Help w/ computer audio...

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by JnAnthony, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. JnAnthony

    JnAnthony Guest

    I'm trying to get the best sound out of my computer (I'm cleaning up my old 12"
    records through my computer). Will upgrading to a better brand CD-RW drive
    improve the sound quality at all? Or are they all pretty much the same?

    Here's what's in the computer...

    Sound card - just upgraded to M-Audio's Audiophile 2496
    CD-RW drive - Lite-On 8 x 4 x 32 IDE drive (came with computer)
    Software - Adaptec Create CD, vers. 4
    Other Software - Cool Edit 2000

    I only record on the slowest setting, fearing that the faster the speed I
    record on will actually go against the sound quality on the burned CD. Maybe
    this is wrong though. Also, I always use Memorex CD-R's.

    Any help would be appreciated, as I'd rather not rely on the store sales

    On a related note, has anyone used these audio clean-up programs to clean up
    the sound of your old records and how well do they work for you?

    - Magix: Audio Cleaning Labs 2004 (I'm considering getting this)
    - Pinnacle: Clean Plus 4.0 (costs more, but sounds like it has less to offer)

    JnAnthony, Dec 11, 2003
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  2. JnAnthony

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    (JnAnthony) wrote in

    There should be no discernable audio difference between a disc burned at 2x
    and a disc burned at 52x. There also should not be a difference between a
    Memorex disc or an Imation disc or any other brands. Especially when the
    original sound source is a record.

    AIM: FrznFoodClerk
    email: [email protected] (_ = m)
    website: under construction
    Need a technician in the south Jersey area?
    email/IM for rates/services
    DeMoN LaG, Dec 11, 2003
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  3. JnAnthony

    JnAnthony Guest

    There should be no discernable audio difference between a disc burned at 2x
    Thanks, that takes care of one problem. No more waiting forever while the CD
    burns at the slowest speed.

    But I'm still not sure if upgrading to a better brand CD-RW drive will improve
    the sound quality at all? Or are they all the same?

    Some sales people insist that the Lite-On one is a generic one that needs to be
    upgraded for better sound quality. Others say one is the same as another (some
    can just record faster than others).

    JnAnthony, Dec 11, 2003
  4. IMO the component that affects sound quality is the sound card which
    captures the analog sound & converts it to digital. The only way in
    which the CD burner could affect the quality would be if it dropped bits
    when burning the digital file-and all of them that I know report errors
    when they do that.
    Calvin Crumrine, Dec 11, 2003
  5. JnAnthony

    V W Wall Guest

    The old computer adage, GIGO, (garbage in-garbage out), never applied more
    than to digitizing music from records or tape.

    If you want more than just a so-so copy in a digital format:

    Use a good turntable with the correct equalization in the pre-amp. Make
    sure the pick-up is good and the needle OK. Check the audio level at the
    turntable to line input at the computer. Clean the record if needed.

    You can edit digital content if you record to a .wav format first. You
    can remove an occasional click or pop, but you can't remove turntable wow
    or flutter or decrease the background noise. So make sure the analog
    is OK before you digitize it. If you want compressed format convert
    the .wav to MP3. There are many programs that go directly from analog
    to WP3, but they don't leave you any chance of editing .
    Music recording is more tolorant than copying digital programs. Any CD-RW
    drive will either make a good digital record, or fail with an unreadable
    "coaster". The output, however, will only be as good as the input!
    The Lite-On seems to be a good unit. I have a Lite-On DVD-ROM that works fine.

    Virg Wall
    V W Wall, Dec 11, 2003
  6. JnAnthony

    V W Wall Guest

    Here's a useful site for digitizing music. dadiOH hangs out in
    alt.windows98, and has some useful information on his site.

    Quote from his posts in alr.windows98:

    "dadiOH's dandies v3.0...
    ....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
    LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
    Get it at

    Well worth downloading.

