Category Archives: Audio

Tape to MP3

Music used to be stored in magnetic items called tapes that can carry 20 to 120 minutes of audio. However, times have changed. MP3 players have come into the scene, bragging of being able to store thousands of music files all in one tiny device.

But, what can you do with huge storage capacity when your old favorites are still in tapes and not in MP3 format? Here are the steps on how to let your oldies but goodie songs migrate from tape format to the MP3 format.
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Requirements for the Format Change

For you to change your audio tapes into the MP3 format you need the following things:

  1. A computer equipped with a sound card
  2. A WAV File Recording Software (Ripping Programs)
  3. An application that could change the WAV files format into a MP3 file (Encoder)
  4. A Cable that has a 1/8” on every end

The Steps

After acquiring the pre-requisites, you can now change your tape files into MP3.

  1. Connect the mini-plug to the earphone output that is in your receiver. Your receiver is also hooked to the audio tape player. You can use the jack in your earphone integrated in your audio tape player.
  2. Connect the other side of your cable to the Line In of your Sound Card. (This is usually green.)
  3. Start the Ripping Software in your computer for the Line In Recording. Together, press Play for your audio tape to start playing. Your audio tape is supposed to be recording in your computer in real time. It is vital to observe that you have to save the audio recording in WAV format; after which, you can change it to MP3 format.
  4. Once the full recording of audio is done, save and store it in your computer in WAV format. Next, encode it using the MP3 encoder program. Most of these ripping programs already have this feature. Now, the old audio tape is saved in a digital file and can be played on almost any computer or can be stored in a CD, even MP3 Players and Ipods.

Why Change the Format?

A lot of people today refer to the MP3 Format as the best digital format for their music. Most people agree that the sound quality of MP3 is at par with that of an original Audio CD.

Another advantageous feature of the MP3 format is its compression rate. It can compress a song/music/audio file to smaller sizes.

The only problem commonly seen is that other MP3 formatted audios are not compatible with applications and MP3 players. These media often have audio tapes and vinyl records.

Full Duplex

Full duplex refers to the simultaneous transmission of data in two directions. Full duplex data transfer can occur on a signal carrier. This type of data transfer involves a bidirectional line.

Full duplex can clearly be seen in a local area network that supports this technology. In the said environment, a specific work station is sending data through the line while another work station is receiving data. Signals are being given by the work station that is sending data. The work station that is receiving data also gives a confirmation when it has finished obtaining the data.

A landline telephone is another example of a technology incorporating full duplex. While currently using a telephone, an individual can hear the person at the other end of the line and at the same time speak to that person.

Half duplex is a type of data transfer that is closely related to full duplex. Similar to full duplex, half duplex involves the transmission of data in both directions. However, half duplex does not support simultaneous transfer of data. This means that in a half duplex system, when a device starts receiving data, it needs to wait for the transmitter to finish sending the data. Only then can the device can reply to the transmitter.

The use of full duplex transfer provides a number of benefits. In a network that uses full duplex technology, the maximum amount of bandwidth can be used in both directions. This is because the option to send and the option to receive are properly separated. In addition, the retransmission of frames does not occur in full duplex systems. This lessens the time consumed by work stations in transferring data.

Digital Audio Cable

Types of Digital Audio Cable

Today’s audio equipment use digital signals to create sounds instead of outdated analog signals. Digital signals are made of data that consists of zeros and ones. A chip processes these signals and most often produce superior sound quality that lasts longer than analog audio. Digital audio cables facilitate the preservation and transmission of the highest quality digital signal possible.

There are two types of digital audio cables, namely coaxial digital cables and optical digital cables.

Coaxial Digital Cables

The most commonly used cables for digital audio are the coaxial digital cables. These are similar to the RCA cables that most people are familiar with. Coaxial digital cables are thicker than RCA cables but use an RCA connector at the end. The main difference between a coaxial digital cable and RCA cables is the type of signals that they carry. The former type of cable carries digital signals, while the latter carries analog signals.

Coaxial digital cables use the same principle used by most coaxial cables. Surrounding the inner conducting layer is an outer conductor and a rubbery insulating layer, which is the layer seen outside the cable. The digital signal travels from one component to another via the inner conductor. These signals are exposed to the outer conductor during the course of its transmission. The outer conductive layer helps maintain an uninterrupted transmission by reflecting the digital signals back onto the inner conductor.

