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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:48 am 
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Lava Boy
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Hello to all old friends and new!

Desperately need some direction in Audacity from an experienced user to meet a submission deadline. I am still trying to finish an archive project for two demo tapes made in the pre-digital age from two original bands I was in.

Seriously regretting having gone this route originally but to squeeze the first step into my schedule I cued up the tapes after setting up the signal chain and just recorded them as one long song as far as the recording them onto the G. Mixed them down to the stereo track and burned them as wave files and now have three long wav files with multiple songs in each that I need to split into different tracks. So far I spent around 2.5 hours trying to figure out how to do this through the track editing features on my own and going through the online audacity manual but no matter where I set the markers and have tried to split the tracks and then either cut/paste or copy and paste just one song or with the clip boundaries options I always end up with a duplicate of the entire multi song recording.

I repeatedly tried exporting carefully marked selections of just one song with the Splitting Boundaries function and also tried either cutting and/or copying and pasting a defined song selection into a new track within the same project to export the copied track as one individual song but everytime I end up with a complete duplicate of the entire wav file recording. Selection from user manual pasted below in blue text related to the Splitting Boundaries function and a screen shot of this page with the illustrations is attached as well.

Splitting a track into clips

When you record some audio or import audio from a file, you get a single track. In many cases, there are natural gaps in the audio - silence between sentences or pauses between phrases in music. Those are good candidates for splitting the track into multiple clips, allowing you to move or otherwise manipulate those clips independently. There are eight ways to create multiple clips in a track.

Edit > Remove Audio or Labels > Split Delete at a region in an existing track or clip, removing the selected audio without shifting the following audio.
Edit > Remove Audio or Labels > Split Cut at a region in an existing track or clip, removing the selected audio to the Audacity clipboard without shifting the following audio.
Edit > Clip Boundaries > Split at the cursor or region in an existing track or clip, doing nothing except separating it into multiple clips.
Edit > Clip Boundaries > Split New at a region in an existing track or clip, moving the selected audio to the same position in a new track at the bottom of the project.
Edit > Clip Boundaries > Detach at Silences at a region in an existing track or clip, creating clips either side of absolute silences.
Edit > Paste from the Audacity clipboard into vacant space in an existing track.

Generate some audio into vacant space in an existing track.
Drag a clip from a different track (or the whole track) into vacant space in an existing track using Time Shift Tool.
As an example, the "before Split " and "after Split" images below show that after selecting Edit > Clip Boundaries > Split, the two boundaries of the gray selection region are overlaid with a solid black split line, marking the boundaries of the three resulting clips.
Gray selection region before Split
Gray selection region after Split showing dark black split lines


I have tried marking the beginning and end points for the first song above the wave form where the elapsed time is displayed and also over the waveform itself

I'm attaching two screen shots;
- One from the program showing the wave form displayed for a song and a half after running a "Check for silence tool" that did an excellent job of finding and marking gaps between the songs despite tape hiss.
- One of the manual with illustrations from the section above about using the Split Boundaries function.

Q1. Is using the Slitting Boundaries option the quickest and easiest way to split this into individual songs? If not what editing function should I use?

2. Assuming the answer to Q1. above is yes what is the trick to setting up the begin and end points to use this function so Audacity will respond correctly?

Thanks in advance for any help...about to get an ulcer fighting with my PC. Crap I can't find the attachment option that used be there and I am too exhausted to go back and edit everything. Here is the link to that page of the Audacity manual on my PC anyway - C:/Program%20Files%20(x86)/Audacity/help/manual/man/audacity_tracks_and_clips.html

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:00 pm 
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Are you using Audacity to further process what came from the G? Or,are you using Audacity only to assemble the project?

If it is assemble you are after, there is a simple way, using the G, to have each of your 3 songs appear as separate tracks. This is available on the 1600, and I assume also on the G.

