Anyone Have Any Experience Of Using Audacity?

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Anyone Have Any Experience Of Using Audacity?

Post by Dave_E » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:18 am

Hello, I'm at a bit of a loss and I'm wondering if anyone on here can help with the following problem.

I have bought a second hand Colour Genie and it came with about 9 tapes that seem to be very rare. Unfortunately I cannot get any of them to load. That's right, not a single one. I suspect the problem is with the media - the tapes are about 34 years old. I have no idea how they have been stored; listening to the data some have strong signals without dropouts, some do have dropouts.

However, whether they have dropouts or not seems irrelevant. The Colour Genie has a loader system rather like the BBC/Electron tape loading system. When it's searching you get two asterisks in the top right hand corner. When it's loading the right asterisk flashes. If you have to rewind tape, the left asterisk changes to a capital C. Whenever I put a cassette into the cassette player and press play, I get the two asterisks, the right one starts flashing then after a while it reports an error (C appears) and that's the end of that. It reports to rewind the tape regularly, and not necessarily when there's any problem with the signal at all.

I hunted around the Internet to see if anyone has tried to archive old Computer Genie tapes. No joy there.

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Re: Anyone Have Any Experience Of Using Audacity?

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:22 am

Do you have a spare (good) tape?
Will it load it's own recordings?


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Re: Anyone Have Any Experience Of Using Audacity?

Post by sweh » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:29 am

I've used audacity to edit audio data (eg an old tape recording I made in the 80s of an LP; or to merge two sides of a tape into a single wav), but I'm not sure how it will help you, here.

If the problem is simply one of volume then you might be able to highlight the affected area and amplify it, but be aware that this will also amplify any background noise.

If your tapes mostly have a strong signal then it might just be tape-head alignment issues; that's pretty common on old tape decks (heck, one thing I used to like about the Acorn tape player was that you could get it to play with the lid slightly-open and apply pressure to the mechanism and tape to tilt it slightly during playback.. sometimes just enough to make a marginal tape load!)

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Re: Anyone Have Any Experience Of Using Audacity?

Post by flaxcottage » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:50 am

Definitely try Mark's suggestion first then you will confirm (or otherwise) that the cassette interface works.

Once that works try Sweh's idea about head alignment. If you can, try another tape recorder, one that is known to be good.

If you have not already tried it, try experimenting with levels, particularly around the corrupted section.

Only then would I try something like Audacity. I have had success using Audacity with UK101 tape recordings. The tape was copied into a PC as a WAV file. I actually use Cool Edit Pro on an IBM-compatible but this works similarly to Audacity. I used Cool Edit Pro to trim the start and end and adjusted the level and saved to CD. Dubbed the CD back to tape and it worked!

Sometimes, however, the tape is useless. I have a couple of Electron titles in this category. In that event get a tissue and cry. :(
- John


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Re: Anyone Have Any Experience Of Using Audacity?

Post by CMcDougall » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:19 am

don't use it :lol:
seems not to do a great job, check pics below.....
the 'peaks' are crap for some stupid reason, and can't find any options to make it good :-k (...or can't be bothered)
I always use WaveLab, as that's what the vinyl junkies use to record MIA vinyl, so good my rips have been re-pressed :-$
waveLab5 or 6.png

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Re: Anyone Have Any Experience Of Using Audacity?

Post by JonnyPencils » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:13 pm

CMcDougall wrote:seems not to do a great job
I agree. I've tried and tried with Audacity and never had any success. My wav files look just like yours. Going to get a copy of wavelab and try that.

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