Monday, November 23, 2009

Fun with recording software

This will be a quickie.

I recently got a Soundblaster X-Fi Elite Pro, that $300 sound card and audio interface box that is tailor made for music creation. I saved up and debated if I should get it for months, then I just went and got it. I now had the power to run pretty much any sequencing and sound mixing software I wanted.

One of the problems I faced when I switched over to Windows XP was that the software I learned everything on was never meant to run under XP. The old version of cakewalk was written for Windows 3.11, and under XP, there was a lag when using a MIDI keyboard. I'd record, but everything was delayed by a 1/2 second, making it difficult to record.

Of course, now that I purchased all of these accoustic instruments like bagpipes and other wind instruments, I faced a new problem. I don't need MIDI equipment to record them, but I never had anything but a small audio-in jack on my PC to input sound. It worked okay for most stuff -- most of the samples of my old blogs were done with a PC headset mic hooked into my computer's built-in audio.

So I now have this box that lets me plug in real recording equipment like we used in the studio, but I needed some modern software to use it.

I tried Cakewalk's Sonar program, and I could not figure out how to do anything, even after reading the help filesa and quick start guide. For some reason, the creators decided to make their product only for people who were already audio engineering professionals, as opposed to the earlier incarnations of the program which were intuitive enough to figure out without reading the instructions. I tried demos of other programs, and they were all made for people who were already experts. In other words, I needed to take a course to figure it out (the music stores offer them too, because they can make more money that way. Piss on them! I threw away the demo discs I got, and went to the internet to download some old outdated software that a friend recommended.

The piece of old mixing software was Cool Edit Pro 2.1 -- no longer made, and a shame, too, because Adobe Audition, which is what it's replacement was, is not intuitive, and not so simple and quick to use that I can make my own CD-quality recordings with in minutes. I literally had Cool Edit Pro 2.1 on my PC for only about an hour before I put the sample below together. That's me on the drums, me on the tambourine, me on the bagpipes, and me on the recorder, in a "church" (one of the ambient settings you can add), playing Cantiga 100:

Cantiga 100 Sample

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