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  1. #1
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    Hi all,

    I have some live concert recordings on cassette from many years ago, that I'm digitising.
    I'm quite happy with how to do this generally, but I have some questions..

    I save them in .wav file format. For two main reasons:
    1) I understand .wav is lossless, so I can edit and save, edit and save over again without quality loss. Am I right in thinking that? (I want to keep the recordings in the best quality possible so I don;t want to use MP3 or anything)
    2) Wav format is much easier to burn to CD - most CD burning programs handle .wav format without problems but some don't work with other file formats (FLAC for example).

    But the problem of course is, .wav files are so large... so, is there anyone else there who is in a simialr situation and has advise? How do you store and manage them??

    Also, I get very confused with the different .wav formats - signed vs unsigned, 8 bit, 16bit, 32bit, PCM signed, IEEE float, etc etc... it might as well be Japanese to me.
    I've been using 16 bit, PCM signed, stereo..is this okay?

    Final question...I've been using Goldwave for my audio editing. I've got a loan of a laptop at the moment that has Soundforge on it which I've been playing with a bit...it's pretty good and has lots of features, so I'll sue it as long as I have the laptop. But one thing I can't figure out on it.
    With the live recordings, I import it all at once, then split it into individual files to mark each track. With Goldwave, when you split the files, you have the option to save them in CD compatible format.
    Which means, saving each one to the exact size to fill up data blocks completely. (If you don't have the file size exactly to full blocks when writing a CD, there can be a audible gap/pop between tracks. Doesn't matter for normal CD's, but for live recordings, each tracks should move seamlessly to the next). In Sound Forge, is that possible to do? I've looked everywhere and can't see that option at all...Googled it and no luck there either. Any audio experts who use Soundforge and can advise?

    Sorry for the long post!

  2. #2
    pcsourcepoint
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    Depends on the nature of your recording, if it's largely vocal, then conversion to MP3 may not make a huge differeence. But I have found that brass instruments can sound a bit dull in MP3. You can convert in higher bit rate/variable bit rates (VBR) to try find a balance. Try MediaMonkey (my review for the free version) for organizing.

    This article explains in detail about MP3 theory, PCM, etc (written by a sound engineer). Don't know about Sound Forge, but many use Audacity. Check below in my sig for MP3's where I did reviews on editors/cutters, etc.
    Computer Tech Links (My Tutorials & Reviews)| Free MP3 Software Reviews (My Reviews)|I Student NZ (My Student Resoucre Tips)

  3. #3
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    Thanks for the info, the soundonsound.com article especially was interesting.

    What about if I convert .wav files to .flac for archiving (to save space) and then convert them back to .wav when they need to be burnt?
    Will there be any quality loss moving back and forward between those file formats? Is there a good program that would easily do that?

  4. #4
    pcsourcepoint
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    "Super" supposedly converts any video/audio format - so worth a try. I think RiverPast is worthy as well. I used dbPowerAmp (free version) which might help.

    Both formats are relatively lossless, but don't know, if that applies when converting back again...
    Computer Tech Links (My Tutorials & Reviews)| Free MP3 Software Reviews (My Reviews)|I Student NZ (My Student Resoucre Tips)

  5. #5
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    Quote Originally Posted by kahawai chaser View Post
    Both formats are relatively lossless, but don't know, if that applies when converting back again...
    Relatively lossless? Hmmm...I'd only want to do it if it was completely lossless, I don't want to lose any quality at all if I had to convert between formats.
    Maybe I better just stick with .wav then, just to be sure, and get a larger HD!

  6. #6
    pcsourcepoint
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    I think storing in wav would be ideal if you are worried about quality loss, particularly for percussion/brass instrumentation. You might need Audacity to help clean up any noise. But I think Adobe Audition (ex Cool Edit Pro 2), is far better for noise removal, pop and hiss elimination, etc - but it costs.

    I also found it easier and cheap to purchase the CD's from ebay for vinyl/tape recordings than convert/optimize numerous vinyl/tape recordings. You might also want a catalogue/organizer utility (e.g. Disclib or similar) if you plan on storing hundreds of audio files.

    Spin It Again is a great program for transferring tapes/vinyl with automatic splitting, cleaning etc, but it costs...
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  7. #7
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    Yeah perhaps I'll just keep them in .wav files. HD storage space is pretty cheap now I guess.
    The files are actually live (audience-recorded) concert recordings that I've collected over the years. Many were on cassette originally and I've been gradually transferring them to the PC.
    They're mostly only audience recordings (but some are soundboard) so they're never gonna be perfect, but I don't want to lose any more quality than I can help.

    It does take a while to do it properly and remove any hiss, clicks etc, but I find it's quite interesting to learn how to do it.
    I've mostly used Goldwave which I find does quite a good job. But like I mentioned in an earlier post I currently have access to a machine that has Sound Forge installed on it. I suspect Sound Forge will do an ever better job as it's a high end program, but once I don't have access to the machine it's on anymore, i'll be back to Goldwave as Sound Forge I think is $300+ to buy! ouch!

  8. #8
    Experienced yet stumped
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    The ideal thing to do is to record them in 32bit float .wav files, this way you can be sure that you aren't losing any information or quality.
    It might be an idea to get a flash drive, or external hard drive so you can put the uncompressed versions of these audio files on there,
    and then try a few different compressions on your computer and see which is best for your needs.
    Best of luck!

  9. #9
    Junior Member Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    Isn't CD quality 16bit? So what would be the extra advantage in recording them in 32bit?

  10. #10
    Smiling Down On Youse SurferJoe46's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any audio experts out there? Question on .wav files, and audio editing

    You are losing some quality at that 16bit rate and I ALWAYS store archival music that I just CANNOT lose or miss sounds and nuances in WMA, 32 bit float at 1K.

    Set your default sample rate at 44100Hz and use no dithering.

    For MP3s I use a 128 bitrate for music and if I want to really get files so small so I can get a lot of material on a single CD-ROM (4-days worth of ten or so 1-hour lectures) I use a 16 bitrate and I cannot hear any losses there.

    I can use up to 16 channels in Audacity, but I just typically use 4.


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