Some of the lesser Sony products based on
soundforge don't do zero-point editing.
At 04:21 PM 8/15/2008, you wrote:
>Why is it that no one is this discussion has
>mentioned Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0
>which does 24 bit/ 96 k processing and costs about 50 USD?
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Sam Brylawski" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 2:32 PM
>Subject: [ARSCLIST] The Hope of Audacity
>Was--Re: [ARSCLIST] Seeking recommendations for
>oral history digitization equipment (fwd)
>Sorry for the mistyping on Soundforge, Tom . I didn't mean to imply
>that I thought that Audacity was in a league with Soundforge and any
>other professional applications. I'm not qualified to say and trust
>your judgment that it's not. I was just wondering whether someone on a
>tight budget who is transferring spoken word from cassettes might be
>OK with Audacity. I've used it for the primitive work I'm capable of
>doing and it worked. Your reference to it was so dismissive that it
>led me to question whether Audacity might corrupt files in some way. I
>do admit, however, that I'm sensitive to over-tooling, or whatever the
>expression is. That is, buying a Ferrari to drive to the grocery
>On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 6:22 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>No reason at all they shouldn't use Soundforge! That's why I recommend it.
>>It's easy to learn, easy to use and perfect for bringing in 2 channels and
>>now more channels at a time. Plus the latest version comes with very nice
>>processing and restoration tools that, again, are not hard to learn or use.
>>And as I alluded to, the latest version (9) finally allows for more than 2
>>channels at a time -- I currently have it set up for 4 channels at a time.
>>An academic or institutional customer should be able to find the
>>academic-discount price for any software, which is cheap compared to the
>>cost of redoing a project due to bad work.
>>My experience with Audacity was that it's akin to the graphic user
>>interfaces floating around for Linux -- it's klunky and primative and you're
>>fooling yourself if you think it's in the league of a real-deal,
>>paid-professional program. It's freeware, this is something that people with
>>no budget use because they have to, which is fine but non-ideal for doing
>>efficient and high-quality transfer work. If I were a guy wanting to get my
>>semi-worn-out LP collection into my iPod, I'd have no issues with plugging a
>>cheap preamp into my soundcard and using Adacity. If I were a professional
>>trying to preserve an archive of unique sound recordings, I'd scale up
>>substantially and do the job right so I didn't have to do it again and I
>>could leave a legacy of high-quality digital audio for the future.
>>I'm sure any of the pro-grade programs are in the same league as Soundforge,
>>btw, I just recommend because I use it and know it. I will say that I find
>>Protools overly complex for almost anything I'd do, and a
>>tracking/sequencing program like Acid or Cubase may or may not be
>>appropriate for this sort of work. Its seems like DC6/DC7 would work just as
>>well, too, and perhaps at a lower cost.
>>Finally, let me emphasize that software choice should be secondary to as
>>good an analog playback as possible and as good a digital interface as
>>possible. The hardware quality or lack thereof can ruin a transfer effort
>>right from the start. With any competent software used by a person who knows
>>how it works, you have to work at it some to ruin the audio quality. It's
>>more a matter of how you want to spend your time -- fussing with primative
>>and klunky interfaces or getting the job done efficiently.
>>-- Tom Fine
>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Sam Brylawski" <[log in to unmask]>
>>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2008 10:19 PM
>>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Seeking recommendations for oral history
>>digitization equipment (fwd)
>>You've made an unequivocal non-recommendation of Audacity. For someone
>>on a budget who is only re-formatting/migrating, presumably w/o
>>"processing," exactly why shouldn't they use Soundforge? Deatils would
>>be very useful.
>>On Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 9:37 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>>The most cost-effective way to do a large-ish transfer project is do it
>>>and do it right. So, you don't want to cut too many corners. Joel has laid
>>>out a bunch of good points before. Even for cassette-quality oral history
>>>type stuff, it's best to do a good -resolution transfer once on a
>>>well-maintained deck into a decent digital signal chain. Bottom-barrell
>>>stuff will give bottom-barrell results but there is a whole range of
>>>reasonably-priced and good quality gear out there.
>>>As for software, I hate Audacity. I think it's worth exactly what it
>>>It's klunky garbage, at least the last version I used, which was 2 years
>>>ago. Much better is Sony Soundforge which can be had very reasonably if
>>>is an education-related institution (see Educator Superstore website for
>>>instance). The newest version of Soundforge comes with restoration/cleanup
>>>tools that, when used conservatively and tastefully, can be very helpful
>>>with this kind of audio.
>>>Your best practice is to plan on at least three collections of files: 1)
>>>transfer PCM audio, hopefully higher resolution (I like 88.2/24 or 96/24
>>>Richard Hess makes a convincing argument that 44.1/24 is perfectly OK for
>>>spoken-word material). 2) processed PCM, this would be NR'd, normalized,
>>>EQ'd etc and perhaps saved at CD resolution with a "safety" version burned
>>>to archival CD media. 3) online/small-format version, MP3 or whatever
>>>crunched format you used, saved from the CD-quality processed PCM version.
