what's the best method for recording/processing analogue

hi, just wondered how to best go about recording from analogue, process and write out digital sound file in a way that minimises loss of quality?

have noticed some features for

  • writing out in higher frequency sample rate formats is not avaialble in audacity,
  • usb sound source recording is unsupported (i have usb mixing desk so am able to import analogue sound thru usb input)
  • midi appears to be unsupported in multi-track environment

is there a pay for version of audacity that enables these options?

This tutorial set in the Manual is a good place to start: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_copying_tapes_lps_or_minidiscs_to_cd.html

And this one should be useful: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/sample_workflow_for_lp_digitization.html

These are targeted on producing results that are of CD quality - working at 44.1 kHz 32-bit float and exporting at 16-bit PCM WAV with “shaped” dither (all of these are the Audacity settings). I used these settings for my LP transcriptions and produced excellent results, played back on fairly high-end hi-fi kit.

Archivists (and the occasional audiophile purist) work with higher settings - but most folk can’t hear any difference in blind listening tests and much player equipment and software will most play high settings - so unless you are an archivist set on storing an original capture at the highest quality for later processing if and when digital processing of recordings and playback “improves” I wouldn’t bother.

But do note that the workflow tutorial above does include a step just after capture/recording of exporting a raw capture copy at 32-bit float.


Oh, and if your analogue stuff includes vinyl, so take a look at this sticky thread: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/click-pop-removal-clickrepair-software/1933/1


Moderator note: I deleted the troll post that is quoted in this response.

I understand floating point refers to the decimal point within the 32 bits, and it can move all the way to the left for quiet sounds and get the most of those. That’s what makes background resonance. Without it (CDs) you might hear sound fall off between beats and in fades. That’s the secret.

Nonsense! CDs are better than human hearing* and far-far better than vinyl. The noise floor on vinyl limits its resolution and anybody can hear the background noise on a record during quiet or silent parts.

If you want to get an idea of how much dynamic range a CD has (93 or 96dB), crank-up your playback volume control as loud as you want, then reduce the volume in Audacity by -80dB or so and notice how quiet it is. (You’ll have to do that in two steps because the Amplify effect only goes down by -50dB.)

Most of the benefit of floating-point is with files/data that goes over 0dB, and the fact that DSP (digital signal processing) is “easier” in floating point. So, most audio editors DAWs use floating point internally.

It’s true that it can also go very-quiet, but that’s only an issue if you reduce the volume by a LOT and then boost it later and you don’t want to loose resolution. If you are anywhere near “normal” audio levels the quiet-side it’s not an issue.

And… DACs & ADCs are integer based (no floating point). So your driver/software converts floating-point to integer whenever you play the file. (I think there’s one manufacturer that makes floating point DACs/ADCs, but it’s accuracy is less than 24-bit integer.) Most 24-bit DACs & ADCs are only accurate to about 20-bits.