Record audio using existing video recorders

This is the fully revised method I use to record audio clips. It works perfectly using either a Pioneer HDD video recorder, Panasonic HDD video recorder or LG DVD video recorder. All support DVD-RAM. It should work with any video recorder which has HDD or DVD-RAM support. The RCA cables from your tuner are connected to the AV1-IN sockets of your DVD recorder. You simply select channel AV1 or similar (check your instruction manual if necessary) when you make the video recording.

I think there are distinct advantages in using this method.

  • Once you have recorded the clip you can edit it immediately on your television using your video recorder’s extremely convenient video editing interface. This allows you to delete the superfluous parts of the clip such fade outs that probably will irritate those listening to your clip!
  • I find the video editing interface is vastly superior to computer software. This means you can fast forward and rewind very precisely and jump to a specific section.
  • A recorder automatically stamps the time and date which is ideal for precise times on your logs. All you need to do is edit the name of the clip. Usually something generic like ‘title 1’ will be automatically generated by the recorder. Rename this to the recorded frequency and station name so you know exactly what it is.
  • Most people I know seem to own one of these video recorders & their computer incorporates a DVD drive. You don’t need to buy anything!
  • Different recording speeds are available if disc or HDD space is getting low. I use XP to maximize compatibility. SP, LP or EP modes could be used.
  • DVD disc
    If your recorder does NOT incorporate a HDD you will need to buy a three-pack of DVD-RAM discs. You probably only need one but it is much cheaper to buy a pack. They come in handy when your recorder runs out of space! Some machines such as those made by Panasonic come bundled with a free DVD-RAM disc. You might find one lying unused in a drawer! The DVD-RAM operates like a HDD on a disc. The DVD-RAM is compatible with every modern HDD recorder I have used thus far. That’s four different brands.

    Any VR mode media formatted by your video recorder also allows editing. This means you can use DVD-RW in addition to DVD-RAM. DVD-RW media require finalization to play on other players. DVD-RAM or DVD+RW discs do not, provided your computer DVD drive supports RAM. The reason I prefer DVD-RAM is the superior error correction. It’s very difficult to lose data!

    The Adventures of Kristin & Adam on Flickr

    Once you have edited your clips you need to copy the clips you want to share to a DVD+RW disc which needs to be finalized. This step is required as some computer DVD drives are not able to read DVD-RAM discs or unfinalized rewriteable DVD discs. This step is not necessary if your computer DVD drive supports DVD-RAM or you have used DVD-RW media.

    You need to convert the clip on the DVD to Wave format. This technique is known as transcoding as you are shifting from Dolby Digital AC3 compressed audio to PCM lossless audio. Alternatively you can transcode directly to a compressed audio format such as MP3. Wth disc space so readily available, I think lossless Wave is the better choice for flexibility. Not that it is relevant in this situation, but Wave files also load extremely fast in audio editing software.

    When converting DVD files to audio files change the sampling frequency to 44 kHz. DVD MPEG2 audio is recorded using a 48 kHz sampling frequency which is a resolution not required. Most audio converted programmes will do this automatically so don’t stress!

    Use free video player Mplayer to rip the audio from the VOB file on the finalized DVD+RW to a format more suitable. Follow step 4.4 ‘Keep original audio’ from Cypherpunk using the command line specified. After a few seconds you will end up with a file on your computer which contains the audio only in Dolby Digital AC3 format.

    Copyright Video

    Use free tool BeSweet for Windows to convert the AC3 file to Wave format. Now you have the uncompressed Wave audio. Use BeSweet to convert from Wave into a compressed audio format such as MP3, OGG or WMA so your clip is small enough to upload quickly.

    There are certainly other methods available. I have tried to follow instructions on the net but failed miserably. BeSweet is supposed to be able to do it all so you don’t need to use Mplayer. However, after almost an hour of ‘piss-farting around’, I couldn’t get BeSweet to do so without error messages.

    The method described above works, it takes a few minutes only and is simple. I’m not an expert, just sharing something that does the job for me. There are commercial programmes available designed to transcode the audio straight from the VOB file on the finalized DVD+RW. That’s an alternative for those who can’t be bothered using the method specified with free software.

    There is an alternative way I’ve just discovered. Simply use Mplayer. Although it’s a real time conversion, this method means you can piss that half-working, abandoned German programme BeSweet off completely! Nothing wrong with the previous method, but why use two programmes instead of one?

    Extract the audio from the VOB file using MPlayer. Go to command in Windoze and make sure mplayer.exe (and the associated files that it comes with) is installed in that directory.

    mplayer d:\video_ts\vts_01_1.vob -ao pcm:fast:file=c:\88-2.wav -vc null -vo null

    The DVD+RW is in d:\ drive. D:\ is the DVD drive connected to the computer via USB cable.

    The extracted audio is in the c:\ directory. Now you can convert the wave file to a compressed audio format. Use LAME, Total Recorder, Audio Grabber, or hundreds if not thousands of other programmes!

    Yes, I like DOS, sue me, but Mplayer also has GUI (graphical user interface) for Windows such as SMPlayer for those who don’t like to venture into the command line stuff. I actually prefer it to direct competitor VLC but hell, I have no taste. 🙂

    Where do I download the free software tools?

    Photo of the pussy guarding the DVD drive taken by Kristin & Adam. Thanks to Anthony Thyssen, systems programmer at Griffith for pointing me in the right direction with the Mplayer command line tips on his website.

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