It would involve burning using the CD At Once utility and, therein, engaging the "marker" option. First, delete from the stereo file, any sections you do not want to appear in the final. Leave in place (or insert) appropriate seconds of silence between sections Then, ... Make sure ALL the markers have been erased in the song file, EXCEPT markers at the beginning of section 2 and then another at the beginning of section 3. When you subsequently burn this, with the marker utility engaged (in the dialog box that controls the CD At Once setup), your three section will become separate songs on the burned disc.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:39 pm 
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Lava Boy
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Thanks Byron,

It is actually around 20-25 songs transferred from cassette onto the G as three "songs". Everyone thought it would be much easier to split them into seperate songs with Audacity than try to seperate them out on the G. I don't have a decent sound card on the PC so ran the cassettes out through stereo preamp and into the G and applied some EQ tweaks but couldn't stay in front of the G long enough at the time to do one song at a time as I should have.

Looks like I have part of it sorted out. To me the obvious approach was to point and click on the start and end points for the segments I wanted copy and paste as individual tracks. At one point after much screaming and frustration I accidentall moved the mouse with the left click still pressed down and now a section of one of the songs was disctinctly highlighted from the rest.... They could have mentioned something about clicking and dragging to make selections. That is of course exactly how you do word processing like copy and paste but I didn't expect it to work that way with waveforms or audio editing.

Now my concern is that every song has rhythmic clipping indicators spaced out through every song after I ran the check for clipping or display clipping option.... As I recall everyone indicated that to get decent levels in your mix on the G you needed to have the meters occasionally just reaching the peak meter or even occasionally just crossing over it. I have done this with some individual songs recording on the G that never sounded like they were clipping during mixing or when later played as a CD through a stereo.

My PC speakers and sound card are complete crap so I wanted to check for clipping distortion with my headphones but for some reason my OEM Realtek sound card indicates it can only output 16 or 24 bit sound files through the headphone jack and the wav files are 32 bit. Two things don't make any sense to me about this;

1. The exact same sound card is converting and sending an analogue signal to my cheap amplified speakers from that same file just fine.

2. The headphone output is pure analogue so it should matter if it was even 48 bit as long as the sound card can do the DA conversion which it obviously can for the speakers.

Two new questions;

Q1 Is this check for clipping feature in Audacity over sensitive for clipping?

Q2 Does the headphone thing make any sense to anyone as reported above?

I don't think I have had any reason to headphones on my PC since upgrading from XP to Win 7 but they have always worked before for other audio sources. Probably never had any 32 bit audio sources on my PC before however.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:37 am 
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http://forum.audacityteam.org

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:25 am 
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Thanks RZ.

Already registered and searched forum some but still can't solve the headphone issue. I'll try some other search terms

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:42 am 
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Did some more Googling related to the ALC888 HD audio chip set on my mother board and on Audacity but still nothing.

Back to Audio properties for the zillionth time and sent my headphones as the default device and suddenly it works. It is a work around and I shouldn't have to disable my speakers to get my headphones to work but I have a quick fix for now.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:54 pm 
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Again I say - the Cd at Once option would be a straight forward way to accomplish what you want, without exporting to Audacity.

Take one of your long songs, Put markers at the start of each section you want to become a separate track. ( marker one will be placed at the beginning of section 2. - so, for e.g. if your long track has 10 sections, there will be 9 markers). Activate the "marker" utility in the Cd at once burn dialog, and your resulting cd will have separate tracks. I have done this many times and know it works.

