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Dear Dragon: I want to record my Karaoke singing on a CD. I have a laptop PC which has a Pentium II 233 MHz chip, 4 Gigabytes of hard drive, etc. I tried to take the output of my CD player and connect it to the input of my PC. Then I used the Sound Record program on the PC. It worked, except that it would only record 60 seconds and it quit. I presume that I can take the output of the Karaoke machine and input it to my PC.

Sure, just make sure you use the Line Input on your sound card, not the Mic Input (also see this article and this one too), and make sure the level meter never goes anywhere near the top because if you get digital distortion it will not only sound really bad but can wreck your speakers!

However, how can I record more than 60 seconds? I presume that if I intend to have 16 songs to record on my hard drive, edit them, and then record them to the CD, then I could easily use up 2 Gigabytes of hard drive space. Is that going to be a problem?

Only if you don't have that much space free! Anyhow, if you're really tight on disc space and you're making a regular audio CD, you can record a song at a time to CD, erase the WAV files for that song, and repeat until the CD is finished. Note: this will not work if you're trying to make a duplication CD master...such discs must be written in "disc-at-a-time" mode in a single session.

I guess my main question is how to record more than 60 seconds at a time?

Get Cool Edit 96 at http://www.syntrillium.com. The free version only lets you enable two of its many features at once, but one can be "save" and the other "normalize", and that's all you'd need. If you want to spend money on a really good program though, you might look into Sound Forge Audio Studio from Sony -- it's tons better (although it doesn't have as many features, it's a lot easier to use) and only around $50. In fact with those programs you wouldn't even need the karaoke machine because they let you add reverb and such after recording! There are numerous other free and shareware sound programs at http//www.winfiles.com also.
-- Dragon

Reader Feedback on Digital Recording

I use the Roland VS-840. I bought it a year ago now and wish I'd waited for the VS-880ex, but then a year ago the 840 at about a grand was an unbelievable deal. It's $750 now. I go back to the dealer I bought it from for tech support. They are great. I guess the units are similar except for track count and the number of effect patches that can be used at one time (1 versus 2). I love it but, the frequency range on analog tape was greater and I miss the highs on acoustic sounds. Editing ease and undo offset this loss, however. You don't have to worry that hitting the wrong button will destroy an entire song.
-- Tom Paul (TomPaulMPA"at"aol.com)

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