I have some experience with Audacity but haven’t learned much yet about file formats nor have I been able to find an answer to the following on either the internet nor in the Audacity forums:
What is the best (or maybe only) way to preserve as much quality as possible when recording streaming internet radio music and then saving to MP3 to transfer to my (brand-new) little portable MP3 player?
It seems to me that if I record internet radio, I am already recording some low level of MP3 like 64 or 128Kbps. Then if I export it in Audacity again as an MP3, I am further degrading the quality because the original music has now been MP3’ed twice. Is there any way to directly record it as an MP3 file in Audacity? I realize that would preclude any editing, which would not bother me. I’m also basing this question on an educated guess about the quality of internet radio music. I’m thinking the quality may vary from station to station, but am I wrong to think that most put music out as MP3 somewhere between 64 to 192 Kbps? Is there any way to tell what the broadcast quality is without actually talking to an engineer at a given station?
I’ve already recorded a few music programs as tests and have them saved as Audacity projects (.aup). But when I started to export to MP3 is when the above questions hit me. I’m pretty familiar with the concept of how additional generations of a photo or sound recording can deteriorate. Maybe I’m overthinking this issue especially since my hearing isn’t as sharp as it was when I was 25.
Since my question are rather generic, it probably doesn’t make any difference, but I am mostly using Audacity ver 2.0.0 for Linux on 64-bit Ubuntu 12.04, but also have Ver 2.0.6 on a 32-bit Win 7 computer which I use more for ripping vinyl/reel tapes and less on the internet.
Thank you for considering my questions.
Don’t record it. If you actually have permission to record the songs, download them instead. Use your favourite search engine to find out how.
Audacity does not record in MP3, and even if it did, that would still be a lossy re-encoding. If MP3 files are being streamed, downloading the actual files is the solution. The tools that sniff out the URL of the file for downloading will work out the correct extension of the file.
If you know the stream URL and use a solution that dumps the file to your drive, MediaInfo will give you full information about the file’s bit rate and sample rate. MediaInfo is probably in your Linux repository so you can install it safely.
I believe WASAPI Loopback (Win7 & Win8) is purely digital so it should capture the decompressed audio stream with no further “damage”.
It seems to me that if I record internet radio, I am already recording some low level of MP3 like 64 or 128Kbps. Then if I export it in Audacity again as an MP3, I am further degrading the quality because the original music has now been MP3’ed twice.
Yes. You can minimize the additional quality loss by using a higher bitrate (maybe 192 or 256kbps or better) but there is still damage. AAC is designed to be more immune to damage from multiple generations of encoding, but I don’t think that helps when transcoding from MP3 to AAC.
Or, you “MP3 player” may also be able to play a lossless format (FLAC or ALAC). But these files are typically around 750kbps so they are at least twice the size of a high-quality MP3 or AAC and quite a bit larger than low-bitrate MP3.
Is there any way to directly record it as an MP3 file in Audacity?
No. There are programs that can record directly to MP3, but I don’t know if there are programs that can capture the original-compressed MP3 without decoding/re-coding.
[u]MP3directCut[/u] (FREE) can do some limited editing without decompressing first. It can also record directly to MP3.
but am I wrong to think that most put music out as MP3 somewhere between 64 to 192 Kbps? Is there any way to tell what the broadcast quality is without actually talking to an engineer at a given station?
Maybe someone else can answer that one.
If you are able to directly download the music (rather than recording it or using a downloading service) then the downloaded file will be in the original (on-line version) format. Direct downloading gives the best quality because you get an exact copy (and is much quicker than recording).
Yes the Windows WASAPI host in Audacity is digital capture (you must still turn off system sounds so they are not captured).
That is a reasonable solution if you have time to record the file and if you are prepared to export the recording in a large lossless format like WAV or FLAC.
If Endura wants the end format to be MP3 as stated then it’s the wrong solution because you can’t avoid the lossy re-encoding to MP3.
WASAPI works on Vista too, by the way.
Any apps that do that are downloading or dumping the stream, which is the only answer to losslessly preserving it in its original compressed format.
That’s encoding the file - the recording depends on an ACM or LAME encoder.
Thank you, Gale, DVDdoug and Steve. I understand much better now. I’m probably putting too fine a point on just capturing some radio shows to listen to when I’m working in the garden. I don’t think I was that fussy when I used to record over-the-air music on a cassette recorder to play on my truck’s player or a Walkman. Maybe I’m just getting carried away by all the neat things you can do with Audacity. The fact that I can’t turn a used Kleenex into a silk purse with it does not reduce my gratitude for having it to use for other things.
Pretty much why we usually want to know what the goal is before responding to questions about how to make the most perfect recording on earth.
The other group that has problems is scientists. Audacity sacrifices very slight data perfection in order to sound better. This drives the data perfectionists nuts. Wrong goal.