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3-12-2] ...with a CD recorder attached to my computer?


This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (fadden@fadden.com) with numerous contributions by others.

3-12-2] ...with a CD recorder attached to my computer?


Recording into a PC is a little trickier, but you have much more
control over the final result. It's easy to edit away silence and
reduce or remove clicks and hissing.

In addition to the material here, you may want to read one or more of
these tutorials:


The page at http://www.octave.com/library/audiocd.html is also useful.

The most crucial component is the sound card. The sound card converts the
audio signal from analog to digital (an "A/D conversion"). Some cards do
this conversion better than others. You can use the A/D converter built
into a sound card like a SoundBlaster 16, but the sound quality will not
be very good. The sound cards from Turtle Beach (Tropez, Tahiti) and
CrystaLake are a step up, and a Digital Audio Labs CardD+ is about as good
as it gets for internal A/D cards. If you're really serious, you should get
an external A/D converter like the Symetrix 620 or the Lucid AD9624 and feed
the digital output from that into the computer. (Looks like the Lucid device
has superseded the Symetrix one -- it's the same company. Relevant URLs
are http://www.symetrixaudio.com/ and http://www.lucidtechnology.com/.)
Other products can be found at http://www.midiman.com/.

Another way of accomplishing the same thing is to record to an audio DAT
deck and then use the digital output on the DAT recorder; see section (3-13)
for details. With some decks, such as the TASCAM DA-20 mkII and DA-302,
it's not even necessary to record to tape. You can play straight through
the recorder.

A problem with some sound cards (really cheap Opti and ESS cards have been
named) is that the crystal that controls the recording sample rate is off.
If the card doesn't do the sampling at the correct rate, the recorded audio
may end up slightly slower or faster than the original. This will become
apparent when the sound is played back off of a CD or through a better
sound card. Most sounds cards don't have this problem.

If you have questions or need a recommendation on a sound card, you might
want to try:


Some highly technical benchmark evaluations of cards are available at

Roxio's Easy CD Creator (section (6-1-26)) includes an application called
"Spin Doctor" that performs most of the tasks needed to transfer LPs to CD.
Depending on your needs, it may provide a simple all-in-one solution.

A simpler approach is to use a program capable of recording large amounts
of audio from the sound card. An editor such as Cool Edit or GoldWave
should work. Whatever you choose, you should again play a loud passage and
watch the "VU meter" display to make sure you're getting as much signal as
you can without clipping. If the little colored bars are slamming against
the top, you're clipping. The Windows volume control panel (double-click
on the yellow speaker icon in the lower-right-hand corner) has a VU meter
in it, and allows you to set the input gain.

Configure the application to record 44.1KHz 16-bit stereo sound, click
"record", hit "play" on your tape player or turntable, and wait a while.
When the music is done, stop the recording on the computer. You can
either record the result directly to a CD, or clean it up a bit first.
See the next section for some suggestions.

Bear in mind that CD-quality audio uses up about 10MB of disk space per
minute, so one side of a 45-minute tape will require roughly 450MB. Make
sure you have enough disk space before you start.


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previous page: 3-12-1] ...with a stand-alone audio CD recorder?
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next page: 3-12-3] How can I clean up the audio before recording?