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Using free sound recording/editing software

If you click
you'll find software at the bottom of that page for recording & editing sound called Wavepad. Wavepad will say it is free for only 14 days, but you can keep on using it free after 14 days. It is 400k in size. It's made by a company called NCH & you'll need at least a 300Mhz PC to use it. On that page is another piece of free software called Express Rip which converts CD music into mp3 files, & one called Express Burn which does the opposite.

Another piece of good free sound recording/editing software you should have is Audacity, which also works for Linux & Mac: It can remove background noise(unlike wavepad) & more. To save to mp3 you need to get
[Linux: I use Audacity on Linux mandriva 2007. I downloaded the .rpm file, double-clicked it & found it in the /usr/bin folder. Type audacity into the run command of the Start menu, or in a terminal to start it.]

The slider on the left of the tracks changes the volume.

To start recording press the red circle, then press the black square button to stop. You can record from various sources including 'Line-in', microphone or anything that's playing on your PC loudspeakers. I use a recording rate of 48000 samples/sec, which is CD quality & is good enough for most people's musical taste. I've recorded at lower rates, which don't seem to take up any less disk space. Wavepad can convert a file from one sampling rate to another using the 'File' menu.

You can then use some wonderful editing features like reducing hiss, inserting pauses, adding echoes, changing the play speed, removing/copying sections, Paste Mix(adding background music to speech), playing music backwards, reverb - making music sound like it's coming from a tiny room or a huge hall etc. After that you then save it in mp3 format. You can choose the rate at which it's saved. I normally choose the constant rate of 96kpbs, good enough for me. I've tried recording at 64kbps & 160kbps & I can't tell the difference! Speech can be recorded at 64kbps with high quality playback.

(Wavepad can read wma files, as long as they're not Personal Rights Management protected.)

One problem with this software is that when you first use it, it reduces the volume of sound output to zero, so you'll have to use the PC's volume control software to increase it. If you have media player software which is using a file, you will have to close that file first before you can use Wavepad.


u I've used the facility for noise reduction(hiss noise). After experimenting I found that if you set the level between -20db to -17db that reduces hiss without too much loss of quality.
u There's a piece of Windows software called the 'System Resource Meter' which should be in the Accessories part of the Windows Start menu. It displays how much memory the PC has free. I would urge you to use it to keep an eye on how much memory the pc is using.
u To record what's playing on your speakers, use the 'Line-In' setting.
u It's best not to use other software when recording as you might get unwanted sounds during recording.
u Changing the play speed makes your favourite music sound new & better! I find playing it at 92% makes music sound unbelievably more beautiful than it is already! It's worth getting the software just to hear this. It's one of the most wonderful pieces of software I've ever used.
u There's a feature to fade in/out. If a track doesn't fade out by itself, it's a good idea to fade out the last few seconds to make the ending sound clean.


I've had fun the software. It's easy to use & works very well. Using Wavepad turns you into a professional sound engineer, it looks that professional! They have a plug-in which can read text out loud.

Transferring music from your stereo to a PC

Some portable mp3 players have a microphone, otherwise to record you will need to buy a microphone, or a wire that connects from your hi-fi headphone socket to the PCs 'line-in' socket at the back of the computer. This wire has one identical 3.5mm stereo plug at each end. I got this wire by using the one that connects my 2 PC loudspeakers (in most speakers this wire is joined permanently to one them).
In the U.S. you can buy this wire from
then click 'Audio/Video Cables'
then click '3.5mm cables'
then click '3.5mm cables black'
The wire is called '12ft 3.5mm stereo audio cable M/M PC-99'. They also have a 6ft version, part no. #21062.
In the U.K. you can buy this wire from with lengths from 1.2m to 10m. has a "Single 1/4" jack to 3.5mm Mini Jack Lead" if your headphone socket is the larger 6.3mm type.

You'll have to enquire if these websites can send orders overseas.

If your hi-fi has a 'CD/Line In' connection then you can use a wire to connect your personal CD/mp3 player to it.
(U.S.) You can buy this wire from
click 'Audio/Video Cables'
then '3.5mm cables'
then '3.5mm Y cables'
The wire is called '6ft Hi-Clarity 3.5mm stereo plug/RCA plug x 2Y cable', part no. #03180.
(U.K.) If you use
click 'PCs,Laptops etc.'
then 'Sound'
There's a chain of discount shops called 'Thing-Me-Bobs' which also sell it.
The wire is called 'twin phono to 3.5mm stereo jack' part no. AA1407.