These cables were made solely for transmitting digital audio signals between components. Dedicating the entire path to sending only digital audio, instead of sending both video and audio, produces greater signal fidelity between the transmitting device and its receiving components.

In other types of cables, errors and variations are sometimes introduced to the signal when transmitting from one component to another. During this process, the digital signal from a source is converted into analog signals and then sent to the receiving component via a cable. Upon reaching the receiving component, the analog signals are once again converted into digital signals. The errors introduced in this process produce distortions and audible artifacts that diminish the sound quality.

A coaxial digital cable bypasses this process. It can transmit digital signals along its path without the need to convert these signals into analog. As a result, it produces cleaner and uncontaminated sound quality.

Optical Digital Cables

The primary difference between a coaxial digital cable and an optical digital cable is the manner in which it transmits signals. While the former uses copper conductors to transmit digital signals, the latter uses pulses of light to transmit data. This procedure reduces interference and signal degradation, which results in a high quality reproduction of digital signals.

Optical digital cables do not use RCA-style connectors, but connectors called Toslink. It is a shortened name for Toshiba-Link, which is a connection standard for digital audio streams that uses fiber optic cables. It is the most popular connection format for audio signals.

However, as light cannot be bent, one disadvantage in using optical digital cables is that they do not work optimally when bent. These cables would not work at their best with a set-up that has right angles or snakes through a room.

Choosing between a Coaxial or Optical Digital Cable

Many audio components can use either type of cables and connectors. Both cables are capable of providing premium sound quality and a virtually perfect transmission of digital signals.

However, it is more advantageous to use optical digital cables for systems that are set up with a lot of electrical interference. Its fiber optic cables allow it to withstand electrical disturbances. Optical digital cables are also ideal for long distance transmissions.

Coaxial digital cables are less expensive than optical digital cables, yet they can produce the same quality of sound produced by optical digital cables. These cables are ideal for set-ups that require the cables to be bent to fit certain areas.

For more information on Digital Audio Cable read:

  • Digital Audio Cables
  • Digital Audio Cables
  • Digital Audio Cable
  • 3D Accelerator

    A 3D Accelerator is a device that manipulates and displays computer graphics for workstations, game consoles, and personal computers. It is also called the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).

    The 3D Accelerator’s Composition

    The graphics card dedicated to the examination of floating point operations carries the GPU. These graphic accelerators contain microchips with special mathematical processes used in the effective and efficient rendering of graphics. These GPUs also apply graphics that have primitive operations, thereby making operations run faster than directly drawing onto the host’s screen.

    3D Accelerators Today

    With the rise of OpenGL API and similar functions in DirectX, GPUs are now capable of programmable shading. Pixels and geometric vertices can now be processed by short programs. Additional image texture can also be included as inputs. GeForce3, introduced by NVIDIA, was the first chip with this capability. ATI Radeon 9700 followed later.

    3D Accelerator’s Computational Functions

    GPUs use transistors to perform calculations related to 3D graphics. At first, these were used to speed up the work of texture mapping and in the production of images of polygons. Later, these were also used step up geometric calculations.

    More recent developments include support for programmable shaders used to manipulate textures and vertices with the same operations that are supported by CPUs. Most computations now involve vector and matrix operations.

    3D hardware today also contains the basic 2D framebuffer capabilities and its accelerations. Most of these support hardware overlays and YUV color spacing, which is essential for the playback of digital videos. GPUs made in the year 2000 support MPEG formats, like motion compensation and iDCT.

    FLAC to MP3

    FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. FLAC is one of the best compressed copies of songs, with audio quality highly similar to the original CD songs. The term “Lossless” in FLAC means there wasn’t any form of data loss during file compression.

    FLAC also has disadvantages. FLAC may neatly compress audio data, but the files are huge. One CD (usually with data storage capacity worth 700Mb) may be compressed up to 400Mb. This means that one 4-minute song will occupy 20 to 35Mb of data storage space. This is impractical for portable audio players such as MP3 players or iPods. Most of these handy audio players don’t provide support for FLAC playback.

