Making MP3s Out Of Old Formats
Have a .wav editor. This is Steinberg
Wave Lab Lite, it came as an extra with
Pinnacle Clean. Looks like neither
of those two softwares are still sold. Sound cards often include a recorder
application, as do some mp3 jukebox and CD burning programs. All that you
need to do is get what ever you send up the input to a workable digital
format. Some will record straight to mp3 format and that is OK if the source
is clean. I'm more interested in recovering and preserving old out of print
records or radio airchecks.
Click on Record and the record window opens, with the level meters.
Click on the Mixer button and there are the separate adjustments. I turn all
them off except the Line In. Have a source playing and adjust the input
level. Don't overdrive or be tempted to find the maximum volume. It will
Over in Windows mixer, I mute wav. If you have something running in the
background that alerts with beeps or tweets (like IMs or an email app) you
don't want to be reminded that you forgot to do this every time you play the
There's less noise to clean from the sound file when the controllable noise
is not there to begin with. Clean your source! How to Clean LP Records is a
great site to read on cleaning records. If I am being real fanatical, I will
wet wash the record, then clean with an anti static fluid & record cleaner..
Hardware time! Best signal source is an audio amplifier that has a proper
phonograph input. From the amplifier I feed the Tape 'Rec Out' to the
Some later turntables have build in pre amplifiers so that they can be used
on newer stereo
systems that lack dedicated phono inputs. Those may feed directly to the
computer - but may not sound the best. Phonograph signals are equalized
inside the amplifier for a true sounding output.
If you have no other options, you can use an inexpensive phono pre amplifier to feed into the computer..
Feeding the source into the computer, use an adaptor that has RCA jacks on
one end (seen in the pre amp photo) and a 3.5 mm stereo plug on the other.
Plug into the PC's AUX Input on the sound card or panel. It's near where
your speakers plug in, often color coded blue. The source can also be the
audio out of a VCR, cassette deck, 8 Track (!!), DVD player or anything with
line outs. I have used a Walkman to sample cassettes - all that's needed is
a patch cord with 3.5mm plugs on each end.
One last clean attempt - a blast of canned air on the record, and on the
So click record in the Record window, drop the needle on the platter (or hit
play on the walkman) and let er record. Resist the temptation to dance or
drum on the table. Bounces and shakes will affect the sound. Stop when you
reach the end. Wave Lab here shows the entire file in the upper half and a
close up view below. This screen shot shows that there are 3 songs recorded,
one that has had silence added in between, another cut about the same length
and a third that is a bit extended.
If the source is fairly clean, about all I do is zoom in on the space
between songs, highlight it, right click and choose 'Silence'. That
eliminates any pops in-between songs.
Manual cleaning of pops and clicks is not too difficult. Cutting a click is
just a micro-nano-second and often cannot be detected. This file has 2 minor
crackles in the right (red) channel, and one very small mirror of the second
one in the left (blue) channel).
Like cutting out a duplicated word in a word processor - select, right
The crackles are gone.
All that's left now is to separate the songs. Just like copying paragraphs
in a word processor and pasting them into new pages, select the section with
the mouse, right click and choose cut, open new file, right click and paste.
Save with a name of the song, or reference the record Side-Cut A-1, A-2,
A-3, B-1, B-2 etc and then go back and name the files with the Artist -
File, new, copy, paste. Once for each song on the album.
And there are the wav files. Lossless format, but large file size. This
album here is 385 megabytes.
To make a CD, open your CD burner (this one is
Nero 7), set up for an Audio CD, and drag
& drop the wav files to the applications window.
Arrange the wav files in the same order as the album. As seen here in Nero,
highlight and move them around. Put in a blank CD, burn and enjoy.
To go straight to MP3, get an audio conversion application that suits you.
This one is called DB Power Amp. It
creates a right click menu to convert any audio file. Check it out
Right click, convert to MP3. Pick your bitrate.
To put the song's information in so that it is read by your player, either
right click the MP3 file and select "Properties", and fill in the fields.
Or if you have a bit more volume of files to name, a tagging program will
take the artist - title information from the file name and fill it in. This
is Tag & Rename. Super
powerful. Here are two MP3 files ready to tag, using the filenames given
Now they are tagged.
Now the file has the Artist - Title. You can go whole hog and fill in rest
of the fields, with Tag & Rename you only have to fill in the common data
(year, album, etc) once.
Hope you enjoyed the demo. Peace!