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Adventures In Audio with Audio Masterclass
Recording SoftWare for Blind people. Can anybody Please help?

Hands On – Portastudios and Multitrackers (part 5)

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Monitoring

Apart from merely mechanical tasks like pushing buttons and setting levels
which obviously have to be done correctly, being able to monitor properly is
the most important part of the recording engineer’s job and modern musicians
should be able to do this too. You understand the difference between the words
‘to hear’ and ‘to listen’. The former means that your ear
has detected a sound, the latter means that your brain is processing it. ‘To
monitor’ is one step further advanced. It means that you are listening
so intently that you will notice even the slightest fault in the recording on
the first pass. To be absolutely sure you will monitor during recording and
again when you play back the take. If there is any sound that shouldn’t
be on the tape, such as a slight click perhaps, now is your chance to do the
take again and correct it. If it doesn’t seem like much now, it will when
you have heard it a hundred times as you build up the song. Each time you hear
that click it will appear to increase in magnitude until you are waiting, sitting
in agony on the edge of your seat until it has passed. And when you play your
recording to someone else it will be even worse.


When you have recorded the drum track to your satisfaction – your absolute
satisfaction – then it’s the turn of the guitar, or whatever the main instrument
is that your song is based around. An acoustic guitar will need to be miked
up, so connect the mic to channel 1 (I’m choosing channel 1 again just
to prove that you can record from any channel onto any track) and, if there
is the appropriate switch, select ‘mic’ or ‘high sensitivity’.
It’s usually best to monitor on headphones using two pairs, and a splitter
if necessary, if someone else is plucking the strings. Route the guitar to track
2 by record enabling that track and panning channel 2 to the right. Make sure
that track 1 is not in record ready. Of course, you’ll set the level before
you start, and when you do start you’ll hear the hihat count in and everything
should go smoothly.

Drop In

…or punch in as Americans – and the equipment manuals – call it, is where
you fix a fault in a track by momentarily dropping into record from play and
then out again. If there is a fault in the guitar track you should be able to
get some good practice straight away. I believe that all modern cassette multitracks
have provision for a drop in footswitch, for lone recordists, so off you go
to the shops again because you’ll never manage guitar drop ins without
it. The procedure is easy, just play the track from a convenient point before
the dodgy section and hit the switch in any gap in the part, or where a slight
glitch will be covered up by other instruments. It’s usual to have several
goes at getting the instrumental part right, but make sure you hit the switch
at the right time or you’ll erase something you didn’t expect to.
Dropping out of record is a bit more tricky because it usually creates a gap
in the recording, so you’ll need a longer gap in the part. Very often you
can only ever find places to drop in, and you have to perform from the drop
in point to the end of the song each time. Listen carefully to the result when
you think you’re done. It’s very easy to get unwanted sounds or gaps
on the tape, and you might as well correct them now while you’re all set
up.

David Mellor

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David Mellor

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