Have lyrics and music; will travel. If someone shows me how.

March 11, 2009 4:48 PM

I have lyrics I have written. I have music (this awesome song posted by The White Hat, which inspired my words and which he has given me permission to use). I don't need to worry about my inability to sing, as I'm thinking spoken word might be the best way to combine the two. But how do I, as someone with basically no experience at recording and mixing music, best combine the two into a song? Where do I go/what do I do from here?
posted by Effigy2000 (4 comments total)

How much experience do you have and what kind of gear, if any, do you have? I'm by no means an expert on this sort of thing but there's a few ways you could go about doing this. I think it'd help to know where you're starting.
posted by BrnP84 at 11:02 PM on March 11, 2009

Experience: none.

Gear: A Windows PC with Goldwave installed that I could probably record my vocals on with a USB mic.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:26 PM on March 11, 2009

I've never used Goldwave, it looks like sound recorder with a few extra buttons. I know Audacity is free and it's supposed to be pretty decent, it looks like it definetely has more features than Goldwave. Without really knowing how your program works I can give you a rough guideline on what you'll need to do.

-Whatever program you use you're going to have to set up at least two separate tracks, one for White Hat's music (which was awesome btw, I can't believe I haven't gotten into his stuff before this week) and one for your vocals.

-Get a pair of headphones and use them to monitor yourself while you're singing/talking. There should be a setting for this on your program, it's usually something you can switch on or off. This means that whatever you say into the mic you'll be able to hear instantly (ideally) through the headphones. This way you can listen to the music AND hear what you're vocal track is going to sound like.

-Adjust the volume coming into the mic before you record, this is what people are doing during mic checks. There's probably a control for this somewhere on your program or maybe even on the mic itself if it's a USB mic. If it's too loud you'll get clipping, kinda like an irratating popping sound that happens. If it's too low and you try and increase the volume after the recording you'll get static. Keep in mind that there's a difference between the volume coming into your mic and the volume that is getting sent to your headphones. The headphone volume has nothing to do with the volume of the recording, it's just kinda like turning down the volume in your car or something. The volume you set your mic at is how relatively loud the vocals are going to be compared to the rest of the track. This is tricky, I don't really fully understand it either and it's something that you're going to need to experiement with.

-Than it's pretty much pressing record and layin it down. Like I said this is a rough guideline, you're going to have to do some homework with whatever program you're using. The quality won't be great b/c of your USB mic, there's some good one's out there but unless you sought those out yours is probably not that good. If this is something you want to get into go buy a decent 50$ mic and an interface. I've only been doing this for a little over a year, I started pretty much where you're at with sound recorder and a built in mic. There's definetely a lot of stuff to learn, I still feel like a newbie with certain aspects but the more you record the better you'll get at it.
posted by BrnP84 at 6:00 AM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

You might find this multi-part video interesting. It's a non-technical guy creating a cover of "God Only Knows" using Audacity, which you can download for free. He does a lot of MIDI stuff first, but hang in there, as he gets into the program later. I think watching him piece his song together will give you insight.
posted by edlundart at 2:17 PM on March 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

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