than your first tracks, or does it not let you hear them at all when recording? Also, what kind of sound card do you have? Given a capable card/latest drivers there shouldn't be any problems listening while recording...

Stuart, who wishes he was more of a computer idiot and less of a mandolin idiot!

Dan Adams
Mar-29-2004, 6:14pm
It doesn't let me hear the previous track/tracks when I'm recording another track. After recording the melody, I've tried to put back-up tracks down, but I can't hear whats previouly been recorded. Dan

Mar-30-2004, 12:33am
Plinker and Dedian, if you open the file drop-down menu in your Audacity file, and select "preferences", there's an option you can select that allows you to hear your first track while you're recording.


P.S. I finally figured out (with Craig's endlessly patient help -- thanks Craig!) how to convert my file to an MP3 -- yay! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Dan Adams
Apr-07-2004, 9:49pm
Thanks Carolyn, it works. More stupid quetions. I went to upload a file to the Yahoo group, exactly as directed. There is no instruction on where to place the file, Sally, Cherokee, or Misc Musings. The file appears to upload, then when the blue bar gets filled in on the bottom right of the screen..... NOTHING. No indication the file loaded, didn't load, got sent to another coutnry... No response at all. More help for the challenged? Dan

Apr-08-2004, 3:15am

go to Yahoo!Groups
go to "Files"
click on the file folder you want to put the MP3 in (i.e "Cherokee Shuffle" or "Misc Musings")
click "Add File"
a new window appears
click "Browse"
find the file on your computer
in the "Description" box put your Yahoo ID
click "Upload file"

that's it.

it may not appear in the Yahoo folder instantly.

alternatively, you can just e-mail it to me: #drchenson@yahoo.com