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Setting The Recording Format

You can set several important recording parameters via the Windows Control Panel in Windows 95 or via the Windows Sound Recorder in Windows 98 (yes, you'd think that you could do this in the Recording Mixer. All I can say is, "There you go again, trying to apply common sense to the Windows audio architecture. Please, seek help immediately.")

You can set three critical parameters for the recording: 

  • the number of samples per second
  • the number of bits in each sample
  • whether to create a stereo or a mono recording.

The main consideration in deciding which format to use is the question of sound quality vs. hard disk space. If you record more digital samples for each second of sound, then you get higher sound quality but use up more space. If each sample is 16 bits "wide" rather than 8 bits, it gives you increased sonic precision (i.e., higher sound quality) but takes up twice as much space. If you record in stereo, you use up twice as much space as in mono.

CD-quality recordings are made at 44,100 samples per second (also known as 44.1K), 16 bits per sample, stereo. This takes about 10MB per minute of audio material to record. This used to seem like a lot, but hard disks are huge these days.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. If you plan to eventually burn your recording onto an audio CD, record using all the CD-quality parameters as detailed above. Do the same if space is no object (like if you have tons of hard disk space and you're making a file that you'll probably delete before space ever becomes an issue).

Otherwise...

  1. Never record at 8 bits per sample. Always use 16. The sonic degradation at 8 bits is truly annoying.
  2. If you're recording from a relatively lo-fi source, such as a cassette, radio or LP, record at 22,050 samples per second. Sound is still pretty good, and it'll take half the space.
  3. Consider recording in mono, unless you need to separate the channels for learning or some other reason. This also cuts your space requirements in half.

How To Set The Recording Format

Windows 95

This is accomplished in the Control Panel's Multimedia section. 

  1. Go to the Control Panel and double-click the Multimedia icon.
  2. Adjust the recording settings in the Audio tab.

Windows 98

  1. Open the Windows Sound Recorder
  2. Choose Properties from the File menu
  3. Choose Recording Formats from the dropdown box
  4. Press the Convert Now... button
  5. Either pick a recording quality preset from the dropdown menu at the top, or choose the Attributes that you want from the Attributes dropdown.

 

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