-=PCTechTalk=- Re: audacity program question, recording from tape to computer

  • From: Gman <gman.pctt@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <pctechtalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2008 18:54:31 -0400

    The most important thing I can tell you is to keep either side out of 
the red lights as much as possible while recording.  Undesired distortion is 
nearly impossible to overcome once the file has been recorded.

    Having said that, the program's options are most likely set in such as 
way that it is saving the single monophonic track being recorded (your 
source) as a stereophonic result on your hard drive (the file it is creating 
during the rip) OR you may not be watching what you think those bars 
represent.  I'll deal with these two possibilities separately below.

    The sky is the limit when it comes to your approach to ripping your 
tapes.  Assuming your source tape recorded the performances across both 
channels of the cassettes, I've found it best to record it 'as is' and see 
whatever I have to work with 'in post'.  If one side is much worse than the 
other, I will usually delete the bad side and then simply work on cleaning 
up the good side all by itself.  When I'm finished and happy with my result, 
I'll mirror that over to the other side to create a two channel monophonic 
file.   Assuming your source recording only used a single side of the 
original tapes, you can sent the tape desk through a preamp that can take a 
single channel monophonic track and output it equally over both left and 
right channels 'to the board' (your computer).  You can also record whatever 
comes through to the board 'as is' and work on cleaning it up 'in post' by 
removing the non-music side and then duplicating the real track onto the 
other side to create a pseudo-stereo file.  Over the years, I've found it 
best to keep things as simple as possible.  Life gets even more interesting 
if the original recording was done in stereo, but that's a topic for another 

    If you've ever worked in a recording studio and spent any significant 
time in "The Booth", you should have witnessed the engineer pressing a 
button or two to change what comes through their playback monitors.  One 
button might route the live performance directly to their speakers, another 
let's them hear parts of or all of what's already been recorded and yet 
another lets them mix the two (plus there are plenty that let them make all 
sorts of mixes excluding certain tracks, etc.).  The program you're using 
most likely has similar functions and it's up to you to 'track' down what 
those signal bars are actually showing you.  It is very much in your best 
interest to seek out all of the buttons and switches that control what comes 
through your speakers and those signal bars so that you know, without any 
doubts, what you're viewing at all times.

    From your description, it sounds like you have a single track monophonic 
recording (only one side of the tape recorded the original material), but 
the program you're using is set to spread that cross two sides of a stereo 
file.  If all of the above is true (and it's very possible that I'm not 
guessing properly), I wouldn't do that.  I would have it record only the one 
valuable channel to a single channel, true monophonic file that can be 
widened to a dual channel file when all editing has been done (just before 

Hopefully, something here will guide you towards making better rips and 
working with the results.  If I'm not addressing what you're trying to ask, 
let me know.           :O)


"The only dumb questions are the ones that are never asked"

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "cristy" <poppy0206@xxxxxxx>
To: <pctechtalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2008 4:34 PM
Subject: -=PCTechTalk=- audacity program question, recording from tape to 

I am getting back to my project recording old cassette tapes to the
computer.  The songs seem to be recording but I noticed only the left bar
lighting up (filling up) while it is recording.  When I play back both left
and right bars are lit up.  Am I recording in mono somehow and playing back
in stereo?  Is that possible and if so how do I fix it in stereo?



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