Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Software: audio

Are you looking quality, free software to edit sound files? Then you'll definitely want a copy of Audacity.

Audacity is a multi-track audio editor and recorder. Use it to play, record and edit sounds. Convert your .wav files to .mp3. Add sound effects of all kinds. Remove background noise. You name it, Audacity can probably do it.

One way I use Audacity is in recording my sermons. The cassette tape has been dead a long time. Most folks no longer have cassette players in their cars, but CD players instead. So instead of recording sermons on cassette, I now record them in stereo on a digital voice recorder (Sony ICDST25VTP) with an external stereo microphone (Sony ECM-719). Since the recorder is very small (about the size of a double pack of gum), I can record anywhere - whether in or out of the pulpit.

The sermon is saved on the recorder as a .wav file. After I transfer the .wav file to my computer, I open it in Audacity for editing (clean out noise, give it a clean start and finish, etc.) and save it as a .mp3 file. Then it's ready to burn onto a CD.

The sound quality is far better than a typical cassette recording and if I ever decide to put some of my sermons up on a website, they're ready to go.

You can download the latest copy of Audacity for free at: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

And if you want to listen to some tunes while you're working on your computer, what do you use? Do you fire up some bloated audio player like Real One Player, MusicMatch Jukebox or Windows Media Player?

Don't do that. Go get Tray Play and use it. Very fast to start, very small, very simple, very reliable, very capable - and very free. It's not a resource hog like the big boys. It just does what you want it to do - play some .mp3, .wav, .midi - you name it. No waiting around, no play lists, etc. Just play me some music and don't take over my system to do it, thank you.

Tray Play. A free download from its creator's site: www.chime.tv/products/trayplay.shtml