The Digital Creation Spaces offer a variety of equipment and software for the production of audio and music. With our microphones, you can record a voiceover to go with an animation, record a podcast, and more. With our MIDI musical equipment you can play and compose your own music or remixes. We also offer software to help you with your audio needs!
We have a wide variety of microphones to choose from to suit all of your needs, from clip-on and hand microphones for filming to table and floor microphones for voice recording.
Azden’s SMX-10 Microphone (at Parr DCS) is designed to attach to one of our DSLR cameras for better sound quality while filming. It’s light enough that it doesn’t weigh down the camera, and comes with a shock-mount and windscreen. Like all directional microphones, it picks up sound from the direction it is pointed at, with minimal pick up from behind, ideal for filming situations when you want to record what’s going to be on screen, and not the loud breathing and coughs coming from the person holding the camera.
For on-camera interviews, you might want to consider a clip-on microphone. We offer the Audio-Technica Lavalier Microphone (at Parr DCS) which is engineered for accurate voice production with minimal visibility.
For recording audio separately from video, you can use a variety of microphones.
One of the easiest to use is the Audio-Technica USB Microphone. It plugs right into a computer USB port and can be used with any sound recording software. It’s perfect for podcasting and voice-over use. Its smaller tripod sits well on any table- just pull up a chair and start recording.
For recordings of a musical nature, you can use either the Shure SM57 Microphone or the Shure SM58 Microphone. (at Parr DCS) The SM57 is great overall for recording instruments and vocals, while the SM58 specializes in vocals. Both are very easy to hold, designed to pick up minimal feedback from handling, and can also be mounted on a tripod. Please note however that both use a three-prong XLR connector, meaning you will have to plug them into a mixboard (which we do have available- see under “Other Equipment”).
For the SM58, we also have windscreens to reduce the “popping” noise on plosives and unwanted breathing.
For most microphones, excepting the lavalier, you can also attach the Auphonix Pop Filter. (at Parr DCS) It can connect to the microphone stand or to the boom, and greatly reduces the plosive popping and breathing noise.
Additionally, you can attach most of the microphones to one of our tripods. We offer tabletop microphone stands as well as adjustible height floor stands, so you can choose what best suits your needs.
As mentioned above, for some microphones you will want to use a mixing board. The Mackie Compact Mixer (at both Parr and Haggard) allows you to control your audio even before you get into an editting software. If you ever need to record a group conversation, the mixer allows you to use up to six microphones at one time, and to do preliminary equalization to get those deep radio voices. Set up can also be fairly simple- just plug in the microphone into the ports on top of the mixer, and plug the mixer in to the computer via USB cable. Then open up your software and you’re ready to go. If you’re feeling more adventurous, look at some mixing tutorials.
And after you’ve recorded, don’t forget to plug in our Sennheiser HD 202-II Headphones to listen to the playback. These headphones provide good insulation from ambient noise while delivering crisp sound with a powerful bass response.
For audio, the softwares used are primarily digital audio workstations (DAWs). Each differs slightly from the others and is better adapted for certain purposes. That said, all are excellent in their own right.
Adobe Audition (part of Adobe Creative Cloud)
Audition is primarily used for audio recording and editing, and produces audio tracks ideal for integrating into video, or to publish as podcasts. It can combine multiple tracks and individually edit each for length, clip stretching, pitch correction, as well as other effects. As a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, it integrates fairly easily with other CD files. Of the DAWs offered in the DCS, it has the most freely available online tutorials.
Ableton Live 9 Suite (at Parr DCS)
Live is used primarily for music creation. You can create and record your own sound clips using a MIDI keyboard and Live’s astounding sound library. Included in the software are 5 synths and 3 samplers, 25 packs with over 3000 Sounds including a wide variety of acoustic and electric instruments, 390 drum kits, and 4000 audio and MIDI patterns to loop for your own composition. In addition to the traditional DAW interface, Live also has the Session view, which allows you to select clips at will and compose in a dynamic manner similar to playing an instrument.
Ignite (by AIR Music Technology)
Ignite is also used primarily for music creation. Originally pitched as a software for musicians, not engineers, the interface breaks from the traditional DAW timeline view and frees you to make music organically. Composing in Ignite is described as easy and essential as pencil sketching before painting. Of the DAWs offered in the DCS, Ignite is the most readily accessible to integrate into your home computer.
While some of these might seem intimidating, there’s no need! There are many resources available online for free for beginners. The following should get you headed in the right direction, but if you need more help, you can try Google or ask a librarian.
For more information, try one of these books:
Mixing can be done on a mixboard or in a DAW. A valuable resource for beginners is Soundcraft UK’s video Guide to Mixing. Split into 17 different videos, the guide starts by identifying what a mixer does, and then identifying the various knobs and sliders. While the equipment is different from ours, the controls do the same thing and the information is just as valid. Soundcraft also published a PDF Guide to Mixing that deviates from the videos and goes a bit more in depth in some areas.
Alternatively you can try other PDF guides such as:
- Mixing with Izotope: Principles, Tips, and Techniques
- Roland: Basics of Mixing
- The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook
Adobe Audition CC
To start recording in Audition, just follow this free tutorial excerpt from Lynda.com:
And to get crisper sound in Audition, follow these steps from Artificial Animation:
Sonic Academy on YouTube has a bunch of digital music tutorials. Try their Ableton Basics playlist, or jump right in and get a drum beat going.
For a more organized course that details each tool, try SadowickProduction’s “Ultimate Course”