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Digital Audio Essentials by Bruce Fries, Marty Fries

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Making the Recording

The process of digitizing a record or tape, from recording the audio to storing and cleaning up the files, will vary depending on the program you use and whether or not you need to remove noise. The recording part is the same in all cases: set the recording level, cue up the beginning of the first track, click the record button in your recording program, and then lower the needle.

Once you’ve made the recording, you can apply noise-reduction, equalization, and normalization (in that order). Ideally, you’ll set proper signal levels so you don’t need to normalize the file, but if you must normalize, do it after you remove noise and apply equalization. If you normalize first, you’ll boost the level of all the noise, along with the desired part of the signal. Whether you split tracks before or after you clean up the audio is a matter of preference. If you have a fast (2-GHz and up) system with plenty of RAM (512 MB or more), you can process an entire album side at once. Otherwise, clean up the audio one track at a time—just remember to create presets of the settings that worked well for the first track, so you can apply them to the other tracks from that album. Save each track in an uncompressed format, such as WAV, and keep an unmodified copy until you’re absolutely sure that the cleaned-up track is in good shape.

Filenames

If you’re digitizing an extensive record collection, nail down a good file-naming system and folder structure before you start. If you use a sound ...

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