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Home Recording: Beginner scenarios

Posted by on 25/05/2017

Şerban Stănescu, 5 Years as Linux Daily User


I will start this article with huge thanks to Hannes Antensteiner, for the feedback on my previous article, on Linux Europe.

What “did the trick” to offer me a very interesting perspective, was the word “workflow”. Since I am a certified Project Manager, the concept of workflow, has a meaning to me and as a beginner in music and audio, particularily under Linux, I think this is the best way to put it!

Based on the goals a beginner has (mostly voice and desktop recording), I can figure out the following scenarios.

A scenario, is a situation description, that gives you the idea of “What’s going on here?!”, or “What might happen if…?”

Starting from a short description of the situation (the scenario), we can figure out what resources we have and what resources we need, and this would be the next step in building and using our studio.

To help you start up, here are some scenarios I followed and got things going. The OS I use is Linux Mint (meaning: Ubuntu repositories!) for daily tasks and some less trivial tasks such desktop recording, voiceover and audio tracks mixing.

  1. Voiceover and voice recording or classic instruments. Workflow consists of airwaves (mechanical energy), microphone (mechanical energy into electrical energy converter; outputs analog signals), electric energy (the electric analog signal is the output of a microphone), audio interface (the tool that converts the analog signals into digital signals and viceversa, ADC/DAC) and finally, our computer. The computer allows us to “catch” the digital signal provided by the audio interface, and route it into various software tools, for various DSP – Digital Signal Processing purposes. So, the next link in the audio chain would be the dedicated audio (and MIDI) software, which are a large category of tools, that represent a virtualisation of actually existing musical hardware such as mixers, synthesizers, musical instruments and the like. Since computer programming is limitless, there are also lots of original virtual devices, available only as plugins for dedicated tools, such as the DAWs, the Digital Audio Workstation type of recording and DSP software. The last piece of the audio chain, consists usually of a pear of speakers, which are the devices that get the analog signal from the audio interface, and turnit into mechanical energy (airwaves) or what we percieve as “sound”.
  2. Recording the desktop activity. The goal is to translate your computer skills in using the various applications (computer programs) to reach a specific goal, to fulfill a specific task, and share your knowledge with whoever is in need for a fast method of learning something new. This scenario, tipically involves you (the primary sound source), a microphone connected to the audio interface, a software capable of recording both the audio input from the audio interface AND the video output from the video interface. What we see on the display, is the output of the video card, either onboard or dedicated.
  3. Recording multiple sources of signal. This is the most complex scenario possible, since the number of signals we can record using the computer, depends mostly on the performance of the available hardware. That means that if we have a complex audio interface, with multiple inputs/outputs, we can record simultaneously various sources as human voice, environnement sounds, acoustic intruments, electric instruments and finally, digital MIDI instruments, like synthesizers and arrangers. Combining them into a final product (an audio album or a video, or even both), is only limited by our creativity and… our budget, obviously. Technical advance now puts far away the limits of creating music and video AT HOME, set forth by hardware accessibility some two decades ago, and even 10 years or even 5 years ago.

The three scenarios above, cover the basic aspect of CAPTURING the audio and video signals. And as a beginner, I only focus on this achievement. Remember? A great, a worthy goal, is achieved best in small steps!

As you already can figure out, the basic scenarios can be developped into many variations, according to the goals we set.

În the next article, I will visually approach this scenario thing, which is somehow more suitable for me.

I will also further discuss about the „Media Content Creation Studio”, since the concept of Home Studio, is closely nowadays to this concept.

Most people talking about „Home Studio”, actually imply only home audio recording, which today i belive is an obsolete paradigm. We have PC microphones, webcams, handycams and many other devices that can be interconnected into a complex studio for Media Content Creation, which means audio recording and mixing, video recording and editing, graphics and photoprocessing.

As you can see, the number of possible scenarios for „Home Studio”, is endless, if we go one step backwards and look at the bigger picture!

See you next time!

If you enjoyed the article and found it useful, please leave me a comment, like it and share it!

My best regards,

Şerban (… As in Sherban!)

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