Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

When free is just too frustrating

So, what little home recording I've done over the last year has been done with Audacity, which is freeware.

Initially, it worked well enough.  It's fine for recording from a microphone and doing multi-tracking (e.g. drums, then bass, than guitar, then vocals on top).

But about two months ago when a friend asked me for some mp3s of my old songs (sorry, No Tower! It's still on my ''to do'' list!), and I tried to convert them from *.wav to *.mp3 format, the result had weird ''warbly'' artifacts.

And today I tried to convert a *.wma file (from a voice recorder) from work, into an *.mp3 file so that it would be small enough to post on our website.  Audacity said that it didn't have the right component to make the conversion -- but I could download it.  OK, fine.  ((But, see end of this post...))

So I downloaded it and installed it -- but Audacity said that it couldn't find it.  The instructions on the website said how to show Audacity where on the computer it was located -- so I followed the instructions.  Still didn't work:  it found the location on the hard drive, but I couldn't get it to **accept** the location.  Gah!

I re-read the instructions, and **after** step #6, it said that if you have Audacity running when you install the extra bit, it may have trouble recognizing it.   GAH!!!  Seems like should be Step #1: exit out of Audacity, to allow it to install properly...

Closed out of everything.  Still doesn't work.

OK -- that's enough of that.  A friend suggested the recording software called Reaper --   I like their business model:  the license fee is US$60 if you're an individual, or if you're a company that makes less thank US$20,000 a year.  Fair enough.  Otherwise the license is US$225 (which is still very reasonable).

So:  you get what you pay for.  At this point, though, the free software doesn't do what I need it to do.  Time to move on.

If I don't write anything additional about Reaper, you can presume that it's working fine.  :)

ADDENDUM:  As it turns out, when I visited the Audacity site again, it turns out that the newest release has been out for about a month.  Downloaded and installed **that**, and it immediately recognized the codecs (conversion files) that I had been trying to install.

Imported the audio, and spent several pretty enjoyable hours tidying up the audio file.

So:  Audacity redeemed itself.  And I'll pay for Reaper when I actually use it for recording. 

(Note to my readers:  I **really** like Reaper's business model.  Although they prefer that you pay for the software, they refuse -- on principle -- to sabotage or reduce the functionality of the software to force you to pay.  So, when I actually start using it, I **will** pay the thirty bucks.)


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