>>>This would be for online/streaming or podcast use. These can be batch-made
>>>by Soundforge out of the processed PCM files. My caveat would be, beware
>>>crunching too lossy. Spoken word starts sounding really crappy when it's
>>>surrounded by digi-swishies and other artifacts. I never go lower than
>>>96kbps for MP3, which some might consider overkill but I sure don't. I
>>>actually prefer 128kbps whenever possible because it preserves the upper
>>>mouth/throat air resonances of most voices and also a decent MP3 cruncher
>>>won't make swishies out of even heavy tape hiss.
>>>Don't neglect the cassette end of this. Having a Tascam 122MkII is one
>>>but, how old is it and how well-maintained is it? I highly recommend
>>>it to NJ Factory Service for a refurb and have him make sure the head is
>>>too. As of a few months ago, Tascam still had heads, belts and other parts
>>>for these machines.
>>>Now that you see that even this kind of "pedestrian" audio is no simple
>>>to transfer and preserve correctly, have you considered out-sourcing the
>>>transfer work? You could then concentrate your expertise on archiving,
>>>editing, and making available your assets. There are grants out there to
>>>for outsourcing audio work to audio professionals.
>>>-- Tom Fine
>>>----- Original Message ----- From: "JA Eaton" <[log in to unmask]>
>>>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2008 12:11 PM
>>>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Seeking recommendations for oral history
>>>digitization equipment (fwd)
>>>Some thoughts on your situation...
>>>1) As you are digitising for the first time, it's worth thinking about
>>>preserving your files for future use, especially if you expand this
>>>resource in the future. Therefore it's probably worth digitising your
>>>material in the highest quality available in a format best suitable for
>>>sustainability in the best possible way.
>>>Which leads to...
>>>2) Record your audio in the best available quality and convert down to
>>>CD/web quality afterwards. i.e. 88.2Khz/24bit. You can back up the
>>>files onto a hard drive or DVD's/CD's. Even though you may not need
>>>these high quality files now, it'd save any future re-digitising issues
>>>provide you with a backup if anything goes wrong. You may wish to consider
>>>using open source file formats for future proofing such as Vorbis ogg or
>>>FLAC, whereas WAV or AIFF are fine for CD distribution.
>>>which leads to...
>>>>One of the USB interfaces I was looking
>>>>at (the Tascam US-144) comes with a free version of Cubase, but I don't
>>>>know that it would be any better for our purposes than Audacity
>>>A dedicated A>D converter over USB 2.0 or Firewire is going to give you
>>>much better conversion quality than plugging into your internal soundcard.
>>>These vary in quality and price and will generally be defined by your
>>>budget. Quality of the pre-amps you use is also worth noting.
>>>4. Pro Tools is a highly advanced multitracking and editing suite which
>>>although capable is probably far too advanced for your needs. If you were
>>>planning on digitising multiple media at once (multitracking) then
>>>something of this ilk may be worth thinking about. (note that Pro Tools is
>>>only compatible with it's own hardware except for Pro Tools M-Powered, a
>>>lighter version). Audacity on the other is a freeware simple interface for
>>>recording, simple editing, basic processing techniques and file
>>>One consideration is that the simpler (and cheaper) the program then the
>>>less 'restoration' processing features it is likely to offer (should you
>>>need them), such as de-noisers etc.
>>>>Anyway, your thoughts on a good USB interface, a good and inexpensive
>>>>pair of monitors, headphones
>>>a good pair of monitors may be worthless if your listening environment is
>>>not designed for audio analysis(e.g. your desk is in a big open plan
>>>with lots of background noise), however there are some decent reference
>>>monitors on the market under the £400 mark. (KRK, Genelec being at the
>>>end of the scale).
>>>Again look for professional headphones with a 'flat' response (i.e. not
>>>marketed to D.J's, live broadcast etc) but this can often be tricky
>>>between brands. Try AKG, Sennheiser.
>>>USB interfaces. at the top end of the price scale (for your project
>>>anyhow)MOTU make decent converters with quality preamps, alternatively
>>>M-Audio, Edirol and Mackie do cheaper products. Look for ones which offer
>>>higher sample rates/larger bit depth for any future needs.
>>>hope this is of some help!
>>>Joel Eaton TSO - Sound Resources
>>>TASI - A JISC Advisory Service
>>>[log in to unmask]
>>>Free Helpdesk for UK Further and Higher Education: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>Online advice documents: <http://www.tasi.ac.uk/>
>>>Hands-on training: <http://www.tasi.ac.uk/training/>