Using Downloaded Audio and Misc. Audio Files
First things first:
YOU ONLY EVER EDIT VIDEOS USING UNCOMPRESSED WAV AUDIO
OK? Got that?
Lots of people try to edit with mp3 audio and things like that. Don't. It will often crash editing software and some (esp vbr) mp3s and so on will not be supported.
The Solution: convert it to uncompressed wav, silly ^_^ They don't take up that much space and are much better for editing than anything else ever.
Second thing - If you can get the song on CD, get it on cd. The quality will be much better, you wont have to lose further quality by recompressing and you'll have a nice shiny cd.
Anyway, back to Internet audio.... most the audio types you will want to convert can be converted with one program. In fact, there are a lot of programs that do this but the one with the some of the best support (in my opinion) is dBpowerAmp Music Converter.
Although it is free, not everyone wants to go through the hassle of getting it so I am actually going to offer 3 guides to converting Internet audio:
1) Converting loads of useful things with dBpowerAMP
Please Note: If you want to convert Windows Media Audio files into wav - read this first
Here is a summary of the stuff you can load into these programs:
dBpoweramp Music Converter
Advanced Audio Coding (.aac)
if there are any more, please let me know. Also if you know any of these to be non-convertable let me know too ^_^
If you can think of an audio type that can't be converted by any of these methods, please let me know and I'll write a guide on it.
Here we go!
I like this program. It's not the best GUI for doing things like creating mp3s (as it's not always customisable enough, IMO) but it is great for quick conversion of lots and lots of different audio types.
The best part is, of course, that it's free.
Go get it!
OK, once it is installed, make sure you have the right codec support by visiting their codec central and downloading whatever you need.
Right, now the rest is a piece of cake:
Go to your audio file, right-click and select "Convert to". If that doesn't work, load the program up from the Start menu... you may find that it is a file you can't convert from. In which case you may need to download the codec.
Then a little box will appear with the various supported types to convert to - you need "wave".
Now, in the conversion section there is a nice helpful CD Quality button. I recommend choosing that if you really don't know what bit and sample rate your file is. However, if you know it is a 48kHz file then by all means change the settings to save as a 48kHz wav. Similarly, make sure you don't reduce the sample rate ^_^;;;
There is also a Normalisation option, which I recommend using to make your audio nice and loud without clipping.
OK, once you've selected your options, click convert >> and it should make your wav file which is what you need for editing.
Winamp can output anything it can play into an uncompressed wav file. This is very useful as it's the most popular audio player and can support an awful lot of audio types.
To save to wav instead of playing the file,
Load up winamp
Press Ctrl + P
Go to Plugins - Output and select the Nullsoft Disk Writer plugin:
Click configure and select a location for your output file.
Load your audio into winamp and "play" it. Instead it will be very quickly written to disc as an uncompressed wav.
However, this does not work for everything winamp can play - but it does work for most things. You'll just have to test it.
N.B. You have to set your output back to what it was before (probably WaveOut) in order to hear your songs in winamp again. Otherwise it will just convert everything instead of playing it.
Guess what kiddies, we are going to use dBpowerAMP Music Converter again but this time we need to download the Auxiliary Input Plugin.
The principle is simple. You can hear some audio on your pc but it is unsupported by normal audio programs that can make wav files. These may have protected codecs or be some odd streaming media or something. In any case, you can't extract the audio by normal means.
So, you sample it.
The Auxiliary Input Plugin is designed to be used for sampling audio through your line-in on your sound card. However, it has a nifty little feature which allows you to capture the audio from any of the multimedia audio sources such as Wave, MIDI and so on.
OK, load up the plugin - it is actually a separate application, not dBpowerAmp itself.
Click options and select the channel that your sound will be coming
through - probably "Wave":
|You might want to test and see if the volume levels are ok and if the audio is registering. Click "Test Recording Level" and if you can "see" your audio then you are in business.|
|Make sure it's not going over that "optimal"
line by adjusting the necessary volume controls in Windows.
Now you are ready to go. Click "convert to" and choose wave. The program can automatically convert the file after it's sampled but we want a .wav output so choose wav. Again there is a normalisation option that I recommend using.
Finally, after you click the convert button a little box will pop up with a button. That is your stop/start button. Start it, play your audio and press stop when it's done.
Itunes is a great alternative to downloading mp3s illegally. The quality still wont be as good as a real cd, but at least you would have the satisfaction of knowing you paid for your song. Unfortunately, the music on Itunes is encumbered by DRM, and before it can be converted, you must remove this DRM. While there are some programs available which might be able to strip the DRM from your files, Apple continually updates it's iTunes software to try and stay one step ahead. For this reason, we wont be linking to any such software here, as it could potentially be rendered outdated very quickly. If you are interested in finding out more about this though, you can try looking at the Wikipedia entry for QTFairUse which should provide you with enough information to get started.
AbsoluteDestiny and Zarxrax - September 2006