Archive for the ‘Audio Troubleshooting’ category

Change the settings when switching devices on your computer.

December 7, 2010

I use a paid software program on my computer called Total Recorder. Mind you, it’s an old version of it, but I simply love it.

It’s kind of like audacity, but for a fee. I purchased it a couple of years back and use it to record with my computer microphone. Then I take these sound and inject them into song that I make up in Mixcraft and GarageBand to make my own music.

So anyways.

On Total Recorder, in order to record, I have to set my sound card up to record through the Total Recorder mixer. Which is fine. I do that to record through Total Recorder and it works fine.

What happens is that, afterwards I forget to switch it back. Then I go to youtube and play videos and listen to audio at the same time through Winodws Media Player or RealPlayer and I can only play one audio channel at a time.

So if youtube is up, I can’t listen to Windows Media Player, and if Windows Media Player is up, I can’t hear youtube.

Why would you want to hear two different audio sources at the same time…you may ask?

Because I often switch between audio interfaces quite frequently. And I have to stop one source and let the other source play for a minute. For example, if I was listening to a playlist on Windows Media Player and my friend sent me a link for a youtube video, I’d pause Windows Media Player and check out the clip momentarily.

This was impossible before. Because I had my soundcard settings on Total Recorder.

I fixed this by simply changing the sound card settings back to the sound card drivers on my sound card and was able to listen to multiple audio channels at once again.

Seems like a simple thing, but for some reason I never picked up on it before.

So now I switch the settings on my sound card back to the sound drivers and my audio works again!

The lesson here? Remember to change the settings in control panel when you switch devices!

How to remove instrumentals from audio files with Audacity

June 13, 2010

I’ve been addicted to playing with music lately.  Cutting songs up, putting extra drum loops on songs via a small unknown software program called HammerHead Rhythm Station 1.0. It’s fairly old, and I’ve had it for a while. It’s a small 808 simulator for your computer. Basically producing techno and jungle loops for you electro heads out there. It’s free to download and use, and the files export to .wav files, so it’s simple to input them into other programs.

But I digress.

As I said, I’ve been addicted to cutting up audio files lately. Cutting up songs, etc. In this, I found a way to basically lower the instrumental on music tracks. When you lower the instrumental, you can only hear the vocals, so you only get the lyrics and not the song. But it works and it’s easy to do, so I thought I’d share it.

Audacity is an open source, free to download and use, software program.
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

HammerHead Rhythum Station is also free to download and use.
http://download.cnet.com/HammerHead-Rhythm-Station/3000-2170_4-10027874.html

Unable to Record Sound in CamStudio?

December 20, 2009

Some of my customers do a lot of work with Microsoft PowerPoint.

They do a lot of power point presentations. They don’t always like to bring along their laptops, when a simple stand alone DVD will do just fine.

So I told them about a software program that I ran into a while back called CAMSTUDIO. It’s an open source free to download and use streaming video program. Meaning it can record in real time what is happening on your computer screen. You can either add music later on, or record your voice for instruction on a microphone while demonstrating visually on the screen.It’s a great little program for instructional videos.  A lot of people use it on YouTube for this purpose.

Well, recently I build a brand new computer for a customer of mine. It now has 5.1 HD audio, which their previous computer did not have. Well, it had been quite a while since they used CamStudio to convert their powerpoints into .avi files so they could simply burn them onto a standard DVD and take them anywhere, ready for presentation.

They came to me with a question about the sound. CamStudio was recording the visual just fine. But there was no sound.

Well, I also hadn’t used it in a while either, so I had to get on their computer and see what was going on.

A good starting point to troubleshooting PC questions is to search online support forums. For this problem, I went to the  the CamStudio support forums.Here is where I saw that others were having similar issues, but there was a solution.

On this page, I saw there an option to record audio from speakers, but my customer didn’t have this option on their version of CamStudio Turns out, that there was an option to configure other sound devices through audio options.

My customer only had record from microphone selected. And they wanted the sound from their power point presentation and not the microphone. So I went into audio options underneath record from microphone and selected audio options for microphone. In here, there was an option to select the audio capture device, recording format, volume… you name it.

On my customer’s computer, the default input device was selected as their Audio Capture Device. Instead, I changed this to their sound card device: RealTek HD Digital Input. Then, I recorded the same presentation they were having trouble with to see if this made a difference. It worked.

They got their sound with visual working together, just as before.

DIY headphone, earphone wire repair

December 13, 2009

Among the other things I was doing this holiday season,  I got sidetracked with something I’ve been looking into ever since a pair of  good old headphones broke earlier this year.

I love headphones. I have quite a collection, from cheap and crappy to expensive and nice. Well, i bought a pair of earphones from Philips. $15 in Target. I love them. They are clip-ons that fit over the ear, which is good for those whose ears  hurt when using ear buds. These also have a fabric grill and they are all plastic. The ear clips are easily adjustable and they are very convenient. I treasure them.

Well, while in my car recently, I had them in my pocket and the wires were sticking out. They just happen
to catch on my seat belt end on the seat and ripped right off the jack.

ARGH! I really liked those.

Well, what am I to do? I mean, it’s just a wire that broke. I don’t see the point in spending again if everything is fine but the wire broke. So I pulled the rubber jacket off the jack to see where the wire broke off at. It broke up into the jack.
How convenient.

So I attempted to fix these by first stripping off the rubber jacket off the headphone wire. Here, I found three wires.

One ground, and two stereo wires. One was green and one was red. It works like this:
Green = Left Channel, Red = Right Channel, Copper = Ground

I’m used to these wires being insulated with a rubber jacket like that of the outside cord that you can easily
strip off with a razor blade and reveal the copper wire underneath.

This is different.

Now there is an enamel color coating on the wire to keep it insulated as well as keep the diameter of the wire the same inside the overall rubber jacket.I had only seen this configuration in professional wiring and it was done with a type of rubber cement so that you don’t have to use wires or electrical tape. Because that can get messy.

Well, I didn’t know how to get this insulation off and i really wanted to fix these headphones. So, as usual, I went looking around on the internet to see if there was any suggestions. Lo and behold, there were.

http://www.instructables.com/community/Headphone-wiring/

The suggestion someone makes here makes sense.

If the wire was coated with an enamel, it then makes sense to simply burn off the insulation and you should end up with bare wire underneath. Then of course, connect the appropriate wires together, like in any regular stereo configuration and you will be good to go.

I did it and it worked. Now I have to solder the  wires together permanently and get shrink tubing to make it all nice, but it worked. And that’s how you reconnect your headphone wire.

If you have lost the jack to the headphones and need to wire another one manually, here is a video showing you what to do: