Free Audacity software can make recording music easy
Q With regard to Liam O’Hare’s problem recording radio from the BBC's Listen Again service, I am fortunate in owning two old but serviceable laptops. I just plug the headphone output from one of the computers into the microphone input of the other. Having set the sound levels I can then use the free Audacity software to remove the bits I don’t want.
I haven’t yet tried burning any of the recordings to a disc but the files can be exported as MP3 files to my portable music player.
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A That’s certainly one way to do it. Aside from the necessity of getting hold of another laptop if you don’t already have one, and the trouble of setting them up in the same room, there is a question of sound quality. You will lose quality in the transfer between the two laptops, and there may be some background hiss added to the recording.
It’s also possible to do the same thing slightly more easily (but possibly more expensively) by adding another soundcard or sound device to your existing computer. Then after it has been properly set up you can connect the output of the main sound device to the input of the second sound device.
It’s the same principle as connecting two laptops, but you’re doing it on one computer, which may be easier. You will again lose a little quality, though.
Of course, if it’s just radio recordings you’re after the difference in quality will be minimal to the point of hardly being noticeable. But others who wish to use these methods to make copies of a piece of music (not copyrighted music, obviously) should beware that there’s a trade-off involved.
Most computers make it possible to record all the sounds sent to the speakers. Left-click on the Start button and then on Control Panel. In Windows XP, click on the Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices icon and then on Adjust the System volume. Click on the Advanced button. Click on Options and then Recording. Make sure the Wave Out Mix entry has a tick by it and close the window. You can now record the sounds of the computer in Audacity.
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