View Full Version : Recording Volume vs Recording Quality

07-13-2009, 04:11 PM
One of the recent updates to Replay Music software added a "Recording Volume" feature to the Output tab of the Settings button. I have been recording with the Recording Volume slider button moved all the way to the right at 100%, and I always record from sources where the source volume is set to 100%. I have noticed my recording quality has not been good lately, with the sound distorting like it is saturating the recording. I also notice the sound meter on the main Replay Music display is maxed out with all bars filled to the right at all times when I am recording.

I have the Input Source set to "Audio Driver", and one of the other Forum posts seemed to indicate that when you use this setting, it optimizes the recording and the setting of the Recording Volume doesn't matter.

So, my questions:

- Does the setting for the Recording Volume matter when using the Audio Driver setting?

- Should users attempt to adjust the Recording Volume and/or the source volume so that the sound meter moves up and down and is not always in the 100% up position while recording?

07-15-2009, 01:00 PM
I have noticed that if you put the music source volume too high, it creates the distortion. i always put it around 75%. The replay music volume i max out the volume.

07-16-2009, 09:28 AM
Interesting that you always keep the Replay Music slider for Recording Volume at 100% and adjust the source. I played around with doing it both ways - fix the source volume and adjust the RM slider, then fix the RM slider and adjust the source volume. When I looked at the sound meter on the main RM display, the only time it changed is when I changed the RM slider. Keeping the RM slider fixed and adjusting the source volume did not change the sound meter - it stayed maxed with the bars on the display going all the way over to the right.

This tells me the only way to reduce distortion is by changing the RM slider for Recording Volume. Also, I rememebr from my old reel-to-reel and cassette recording days (shows you how old I am) that it was always better to max the source volume and adjust the volume on the device doing the recording. This makes sense since the source is where the "information" - or music - is coming from.

I hope we can keep this dialog going. There seems to be very little reference material out on the internet for how you judge and rate the quality of mp3 files. Yes, we all know mp3's compress sound and therefore are lesser quality than, for example, wav files. But I have not found anyone who has copme up with a good way to quantify the file quality. They all just say something is better or worse than something else.

So, anyone interested in the sonic/audio quality of the recordings you make using Replay Music - I'd like to hear from you.

07-20-2009, 11:51 AM
Now from my old reel to reel days

1. I also remember that you want the source signal high, that get is up high enough to give you a good signal to noise ratio

2. You want tho set your record level high enough that the VU meter just hits the peak reading for the very highest sounds.

If properly setup, the VM meter indicates the maximum level that the input circuit can handle without saturating and causing distortion. If everything was setup exactly right, the music would distort, the moment that the VU meter hit red, and you should set it so that it never hits the maximum reading.

however, my best results were to just let it the peak reading on the loudest passages.


07-22-2009, 12:16 PM
Hello, i would really want to have the advice of the technical staff about that.
There are lots of recording softwares that make digital=>analog=>digital audio stream captures.
With those you're always have to make annoying adjustments of the output and the input mixers (stereomix/wave out mix...) in order to get files with sound level not lower than the original or louder (in order to avoid distortions).
You have then to play some songs and watch carefully the VU meter.
But even if you make that test with three or four songs you can't be sure that your mixers' parameters will be correct for every tune if you're recording hours from a radio service for example.
And you ALWAYS end with low volume or distorted files.

I always wanted to avoid such softwares and that's why i ended choosing Replay Music that was advertised as installing a sort of "virtual sound card"
that intercepted the stream and made a bit to bit copy without the annoyance of playing with the mixers.

I would like to know if that's still the case when i choose "audio driver" as the recording input!

07-23-2009, 04:51 AM

Your question is exactly what I want to know. The Applian tech support folks that post to the forum are pretty good with helping out on RM functionality, software problems, etc. But I have never really seen any good information about recording / music quality. Anybody out there that can help us?

This is so different from 20 years ago when I would walk into a high-end stereo store, buy separate components, and get reams of paper with engineering specs that told me exactly what the measured quality of the performance was going to be. Today, we play music through IPOD earplugs and computer speakers using mp3's that do not have a standard measure of recording quality.

The new music is much more convienient, but has all the technical innovation and progress made it sound better?

08-04-2009, 08:48 AM
That's an important question and i'd really want an answer about that.

In older version of RM when we went to see the Windows' sound mixer and the "recording control" we saw a "virtual sound driver" that was automaticaly
checked when we launched the soft.
I had made tests myself and was told that the sound capture was a "bit to bit" copy regardless of other settings.
The "recording volume" control in RM's settings was only when we used our real sound card's drivers (with all the problems of too low or too high volume results).

When Vista was released that virtual sound device in Windows' "recording control" dissapeared.

I have a soft from another company that still works with a virtual sound card and the developpers tell that during the recording the real sound card is not even used(=> so no playing with mixers and sound volume identical to the
Is that also the case with the newests versions of RM when we select "audio driver" in the settings?

