Why do we record?
Humans have been recording things for centuries, and our technologies have developed and matured exponentially since we started. The earliest known device capable of recording sound was the Phonautograph, which was used as early as 1859. Today, most recordings are digital, using highly sophisticated microphones and digital programs to create recordings that range from completely artificial to almost completely true to real life.
Recording sounds and music is done in part for preservation and interpretation- think of TED Talks and speeches made by the President, these are things we want to have for the future, so that generations of people can learn and benefit from their words. Recording can also be done for entertainment purposes- like movies and music, while these forms of recorded sound can be informative and have a personal impact on people, their primary purpose is not the same as that of a TED Talk.
How do we record?
These days, and here at IC with the sound booth, we record using microphones, audio interfaces, and a computer program. The words or music you make into the microphone gets converted into an electronic signal, carried through a cable into a computer program, which reads and understands that signal as the sound you made. Because it can understand the signal, it can play it back to you and allow you to edit it.
The audio interface we have in the sound booth is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. It is one of the most popular audio interfaces, especially for small recording set ups like the sound booth. Audio interfaces do a lot to help computers with recording:
- Increase the number of inputs and outputs
- Allow you to attach more professional equipment
- Increase the overall quality of your recording
The microphones we have can be used because of the audio interface we have. Without the interface, the computer and microphones can't talk to each other, so no sound can be recorded using them. The 2i2 is plugged into both microphones and provides them with power, so they can record; it is plugged into the computer, and transmits the signal from microphone to computer at a higher quality than we would get from the Mac's built in microphone.
The sound booth has 2 different microphones (pictured below) on which you can record, they are:
Both of these microphones are condenser microphones, which means that in order to operate, they need power. The audio interface that they are plugged into gives them the phantom power that they need, without that power, you cannot record.
Above, you can see the polar pattern dial on the Yeti microphone. When setting up to record with that microphone, make sure you have the pattern you want selected. The Yeti has four settings: Bi-Directional, Omnidirectional, Cardioid, and Modified Bi-Directional. The AT2020 has one setting: Cardioid.
Created with images by TheAngryTeddy - "microphone audio computer" • John Hult - "Mixing session" • Jacek Dylag - "Microphone"