This page was last updated 2014-05-30
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2014 Donald R. Snow

My Freeware Corner Notes are printed in our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group monthly newsletter TAGGology and posted on my Family History Class Notes webpage , sometimes with updated information there.


1.     VLC -- Freeware sound player and recorder available from

VLC plays nearly all formats of media files, both audio and video, and has some really nice features.  There is a good tutorial on how to download, install, and use VLC at and you can Google "vlc tutorials" or look on YouTube and find many more.  It will play streaming audio or video from the Internet, as well as recorded and saved files.  It has several features that are not found in other players, e.g. on a video, when the sound doesn't match the people's lips, you can adjust it to put them back together.  I've noticed that when I play some of the Church videos on other players, they are not in sync like that and it bothers me to watch them.  VLC also allows playing through all the files in a folder, so you can form a folder of audio or video files and start it playing at the first one and it will play each one successively without you having to form a play list to do it.  It will also record audio and video, though I haven't ever used it for that.

2.     AUDACITY -- OpenSource freeware sound player and recorder available from

OpenSource means that this is a program that is being worked on by many people around the world and you can even download the source code and edit that yourself
, if you know programming.  I don't know programing that well, so I just use the program.  Audacity is a very complete audio recorder and player with many, many features.  In fact, it has so many features that it's hard to learn to use it.  There are lots of tutorials on the Internet and, especially on YouTube.  But you can learn to use just a few features and get started and add more to your knowledge as you need them.  I have used it many times to record streaming audio from the Internet and digitizing tapes.  It has a monitoring feature that you can see if the record level is OK before you start recording and I've found that I sometimes have to adjust the input so the waves don't go into the overdrive space and distort the sound.  It records both mono and stereo and when you are recording you see the wave forms of the channels.  It has buttons like a cassette tape recorder to click to start, pause, stop the recording, or play it back.  You see the wave format of the entire file, so you can scroll back and forth to find spots you are looking for and listen just to those.  By doing this you can see where the silent parts are and can edit those to delete or otherwise change them.  It has easy controls to fade parts in or out by just highlighting the part you want to fade in or out and clicking a button.  Parts can be cut and removed or other parts spliced in.  When you are finished editing the file, it can be saved in several formats including mp3, wav, ogg, etc.  mp3 files are much smaller in size, but don't have the quality that wav files do.  And Audacity can be used to convert from one file type to another.  If you are digitizing songs from a vinyl record or cassette tape, you can tell where the silences are between the songs and you can put the song's name at that point, but on another track.  Then when you export the file, you can tell Audacity to split it at the start of each song so you end up with each song in a separate file with its name.  I've found that it helps to put a number before each name, e.g. 01 Stardust, 02 Over The Rainbow, etc., so all the songs stay in their proper order in the folder, not their alphabetical order.  This splitting idea also works well if you are digitizing a tape of various talks, etc., so you can record the entire tape and then look for the silences and label each part and separate them when you export the final version.  Audacity has lots of features and I only know how to use a few of them, but the ones I do use work fine.

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