On Thursday, October 24th, I attended the Introduction to Audio Recording training where I was taught the different uses of various recording equipment and microphones by Patrick DeSimio, a co-founder of Cruces Creatives who helped set up and equip the audio room. For those who have been considering this training, I would definitely recommend it as a peek into the world of audio recording and your first step into it.
Prior to the course, I had thought that this would be an easy training and that the information would not be all that new to me as I had bits and pieces of knowledge already; however, I would most certainly find out I was wrong. This training would prove to be eye-opening as I learned about the different types of recording equipment and their uses, focusing on the physical elements such as the mics and cables and the digital elements of a digital audio workstation (DAW).
I first learned about microphones, primarily in regard to dynamic mics versus condenser mics. This was particularly interesting to me as I had dealt with dynamic mics in my own life without even knowing they had a specific name, and it was fascinating to know how they differ from condenser mics and what factors go into choosing a microphone. Dynamic mics, according to DeSimio, are durable and have a low sensitivity to sound, mainly picking up sound only from the area directly in front of them. This type of mic is particularly known for creating a grittier sound that complements rock music and similar genres well. The condenser mics have a broader frequency range and are also more fragile but produce cleaner recordings. Condenser mics are good for studio use by people with some experience in recording as they have settings to ignore unwanted background noise, while dynamic mics were better for more public use, such as on a stage, particularly in regard to karaoke and open-mic-nights.
DeSimio then transitioned into speaking about the different kinds of cables used, along with how to operate the mixer/preamp. Once the cable connected the mic/instrument to the preamp, the box would then amplify the signal to a usable level – without it, the signal is too weak to be used with a DAW.
After I had practiced setting up the cables and preamp, it was time to practice with the digital audio workstation. According to DeSimio, most DAWs are essentially exactly the same with perhaps just a few design differences, meaning that the free, easily-accessed DAWs can very well produce the same quality content as more expensive options. DeSimio suggested that one should consider GarageBand or Audacity as free DAWs that can complete tasks without issue. We discussed the potential uses of such tools, such as audio-books or podcasts where one might want to change the voice of a particular fictional character or add some variety to the sound of one’s voice to maintain interest from the listener. Utilizing the knowledge presented, I was able to practice a bit with maintaining sound levels within the DAW as DeSimio recorded a bit of Robert W. Service’s poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” using a dynamic mic first and then a condenser mic to show the sound difference.
There is a lot of skill that goes into sound production, not only in knowing how to practically work the equipment, but also in how to use it creatively and innovatively to create audio productions that catch attention and produce the desired effects. From taking this training, the main lesson I gathered is that in deciding what sound equipment to use or invest in, the biggest factor is the main context within the technology will be used. Considering which situation different microphones or equipment will be used in can greatly impact which items are used and what factors one needs to consider in setting them up.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about them while discussing the world of audio recording and its uses with DeSimio, who was more than happy to answer questions along with explain a few tactics used in making sure one can actually record well. There was a great deal of information that I had never even heard of in the training, and it was fun to be able to experiment and see how some of my favorite content in audio-books, songs, and performances is created.