My live recording biz has suddenly gotten busy and I find myself having to burn CDs almost everyday, either from the original DAT recording or from the CD dupe of the DAT. In almost all cases, the CD that I'm giving to the client needs to be re-ordered, or the songs need to be properly spaced, or maybe even something fancy like a fade-out or two. I'm even considering the occasional request to add an overdub or two. Short of the overdubbing, I know that I can handle most of the other tasks with the CD burner software and some basic Windows file management. But the workload keeps increasing and my amount of available time keeps decreasing, so I could use some real audio software. I don't need 48 tracks or a sack full of plugins, but a very basic editing package that also allowed me to record 4 to 8 tracks would be GREAT! Pro Tools Free would almost be overkill, but it doesn't run on Windows 2000 pro, which is the only OS that I use on any of the home and/or work computers. Is there a simple alternative to Pro Tools Free that runs on W2000? Free is always fun, but a super simple package that doesn't cost too much would be fine. Suggestions?
Wavelab sounds like it would fit pretty well, though you might be limited by the fact that it can only record 2 tracks at a time. It's really solid for editing, sequencing, and CD burning. I use it with the Waves Masters bundle for psuedo-mastering. (No more "It's kind of quiet" for rough mixes.)
Works with Windows, and it's around $500. I've been really happy with it.
I went with N-track from FaSoft, a shareware utility that costs something like $45 if you want all the nasty "buy-me" pop-ups turned off.
It seems remarkably like a big league editor (at least when based solely on screen shots) and I wanted something that I could download immediately via a slow dial-up connection.
So I fire it up to help me re-order some DAT tracks prior to burning the client a quick review copy CD. And I notice this nifty "Normalize" utility that promises to make the world a happy place - by avoiding the "why isn't my CD as loud as the last Mega-Naughty release" problem. I know that a ten minute explanation of compression and relative volume levels will still need to take place, as it does with every client, but I thought that this "Normalize" utility might just postpone that classic client concern. Should I expect any nasty effects from these Normalize magic buttons?
They swear that no compression is involved, they just add a user-defined amount of gain to bring the peaks up towards zero. They also warn that tracks recorded too low will show an increase in noise when the overall level is boosted. But if my peaks(on a live club gig 2trk recording) are running around -4 / -5dB, am I getting some "free" level boosting by running this sort of utility? I'm doing this at home on an old notebook with with absurdly bad speakers, so I can't let my ears be my guide. Do they do anything other than just boosting the whole track up a few dB based on the gap between my highest peaks and 0dB?
I think that when you normalize something with N-track, the program just makes the wave file louder (gain wise) until the peak is as loud as you specify that you want it. For the best answer to your question you should email Flavio, the writer of the program. He responds pretty quickly to emails. Try finding and emailing the guy(s) who wrote Pro Tools!
I'm running, amongst many other things, Cool Edit Pro 2.0 for really basic stuff where I can't be bothered waitng for ProTools to load.
Unlike Wavelab or the older versions, it'll run up to 128 tracks without blinking, provided your processer is up for it. And it's dead easy to learn.