I recorded old vinyl records onto a CR-R using a CD recorder with a turntable as input. The quality is as good as the original. However, the volume is very low. Apparently, I did not boost the volume when I recorded them initially. Rather than repeating this process, I believe I can copy and edit them with Roxio. However, I am new to audio and do not understand much of the techhnology and Sound Editor features.
First, I used Sound Editor's "Maximize volume" on one of the recordings. That helped although the volume is still low. I tried "Maximize volume" again but that seemed to make no difference. Question: can the volume be "maximized" multiple times, or is it necessary to save the music file and then re-open it and "maximize" again? Also, is anything lost when a recording has the volume "maximized"?
Second, one of the recordings is a 47 minute stage show, so it includes music ( both instrumental and vocal) as well as several of the performer's monologs. This is all one clip. Unfortunately, the volume of the monologs is much lower than the music. Even if I turn the volume up when listening, the monologs are difficult to hear even though the music is quite audible. Question: is there a way to increase only the volume of the monologs? I guess I could edit the track and increase only those parts, but this seems to be the hard way. Any other ideas?
And last, please clarify "Normalize" for me. If I understand it, this will adjust the volume of multiple clips to "equalize" them. Does this apply only when burning? Can a single clip be "normalized" to "equalize" its volume?
Many thanks for your suggestions. I have many vinyls I want to convert and think I should know what I'm doing before I start.
Let's start with the last question first. "Normalize" typically means what you think, to create a "standard" volume among a set of tracks. Most often, it's done by maximizing the volume of each track, and that is done by finding the highest peak of each song, then calculating a scaling factor that will bring it the highest allowed value (32767/-32768) and applying that factor to every sample in the track.
Now, if you went straight from your turntable into your sound card, and your turntable has no built-in preamp, you don't have the RIAA equalization applied to the music you recorded. Basically, the RIAA equalization curve reduces the lower (bass) frequencies on an LP and boosts the high (treble) frequencies during the recording process, and reverses that when you play it back. This does two things, by reducing the bass during recording, the width of the vinyl tracks is kept narrower, and by reducing the treble during playback, vinyl "noise" is reduced when the treble sounds are brought back to "normal". So, if you didn't record with a preamp to apply the RIAA equalization curve, you're not hearing what you should. There are two solutions to this, re-record with a preamp, or buy an audio editor that has an equalizing function that will apply the RIAA curve digitally. This will also boost the signal so you can record at a higher level.
I'm trying to come up with a reason that boosting the volume will be a problem. My initial analogy was that it would be somewhat like blowing up a digital image, so it will get "pixelated", but that's not true, since you're only scaling in the "Y" (amplitude) direction, and not the "X" (time/sample) direction. The real problem there will be an increase in "noise" that was recorded. The incoming noise will be a fairly fixed value. If you record at a higher volume, then the noise will be quieter relative to your music. If you boost your volume digitally, you're increasing the volume of the noise as well as your music.
Now, why doesn't maximize work twice? Well, on the first pass, it probably found the loudest peak, calculated the scaling factor, and applied it to the song. That peak may be just a single loud "pop" in the recording, which can leave the rest of the song looking fairly quiet. If you go into Sound Editor and select, "Fading & Volume", bring up the "Adjust Volume" option. There should be a "from" and "to" slider. Set them both up the same amount, say, 150%, and click "OK". That should boost the volume of your track visibly, even if it causes clipping in the single loud peak. To apply this change to your track, you'll have to export it. I would do this to a new directory (folder) so you keep the original file to go back to in case something doesn't sound good. So, click the "Export Current Clip" button, set your folder and file name, and click the "Export" button. Now try listening to that exported track.
For the bits you want to increase just a part of the file, you can high-light (click-and-drag across the wave form) the select the volume function as above. Once that's applied, you can fiddle with how it fades into and out of that section using the control points in the volume line below, as in the picture:
Hope that helps!