As for your clipping issue, the analog transfer from cassette to digital was perhaps affected by the G's preamps being set too high. This could have happened on the way in, but it could also have occurred when you rerecorded (mixed down)the track, to get it on to the stereo track. Alternatively, this could have been accomplished by a MOVE (EDIT Section), rather than a mixdown. But if you want to use the mixdown method, in order to build some volume, then during the mixdown, use the DYN section on the Stereo Track to have the track go through a Limiter. the G's version of limiting is not Brick wall, but if you are careful you can utilize it to eek out a few extra dB, if the original file is generally in control, but suffering from a few Transient peaks. Transient peaks will prevent a file from being effectively "Normalized". (which is a process that lifts the whole file (every sample) up equally in volume, but this will not be effective if only a single sample (a transient) within is already peaked to 0 dB. The limiter, on the other hand, compresses individual samples above a user set threshold, and then applies makeup gain to lift the whole file. While not truly a Brickwall limiter, the G's limiter will allow you some increase, just be careful and don't get too "greedy" for extra volume. A bit of EQ during the mix down might help too. A wide, mid-high boost of only a few ( 1 >>>2) dB often brightens up an "older" recorded track. Also a HPF utilized in the low EQ slot (set at about 45 htz) may help clear up a muddy "older" track.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:07 am 
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Thanks so much Byron,

1. I missed any reference to using the markers with CD at once but that sounds awesome. I never knew there was marker option under CD at once.

2. I know I was just barely and very momentarily hitting the levels at the indicated clipping level on the G on the mix down with the hottest transients.

This was actually on purpose as I remembered a post by 61 (RIP) and some follow up discusssion about it actually being okay and perhaps needing the tr to on the Yammy G series to get decent levels. Typically in most situations I know any definite digital clipping is not desired so my impression from that conversation was that the meters on the G were perhaps a tad "over estimated".

3. I definitely had to use the Dyn function to get the levels up within even 3-6 dB of getting near the top output levels. For some reason I didn't see any make up gain on either of the two limiter presets because that is what I wanted to use and started with it. I only saw a gain reduction knob (along with the threshold and attack time etc) so while I could get the limiter to engage it only decreased the overall volume without a make up gain with in the presets.

There is the channel gain knob toward the end of the signal chain which you can use either pre or post effect sends if desired. I did do some tweaking with that along with the Dyn make up gain using something like 1.1:1 compression ratio just to have access to the make up gain that I didn't find in the limiter. I think 6 dB was the most I could use from the Dyn settings before that started affecting the sound/dynamics beyond what I liked and then I adjusted the channel gain at the end to get the levels just touching the clip levels.

From the monitors and the headphones coming out of the G I didn't hear anything that sounded like digital distortion during the mix down at this setting. I couldn't really tell from the 2" ten plus year old PC speakers if some of the "brittleness" on the peaks with the volume up fairly high was just the speakers but at more normal volume it wasn't there. After finally getting the headphones to work I listened to one song several times and I still have a hard time telling for sure in part because it is just a quick transient on snare hits mostly and/or the bass drum (which has bass guitar on the same beats).

I definitely don't have a trained or experienced ear however so I sent a wav file of the first song to someone that wants to put some of the music up on an online game forum I participate in to get his feedback as he is a musician and home recordist as well.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:33 am 
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If you use that "marker" option, just be sure that ALL your markers relate to the start times of desired sections. extra markers will create extra tracks. Also, markers have to be at least 4 seconds apart. sometimes when placing markers they accidentally get placed in very close proximity. Icon(s) that represents the placed markers are numbered. If you try to place a second marker at the exact place of another, the machine will message you that this is not allowed. But if they vary by any small amount, in time, then a marker can be placed, but its icon will be obscured by the one to which it is in close proximity. This will prompt the "marker" utility to refuse to work. There is a list of markers available somewhere, should you need to hunt for an interfering marker. Pay attention to consecutivly numbered marker flags. Should a number be skipped in the markers that are visualized, then there is a hidden marker, and it will be within 4 seconds, and therefore the requested burn instruction to split at the "markers" will be refused. This is not, in practice, as complicated as i have perhaps made it seem. Once you know how to use this utility, it is a real time saver for some jobs. My rank here is "Marker Magician" - but it is no magic. I learned the hard way about the 4 second rule.

