Why, the Audacity!
Long-time readers might remember that I have over 58,000 digital music files. They include just about every genre of music that you can imagine. Rock ‘n’ roll and classical music represent about 75% of my collection, while rap and hip-hop represent maybe ten files. In fact, the only rap and hip-hop I have are when rap or hip-hop artists get together with a musical favorite of mine to record together. The Fat Boys come immediately to mind when they recorded “Wipe Out” with the Beach Boys in 1987. Not a fan of the Fat Boys; huge fan of the Beach Boys.
My music library also covers several generations. My earliest recording is “Lover” by Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers & Hammerstein fame but before that fame), from August 1932. My most recent addition is the CD “Delta Machine” by Depeche Mode, released in March 2013 (although do we call a collection of digital music a CD?).
Many of my earliest recordings are mono. However, when one gets into the late ’50s and early ’60s, many of the recordings are “fake stereo” meaning that the voices are on one channel and the music on the other channel. Turn the voice channel down and you have karaoke!
I listen to all of my music in chronological order, and a couple of days ago I finished the year 2013 and started over again back in 1932. I’m currently in 1963, and that’s when I noticed a problem that has always irritated me with digital music that was created from original analog recordings.
In some cases, such as with “Puff (The Magic Dragon)” by Peter, Paul & Mary, the voice channel on the digital recording is very low, causing the music, especially the bass, to overpower the voices.
I went looking for a solution. My original goal was simply to convert fake stereo recordings to mono. In looking for some good audio software, I found several that are free. However, free software often comes with caveats, such as you have to buy someone else’s crap (NCH software does that), or you have to download lots of crapware which takes over your computer (avs4you is good at that).
After many attempts at finding something good (even if I had to pay for it) and uninstalling crapware, restoring my computer to a previous day to get rid of crapware, etc., I found an audio editing program that I can recommend:
The best news is that it is free!
The only item to note is that if you want to save your audio work as an MP3 file, you need a small DLL file downloaded from a different site. That different site is an absolute mess, but once you find the file you need, everything’s good to go. If you need help, let me know.
I should also say that most of my music is in the Microsoft WAV format, which means that the file is about ten times larger than the corresponding MP3 file. I will be converting all of my WAV files to MP3 files as time permits. That might save me two or three terabytes of space once I’m finished!
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