Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Audio Recording Tutorial #01 - Basic Recording with a HD Camera and a Wave Recorder

I’ve generally been using my DJ Bolivia YouTube channel for educational purposes.   My goal has always been to feature videos teaching about a number of music-related topics:  DJ’ing, using audio editors such as Ableton and Cubase and ProTools and other DAW’s, production of dance music from scratch, and the occasional music video.  But one additional group of videos that I’ve wanted to put together has been a series on basic audio recording techniques.

I just put together the first video in that series.  This one deals with very simple audio recording using the microphone on a HD video camera, and using a portable audio recording device.  It talks about some of the basic types of processing that a studio engineer would put on an audio track (particularly on vocals), which includes reverb, delay, chorus, and EQ’ing, although it only goes into any detail on the last of those four topics.  I predominantly use Audacity to illustrate some basic concepts, with just a bit of use of Audition and VLC to help out with some other tasks.  Essentially, I’ve recorded a song (acoustic guitar and singing) and then extracted the audio from the recording devices, then I did some very simple processing in order to come up with a better quality audio file.

Here’s the video:

The video touches on quite a few different topics that a musician should become familiar with if you want to do any recording.  Here is a list of some suggested additional reference sites that you might want to check out, in order to learn more about topics that I mentioned:

Audio File Formats:

Software Used:

Recording Devices:

Extracting Audio from Video using VLC:

Audio Frequency Spectrum:



Pop Filters:



Normalizing Audio:

If you want to download the audio files that I was using in this video, to better hear the audio in your own home studio setup, here’s a link to a zipped folder containing the relevant files and a _readme.txt file which describes the contents:

The next couple of videos, which I hope to have online by the end of February 2013, will discuss different types of microphones, the use of external sound cards to help get audio into a computer, and multi-track recording either though several simultaneous inputs coming into the computer simultaneously, or through doing multiple tracks in layers.  I’ll also try to get some of my friends who are better guitar players or vocalists to help me out!

More advanced videos in this series (which could take me a couple years, because I can think of about thirty or forty topics that I’d like to go into eventually) will cover things such as recording full bands live, microphone placement for drum kits, and detailed explanation of effects such as delay, chorus, reverb, flanging, phasing, and many more.  I’ll eventually cover EQ’ing in far more depth, so you’ll have a better understanding of how to combine EQ’ing with proper placement of various instruments within a stereo field to add clarity to your mixes.  I’ll cover compression and basic mastering.  I’ll cover various pieces of studio equipment, such as studio monitors and DI boxes.  In short, there’s a lot of stuff that I can talk about, and eventually I’ll be doing videos where an entire band records a full multi-track song from scratch.

Anyway, this is an overwhelming amount of information.  If you just watch this first video and then try to learn everything at all the links that I’ve provided above, that should keep you busy round-the-clock for a week or so.    And as always, if you have friends that might be interested in learning about stuff that I’ve covered in this video, I appreciate if you can email them or share a link to this blog post.

Links to Jonathan Clark’s various web sites:

Main Site:   www.djbolivia.ca