The other thing to note is that the placement of markers need be to the final version of the stereo track. If you place markers at for e.g. at the 1:00 minute mark and 2:00 minute mark, then mix down your tracks, the markers will still relate, temporaly, to the stereo track. But if you decide that there is an unwanted 10 second lead in and delete it from the stereo track. the markers you place will no longer be where you want them. Markers relate to time, not the material. So do your trimming before the mix down is often best practice.

As for your limiter observation, that is true on my 1600 as well. The limiter preset is a compander and offers only gain reduction. ???? So, aternativelyI would load any of the DYN presets that is a compressor, set the ratio at infinity:1, the knee hard, threshold at 0 dB or -1.0 dB, Then bump the makeup gain as high as you dare, while watching the attenuator on the meter during playback. Dial up until the bar bounces a bit. The more you see it, the more you are "squeezing" your material. If you are able to get 3 or 4 dB of makeup gain without ever seeing the attenuator bar, then those dB are "free", with little affect on the material. Gentle, infrequent attenuation can then be sought, as you lift the make up gain. but the more you see the attenuator, the more you are squeezing. to a point this is perceived as "good", tightening the track. Too much and you are flirting with ruining your mix. The G controls move in increments of 0.5 dB, so this is somewhat a crude process when it comes to "fine tuning".

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:47 pm 
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Marker Magic is sticky worthy IMHO
=D>

I definitely need all the "things to look out for" tips so I appreciate that. I'm not sure I actually have 4 second gaps between any of the songs however (not at home). If not I have the cut, pasted and export track process down in Audacity now at least.

I truly appreciat the time you took with the detailed instructions and tips. Going to print those out to put with my other helpful tips etc for easy refernce in the future.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:20 pm 
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Thanks, but just be clear on a few things. You don't need 4 second gaps between songs. The songs can run from one to the other with no gaps ( just like a Pink Floyd album!). Just put a single marker where you want the split to occur. It is the time between markers that generates an error. If two markers are within 4 seconds of each other, the "marker" utility will not work - you will get an error message. If you want a gap between songs, as have most compilations then tack on, or leave, a few seconds of silence, as you edit-out "dead spaces" in the master track.

It is this editing process that often causes the creation of errant markers. You need markers to navigate, but as you trim a file the markers (placed as per time) get out of sync with the material. As you edit (delete) unwanted sections of the master, take care to cancel and create markers that relate accurately to the start of sections. Use the jog utility to be really precise, as needed.

One nice feature of the G and 1600 is that as you Fast Forward, you get to hear snippets of the song, orienting you to where you actually are in that section as you FF. The 2400 does not do this. So as you advance through a file you have to blind guess as to when to stop. This hunt/peck method is not as efficient.

As per my suggestions in the previous post, re: mastering, in order to achieve greater overall volume, I must make some amendment. I was confusing my workflow suggestions with another DYN processor i use, so i will try again. I will copy the paragraph I wrote, below, and then edit to add the concepts I erroneously gave to you. Here goes....

As for your limiter observation, that is true on my 1600 as well. The limiter preset on the G is a compander and offers only gain reduction. ???? So, alternatively, I would use DYN on the paired track that contains the master, and also on the stereo track, to which you are going to mix down. On the original track >>> load any of the DYN presets that is a compressor, set the ratio at 1.7:1 (my favourite), the knee> hard (if you move to a softer knee, the threshold will have to subsequently be set higher; attack >> fast ( 3-5 ms.); release >> depends on the material, but start relatively fast (180 ms is often my initial point) If you detect pumping then lengthen the release time; threshold > will be adjusted in relation to the material >>> while watching the attenuator on the meter during playback. Dial down the threshold until the bar bounces down a bit. The more you see it, the more you are "squeezing" your material. Gentle, infrequent attenuation should be sought, as you lower the threshold. Lower the threshold as much as you dare, but understand that the more you see the attenuator, the more you are squeezing. To a point this is perceived as "good", >>> tightening the track. Too much >>> and you are flirting with ruining your mix. Once you are satisfied that your approach is not too aggressive, then dial up the makeup gain. Get higher volumes, but don't push it right to the top, because there is another processing stage at which you will be able to add gain. If you are able to get several dB of makeup gain without ever ( or rarely) seeing the DYN's attenuator meter deflecting downwards, then those dB of makeup gain are "free", with little affect on the material.

