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really stupid question: how do you record an mp3?


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I'm old... but I'm NEW at performing/recording, etc. I want to enter a songwriting contest, and I need to submit the song by CD or uploading online. In the old days, I would record on my cassette tape recorder. Now I want to be able to record a file to upload. And I'm completely ignorant. Do I just need a microphone? What type of software? What's the cheapest way I can do this?

 

Sorry for the stupid question.... but I know you guys can help me. :)

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Look up "Audacity" It's a freeware recording tool, infinite multitracking, all that jazz.

 

The only problem is that it can't save sound as MP3s by default, for licensing issues or something, so follow the instructions on this page:

 

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&item=lame-mp3

 

After you're through installing the thing.

 

:thu::thu::thu::thu::thu::thu:

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Ok... I know we can, too.

 

First, what do you have, tape-wise? You have a cassette recorder. Is it, like, a boombox type or, perhaps, a cassette multitracker (like the old Portastudios) or perhaps a component style deck with a mic input that you plug into?

 

Next, what kind of computer do you have? Is it a laptop, a desktop? Window or Mac?

 

 

As long as your cassette deck has either a LINE OUT or a headphone output and your computer has a LINE IN you're pretty good to go.

 

This same issue came up in Craig's forum just the other day: http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1680557

 

You can read that thread but the solution to your situation is likely to be this:

AV01.JPG

... going between your cassette output (if its a headphone out you just need a slightly different $5 radio shack cable with an 1/8 inch TRS ["stereo"] plug on either end instead of RCAs on one and the 1/8 inch on the other.]

 

And then into (hopefully) something like this (LINE IN) on the back of your computer:

 

soundcard2.jpg

 

[Thanks to The Stranger for roping up those images for the other thread.]

 

Now, it's possible that if you have a laptop or a Mac that there IS no LINE IN. (If you're lucky there may be a combo MIC/LINE IN but for a period it seemed like the manufacturers were drifting away from having proper audio ins except for those throwaway $5 mics you buy at the computer store.)

 

In which case you CAN do an end run by getting something like one of these which is a basic audio interface more or less suitable for overdubbing and basic recording (since it has zero latency input monitoring built in):

 

http://www.zzounds.com/item--BEHUCA202

 

The manufacturer is not universally loved -- but the device is under 30 bucks! And it gets good user reviews (probably because it's under 30 bucks and apparently works. :D) DO keep in mind, though, that this is strictly for LINE level audio; if you wanted to record from a mic instead of a line level device like a cassette machine (or another computer) you'd need a mic preamp of some kind. Side issue.

 

 

Anyhow, I hope that helps... get back to us.

 

 

BTW... the OP in that thread in Craig's forum ended up buying a $600 standalone CD recorder and I'm sure it's a fine unit -- but you really do not need to spend anywhere like that kind of money. Maybe only 1/100th that amount (if all you need is a cable).

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Wow, Thanks Blue!!! Believe it or not, my husband records tapes to mp3 all the time. (we get audio books and record them so that we can listen to them in the car). But, I don't really WANT to record my songs on a tape recorder. I used to do that a LONG time ago. But I don't want to buy cassette tapes, yada yada, and have the degredation. If I can record into the computer simply and easily... I'd prefer to do that. Sorry to make you give me all that awesome documentation complete with pictures. I should have been clearer in my request for info. Nevertheless.... You rock! (I'm gonna go back and read it in more detail.... Holy cow... you put a lot of information in that post really fast! I repeat... you ROCK!

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My fault for not reading your message a little better! That other issue was just on my mind, I guess. (Thinking about that $600. Sigh.)

 

Yeah... record onto your computer. Once you're over the startup hump you'll likely greatly prefer it. Working on the computer makes all the diff in the world, quality and ease of work-wise.

 

You can get info all over the web. A good starting place might be a quick scan of materials on home/computer recording at Wikipedia. If there's stuff you don't understand, just kind of scan past it. If you need it, it'll come up again, trust me.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Sound_recording (links to subtopics)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multitrack_recording (lots of good info here, follow the links)

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You need a mic for acoustic instruments, unless you use a pickup.

 

If you are playing electric or have a electric acoustic then you need at least an adapter to plug you guitar into the 1/8' plug and that is the cheapest. It is about $4. Plug it inot the headphone jack of your amp/proccessor/modeller/EQpedal/Boosterpedal with the volume turned down really relaly low. Ramp it and pluck, or whatever your instrument does.

 

That is the chepaest. The next cheapest is the USB port deal(mentioned above). Then comes the adapters and a mixer($50).

 

I used a Digitech digital modeler multi-effects using a cable form the headphone out to the sound card with a 1/8" male adapter on each end to connect it. It go stereo sound effect this way.

 

To be honest with you if you play electric and have a good guitar you can try some other things like VST amp modelers. I use the Simulanalog one now and then when I record guitar. Tubebaby is another decent VST if you are looking for something twangy. Voxengo Boogex si the VST amp for metal, although I use the JCM900 and pedals form simulanalog suite. These are all FREE! I don't have a recording uploaded that only uses this, but I will try today sometime...I don't realy know what kind of music you are into or I could help out with the free software advice.

 

This is all legit stuff, freeware from reputable companies. If you want to check go to a trusted site by all, KVR audio. Just google it. Search for a vst then a recording host and viola! Audacity has very limited support for VST, many many do not work at all. They crash the program or the stuff goes of the screen and they have NO real time support. They have to process it after recoding. So you plink out stuff not knowing what it will sound like with harmonics etc.

 

So try Krystal free audio recorder. It is 8 tracks I think. You also can do good mastering type stuff with plug-ins. I will list some to check out if you are interested, I am currently testing several finalize type (sonic maximizer is one of the hardware equivalents.) plug-ins to see which is the best to keep. They are all free on KVR!

 

Let me know if you need any how-to's with software setup or VST choices.

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