What is an MP3 audio file?
MP3 is the name of a newer and very popular digital format for audio. By using "file compression technology" the MP3 format can squeeze lots of high quality audio in a very small space. For example, the digital format used for the last two decades on audio CDs can only hold 80 minutes of sound recording on one Audio CD. But with the MP3 digital format, it is possible to hold nearly twenty four hours of high-quality audio on one CD! The only catch: you need a "MP3-compatible" player to listen. But more and more products are now MP3-compatible. Most smart-phones, iPads, DVD players, newer Audio CD players (including the small style portables) and all computers can play MP3 recordings. The small file size of course also makes it easy to download MP3 audio from internet sources. (To make internet downloads faster, the downloadable MP3 versions of lectures are of slightly lower audio quality than the full higher-fidelity MP3 files shipped on CD disks. If you like the audio quality of our downloads, you will love the disk versions!)
By using MP3 audio format, BC Recordings is able to gather lectures into sets covering a topic, all shipped on a single CD-Rom. Of course, you can also purchase and immediately download any lecture from our catalog.
How do I download a file?
Upon purchase of a lecture, your membership account will add the title to your "Recent Orders" list. Click "My Account" then click "Recent Orders", then click "View". The most recent order appears at the top of the list. Just click the "Download" link and the download will begin. In PC, a "right-click" will enable you to choose the download destination in your hard drive. Downloaded files are delivered in a sort of "envelope" which is the "Zip file" format. To listen to the lecture you will need to first extract the audio file from this zip archive.
What is a "Zip file"?
A Zip file is a special way of packaging files for transport. The file you download will be a Zip file, and this "envelope" contains your audio mp3 file and any additional files that may be part of the presentation. To open the package using all newer Apple and Windows computers all you need to do is click on the Zip file -- it will open just like a directory folder and give you access to the lecture MP3. You may "extract" or copy the file from the Zip file to another folder if you wish.
With some older operating systems (Windows 98, Windows 2000) you may need to install a separate zip file utility to open the zip file. Popular add-in programs to handle zip files include WinZip for Windows systems (someone recently using Vista could not use "PKZIP" but had success with "Winzip"), and ZipIt for Apple Mac systems.
How long does it take to download a lecture?
Each lecture file is between 10 and 16 MB in size. Download times ranges from about 1 hour over a dial-up modem connection, to less than a minute with a broadband (DSL or Cable) internet connection. Higher resolution versions are being phased in, and are double the size of the dial-up-friendly versions.
What if I have trouble downloading a file?
When you purchase a downloadable file, the system provides 5 download "events" over a three year period from the time of purchase to obtain the file. If you have any problems completing the file download, you can request that the count be reset for more download opportunities. MOST PROBLEMS reported are due to the MP3 file being left in the Zip archive while trying to transfer to listening devices. For example, trying to import the Zip file directly into iTunes will fail. iPads will need the "app" for opening Zip archives.
If you are subject to a less reliable dialup connection it can occasionally be difficult to complete a large file download (the audio files being 10-16 MB in size). Because of the secure nature of the download file delivery system we use, some "download manager" programs may not be able to make repeat connections to our file delivery system if the internet connection is lost during download. Very seldom is there a problem, but if you do have problems, contact us and will try to help!
How do I listen to a lecture?
The lectures are in "MP3" format. Over the last decade this has become the most popular and common format for audio files. Almost any computer, smartphone, iPad, or iPod can play MP3 files. It is very likely your computer already has the software installed to manage and play MP3 audio.
Most newer Audio CD players can now also handle MP3 files that have been copied or "burned" to a recordable CD -- many computers have CD-R (or CD-RW) drives installed and can write CDs. Newer car audio systems can also frequently play MP3 files on CD-Rom, most portable "Walkman-style" CD players now play MP3 files, and DVD players also play them (using your television's speakers or your sound system if you have your DVD player as part of a "home theater" type setup.
What portable MP3 player do you recommend?
This is a personal choice, and it might be best to visit a local electronics store so you can do a "hands on" evaluation. But we recommend one of the Apple iPod models -- there are many to choose from.
What computer software do I need to listen to an MP3?
All modern computers will already have MP3 audio software installed, and just about any such program will do the job. When the software is properly installed and configured, all you need to do is click on the MP3 and it should start playing. Of course, if you are using an older computer, it is possible that MP3 audio software has not been installed.
For Windows or Mac, we suggest using iTunes to manage your audio files.
How do I copy a downloaded lecture to a CD?
If you are really a computer "beginner", ask someone more familiar with computers to give you a hand. Basically, you just need to have a CD-R ("CD Recorder") drive in or attached to your computer. If you do not have a CD-R drive, someone you know probably does.
There are two ways to "make" a CD. The easiest is to just make a "data" CD containing MP3 files. To do this, copy or "burn" the MP3 lecture file to a recordable CD. One single CD can hold up to 700 MB of data files. That means you can put 40 or more download-type lecture files on a single CD! Remember, your files on the CD are still in MP3 format and you will need a computer or other device that can read MP3 files to play them (see above about "MP3-compatible" player) .
The second and more complex method is called "ripping" -- converting the MP3 into a standard audio CD. This process is a bit more complicated (though still pretty simple), and you will need to read elsewhere about the process. But the result is a standard audio CD that can be played on any standard audio CD player. This will only be possible for lectures under 80 minutes, so check the length first.
When do I listen to the lectures?
Okay, this may seem like a silly question.... But many people have found commuter time in the car to be a perfect opportunity for lecture listening. More than once we have been told, "the most interesting educational experience of my life came from listening to Dr. Hoeller's lectures during the commute to and from work every day." The issue here is that automobiles have been the "caboose", bringing up the rear in terms of MP3 compatibility. For under $20 you can purchase a transmitter that plugs into the headphones jack of your portable player and transmits the sound to your car's FM radio. "Sound Feeder 250" is one such device we have tested.
What about copying and sharing the lectures?
As an appreciative member of Dr. Hoeller's audience, Bryan Campbell brought his professional recording skills and equipment to the lecture locations beginning in 1979 with the simple thought of preserving these very deserving lectures and saving them from oblivion. The immediate clamor for copies led to the inception of the publishing effort now known as BC Recordings. Your support of this publishing effort is deeply appreciated. Remember also that a generous royalty from sales is paid to Dr. Hoeller, as well as Bryan's continued direct support to Dr. Hoeller and The Gnostic Society in many many ways.
All lectures are copyrighted, and we kindly ask you respect that copyright. The lectures are not expensive to purchase. If you want to share, please buy another copy, or just refer your friends here to the store. And of course, we will always offer lectures for "free listening" here on this web site. Thank you for your interest in the fine works of Dr. Hoeller!
I do not like the lectures I purchased. Can I return them for a refund?
BC Recordings has never had a customer complaint regarding content, only the occasional issue with "hardware" -- and we certainly do not wish to have any dissatisfied customers. This is a personalized service, not a "big company" -- it is a one-man operation, and you can always contact Bryan Campbell personally about your order or this service.
If you have purchased an MP3-CD album that is technically flawed (unlikely, since every copy is checked), It will be promptly replaced. If you have purchased a downloadable lecture and are unable to complete the download, every effort will be made to help.
We cannot, however, offer refunds on shipped or downloaded items. We offer numerous free lectures. Please listen to a few of these before purchasing other items -- this will help you determine if the presentations by Dr. Hoeller are likely to fit your own interests. If there is still any issue to resolve, feel free to make contact , and any problem will be addressed.