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wav; Recording Voice or Instruments

A graduate student in Belfast wrote to me about a project he was doing. It is an inter-active instructional CD on the Tin Whistle.

Obviously here is another application where you would record direct to wav. and forget about the midi. format.

He wanted an authentic sound and midi. would never provide this. You might get close, if you used the right sound card or plug-ins and I will go into this in more detail in later writings about midi.

If you can play an instrument or sing, you will want to record directly to wav.

The procedure is much the same as when you record a tape or L.P. The key element here is to use a very high quality microphone.

Plug the microphone into the microphone input of your sound card which will be the one with the picture of a microphone on it.

Find the software for your sound card, (try accessories, if your computer came with a sound card,) and select the microphone input from your options or file menu. You are all set.

If you have a good sound card, it may have come with a few other features that are useful; If it has a mixer, set the level of your input so it doesn't go into the red. This is important to eliminate 'clipping,' when you record.

'Clipping' is an unpleasant sounding distortion from having the levels too high.

Also, your sound card may have come with some effects processing. These effects must be used 'on the fly.' That means they are utilized while you record rather than applied to the recording later.

Don't be intimidated by this. They are easy to use and a lot of fun. Most likely you should use some of these effects, if you want a more professional sounding recording.

Find the effects in the software for your sound card. These are usually available in what are called 'presets.' This means they are already created for you and given a name, such as 'vocal chorus.' 'Chorus' is an often used effect for vocals. It gives vocals that rich 'singing in the shower' sound.

Reverb and delay are also used to enhance the richness of the tone.

Try some different effects out and select the one that you think sounds best and record with it.

The sound card may even give you the option of mixing your own effects. This will simply require a bit more trial and error but can be very fun and worthwhile.

If you want a really authentic sound of a folk instrument, you may not want any effects at all.

Brian is a graduate of the Peabody School of Music. He has performed in many groups, was formerly the lead singer for The Jabberwocky and played at the Coach House in San Clemente in the opening act for Hunter S. Thompson. Hear his music at http://www.dizzyobrian.com

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