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Most people don't realise that there is a perfectly adequate "Sound Recorder" program that comes free with their computer. Before you can use the recording facilities you will of course need to plug in a pair of headphones with an attached microphone to your computer. The small "Mini Jack" sockets are usually colour coded and readily accessible both on PC Towers and Lap Tops. Then to access the program Go "Start - All Programs - Accessories - Entertainment - Sound Recorder."
This will open up a small control box that will monitor your recording. The illustration and following instructions do not apply to the more recent version of Sound Recorder that comes with Vista which is much simplified. (See bottom of page for Vista Recorder.)
The "Sound Recorder" program has normal Video type controls that you might find on any type of video recorder, (Except volume - see below.)
The record time is preset to 60 seconds, but if you stop a recording you can simply hit the red record button to add another 60 seconds on to the record time.
The computers default settings record all files as P.C.M. files which can be altered at a later time to MP3 Etc, but not before amendments have been made.
Select "File - Properties - Format Conversion - Choose From - Recording Formats - Convert Now - Format - Drop Down Box WAV, MP3, etc.
It may well be that you need to alter the volume levels and this can be done before/during the recording, but it can be done afterwards, although, as you can see from the above diagram, there is a sound level line showing the varying levels as the recording is made. You can only alter the volume afterwards, if the recording has not already been modified into another format.
Go To "Effects - Increase Volume/Decrease Volume." You will also see speed variance and echo controls.
It is best to save the recording in its preset format first and then change the format by re-opening the saved file and re-saving it under a different name. This way you can always go back to the original if you need to.
Select "Save as type- Then Change File Type
- select - All files- Then Change Format - Format - Drop down arrow box and
select new format ie; MP3, WAV, etc. After your audio recordings have been
converted to MP3 format you could load them and play them on any MP3 player. It
could be a child's first conversation kept for posterity, a few poems to send to
an old partially sighted relative read by their favourite grandchild, or you
could secretly record messages about errands to be done and place them on your
sons MP3 player without him knowing!
Vista Sound Recorder.
The recorder is much simplified with Vista having
all preset controls that are not readily alterable without going into the
Control Panel. However, sound recording levels can be altered through the
Control Panel from the Start menu. Control Panel - Hardware Sound - Manage Audio
Devices - Click Recording tab - Select Device Properties - Adjust Level. Then
try recording again to check the level. By default, files are recorded as W.A.V.
or W.M.A. audio files depending which version of Vista that you have installed,
but they can be converted to MP3 files by Burning them and then Ripping them
back onto your computer using the Windows Media Player.