    Why MP3 Over FLAC

    When an uncompressed audio file is converted into MP3, it is reduced into audio data that is smaller than its original format. Unlike FLAC, the MP3 compression is “lossy” because the compression depends on the removal of particular audio portions (like very high or low tones) imperceptible to the human ear.

    MP3 files come in small sizes — 1 4-minute song will only take up around 4Mb worth of data storage space.

    Regarding the sound quality, MP3 files can still deliver the same FLAC/original quality. Moreover, the MP3 format is supported by almost all kinds of audio players. This makes MP3s perfect for portable audio players.

    There are many free converters available on the Internet, such as autoconverters for audio files. Most of these converters are designed to convert huge files (such as FLAC) into smaller files (such as mp3) or files whose formats are widely supported by different media.

    Since there are numerous autoconverters available in the market, experts advise using dBpoweramp for audio file conversions. These steps should be followed in converting the files:

    1. Download dBpoweramp online, then install it.
    2. Install a program called “FLAC codec for dBpoweramp”.
    3. Look for the Batch Converter and start it up. Search for the FLAC songs that need converting.
    4. Click the checkboxes next to the FLAC songs to convert, then click “Convert”. To convert an entire folder, click the checkbox beside the folder.
    5. Next, “conversion options” will appear. Choose “MP3 (Lame)” then choose the folder where the converted files are to be saved. The folder options are just below the conversion options.
    6. Click “Convert” at the lower right part of the dialog box. By now, the FLAC files have been converted into mp3.

    Toslink

    Toshibalink, or Toslink, is a type of technology used in digital audio transmission. This technology utilizes fiber optic cables in transmitting digital audio signals. The signals transferred through a Toslink connection are in the form of light pulses.

    Toslink presents a set of unique advantages. Through the use of Toslink, one can easily transfer digital audio signals from a digital source to a digital receiver or recorder. Furthermore, Toslink enhances the said process by ensuring that the transfer is free of distortion.

    Apart from this, the audio signals transmitted using Toslink are also safe from electrical or magnetic interference. This is due to the fact that Toslink uses fiber optic cables instead of electrical ones. Another advantage of Toslink is that it is compatible with most audio devices. The interfaces of many digital audio devices now support Toslink. A Toslink connection requires minimal setup when linked to these pieces of equipment. Durability and low costs are also other good characteristics of connectors using the Toslink technology.

    Toslink has been incorporated into several technologies. Most home theater systems use Toslink connections. Playback devices such as DVD players are connected to audio receivers using Toslink connectors. Certain car stereo systems also use Toslink. MP3 players, CD players, and other types of audio devices are usually attached to output equipment via Toslink cables. Audio recording and audio decoding are other fields that apply this digital technology. Most sound engineers prefer to use Toslink with their DAT recorders to capture or produce useful audio data.

    Additional Reading on TOSLINK

    Convert iTunes to MP3

    Most people cannot play the songs they have bought and downloaded for their iPods outside the iTunes environment. This is because the songs are in protected AAC or MP4 format to prevent piracy or song duplication. However, there is a way to convert these songs to MP3.

    The first thing to do is to access the iTunes program. Try to convert a song. The most common error notice will say that protected files cannot be converted into other formats. Just go to Convert Selection and click on Edit. Look for Preferences and then go further into Importing. In this menu, the Import Using can be changed from AAC Encoder to MP3 Encoder. Save this setting change and try to convert a song.

    At this point, most users still encounter an error message saying files cannot be converted yet. This is because only unprotected formats such as WAV or WMA can be converted. Since the songs in playlists are most likely in AAC or MP4, they can’t be converted using iTunes. There are two options: The user may either burn them to a disk, or download a program to convert the songs directly to MP3 format.

    Burning a CD with Nero or another CD burning program is the safest way. However, it is quite a long and drawn-out process. Just insert a blank CD, burn the AAC songs in a normal CD format, then rip them to the hard disk as MP3 songs. It may take a lot of time as only a maximum of 18 songs can be burned to keep the quality of the songs in any CD. Remember that the CD has to be an audio and not an MP3, an AAC, or even a Data CD.

    Using file converters from the Internet is quite risky. This is because downloaded file converters often affect the coding of protected formats negatively. Some files are so corrupted that they become unreadable. However, it is the fastest way of converting files. All the user has to do is to drag and drop the songs, and then start converting.

    Additional Reading on Convert iTunes to MP3