Learning Hurts My Brain
I’m spent more time than I want to admit (at least to my writing self) working through the basics of creating a reasonable vocal track. God, I’m even using terms like “vocal track” and “gain.” Don’t be fooled. I am stilling scraping forward to even a rudimentary understanding of what the heck I’m actually doing.
This then is my final pass. I’ve recorded half of J. M. McDermott’s “Death’s Shed,” editing as best I can. I will record the second half this weekend, using my current level of middle-school-boy finesse.
So what are my current “best practices” and why am I even telling you my theoretically patient reader? Basically, I am terrified I’ll forget how I managed to produce even this mistake riddled track. Except for the softness (which I can’t seem to fix without distorting the audio), it sounds pretty good. Could be delusion on my part, of course.
How I Arrived at This Fabulous Production Value
Location: Mudroom. The mic sits on the far right corner of the desk. The laptop, prone to long outbursts of crazy-burring fan-noise, is pushed as far to my left elbow as possible.
Me: About a foot and a half from the mic. My khaki-green water bottle sits at my feet. A thick orange extension cord runs from the desk, through the bottom crack in the door into the kitchen.
Software: Audacity 1.3 for Windows with the Spitfish plug-in and the LAME encoder installed.
Settings: I start with a gain of 9 while recording. After I finish recording, I select a stretch of silence and run the denoise effect, then I run the amplify effect setting the peak to -0.1. Then I run the Spitfish effect to try and fix my sibilance. Finally, I adjust the gain so that the monitor shows the track running at a max of about -0.6 (close to the right edge without any red lines appearing).
Tip from Jim Kelly: I record as a single track. Whenever I make a mistake, I pause for a long stretch so I will be able to find and delete the error later, then I resume speaking.