From James Coleman
Answered By Ben Okopnik
I enjoyed the Linux Multimedia article in the February 1/2 2001 LinuxGazette. Though I was hip to most of what the author covered, I could use some help with another aspect of Linux multimedia.
I'm in the process of building a web site for a local non-profit organization I work with. Among other things, the web site will feature mp3s from several of the bands we've worked with over the years. Problem is, not every band can afford to have CDs of its music so I've got a fair number of cassette tapes to deal with. I hate the idea of leaving this music out by default but the fact is, I have zero experience transfering cassette tunes to a PC. I've found Linux tools to handle problems like sound level control but I've been unable to find software designed to assist in creating wav files from the tapes in the first place. Anyone familiar with such an animal? Any tips at all would be appreciated. Thanks!
[Ben] I did that a year or so ago. I used 'brec' (part of the 'bplay' package) to do the recording; I simply patched the output of my tape player to the input of my audio card and ran 'brec' with the appropriate options. I then split the huge resulting .WAV file into individual songs with 'mixviews' - that is one terrific, well-written program - and wrote them out to a CD. Pretty much a problem-free process.
Thank you, Ben! I'll be sure to give brec a spin. I've found lots of (Freshmeat) leads on software to convert the wavs to mp3 once I've got 'em on the system so I think I'll be all right in that department. I've got a 6GB drive installed just for this purpose... Can I presume that's going to be enough for serious work or should I pop in a 30GB? In other words, how large is a 9 or 10 minute wav gonna be? Thanks!
[Ben] If I remember correctly, the songs came out at ~ 20-40MB each, just like making WAV/RAW files from audio CDs; that would have meant ~ 200-250MB per tape side. 6GB should be plenty.
I did remember one quirk; in order to get good recording quality, I had to set the input level at 80% or so - any more than that, and I got horrendous distortion, whereas anything below 50% was silent - and do the fine adjustment with the tape player volume knob. Your Mileage May Vary, of course - it was probably related to the quality of my sound card - but if you get no output, check the input level.
Good luck with your project!
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