degrading quality when converting cassettes to mp3 with audacity
I have encountered a problem with converting my cassettes to mp3 using Audacity.
I have converted 11 cassettes (around 90 minutes per cassette) into mp3, which has all worked fine. However, i've now went back to do some more and the quality that Audacity is playing when recording is totally unlistenable. The cable is the same, I just bought it three or four weeks ago - it's just a male-male audio cable. It's quite short, but I have the stereo next to my laptop just now for this purpose.
The cassettes I am using now are actually of better quality than the custom cassettes I was using in the first 11. I know they play and work fine as the stereo plays them in great quality.
Does anyone know what I could try to resolve this problem? Any help would be much appreciated.
I'd highly recommend you rip it in lossless. Anyway, what bitrate are you copying at?
Em, not sure.
How can I check what bitrate I am copying at and where can I check to see if it is being ripped lossless?
It should be in your settings somewhere. Make sure it is something like 256kbps. Lossless ripping would be to something like ALAC or FLAC, but if you're not sure what they are you probably don't need them.
A couple of things to check (I'll try to attach some screenshots, but these have been taken on a Linux box so may look a little different - options should be in the same places)
Under EDIT > PREFERENCES > AUDIO IO
Make sure you have the correct input device selected for your sound card
Under EDIT > PREFERENCES > QUALITY
Make sure the sample rate is 44100hz and at least 16bit (I would not worry about the 24 or 32 bit options if you have them, not for copying cassettes)
When you have recorded the cassette and done any editing you want use the FILE > EXPORT menu and select MP3 (or the format you want to export the file as). There is a OPTIONS button nearby. Click this and set it to 256k (or 192kps if you want a smaller file).
I personally would recommend that you have the LAME encoder library installed. To my old ears it just sounds better. I've been fortunate enough to run mp3's encoded with lame on 10K plus sound systems in clubs and venues, and they pass my taste test :-) Politics says that LAME does not come with Audacity, but there is usually a button (or help link) to the library.
If after checking this you still have 'pants' sound to your cassette rips, make sure you've not changed the mixer settings on your soundcard so you are picking up microphone or other noise for 'open' inputs.
Hope that helps you fella :-)
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