Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tagging Audio

OK, so you’ve got your audio recorded and ready to play, but there is one more thing you should do!

Tag your MP3 files

Tag your MP3 files

EasyTag is a great piece of software that will allow you to add cover art, insert creation date, artist, title, and lots of other neat stuff to your audio creation. By tagging your MP3 files, it makes it much easier for your player to find and catagorize your music and othe recordings.

You can change the information for a single entry, or the entire folder of MP3 files. Adding cover art really perks things up when you’re putting your music on your phone or tablet.

To install, go to the Software Manager from your menu, and then seach for EasyTag. Intall it and start making you audio creations look more professional!



Editing Audio

When I started in Radio, there was only one way to edit audio. That was with a sharp razor blade and a roll of splicing tape!

If you wanted to do a nice fade-out in a pre-recorded audio piece, you either had to run it back through the mixer and record it again, doing the fade manually, or you could use my old trick of using a small magnet, bringing it slowly towards the running tape to fade out, or away from the tape to fade in.

My how times have changed!

There are some wonderful audio tools available for Linux. My favorite is Audacity.audacity

You can find it in your Software Manager of any Linux distribution.

Once installed, you can import your favorite tunes, create mix tapes, correct audio problems, and a host of other things. Once your creation is done, you can then export it as any audio format you wish. MP3 being the most popular of course.

The real magic of Audacity comes to play when you are using the software to record from other media for editing and archiving as MP3 or WAV files.

A project I’ve been working on for 8 full years now, is archiving over 50 years of old reel to reel audio tape.
Our Family has worked in radio and television for well over 50 years. Something those of us in the industry are fond of doing is making Air Checks of our work. Live recordings of our shows, newscasts etc.

Using my tried and true, Teac, 7010 reel to reel deck, and an old Pentium 4 running Linux, I’ve been dubbing off hundreds and hundreds of old tapes. Some of them so old that the tape has to be reinforced before it can even be played.

My deck runs at speeds of 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 inches per second. Industry standard speeds. What happens when I mount a tape that was recorded at 15 inches per second? Easy, just record it at 7 1/2 into Audacity, and then use the Speed tool to then change the recording to the original 15ips.

Tape hiss, gone. Poor modulation, gone. 1000+ audio tapes clogging up the house, gone! Dubbing off your old record collection? Audacity can filter many of the problems found in vinyl recordings like clicks, pops, scratches, etc.

Audacity has saved my sanity with my adult autistic son. Because of his auditory processing problems, he perceives sound a lot different than the rest of us. After giving him some quick instruction on Audacity, he was able to experiment with his classical music recordings to make them sound ‘normal’ to him. What he ended up with, is changing the pitch of everything he listens to by +4.176 percent!

Audacity is powerful audio editing, right on your desktop. Give it a try!

Now, if you are a real nut for editing audio, then try Musix, an entire Linux distribution made just for audio and video editing!

Codecs Everywhere!

There are so many different video standards on the web, it’s amazing any of it works at all! Some of the older video formats, like Windows Media and Quicktime are finally starting to die the death they deserve.

Meanwhile, the Flash video standard is still in heavy use, though it’s often buggy, crashing constantly regardless of the platform its run on. And of course hackers are constantly finding exploits to the flash player, allowing them to take over your computer!

With so many video standards in play, the only way you could play any of them was with a plugin for your web browser. This of course requires a different software package for everything you wish to watch.

Most of us are quite happy to finally see a new video standard for HTML5 finally creeping into use.

So Why do we mention this?

If you upload and download a lot of web video, you’ll want to be able to turn one type of video source into another. Enter the nifty program WinFF


WinFF is a cross-platform GUI (graphical user interface) for the popular command line media converter called FFmpeg.

In Linux, when you go to your Software Manager and select to install the GUI, any other files that it requires will be installed at the same time. That makes it easy!

Once installed, converting almost any video or audio format, into any other format is just a few mouse clicks away!



Editing Video

Pro editing of video used to be a very expensive and exclusive club. In my broadcast days, using software costing thousands of dollars per workstation was the norm. Now days however, anyone can produce professional results at home and with modest equipment. All under Linux!

With the proliferation of video sharing sites, and the fact that most of us carry video recorders in our pocket 24/7 now; it’s time to start editing video!

The Linux Software Manager is the first place to start looking for editing software. There, you will find a number of non-linear editing packages.

Today, we’ll focus on what we use, which is Kdenlive


Kdenlive is a traditional non-linear editing package that will allow you to drag and drop any media file into the timeline and begin editing. You can include almost any format of video, plus photos, screen grabs or anything else you wish to add to your video composition.

Kdenlive has a wealth of filters and transitions available to you, so fancy wipes between  scenes, and adding graphics on top of your video is a breeze! Don’t worry about making a mistake either, as multiple layers of undo are available to you at your fingertips.

When the project is done, you can export your video in many popular formats and in all the usual screen sizes. Filters are included for many popular video sharing sites, so you’re sending them exactly the type of video that they expect.

Your standard, or 16:9 pro quality video can then be uploaded to your favorite video sharing site, or burned to a DVD, ready to play on your own TV!






LInux For Gaming

I hear from friends all the time that they would like to try Linux, but they’re gamers and all the games are written for the Windows operating system.

Not so! One of the largest game makers on the planet has embraced the power of Linux and now even has their own Linux distribution to play games on!

The company is called the Valve Corporation, and most popular games are now available on that platform. If you already have Linux on your computer, you can simply install the Steam application, or you can go all out and install the new Steam OS

Obviously, you will want a computer with more resources available when playing games. Multi core processes and a higher quality video card are a must-have for playing games, along with more memory. Your single core computer with 1 gig of ram won’t do it for serious game playing.

From the Steam web site, their suggested minimum system requirements are:

  • Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor
  • 4GB or more memory
  • 250GB or larger disk
  • NVIDIA, Intel, or AMD graphics card
  • USB port or DVD drive for installation

Once you have your computer built, you can install the Steam OS and start downloading your favorite games! There is even a nice selection of free games for the Steam platform, so you can get started playing without spending a lot of money!