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On-the-fly-line-in-to-Ogg Vorbis/Wave/Monkey's Audio/MP3-encoding
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What is it?
HarddiskOgg takes a wave input stream from any Windows 95/98/2000/XP compatible sampling device (including microphone input and line in) and converts it to an Ogg Vorbis/Wave/Monkey's Audio/MP3 (optional) stream. This happens in realtime, so basically it is a harddisk recorder in Ogg Vorbis.
What is it good for?
Originally, HarddiskOgg was written to record the sound channel from TV, in particular music channels like MTV. Without HarddiskOgg, you would have to record to WAV first, then convert it to a space saving format using an external converter. While this is possible, it has one big disadvantage: it takes loads of disk space. While it is ok for recording one or two songs, you most probably cannot record more than a couple of hours.
With HarddiskOgg, you can record approximately 11 times longer, that is 18 hours per GB. So why not record one day (or even several days!) of MTV so you can fast forward through songs you don't like?
On decent PCs, you can even play the Ogg Vorbis or MP3 file with your favorite player while the recording goes on. This means you can listen for example to the radio in near realtime, but you can take a break whenever you want.
With some TV card/sound card combinations it is possible that sound recorded from TV is very low on volume. HarddiskOgg will automatically amplify the input signal before the encoding stage.
What is it not good for?
There's one thing you should definitely not use HarddiskOgg for, and this is CD to Ogg Vorbis/MP3 conversion. HarddiskOgg records from the analog sound card input. This means there will always be some quality loss due to the analog to digital converters on your sound card. Real CD rippers read the exact, digital audio data directly from the CD, which results in a much higher quality.
Where can I get it?
You can download HarddiskOgg together with some other cool freeware from the official downloads page.
The algorithms used in all currently available MP3 encoders are patented, and require a license even for non-commercial distribution. Consequently, HarddiskOgg can not include an MP3 encoding engine. Hoewever, it has drop-in support for the LAME encoding DLL. You can download it here, unzip it and put LAME_ENC.DLL into the HarddiskOgg directory. However, make sure you comply with local laws by downloading and/or using the DLL.
I strongly recommend encoding to the Ogg Vorbis format, which is much more versatile and has a much better quality than MP3, and even MP3Pro. The biggest advantage is that it is held free of patented algorithms, so encoders and decoders may be distributed free of charge. It is natively supported by many of the current players, including WinAMP.
Automatic file numbering
HarddiskOgg checks if the target file name ends in a digit (e.g. Vorbis1.ogg), and increments it after each click of the Stop button. This makes it easy to quickly record multiple sound snippets in succession. If you do not want this (and overwrite the specified file each time), choose a file name which does not end in a digit.
You can quickly start a new file by pressing the "cut" (scissors) button while recording. This will increment the index at the end of the file name, and seamlessly switch to the new file.
Normalization amplifies the input signal to a constant volume. There are basically four options:
Testing input level/normalization
Pressing the microphone button in the lower right corner starts a "test" mode, which is basically identical to recording, leaving out the actual encoding stage. You can see the current volume and adjust normalization settings, or have HarddiskOgg adjust them.
This is particularly useful for two purposes:
What mode should I use for...
Note on normalization slide/volume display: The volume displayed on the right and the position of the normalization slider corresponds to the audio currently getting encoded. Normally this is the same as what is currently being recorded. However, if the buffer is somewhat filled, this will cause the display to lag behind up to several seconds. In this case you should be especially careful with manipulating the normalization slider, because it will also affect the already recorded, but not yet encoded data in the buffer.
Live playback while recording
You can play an Ogg or MP3 stream while it is being recorded by pressing the "Play" button. This will spawn the player associated with the selected file format. This might not work with some players, if it does not work with yours try WinAMP.
Sometimes WinAMP hangs when it is not currently running and HarddiskOgg tries to start it. You can circumvent this by starting WinAMP manually first, then pressing play.
Another thing that might cause problems is starting playback while actually no data has been written to disk yet. You should wait until at least some kilobytes are on disk before trying to play the encoded file.
Command Line Mode
Most HarddiskOgg parameters can be controlled via command line switches. If a running instance of HarddiskOgg is found, it will be activated and passed the command line.
Available switches are:
Copyright © 2023 Jan Lellmann