EDIT : I made some more tests and i see now better how it works !

I launched RM and then an online radio station without hitting the
record button, then observed the vu meter.
(1) Windows' sound mixer (both playing and recording) : when you change
their settings it does not affect the vu meter. Good point; that means
that the real sound card is not involved in the recording. The RM audio
driver is still a kind of virtual device that does not analog=>digital
(2) The vu meter is affected when you move the recording volume slider of
RM and the volume output of the streaming application (Winamp,WMP...).

(3) Conclusion : we have to leave our real soundcard's mixer as they usually
are. Before beginning the recording session we have to move the volume
slider of the stream player to the max, watch the vu meter during the
loudest part of the song and then adjust RM's "recording volume"' slider
so that the vu meter does not reach 100%.

(4) Conclusion 2 : RM is superior to other softs that do digital=>analog=>
digital conversions but you'll sometimes end with low or distorted files
(volume on web radios is never homogen).
So in any case you'll have to check if real stream ripping is not possible
before using RM (with Replay media catcher or others on the market).
That way you get a real copy of the original.


09-16-2009, 08:29 AM
I'm not convinced the vu meter is a quantitative indication of anything in particular. In XP, I've seen the indicator barely budge from zero but record fine. I've seen it max out for the entire recording and also record fine.

More tellingly, I've stopped the audio source completely and seen the vu meter still indicate sound. I more or less ignore it on the machine running XP. I've rarely had a problem with the default settings in that regard. The only time I had a problem was right after installing Rhapsody. It messed up the equalizer settings or something and everything sounded echo-y. Highly annoyng. But I managed to get rid of it.

Let me ask this: Is sound quality a problem for other users with this software? I began with WM Recorder 11, which I enjoyed greatly in a similar capacity to RMC, but it demonstrated a random weird audio distortion on some audio files that I could neither isolate nor predict. I stumbled across the entire Applian line of products while working on that issue, and haven't had an audio quality problem since (with the exception of the Rhapsody issue I just mentioned). In general, if it sounds OK while playing on my computer, it sounds exactly the same playing back the captured file. Is it different for others?

I only got Replay Music on my machine Vista working yesterday so I'm not quite sure about that yet. It would be interesting to get a definite answer about which slider does what and if the vu meter's display corresponds to something real from a recording standpoint (in Vista). Do other users agree with the general conclusions about this described in maxrenn's message above?


09-16-2009, 11:04 AM
Hi, when applian' "audio driver" is checked the VU meter DOES matter.
I made tests; when it's always at 100% i get distortions on the track.

You say that even when you shut the music application's sound you still see the VU meter move. It's normal; that's because your Replay Music's settings are not on the "audio driver" but on one of your soundcard's mixer, probably "Stereo Mix", "What U Hear" or something like that.


Mike Christensen
10-06-2009, 11:23 PM

maxrenn is correct on how the audio driver works in Replay Music.

Best regards,

10-07-2009, 02:17 PM
I knew i was the best !!!!!

03-03-2010, 09:35 AM

07-14-2014, 06:48 AM
I hope its ok to resurrect this old thread. I'm trying to ascertain the best settings for recording FLAC files a streaming service called Qobuzz with RM6.

If I understand what I've read on the thread, I set the volume level of the streaming software to 100% (Qobuzz defaults at 90%) and should ideally adjust the Recording Volume in accordance with the VU meter. At the moment I've just left it at 50%, which seems to just about hit a peak during the loudest bits of most tracks that i've played so far. I’m using Audio Driver as the Input Source and I've turned Normalizing off. Is all this correct?

The actual source of the material recorded is also discussed in this thread, i.e whether its a direct copy of the source and its manipulated and possibly degraded by your soundcard. If I'm streaming lossless FLAC and its recording to FLAC, am i getting exactly the same file?

Cheryl Wester
07-17-2014, 01:43 PM
For Replay Music the source material is converted to WAV (itself a lossless format) before RM grabs it. If you really want the FLAC untouched, Replay Media Catcher 5 is a better choice. The interception is before the sound card, though.

07-17-2014, 03:52 PM
Thanks Cheryl.

It seems to be generally accepted that converting from one lossless format to another shouldn't result in any loss of quality. I'm actually converting the FLAC files to ALAC, so I can add them to iTunes, so it's actually going through three different lossless formats! It's useful to know that RM converts to WAV. If its lossless, then there's no need to select FLAC anymore if I'm going to convert it to ALAC afterwards.

Its also reassuring to know that the conversion comes before the soundcard, so its not going through a poor quality onboard DAC, then being re digitised. My knowledge of these things is rather basic, but I think RM can probably access the data streams via the WASAPI protocol.

I'll have another look at Replay Media Capture (http://applian.com/replay-media-catcher/). I think I looked at this a while back and it requires more work with tagging etc, but it would be interesting to compare the results with RM6 quality wise.

Thanks very much for your help with this.