Now>>>>> on the stereo track, load and activate a compressor. On this one, follow the same iterative process described above, but make these changes ---- Knee > Hard (no soft knee here), Ratio >> infinity :1; Threshold > -1.0 dB, very fast attack (1 ms?). very quick release (80 ms.?). At this point you can do one of two things. One way is to dial down the threshold until you see flickers of attenuation, just like you did on the first compressor and then if your meters are not peaking, add some makeup gain, just like before. At this stage the amount will likely only be an extra 1 or 2 dB. The G controls move in increments of 0.5 dB or 1.0 dB, so this is somewhat a crude process when it comes to "fine tuning" on the G.

A second approach for the stereo track would leave the threshold quite high (0 or -1.0 dB) and have you utilize the attenuator at the head of the stereo track's signal chain. Display the VIEW screen for the stereo track. This display shows the complete signal chain. at the head of the chain there is a attenuation dial. On all the regular tracks you can only cut the incoming volume. But on the stereo track you can cut or add on the way in. So >> since (if) you were gentle and have not pushed while adjusting the track parameters, the mix coming to the stereo track may well be able to be further boosted ahead of the compressor, rather than using the makeup gain after the compressor. You don't really want the compressor working enough to need makeup gain here. You may well make a small cut to the incoming signal, if you find that the second compressor appears to be working more than gently.

Tweek to your heart's content. Only limited by the hours you are willing to devote >>>>.... Sorry my initial instructions lead you astray. I initially recommended using only 1 compressor, as i am able to do with the y96K card in my 2400. Without that card, the 2 compressor method is the ticket. Just be gentle >> you can't un-burn a casserole.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:50 am 
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Lava Boy
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Sounds like some really good tips.

All these recordings were done in studios onto tape and mixed etc all kind of on the fly on the same day as the recording. Was clue less about recording for the most part and not involved with the technical side of what they did but I am sure the final stereo mix was compressed some already. I hate over compressed music with no dynamics so definitely just looking for a little signal boost.

I have an external Symetrix 565E dual compressor/expander/limiter I really wanted to run the mix though as I heard the expanders were especially good for cassette recordings and offers more fine tuning ability. Unfortunately I picked it up off ebay just before the sleep disorder started jeapordizing my job and ultimately forced me onto LTD. I made sure it powered up, installed it in my rack and patch bay but never got to use it. That was like five years ago.

I can get the meters working so I know it is getting a signal but never could get a signal back into the G. Not sure if it is broken or just me not doing it right. Aux out it set up right as the unit gets signal but I get nothing on the meters on the G and no audible signal on the return channels. Wasted six hours trying to trouble shoot it and just didn't have any more time to mess with it.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:14 am 
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Too bad your outboard gear won't work for you. Sounds like what might be the right box for the job.

My experience with expanders is confined to my use on the AW. I regularly use expanders on two track percussion I assemble/build using samples and then import into the G. I like what they do there.

I agree that over compression is quite destructive, but as knowledge and confidence grew I have become more comfortable in judging when enough is enough. No real harm IMHO, in compressing twice though. as long as both passes are gentle enough for the material and a keen ear is applied towards making the decision of how hard to push.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:03 am 
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Success Update!

Decided to try one more time to debug the return signal path from the external expander/compressor/limiter and decided to just bypass the patch bay. I thought I had tried that already but recabled it and in this instance received glorious feedback for my efforts.

Quick panic moving from bending over my PC monitor to access the back of the G and drop the monitor volume while I sorted out the send and return levels but have it working finally. Lot's of tweaking, signal bypass to A/B the sound and currently recording the dyn effect return to a second stereo track to blend and mix down later.

Thanks for all the helpful tips which I will employ now shortly.

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