zhmort (zhmort) wrote,

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The Seventh Version Of The Tools Which The Professionals Do Use

Based on an increasing desire to find a way to get music back into my life, and, well, a whim, I decided to take the interesting-looking Audio Recording Techniques online class this summer instead of my usual something-or-other programming course. It was the first time I'd noticed it in the catalog, and it was immediately interesting because the description said the class gives an introduction to Pro Tools.

Wikipedia says "Pro Tools is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) by Digidesign for music production and digital audio editing". I've done a little bit of research on electronic music production in the last couple of years, and have read many times that, although there are many recording tools out there, Pro Tools is the "industry standard". So an intro class sounded perfect for getting my feet wet.

A little investment was required. In particular:
  • Pro Tools requires a hardware interface. I elected to use the cheapest option, the Mbox 2.

  • I'd also need a microphone (I chose the Shure SM57 based on good advice from the instructor), and a mic stand with a boom, and some Monster cables, of course.

  • I went to Guitar Center, which had recently relocated. Omigod do they have a lot of cool stuff. I could see how a hobbyist could lose all his money there. More tempting to me than Vegas, by a LOT.

So far, I'm ecstatic with the results. I've spent a total of about 16 hours on my project so far, and here is what I have at this point:

Update: Here is the (so far) final version (v1.0): http://zderek.com/audio/Where_Is_Tommy.mp3

I'm very pleased with it for a first project, and I'm looking forward to learning a lot more, especially figuring out how to use MIDI with it (so I can get my Korg Karma synth in on the action).

(Click the image to see the full size screen shot. I think it's beautiful. :-)

For those who may wonder, this is basically a children's song, written for my son Tommy, to comemmorate the first part of his current nightly Bedtime Routine With Daddy. We start with both of us "hiding". I lay on the bed, and he lays on the floor, and we pretend we're hidden. Then I say, "Where is Tommy. I can't find him. Has anyone seen him?" And then Tommy says, in the cutest tone of voice imaginable, "How about the mon-keeey?" Then I send the stuffed animal monkey over the side of the bed onto Tommy, and we cheer because he found Tommy. And then it's time for... MONKEY CARTWHEELS! ... and other Monkey acrobatics, in which we send the monkey flying through the air like Superman, or a helicopter, or a corkscrew, etc., while laughing and having fun with it. There's lots more, a children's symphony's worth, if I get around to it, but this was all I could get in one 5-minute song for now.

The one other item to add is that "Sneaky Snake" is not really related to the bedtime routine... we just say it sometimes because it's fun. My friend bogosity and our other friend Dirk used to sing "I don't like no Sneaky Snake" when we were in the Army band together, so that's been in my head for years. Now it comes up any time there are pretend snakes around, such as the cute stuffed animal snakeys our group of friends gifted to Tommy when we pooled our tickets together after capitalkay's birthday party at Dave & Buster's earlier this summer, or more recently, the pool sweep in our pool at home. (We call him "Snakey", and Snaky is sneaky! Sometimes, Tommy says, "I call him Stakey!" (Steaky? long "a" sound...), which doesn't make any sense, but hey, he's only two. :-)

Oh, one more thing. I got Tommy's contributions to the song all in one pass. I had a first version of the tune, and I was playing it for him. He was digging it, so I turned on the Mbox and put the mic in front of him, and then just kept letting him talk into it, and asking him to repeat "How about the Monkey". (I had kind of had the idea to get that particular sound sample into a song a while back, because it sounded so cute. Basically, this whole song is an elaborate introduction for that one Tommy-sentence.) I recorded him for about 5 minutes, then came back later and sifted through it to find just the clips I liked the most. I don't know what he's saying in the one incoherent run-on babble that I used for the end of the verses, but I like it, rhythmically and otherwise. It makes me happy. For the record, though, he talks much more completely and sensibly than that normally, but he was feeling silly because the song was silly, so he just went for it. I think he has a future as a jazz scatter. :-)

Oh, and one more "one more thing", his laugh has not been doctored, nor anything else in the song. Spliced, cut, pasted, etc., sure. But not modified in any other way. (Same goes for me.)

(...up to this point, anyway... because I haven't yet found the Reverb button! I'm sure it must be big and red! Someone show me! ;-)
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