Clear Sound Quality Techniques........questioning equipment?

Hey, I just have some questions. I kind of want to understand more about how to adjust equipment properly to get clear sound quality audio. But I don’t want to describe too much yet, maybe just one thing at a time?

The first thing I’m questioning is are all parts of any computer already automatically supporting clear sound quality? I’m asking about hard drives and any hardware in the tower part of a computer… If there is anything else that needs to be adjusted inside of a computer to get clear sound quality, can someone just help me understand something about the other parts that have to get adjusted for clear sound quality?

And also I am wondering about what settings/preferences could be adjusted in the Audacity software to get clear sound quality? I just have a question about the “Project Rate (Hz)” area of the program or the default sample rate preferences? What is the highest (Hz) that could be entered into the software?

And I just have a question about the “Real-Time Conversion” and “High Quality Conversion” settings/preferences? What does “dither” really do? I did read a little about what “dither” is…I’m still kind of trying to understand what it really does? But I chose the “none” setting so that “dither” won’t mess up the sound quality in the audio files that are loaded into the Audacity software…? I did research and read in the Audacity manual or something similar to it that if you leave the “dither” setting in something other than “none” it does something to the shape of the audio sound wave or it alters the sound quality and picking something other than “none” could decrease clear sound quality? Am I understanding some stuff properly?

…I’m just trying to understand something about all the “Quality” preferences in the Audacity software?

If there are any other techniques that can get clear sound quality with the Audacity software that could help too? If anyone could message other official tutorials in a private message that could help? Or if someone can point out more official tutorials or put up more official articles about adjusting preferences/settings in the Audacity software to get clear sound quality that could help too?

Maybe if someone puts out some kind of official guide to getting clear sound quality that could help many others as well? It could help a lot?

I’m using the Audacity 1.3 Beta (Unicode) edition of the software because I just find it easy to use and it supports a few more lossless audio file extensions? And also because every time I use that version it doesn’t slow down the computer I’m using that much?

I think that’s all I kind of want to understand first somehow?

The inside of a computer is a hostile environment for audio. All of the electronics produce electrical “noise” which can leak through into the analog components of the sound card creating audible noise.This is particularly a problem for “on board” sound cards where the sound card is built into the motherboard. When using a separate internal sound card it is usually best to place it in a slot as far away from the graphics card as possible. USB sound cards have the advantage that they are outside of the computer case, but are still vulnerable to electrical noise transmitted from the computer through the USB cable. A good quality USB cable can help to minimise this problem. Cheap sound cards tend to be affected more by electrical noise because protection against electrical noise cost money for the manufacturer, which is reflected in the retail price.

In most cases the default settings are optimum (which is why they are the defaults :wink:)
The default sample rate is 44100 Hz, which is the CD audio standard. The standard for DVD audio is 48000 Hz, so if you are making or editing audio for video there is a slight advantage to setting the default sample rate to 48000. Expensive sound cards may give slightly better quality with a sample rate of 96000 Hz, but the difference in quality will be extremely small (probably not audible), file sizes are doubled and the computer has to work harder to shift the larger amount of data. Normal “consumer level” sound cards tend to work better at 44100 or 48000 Hz than at higher sample rates.

The default bit format is “32-bit float”, which is recommended for the best quality processing.

In short, dither allows you to get “better than 16-bit” quality in 16-bit files.
Working in Audacity usually involves some sort of “processing” of the audio data. This is done in 32-bit float format, which is MUCH ,more accurate than 16-bit. However, few audio applications support 32-bit format, so exported files are usually 16-bit. 32-bit float is much more precise than 16-bit,so when the audio samples are converted from 32-bit float to 16-bit, there are “rounding errors” which can cause harmonic distortion. “Dither” minimises this “harmonic noise” by replacing it with a smaller amount of specially shaped “random” noise. The precise details are rather complex, but in a nutshell, dither minimises the rounding errors. More details here: Missing features - Audacity Support

There are lots of tips and techniques specific to the job you are doing. For example there are many tips for recording speech with a microphone, others for recording vinyl, others for recording sounds playing on your computer - too many to list them all here.

That version is obsolete and no longer supported.

No. The current 2.1.1 version supports all of the same file formats.

Its true,“There are lots of tips and techniques specific to the job you are doing”
as regards getting good sound recordings,But in the end i still think you only get out what you put in
AUDACITY will take care of the rest…Use high quality
equipment to import your tapes & vinyls,It will help…mickthefish.

The first thing you need to learn, is called “gain staging”. Making sure every part of the chain is working at it’s optimum gain level.

That’s pretty complete. Is this a good time to find out what the job is? The capture step (microphone, etc) will get you in trouble far sooner than picking the wrong dither.


i recently went to a 50th bash at my nephews large house he asked me if i would put some of my rock & roll audacity recordings onto a USB stick in mp3 format so i filled one stick with mp3s & another stick with the same tunes but in WAV format you can imagine the gasps of surprise when he whacked up the volume on his 100 watt speakers stick to WAV the mp3s were blown away even at 250 at kps mickthefish :smiley: