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Software question

 
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Latech70
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:58 pm    Post subject: Software question Reply with quote

Okay, here's the situation--the recorder we've been using to record audio books for the MS Library Commission is an old analog unit which is no longer made and for which I'm pretty sure parts are scarce. And, before you ask, I do not know what the model is. This analog unit has recently bitten the dust. I think someone is going to look at it for us and see if they can fix it. However, we are trying to move into the digital age and I have been tasked with researching the options when it comes to software.



We need a package that will allow us to record at varying speeds. See, although we will be recording directly to the computer, we will still need to put the books onto the 4-track tapes used by the NLS. These tapes are played at 15/16ths speed. I think that Sound Forge has this capability--at least that is what the others in my volunteer reading group have been told. Will Adobe Audition and other packages do the same thing? Also, which would be the most cost effective way to go? I know that the Audacity product is a free download, but I don't know if it has the capabilities we need.



I do plan on researching the various web sites that have info about these products, but I thought I would also post my questions here since the folks on this board have such a wealth of knowledge.



I sincerely appreciate any help that you can give.
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billelder
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must be missing something here. A computer doesn't record at different speeds, just varying bit rates can be controlled. With sound forge you can make the pitch higher or lower and control speed of the already recorded content. I Googled 4-track NLS and it looks like a cassette machine. I believe the only way to get the content is to transfer it in real time from the computer to the tape machine.



I could be wrong, tho!
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Deirdre
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Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Pro Tools there are time compression and expansion controls, and they don't affect pitch.
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Latech70
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

billelder wrote:
I must be missing something here. A computer doesn't record at different speeds, just varying bit rates can be controlled. With sound forge you can make the pitch higher or lower and control speed of the already recorded content. I Googled 4-track NLS and it looks like a cassette machine. I believe the only way to get the content is to transfer it in real time from the computer to the tape machine.



I could be wrong, tho!




Well, what I think we need is for the software to have the capability to play the recorded material at faster speeds so we can output this to the tapes for the NLS players. Basically, specify a ratio to use and it will speed it up by that much. See, if we output the material in real time to the tapes used in the NLS players--it will sound a bit slooower when played back in the 15/16 playback mode which is pretty much the default for the players. The players have a switch on them to play at either 15/16 speed or at 1 7/8 speed. They also have a variable speed slide which will allow someone to manually adjust the speed of playback, but I think most of our patrons are kind of set in their ways of just popping the tape into the player and hitting play.



Did I make any sense with any of that?
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Latech70
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deirdre wrote:
In Pro Tools there are time compression and expansion controls, and they don't affect pitch.




Yes, I think time compression and/or expansion is the terminology I'm looking for. Pro Tools Mbox and Pro Tools 24 are both listed on a sheet I was given this afternoon at our volunteer's meeting. Sound Forge is the third package listed. I am just wondering if Adobe Audition or other similarly priced packages offer the time compression and expansion. (Edited to say: I'm thinking that Pro Tools Mbox is not too much more than Audition, but it looks like the Pro Tools 24 is quite a bit more expensive...at least going by the estimated prices on this informational sheet I have from the NLS.)



Thanks for the input.
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Mike
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Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 474
Location: Tomorrowland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Latech70 wrote:


Well, what I think we need is for the software to have the capability to play the recorded material at faster speeds so we can output this to the tapes for the NLS players. Basically, specify a ratio to use and it will speed it up by that much. See, if we output the material in real time to the tapes used in the NLS players--it will sound a bit slooower when played back in the 15/16 playback mode which is pretty much the default for the players.




If I understand you correctly, the analogue machine that you will record onto from the computer runs at a different speed from the playback machines (which cannot be used for recording) so you need to compensate for the difference in pitch and speed that results from this difference?





Latech70 wrote:


Yes, I think time compression and/or expansion is the terminology I'm looking for.




As Deidre says, time compression and expansion don't affect pitch and therefore won't do what you need (If I understand your situation correctly). I don't know of any plugins that emulate analogue tape speed change.



You could do it by using a virtual sampler plugin if it gives you enough recording memory. You might need a MIDI interface and keyboard to make it work though.



M
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Latech70
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Mike, I think you are correct. I kinda breezed over the part that Deirdre mentioned about not changing pitch.



Thanks for all the input, everyone. I'll continue to research the options and if anyone has any more ideas, please let me know.
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Art
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 11:57 am    Post subject: High speed playback... Reply with quote

LATech:



What you want to do is extremely simple. But maybe I can explain it in a way that sounds really complicated.....



First of all, recording quarter track cassette tape at 15/16ths is not Xtreme high fidelity; recording at 44.1k sampling is way overkill, and when you're dealing with 90 minute programs, you don't want to be juggling a bunch of files that big. So sample at a lower rate in the first place.



I have recorded NLS cassettes using standard stereo cassette decks with no problem. You have to make yourself a chart showing which direction each track goes, or you'll continuously get it wrong. Best way to make sure is to actually play all four tracks on an NLS player. I don't have my chart any more, so I'm probably wrong here. But let's just say...



Here's a mono cassette track configuration:



Track 1 plays this way >>>

<<< Track 2 plays this way



You auto-reverse or flip the tape to change sides.



Stereo looks like this:



Track 1 is side one left channel >>>>>

Track 2 is side one right channel >>>>>

<<<<< Track 3 is side two right channel

<<<<< Track 4 is side two left channel



NLS tapes look like this:



Track 1 is Side 1 >>>>>>

<<<<<< Track 2 is Side 4

Track 3 is Side 3 >>>>>>

<<<<<< Track 4 is Side 2



You listen to Side 1, flip it over, listen to Side 2. Then you flip again, and flip your switch from 1/2 to 3/4, and listen to side 3. Another flip and you hear 4.



So if you can mix Side 1 (forwards) and Side 4 (backwards) as a stereo signal in your computer, you can dub the two tracks to Side 1 of a stereo tape. Make another stereo track with 2 and 3, and dub the other side of a cassette.



That's confusing enough, but easily done if you get tracks and directions straight.







Here's the answer to the question you asked.



In Adobe Audition, set your recording sample rate at maybe 8000 or 11050, 16 bits. After you've finished recording and want to play back and dub tapes, click EDIT/ADJUST SAMPLE RATE.



Set it to 16000 or 22100, and your file will play back at double speed.



NOTICE! Nothing has changed! The file is not edited, compressed, stretched, squeezed or ANYTHING! You're just playing it back at twice the sample rate it was recorded.



Run your 45 minute, two track recording at normal cassette speed onto a C-90 cassette, and when you play it, you have a 15/16 recording.



If you have a four-track recorder, you can do the tracks one at a time. Or, if you also have a four track sound card, you can do them all at once. If you're using a standard cassette deck, you have to record two tracks (stereo) at once.



If you're using a pro Tascam that goes 3.75 ips (double speed), you can jack your computer playback sampling up to 32k or 44.1k, and dub at four times your final tape speed.



Oh, and the backwards part? Very simple. Load the track you want to reverse, click EFFECTS/REVERSE.



And, of course, you can use the same technique to record faster. I regularly dub 3.75 inch per second tapes, by running the tape deck at 7.5 and recording into my computer at 16k, and then adjust rate to play back at 8k when I'm finished recording, before saving.
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