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.wav - PC shutdown caused "file contains no data"

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jsabarese, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. jsabarese

    jsabarese Active Member

    please bear w/ me... i tend to ramble, and be too verbose, but i like to lay down the background so y'all know where i'm coming from-- to describe all aspects of my situation as much as possible... so here goes...

    i am the coordinator of an event here at PSU that i call the "Songwriters' Recording Showcase". it's an effort to breathe life into the nearly nonexistant original-music scene here, and moreover, to give local artists a venue to perform. the UNIQUE twist that i offer as an incentive to bring the performers out is that i am recording their performances each week, and since these artists aren't payed to perform, i'm going to package a nice little CD for 'em in a Jewel case w/ cover art, etc. so that they will have something of semi-decent quality to shop themselves to venues in hopes of scoring a "real" gig for themselves.

    Fairly experienced w/ my band's own PC based DAW, and having logged MANY hours in production, using Waves plugins (i love that C4 !) to tweak the heck out of some stuff which might have otherwise sounded like garbage (the idea was to have a simple DAW just for laying down our writing in progress-- yet to do it "right", and go through the motions as if we were in a pro studio, but the band can't afford quality outboard gear-- compressors, mics, etc-- heck, we're using PZM's to capture the drums-- so believe me, when i say teaking, im TWEAKING w/ plugins-- all w/in the digital realm), so i'm really excited to see how my plan unfolds w/ these live one-take recordings-- taking the signal out of the venue's house PA mixing board during the songwriters' live sets, and then to take it home and play with it till i get something of quality. it CAN be done. i'm a believer.

    to my advantage, this venue's PA board is a hand-me-down from a local recording studio, so it actually has direct outs for each channel, and since most of these musicians show up w/ just an acoustic guitar and their voice, i can, in theory get 2 completely independant channels going into my M-Audio Mobile Pre USB. which allows me to get Vox = left, Guitar = right. then i can take it all home and tweak 'em out as much as i can w/ my available plugins, and what i think is my half-decent ear-- ideally working w/ isolated vox and guitar captured from those direct outs per board channel.

    however, it's unfortunate that, so far, i've been unable to utilize those direct channel outs cause when i try it, i get a serious, overpowering hum (and plugging the 1/4" jack into those direct channel outs creats a helluva "pop" in the mains too-- which makes no sense to me, cause it's an output!) and it also peaks the input level of the M-Audio so bad that i have to crank it down to "off", cutting off the input level altogether (and strangely, just plugging into input #1 peaks #2 also!)-- i have NO idea what is up with that... maybe something in the board's setup is wired wrong, or maybe it's a grounding issue, or maybe the board is just "shot"... i've no clue, and the owner of the board is "indisposed", so i have no expert advice available while i'm at work, doing the recording. i just don't understand why the individual channel direct outs would cause that result.

    so, i've temporarily abandoned the idea of isolating the channels, resorting to using this board's unique mono XLR send (which, located next to the main sends, this mono XLR output seems to function with the mains cause the level is directly affected by the main board faders). sure, for recording purposes, it ain't stereo, and it ain't isolated channels, but it IS a nice clean mono signal, so at this point, i'm happy that i can at least get SOMETHING out of that board. okay, i'm done telling my background story. now for the incident that has brought me to seek advice from the vast knowledge of this forum's members.

    i had tried this whole PC live-recording process on the debut week of my Songwriters' event w/ NO luck, so this was my second week-- second attempt. i was delighted to see that signal going into my USB soundcard-- allowing me to dial in the perfect input gain, and Vegas was making a nice wave w/ proper peaks and valleys and virtually no noise. boy was i happy to get to that point!

    FYI- i'm capturing the audio signal from the mixing board by using an M-Audio Mobile Pre USB into my home PC (Athlon XP 1.4Ghz) using Vegas 4 (yeah, a bitch to lug all that stuff into the bar. no, i don't own a laptop!). now, finally...

    tonight while recording a stellar performance, i stepped away from the PC for a moment, only to return to see the XP welcome screen as the thing was booting back up! yes, i made the mistake of leaving behind my APC Battery Backup/ surge protector. what a case of live and learn the hard way!

    to reiterate, i'm here for advice because i have a glimmer of hope that i will be able to salvage what was recorded tonight. the wave that was being tracked at the time of the unexpected PC shutdown is still here-- weighing in at over 235 Megs according to XP! but when i open it (in a media player, or sound forge), there is nothing there. keep in mind, this is my second "failed" attempt at trying to do something good for these song writers... first time i couldn't get ANY signal... now this time, all was going great, but the power failure ruined about 30 mins of a really nice performance from a good songwriter. i actually do have about a 45 second clip, seperate file, which sounds great! but, i feel bad for the guy-- he has no demo yet, and he's got talent! i really wanted to present him w/ something when it was all over.