    Virg Wall
    V W Wall, Dec 11, 2003
  7. JnAnthony

    Night_Seer Guest

    No, no, no, I build systems and usually only use Lite-On drives for
    burners, as the price/performance is excellent...stop talking to those
    Best Buy sales people, they are usually dimwits when it comes to this
    stuff, good thing you found this NG right :). Anyways, the CD drive
    will have no affect on sound quality (probably only speed), but the
    program you use to rip CD's and your sound card will. Since you don't
    rip CD's, and record old records, the biggest factor will be your sound
    card, recording software, and editing software. If you ever get into
    ripping CD's look into Exact Audio Copy, and if you ever get into
    compressing to MP3's, I highly recommend compressing using the LAME
    Night_Seer, Dec 11, 2003
  8. JnAnthony

    Thor Guest

    If the drive is doing it's job, digital is digital, no matter what drive is
    Thor, Dec 11, 2003
  9. JnAnthony

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    (JnAnthony) wrote in

    Lite-On is not a generic brand. They have a great price for the speed they
    burn, and the only ill effect you would have from using a generic brand
    CDRW would be coasters. When you burn a CD, there is no "Good", "Not as
    good" and "Bad." There is simply "It burned" or "It had errors." It can't
    burn partially correct.

    AIM: FrznFoodClerk
    email: [email protected] (_ = m)
    website: under construction
    Need a technician in the south Jersey area?
    email/IM for rates/services
    DeMoN LaG, Dec 11, 2003
  10. JnAnthony

    Oldus Fartus Guest

    I generally agree with everything you said above Virg, except about
    removing wow and flutter, turntable noise, and background noise. It
    can not be elimated altogether, but can be reduced to a level which is
    virtually unnoticable.

    I have had great success with Dart Pro a couple of years ago, by
    basically recording a section of the vinyl source with the noise, and
    then subtracting those frequencies from the recording of the particular
    track. It does tend to "muffle" the sound, so I then have to brighten
    up the track again. It is very time consuming, but I found it
    worthwhile when trying to get some very old 33, 45 and 78 records onto
    CD before they were completely unplayable.

    I agree with your comments on Lite-On. I have one of their DVD-ROMs
    and two of their burners, and they are totally reliable.
    Oldus Fartus, Dec 12, 2003
  11. JnAnthony

    V W Wall Guest

    Of course you can reduce the above, but why not start with as clean an
    analog signal as you can get? Any filtering of the final recording
    must eliminate part of the desired audio. Listning to music is very
    subjective. One starts with a distributed source, of great dynamic
    range and large frequency excursions. This is put through several
    non-linear, frequency and amplitude limited devices. It's then
    reproduced with other non-linear devices (speakers), and then interpreted
    by the most non-linear devices of all, the human ears and brain.
    No wonder there are so many fads and fancies in the audio field!
    Anything's fair under those conditions. It's amazing how good even
    the old records were when played on good equipment. Many consumer
    turntables and pickups were pretty bad. I suppose if that's the
    only way you heard the records, a digital conversion would sound
    just as good!

    My point is, why start with two strikes against you?
    Virg Wall
    V W Wall, Dec 12, 2003
  12. JnAnthony

    Oldus Fartus Guest

    I didn't! As I said earlier, I agree with all you said. I actually
    used an ultrasonic cleaner to clean the records first, and borrowed a
    highend professional turntable for the exercise from a friend. The
    equipment was top-notch, but the records, even after cleaning, were
    still full of background noise, pops, clicks and scratches from many
    year's of use.

    Under the circumstances I believe I was able to get the best possible
    results, but having said that, it would probably be overkill for
    anything which is available in another format.

    Just to give the background, I had done a couple of old 78s for myself,
    and was exploring the possibility of doing this type of restoration
    professionally, at a cost which would be attractive to someone with a
    fairly large old music collection. Unfortunately after doing a few
    more for myself I determined that the service could not really be done
    at a low enough price for anyone other than the most avid music collector.
    Oldus Fartus, Dec 12, 2003
  13. JnAnthony

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    Like the people who swear that the gold audio cables sound amazingly
    different than regular audio cables. I got friends who refuse to use the
    regular RCA cables that came with the PS2s, and rushed out to buy those
    then $40 "Monster" cables. I just don't get most of it, personally.
    One of my friends spent about $6000 on an audio system for his car. 1000w
    amp feeding a 750w subwoofer, 750w amp feeding his (unknown to me)
    speakers, second battery installed in trunk because the two amps and sub
    draw too much current. Compared to my sub $500 setup, I hear no
    difference. Both systems have a frequency response of 20hz to 20khz, the
    only difference is his has a sub and mine doesn't (which I could go for if
    I wanted to find room to put one in my car). The only thing he really
    spent an extra $5500 on is making his loud, which I find pointless as I
    don't see a reason to make the music any louder than enough to fill my car.

