Sound Advice

This week’s e-learning challenge was all about how we record our audio. Being a musician, I thought this one would be right up my alley. The question and answer session starts now:

1. Tell us about your recording setup.
What type of microphone do you use? Do you record directly into your authoring tool, or do you record with a third-party application like Audacity? Do you record in your cubicle, or do you have a specific audio recording room?

I use an Audio Technical Special Edition AT4033. This mic is excellent for vocals and acoustic instruments. You get a nice crisp clean sound. I also have a screen attached to my mic stand to keep out the pops. Although this would be overkill for someone just doing narration, I just happen to have Cubase SX recording software. I like using Cubase because I can do VERY precise editing. I can also apply a noise gate, compression, and all sorts of effects if I want. My recording studio is also my office. There’s no sound proofing, just a rug on the tile floor to kill some of the natural reverb. 

2. Show us your audio setup.
Where do you record your e-learning audio? Try to capture what a typical session looks like. It’s okay to clean your desk before taking a picture… just keep things as real-world as possible. Yes, this part requires a photo.

So this is my studio, warts and all!

Getting a studio tan at Lone Paw.

Getting a studio tan at Lone Paw.

3. Share your three favorite audio recording tips.

Tip one: Turn up or down the heat and/or air conditioning so the fan won’t start running while you’re recording. Kind of along the same lines: listen for cars, airplanes, lawn mowers, etc to make sure they stay out of the mix. Even if you have a great noise gate setting, you’re still going to hear those things if they’re going right when you’re speaking. 

Tip two: Watch the levels. You have to look at the levels and not just listen for clipping because sometimes you won’t notice it in all environments and on all systems. I had a mix of a song one time that was clipping and I couldn’t hear it until it came back from the mastering process and it suddenly sounded like an explosion. 

Tip three: When setting up your recording system, call the manufacturer of your recording software to make sure the interface and computer you’re using will be plug and play with the software. By plug and play, I mean you won’t have any compatibility issues and won’t have to reconfigure anything to make it work. I also recommend you have more than enough memory for even your most ambitious projects. You don’t want to be in the middle of some huge project and have the system crashing on you!