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Topic: save audio from a Hallmark recordable book (Read 377 times) previous topic - next topic

kidcraftsman

My dad passed away a few years ago. Before he died, he recorded himself reading some Hallmark recordable books. After he passed, one of my sisters and one of my brothers each had children of their own. I'd like to be able to share the recordings with them, and keep them for my kids (and me). Is there a way to use my arduino to do this?

pert

It sounds like you have two separate projects:
  • Capture and archive the audio.
  • Share the captured audio.

For the first, you'll want to be very careful to avoid loss in audio quality. The approach would likely depend on how these recordable books work. Ideally, you could extract the digital data directly from the media it's stored on. If it's in a proprietary format or otherwise inaccessible, the next best thing is to capture it directly from the audio output of the book, without any intervening microphone. Then be sure to archive it in a lossless audio format such as FLAC. MP3 is a lossy compression algorithm, that causes the filesize to be smaller, but also results in a loss of audio quality. In this day of incredibly cheap data storage, it's pointless to sacrifice audio quality for the sake of saving a couple hundred megabytes of disk space.

As for sharing, once you have an audio file you could simply share it in that form. However, you might prefer to have a dedicated physical device for this purpose. That is where the Arduino could indeed be useful. You can get MP3 player modules (I think the popular one is the DFMini) to connect to the Arduino to allow it to play MP3 files. You can then generate MP3 files from your archival lossless FLAC files and use those on the Arduino-based playback devices.

So the tricky part is the archival, but that's worth making some effort to do right when it comes to irreplaceable heirloom data. Once you have a good archive of the data, the rest is easy enough. It should be a fun and meaningful project!

Semtex9

It can be done, like pert explained
btw, have you considered putting it on a vinyl record, costs but those last close to forever

raschemmel

Quote
Before he died, he recorded himself reading some Hallmark recordable books
If the circuitry is inaccessible then you just have to try to use the best microphone you can get to record it onto
a computer as a wave file or onto a cassette recorder with an AUX AUDIO OUT jack which can later be used
to transfer the audio.

DVDdoug

#4
Oct 15, 2020, 07:16 pm Last Edit: Oct 15, 2020, 07:21 pm by DVDdoug
Quote
some Hallmark recordable books.
How does that work?  Is there a headphone output or any kind of audio (or digital) connection, or will you have to use a microphone?   

Quote
Is there a way to use my arduino to do this?
A BAD IDEA!   :P    It's better and WAY-WAY easier to use a computer to make MP3 or WAV copies and/or to make an audio CD or other standard digital audio format.

 
Quote
haveyou considered putting it on a vinyl record, costs but those last close to forever
An EQUALLY BAD IDEA!   :P  Multiple digital copies (stored in multiple locations) are "safer" and if the audio formats become obsolete in the future, digital audio files can be converted losslessly* to any new-digital format.   



* WAV, FLAC, and audio CD are lossless.   MP3 (and (AC, etc.) is lossy compression so it's not the best "archive" format, but with a high-quality setting it can sound identical to the lossless original.   And, the loss happens during compression so you can convert to a lossless format several years from now there is no additional  quality loss.  ("Damage"  does  accumulate with multiple generations of MP3 compression but you can make identical copies of the original MP3 as long as it remains a popular-usable format.)

raschemmel

#5
Oct 15, 2020, 07:24 pm Last Edit: Oct 15, 2020, 07:25 pm by raschemmel
As stated, if the circuitry is inaccessable, then the best way to transfer the audio is a very high quality
microphone and a high quality recording system.

The two most critical elements in any audio link are the microphone and the speaker.

DVDdoug

Quote
As stated, if the circuitry is inaccessable..
Let's get an answer on that first.  Then we can help with a microphone or direct recording.

Quote
The two most critical elements in any audio link are the microphone and the speaker.
Yes, and the recording environment, and the original recording.

If there's a headphone jack we can eliminate most of that and more-accurately re-digitize the original recording.

raschemmel

#7
Oct 15, 2020, 09:17 pm Last Edit: Oct 15, 2020, 09:34 pm by raschemmel
One might assume her father thought to
record it in a quiet environment and the OP made
no mention of the recordings being of poor quality.

pert

And, the loss happens during compression so you can convert to a lossless format several years from now there is no additional  quality loss.
Why would you convert from a lossy to a lossless format?

("Damage"  does  accumulate with multiple generations of MP3 compression
Keep in mind that this is not a high quality, high resolution audio to start with. In this sort of situation, and when it is something you want to preserve for generations to come, every bit counts. For the capture hardware, it's likely that a compromise between expense and quality is necessary, but when it comes to the software end of things, fortunately free tools are available, so no compromise is necessary.

no mention of the recordings being of poor quality.
Are you expecting high quality recording hardware in a "Hallmark recordable book"?

raschemmel

Quote
no mention of the recordings being of poor quality.
No. I think it is obvious I meant that the OP didn't say anything about the sound being 'tinny' or scratchy.
We've all heard recorded greeting cards so I don't think there's any question what the level of quality it.
As one famous person once put it when discussing the high Covid death rate:
"It is what it is...."

DVDdoug

Quote
Why would you convert from a lossy to a lossless format?
We are getting ahead of ourselves and drifting way-off topic but it was in response to the idea of making a vinyl record that would "last close to forever".     My point was...    You can keep multiple-identical digital copies "forever".    Maybe in 50 or 100 years MP3 will go out-of-style and MP3 players/software may be as hard to find as a record player is now.   In the future you could to convert to a new-lossless format without (more) quality loss.

Paul__B

Why would you convert from a lossy to a lossless format?
To record on a CD.

raschemmel

And while your at it , you could upload it to the Cloud.

Semtex9

#13
Nov 09, 2020, 06:13 pm Last Edit: Nov 09, 2020, 07:22 pm by Semtex9
audio formats become obsolete in the future
record can be "read" with a needle glued to a small drum, no electronics required, it is never obsolete and would survive ww3, but as I said it is the most expensive and cumbersome variant out there especially if made from special materials...

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