    People are nuts about audio, and it doesn't help when audio "experts" start
    talking about things like gold cables vs regular cables.

    AIM: FrznFoodClerk
    email: [email protected] (_ = m)
    website: under construction
    Need a technician in the south Jersey area?
    email/IM for rates/services
    DeMoN LaG, Dec 12, 2003
  14. JnAnthony

    Thor Guest


    Well, there is something to be said in using at least *decent* patch cables.
    I once bought a couple cheap sets of patch cables from radio shack that
    evidently used some poor quality wiring or contacts because there was
    definitely an audible difference in the overall volume of the sound at a
    given setting when using them. Remember that line-level outputs are not that
    strong, and a little excess resistance in the wires can have an adverse
    effect. I'm not one of those purists who shun CD in favor of LP, and stuff
    like that, but these wires were definitely inferior, so although I'm, not
    saying someone needs to go out and buy super-duper oxygen-free
    battery-cable-sized monster cables with gold contacts, just to get good
    sound, but people should be aware that there can be differences in the sound
    when really cheap stuff is used. For the most part I have had no problems
    with the patch cables supplied by most component manufacturers, so I'm not
    too picky, but shitty cables definitely exist.
    Thor, Dec 12, 2003
  15. JnAnthony

    JnAnthony Guest

    Thank you everyone for all the great suggestions. I will definitely NOT be
    replacing my Lite-On CD-RW drive as a result.

    And EAC looks like a great program to download eventually. From what's been
    posted, it appears it's not usually the drive that's the problem but the
    software when it comes to ripping CD's. Since some of the 7" singles have
    already been put onto CD a few years ago and I no longer have the original
    records, I will now have to take them from the CD and clean them up more in the

    As for the 12" singles, they're still in great condition and I'm very happy
    with the sound quality going into the computer. The turntable is a Technics
    SL-1200, which is still my favorite after almost 15 years. So I now have every
    confidence that they'll go onto CD - through the computer - as good as it can

    Thanks again.

    JnAnthony, Dec 12, 2003
  16. I note that the difference you cite was in the volume of the sound.
    Basically, this is quantity not quality although I grant you that since
    you always lose *some* quality in amplification, the more amplification
    you need the more quality you lose. So to a certain degree the loss of
    quantity results in the loss of quality.

    But in a practical sense, the only difference I've found between
    'quality' and 'bargain' cables (other than needing to turn the volume a
    little higher) is the quality of the connections. Bargain cables seem to
    be more shoddily made-I've had several where the connection between the
    wires & the jack have come loose-and a loose connection *does* affect
    the quality.
    Calvin Crumrine, Dec 12, 2003
  17. JnAnthony

    V W Wall Guest

    I didn't mean *you* personally in the above comment.

    I see many questions like: "How can I connect my tape cassette player
    to my computer to make MP3s"
    It does take a lot of time, even with the best equipment. Removing
    pops and clicks takes a lot of editing of the .wav file. I've seen
    programs that purport to do this automatically, but have had no good
    experience with them.

    Digital filters are great, but I think it best to do most of the source
    correction in the analog format.
    This must be so; otherwise there would be lots of people doing it!

    Virg Wall
    V W Wall, Dec 12, 2003
  18. JnAnthony

    V W Wall Guest

    In addition to the "Monster" cables, there were even speaker cables using
    the Fibonacci sequence to make up wire bundles for speaker cables.
    This is: 1/1, 1/2, 2/3, 3/5, 5/8, 8/13, 13/21, 21/34, ..... A fascinating
    mathematical sequence that even approximates the way seeds grow on a fir cone!

    What it had to do with connecting speakers to an amplifier evades me,
    but quite a few "Fibonacci" cables were sold at exorbitant prices.

    I see some motherboards with a vacuum tube amplifier for the built in
    sound card. They have to generate the 100V or so just to get it to
    work. Tubes are suddenly in vogue again. ;-)>

    I remember talking to Paul Klipsh once, when he was pushing large corner
    speaker enclosures. He said: "There is no such thing as a amall bass
    note.". When stereo took over, it was hard to find two corners to put
    them in. His company seems to make pretty good small speakers, but they
    don't have the low end performance like Paul's original ones. Many
    people today, have never even heard properly reproduced audio.

    Virg Wall
    V W Wall, Dec 12, 2003
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