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How to Record Audio Like a Pro

How to Record Audio Like a Pro

Have you ever wanted to compose and record your own song? Maybe you need to record a phone call to someone. Perhaps you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack for a video or slideshow you created. Here’s how to record audio, depending on the source you’re recording and the type of audio you need.

Voice Recordings

Singers

    Plenty of options exist for a simple voice recording. Telephone microphones are designed to pick up the normal range of the human voice. This gives you several options for creating a voice memo on your phone. The first way is a simple answer that works no matter what type of phone you have: Leave yourself a voicemail.

    If you have a smartphone, your options are expanded quite a bit. Evernote is one of my favorite program for all types of notes, including audio notes. If you’re unfamiliar with Evernote, this video will give you the basics to get started, and this video will show you how to record an audio note. Using Evernote, you can easily access your voice audio recordings from both your smartphone and PC/Mac.

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    Recording Phone Calls

    protect-cell-phone

      Recording a phone call is a little different. Every state has different laws on whether or not you need to inform the other party prior to recording a phone call and the purpose of such recording. This is why you hear a recorded warning that “this call may be recorded for quality purposes” when calling customer service. For specific information on such laws where you live, check out the Digital Media Legal Project’s phone and conversation recording page here

      Once you understand the legal ramifications of your actions, you need to decide among your options. If you have a smartphone, download TapeACall Pro from iTunes for $9.99 or Auto Call Recorder from Google’s Play Store for $6.99.  These apps allow you to record phone calls from your smartphone with no extra equipment needed.

      If you’re still using an old cell phone or want to record a phone call from a landline phone, the Olympus VN-702PC Voice Recorder is a great option. Simply hook it up to your phone’s headphone jack and hit record. If your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack (common in old corded phones), you’ll need an additional adapter to utilize the phone’s handset jack for call recording.

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      Recording Live Musical Instruments

      While voice recording is easy, things get a little more complicated when recording music. This is because each instrument has unique attributes. It used to be that the only way to obtain a professional recording of a musical instrument was to pay professional fees for a professional studio with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment. Those days are long gone, but the art and science of audio recording isn’t.

      Piano

        The first thing you need is recording software. Macs come equipped with a home audio recording and production program called GarageBand. Find more about how to use it here. PC users aren’t as lucky with preinstalled software, but that’s okay. Regardless of what type of computer you use, Pro Tools, the software used by professional recording studios, comes free with the audio recording equipment you’ll need.

        The 3 pieces of hardware needed for a professional audio recording are a microphone, mic cable, and computer interface to connect it to your computer. Professional studios use the Shure SM-57 as an all-purpose instrument microphone. It’s capable of making professional, CD-quality audio recordings from just about any instrument. You should be able to find one for $100 or less at your local music store. Otherwise, click this link to purchase one from Amazon.

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        You’ll also need an audio interface device. The M-Audio MobilePre is a great all-in-one solution that comes with a basic copy of Pro Tools and a USB cable to hook it up to your computer. You can purchase one from Amazon here. Once you have a mic and interface, all you need is a microphone cable to connect everything and you’re ready to start producing professional, CD-quality music recordings.

        File Conversion Software

        sliders-on-mixing-board

          No matter how you record your audio, chances are you’ll eventually need to convert the audio file to another format. While most recording software has options to do this, occasionally you need to play or create a file format that isn’t supported.

          Audacity is the most expansive and intuitive program for this process. Download the free program from their website, and drag and drop the file you wish to convert. You can perform minor tweaks to the file and save to a large variety of the most popular audio formats.

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          If you’re on a public or work computer and can’t download software, learn how to convert audio files to MP3 on the web for free here.

          Audio Recording Tips

          microphone

            Audio recording is both an art and a science. Recording professionals go to school for 2-4 years to learn the basics, and it takes years of practice to find the exact settings and style that work for you. Here are a few tips to get you started:

            • Whenever possible, record each instrument with 2 microphones. This gives you 2 raw files to mix and match for the perfect sound.
            • When using multiple microphones, always ensure the distance between the microphones is 2x the distance from the closest microphone to the recording source. For example, if you’re singing into a microphone from 1 foot away, the 2nd mic needs to be 2 feet away from the 1st mic. If you don’t follow this rule, the sound recorded on each microphone will cancel each other out during playback.
            • It’s important to test the recording volume to avoid recording audio that is either too soft or too loud. As a general rule, you will not speak/play as loud during your test as you will during the actual recording, so decrease the volume by 5-10% to make up for this.
            • If you hear static during a recording, it is likely caused by the microphone being
              turned up too loud, thus cutting off the sound wave. Try turning the microphone down a little bit.
            • It’s easier to turn an audio recording down than it is to turn it up, so make sure you have the microphone turned up loud enough to obtain a quality audio recording to avoid having to redo your recording.
            • If you have any questions during the audio process, don’t be afraid to go to your local music shop and ask for assistance. Musicians are a valuable resource for information in regards to audio recording.
            • Don’t bother recording a live concert on your cell phone. Not only is it illegal, the quality won’t be anything near what you’re experiencing in person.

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            Published on September 20, 2018

            11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

            11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

            In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

            Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

            In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

            Minimizing Tabs

            Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

            Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

            Incognito Mode

            Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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            1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
            2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
            3. Download extension New Incognito Window

            This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

            Save Webpages as PDF Files

            Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

            Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

            Open Recently-closed Tabs

            Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

            One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

            The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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            Solve Mathematical Problems

            Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

            For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

            Play Media Files

            Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

            In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

            Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

            With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

            Stay Focus(e)d

            Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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            Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

            With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

            This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

            Grammarly for Editing

            Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

            You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

            Loom

            There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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            There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

            With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

            Chrome Calendar Extension

            No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

            Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

            Final Thoughts

            Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

            Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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