    knowing that files aren't always what they appear to be, i'm going to belive that the recorded audio is in fact there in that file.

    i'm an ace w/ video editing, and i've successfully made "good" files from broken avi's, and all that tedious stuff, so i know a file w/ no
    recognizable video or audio data isn't necessarily always a file w/ no data-- you just have to know how to find it! but, those were video files, and i've never had to worry about it w/ audio until now.

    so i've Googled for "wav repair" and all sorts of combinations of other keywords trying to find a program that might be able to see the data that needs to be seen to turn this file back into a recognizable wav. i found a cool little program called "Vidlizard"-- it's functionality seems to focus on video applications, but its general description claims to have the ability to repair wav files. from what i can tell, it doesn't do anything amazing but show me the file properties-- i suspect that maybe it COULD help if i knew how to utilize its functionality.

    please follow the links to the screen captures that i've prepared for you.
    Sound Forge - Tools>Repair>(all options- same result)
    VidLizard - drag n drop
    VidLizard - DirectShow Audio Renderer
    VidLizard - DirectShow Advanced
    VidLizard - File Info

    do you know of any app out there that might be able to help me?
    if anyone is willing to take on the task, i'd like for you to experiment by allowing me to transfer the file to you on an AIM rendezvous, or
    some other method by which i might get it to you-- due to its large size.

    or do you think this file is in fact junk, and the recording is lost? i'm the consumate optimist, so i really want to try to "fix" this file.

    i hope someone has a positive suggestion for me. of course i do-- we always look for want we want to hear, don't we!

    thank you so much for reading to this point. i owe you one!

    if you have any interest in my successful production work, just to prove i do know how to screw in a lightbulb, check out the mp3's of my own recording production of my band-- all done in our basement studio w/ PZM's for the drums, a POD, sans-amp for the bass, and an SM58. DAW includes Pentium 4 , Behringer Eurodesk, Gina, Vegas, Sound Forge, and the Waves Platinum Bundle (and a few other neato plugins here and there, like a groovy amp-sim, the Steinberg Loudness Maximizer, etc)

    very much looking forward to what you have to say.
  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    First, allow me to offer you a very warm welcome to recording.org! You're gonna love it here.

    Your problem is just awful and I am completely empathetic. Unfortunately, I do not have the answer for you, but I sincirely hope that you can find it. Have you tried forcing an open of the file with a text editor like wordpad? What do you see? I think you might be right in assuming that the file is salvageable; if it's that big of a file there ought to be something in there. What program did you originally record with?
  3. jsabarese

    jsabarese Active Member


    I'm using XP Pro SP2 w/ Sonic Foundry's Vegas 4 (now Sony, v5.0)

    I posted my original message after i got home from the gig, so i was pretty tired, and didn't really try anything.

    I opened it w/ HHD Hex Editor and this is what i see
    Obviously, this is just the very begining of the file, however, it is also the only part that looks like this.... with all of those zeros! i think this is promising!

    any suggestions?

  4. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Perhaps the header is messed up. I have a bunch of programs to experiment with and I would gladly see what I can do with the file if you had a way of getting it to me. Do you have enough server space somewhere?
  5. jsabarese

    jsabarese Active Member

    not enough server space for that file!

    look for a private message from me. i think we could P2P file transfer it via Instant Messenger (AIM or MSN) if you are willing to meet me at a specified time. w/ broadband, it shouldn't take too long... maybe 30 mins or so, and heck... you can leave it unattended during the transfer till it's done

    i'll PM you
  6. jsabarese

    jsabarese Active Member

    oops... seems as though i am unable to PM you? restricted?

    look for an e-mail from me...

    jeff AT sonamusic DOT com is the address you want to add as legitimate for your spam filters so i don't get junked... i'm sure you know where i'm comin' from there...


    PS. THANK YOU so much for you attention to my issue here
  7. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Got your email and responded.

    PM is only for RO Club members (and mods).
  8. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Hey Guys,

    If the power failed for more than a few seconds the HDD heads may have crashed into the platter causing massive damage to the file. If this is the case nothing short of a data restoration service will fix that.

    On the other hand it may just be a case of the file not being closed out properley. Can you see an EOF? Is the file listed as a WAV under properties?

    As David said the header could be corrupted.

    If you can copy the file to another HDD do it and let Scandisk have a crack at it (the copy only), it can't hurt and may fix it if it's not too bad.

    Good Luck!
  9. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    A follow up. The header was corrupt. Apparently the program had written the data to disk but had not finished creating the header. I opened the file i a hex editor, lopped off everything before the first 16 bit word and imported as raw PCM. Worked perfectly... a nice trick to know.
  10. jsabarese

    jsabarese Active Member

    this turned out to be a very cool experiment, actually.
    i transferred the file to David French via AIM and he turned the file around in less than 24 hours in playable condition.

    very, very cool!

    thanks guys!


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