Using Microsoft Plus! Analog Recorder Part 3

Setting the Record Control

This step is only relevant if you are using a USB audio device.

One final step, relating to the Volume Control, is properly configuring your sound card for recording. With the volume control open, either by double-clicking the speaker icon in the task bar or by using Start/Control Panel/Sounds and Multimedia.

Windows volume control properties

Choose Options/Properties from the Volume Control menu.

Select the Recording option in the Adjust Volume For box and click OK.

Windows volume control adjust

The Volume Control panel is replaced by the Recording Control panel.

Check the Line In Select box, making the Line In your default source for sound recording.

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When you begin recording, adjust the level of your Line In as needed by moving the slider.

Recording LPs using Plus! Analog Recorder

The first part of this tutorial sets up basic parameters for your computer and audio source. Now it's time to start the recording process.

Step 1: Launch Analog Recorder

Start/All Programs/Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition/Plus! Analog Recorder

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The first screen welcomes you to Analog Recorder and offers quick links to help files. Click Next to begin using the application.

Step 2: Adjust Your Recording Level.

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Your computer's sound card should already be selected by default in the Sound device drop down menu.

The second drop down menu, Input channel, lets you choose the port your record player or cassette deck is connected to. Make sure Line In is selected.

At this point, you need to push play on the cassette deck or put the needle on your record. Click the Start button on the screen so Analog Recorder can adjust the audio level on your system.

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Once the application detects acceptable levels, click Next.

For USB Audio Devices Only If you are using a USB audio device, like the Creative Extigy or an Edirol UA-5, like, Analog Recorder can't automatically adjust the sound level. It does auto-adjust the Griffin Technology iMic without issue.

External Audio Devices

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For external devices, manually adjust the input volume using the Recoding Control screen. The Level meter on the right hand side of the screen should never be a solid red color. The level may jump into the red, but should remain in the green and yellow zones to prevent distortion.

Once volume is adjusted to an appropriate level, click Next. A box like the one below will pop-up, informing you levels haven't been automatically adjusted.

Analog Recorder If you are comfortable with your level settings, click Yes. Proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Record Your Music

Before clicking the Record button, rewind the tape or move the needle back to the beginning of your record.

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Advanced Recording Options

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The Advanced button presents the options of having Analog Recorder automatically split your recording into tracks and set the maximum recording time. The default maximum recording time should be acceptable. If you are recording a speech or book on tape, I recommend unchecking Automatically detect and split tracks. Analog Recorder recognizes long pauses in speaking as new tracks, creating many 2-3 second tracks you will need to combine later.

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Step 4: Review and name your tracks

For music cassettes and records, include song title, artist name, album, and genre for easy cataloging.

Split Tracks

For audio books or speeches, you can divide large tracks into smaller segments, making it easier to listen to the recording in smaller blocks. Highlight the track in the list you want to split. Click Play or drag the slider to the point in the recording where you want the split to occur, and then click the split tracks button.

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Splitting tracks is also useful for eliminating silence. If your cassette has a long lead-time at the beginning (or empty space at the end), find the point where the audio starts and click the Split Tracks button at that point. You can then discard the silent segment.

Unfortunately, the only undo for this process is recombining the tracks with the Combine Tracks feature.

Combine Tracks

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If Analog Recorder divided a track incorrectly, combine the individual tracks using the Combine Tracks feature. Hold down the CTRL key, and then click each track you want to combine. When all tracks are selected, click the button with the arrows pointing toward each other.

Step 5: Clean your tracks

Typically, you will need both pop and hiss removal on vinyl records. Cassettes generally require hiss removal only. Test the cleaning process by clicking the preview button, to make sure your audio isn't distorted. If the audio sounds clean, click the Next button.

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Reduce Pops

This feature removes popping and crackling commonly heard on old records, giving the audio a cleaner sound.

Reduce Hiss

This feature eliminates tape hiss from your recordings.

Before you clean all your tracks... Test the pop and hiss removal with one track first. Once you have a combination that sounds good for one track, apply it to all tracks. This saves time, preventing the need to re-run the entire process on all tracks. It's still a good idea to preview at least 30 seconds of each track making sure they sound good.

Step 6: Select settings and save tracks

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By default, Analog Recorder saves tracks in the My Music folder. If you catalog your music differently, change this to the folder where your music is stored.

Unless you need to conserve hard drive space, I recommend leaving the Save music at this Quality slider on the highest setting.

For easy burning of your tracks to CD later, I recommend creating a new Windows Media playlist named for the artist and album.

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

To prevent potential pirates from copying your music files, lock them down by turning on DRM. This feature is an inconvenience if you plan to play your files on a computer other than the one you created the tracks on.

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DRM configuration options are limited, with Microsoft offering a limited selection of choices. The disclaimer statement is presented the first time you use Analog Recorder.

Advanced File Naming Options

The Advanced button presents naming and organization options making file cataloging easier.

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Clicking the Advanced button allows you to select a naming scheme. File names can be based on any combination of track number, track name, album title, artist, and/or genre.

Checking Save files to artist sub-folder and Save file to album sub-folder automates saving files in folders organized by artist and album.

After configuring all these settings, click Next.

Step 7: Saving your tracks

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The only thing to do during this step is wait. Analog Recorder must process each track and save it as a WMA file.

At this point, you've completed the process of converting your analog audio to digital. If you want your file in some format other than WMA, the following steps will get you where you want to go.

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