You can connect personal CD players to a mains using an adapter. I have found that my CD player needs a 600mA supply, but will still work with an adapter which supplies 300mA.

MP3 Players

I now use an mp3 player to record my dreams when I wake in the middle of the night - they have voice recording. Get one with at least 256, or 512Mb(8 hours of good quality recording) of memory. You don't need a PC to use them as they come with earphones. They plug into the USB port of a PC(they work with USB 1.1 or 2). You can use wavepad to skip long pauses in the recording.

You can get mp3 players very cheaply now. UK: try (from £15 including postage in Dec 06), U.S. try

If battery runs out the player retains its memory. I find that by using them when I wake, it makes me more awake. Recordings are named wav0001, wav0002 etc.

You can record without having to look at the buttons. During playback you can skip pauses by holding down the fast forward button. You can skip backwards. The play button doubles as a pause button. They are the same size as a cigarette lighter. You can thread a piece of string through a tiny hole in the top so they can be worn around the neck. You'll need some AAA size batteries, they don't plug into an AC adaptor.

Opening the battery cover is not obvious. It's on the bottom & you have to slide it off. The player plays recordings at a wide variety of bit rates.

Click here for a demo of its sound recording ability

Playing mp3's

You'll need software to play all your mp3's. The best I've found is at called Quintessential, 2.3Mb.

Sound Effects

There is a library of free sound effects at has a great short article about sampling rates.

I shall keep this website updated. If you have any suggestions please use the guestbook.

Current Edit:
13 Nov 2007

Added 30 Dec 06
Making PCs quiet: (they have websites for different countries) sell many components that are quiet. They have a dropper resistor or Fanmate controller which can slow down the processor fan to reduce noise. On their page on 'PC fans' they have case fans ranging from 40 to 120mm, & a 3 pin to 4 pin processor power converter plug.

They list most of their processor fans at about 20dB - quiet. Less than 25 is quiet. They sell power supplies too. show all their fan volumes, though the 'Speeze EE708S3-1 Kestrelking' is much the loudest at 32dB, the EEA67B4 is 19dB, the EE792B12(here) is 22dB(Socket 754 / 940 / 939).

The fan that came with my AMD Sempron 2800+ was noisy inside the pc, so I got an 'alpine 64' from which was very quiet inside the pc.

Today's cd drives are noisy. There's software called Nero Drivespeed which slows these drives down.

I read elsewhere that AMD cpu's are noisier than Intel ones. This is caused by the processor fan, not the processor. One guy said their Toshiba A-15 laptop was noisy! I thought laptops were quiet.

As the fans are lower than 2700rpm you may need to go into your PC bios to stop the auto shutdown for fans having too low an rpm.

Seagate Barracuda hard drives are said to be quiet. My Maxtor is noisy.

I have found that PCs made by Dell(pentium 3 & 4) are very quiet.

Power supplies made by Hiper eg. 'HiperPower aPFC HPU-35' (350W) are quiet - if you read their descriptions they are around 19dB. (You can plug a 20 pin supply into a 24 pin motherboard & vice versa).

I have found that PCs made by Dell(pentium 3 & 4) are very quiet.

Any PC problems you have you can ask at If you have a problem/query with an AMD processor try

Added 11 Oct 07
One easy answer to getting stereo sound into a pc:

Griffin iMic USB Microphone Audio Adapter. See here - not for vista or Linux. You plug in an art tube if you want to use a microphone.

USB sound cards are better than internal ones for microphone stereo recordings.

If you need to record from 1 or 2 microphones the Lexicon Omega(US$200 £130) is ideal. It's powered by mains not usb port, so you will get less noise than it's cheaper brothers, the Lexicon Alpha & the Lambda. Information on the Omega here, here, here, here It includes cubase LE software, which has a big forum here

You will need a converter plug to convert from 3.5mm to 1/4inch to plug in your pc speakers.

see here(UK)

or ART Tube MP Project Series USB-$100 £80
has phantom power(for condensors) & is mains powered. only uses 1 microphone. see ]here has an article saying if you have a Wireless-G USB adapter plugged in then take it out if you're using any Lexicons/usb sound devices. has a lot of information for novices. they recommend the Shure sm57 dynamic microphone as a good all-round starter, reviews here, here

here is a guide to stereo recording using 2 microphones & here

Audacity forum


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