Audio & Video – Learning a new language

When the first lockdown happened in 2020 and all public performances ceased for the forseeable future, I decided I needed to learn about recording my own material and projects for the purpose of uploading it social media and my website.

To start with I payed for advice from a Sound Engineer friend of mine, Matt Purcell. On his advice I invested in basic equipment I would need: a mixer, a good microphone and stand, relevant wires and connections for the computer, and a good set of headphones. Then Matt talked me through how to use this equipment. (Given my own personal logic on things, Input and Output was a relearning process I wont go into!)

There are great Youtube clips about mixers and home recording which I found very helpful. But it was equally important for me to be able to check out details with Matt that I couldn’t quite understand. It is very reassuring to have him on hand to refer to. It really was overwhelming until I found a way to whittle it down to specifically identify what is was I didn’t understand. Only then did I know what questions to ask.

Initially, I wanted to learn to be able to work with a coach via zoom using my equipment. This was quite frustrating because of the inherant time lag but we manageed to work on voice production.

Then we tried recording two seperate tracks of my voice and his piano accompaniment for each of us to work with. This meant finding a Audio App that would be best for me to start off with. I eventually settled on GarageBand which was free and had some good options…and also quite easy!

After many, many hours of trying out different things I eventually am now able to record various tracks into GarageBand and export it to Google Drive or anywhere else. I learnt that once you send the two tracks they are sent as one Track. The only way to make changes is to go back to the two seperate tracks which you (hopefully) saved in a clearly marked file. It is very important to title and number every change and edit you make for referance etc.

My next step is to learn how to mix and edit my home recordings. Even though there is a mixer in Garageband, the Behringer mixer I purchased with the microphone allows for noise and other reductions, which cannot really be eliminated in the mixing, so you will get a more professional sound. It makes it much easier to mix…or so I am told!!!

These were the very first steps towards learning about what is involved in audio recording in order to work with a coach/accompanist and also to experiment in me doing my own home recordings with a backing track from my coach/accompanist for upload to my website and Youtube. Each minute achievement is so gratifying. I am really beginning to have fun with it all!