A Few More Recording Questions

Windows 10 (64 bit)
Rega PLANAR 1 Plus (2021 Edition)
Creative Sound Blaster Z Sound Card
Audacity 3.4.0

  1. I have some records which I presume are mono (no indication on the label, but they are NES soundtracks, so I presume they would have to be mono). Unfortunately, Sound Blaster Command only has stereo as a recording option. If I set Audacity to record playback in mono, will it still record the sound properly? If I were to take a mono record and record in stereo, would it just be dual channel mono?

  2. Since there is a Recording tab for Sound Blaster Command, as well as for Audacity, which program would be prioritized when the audio is being digitized by the sound card? What would happen if I set the recording format differently in Command vs. Audacity?

  3. I asked this question a while back and was wondering if anyone knew the answer…

Finally, I was reading the manual and saw this…

Audacity cannot record at greater 16-bit with MME or WASAPI as the host - you need to use Windows Direct Sound if your sound device supports a bit depth of more than 16-bits.

Does this mean if I want my recordings to be native 24 bit, I need to use DirectSound? Reading the manual further, it seems DirectSound is flat out superior to MME and that there is no point in sticking with MME. Am I correct in this assumption?

Thank you for any assistance.

There are advantages to recording in stereo. You can later make a mono file and it will play out of both speakers. If you happen to be making WAV files the mono will be half the size, but most compressed formats (including lossless FLAC) are “smart enough” not to encode the same sounds twice.

First, if you have any stereo records with “good-obvious stereo separation”, that’s a good check if you can record in stereo…

There’s a way to check for mono/stereo. There is a “vocal remover” effect that subtracts right from left, which removes everything in the “center” (everything that’s identical in both channels). If both sides are identical you’ll get silence. With analog they won’t be exactly identical but it will get very quiet except for the noise which is random and different in both channels.

This is just a test, so you try it on a copy of the file (or on a copy of a short clip):
Effect → Special → Vocal Reduction and Isolation.
Select Remove Center to Mono and Apply.

If you have a stereo recoding of a mono record, you have a couple of options…
If you simply mix to mono the signal-to-noise ratio should be improved by 3dB (on average) because the the signals combine coherently in-phase and are doubled while the noise combines randomly (half of it adding and half of it subtracting). 3dB is not much, but it’s something…

Or you can choose the best channel and throw-away the other.

There is a little drop-down arrow to the left of the waveform(s) where you can split a stereo file to edit left & right separately, or delete one them, or combine to mono, etc.

Or for bad clicks & pops, usually they don’t occur at exactly the same time in both channels. I have a vinyl clean-up application called Wave Repair ($30 USD). One of the repair options is to copy from the good-channel to the bad channel. With stereo, you don’t usually hear the loss of stereo for a few milliseconds, and of course that’s not even an issue when both sides are supposed to be the same.

Wave Repair has several other repair options and it can “perfectly” remove most clicks & pops. But you have to find & select the defects manually so it can be VERY time consuming.

The opposite side of that is that it only “touches” the audio where you identify a defect. There are some other automatic vinyl clean-up tools. (Wave Corrector is automatic and FREE.)

Is that in the Audacity manual? I don’t think that’s true for WASAPI but 16-bit is WAY-WAY better than analog vinyl. :wink:

Assuming no glitches, your choice of recording software doesn’t affect quality. It’s just capturing the digital audio stream from the drivers and operating system, and sending it to the hard drive.

You can probably record with both at the same time but in general you should avoid multitasking while recording. Your operating system is actually always multitasking, even when you’re only running one application, and sometimes there are brief glitches caused by the interruptions.

Oh, I assumed that Sound Blaster Command digitized the audio using whatever format I selected first, then Audacity would record the audio second, potentially changing the audio if there were some differences in recording settings (such as picking stereo in Command, but mono in Audacity). The reason I thought that is because the audio is going through my Sound Blaster audio card, and there isn’t anything other than format settings in the Recording tab, so I presumed you were supposed to set what format you wanted the audio to be in with Command, and then use a program like Audacity to actually capture the audio.

If I am understanding you correctly, then only Audacity matters for recording the audio? What is the Recording tab used for then with Sound Blaster Command?


It says on the Audio settings Preferences page that WASAPI does support 24-bit recording:

With the same information repeated on the Audio Setup Toolbar page:

Windows WASAPI This host is the most recent Windows interface between applications (such as Audacity) and the audio interface driver. WASAPI was first officially released in 2007. WASAPI is particularly useful for “loopback” recording of computer playback]. 24-bit recording devices are supported using this host.

Further, this page
tells you

WASAPI has two significant benefits for Audacity.

  • 24-bit recording is supported (Windows DirectSound supports 24-bit recording, but the PortAudio API Audacity uses does not support 24-bit input under DirectSound).

I.e WDS 24-bitrecording is NOT supported in Audacity (even though Windows supports it)

If you have found a page that says otherwise please let me know (with a link) and I will correct it.


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