Lately, Daniel has been busy with tech work at the Arizona Theatre Company I haven’t yet gotten clearance to sit in on, but in the meantime he’s encouraged me to work on my own songs. We went over some tracks on Monday, and he pointed out some issues I had in the control of the color and dynamic vocals over my song. He suggested working on making my rap delivery more stable and consistent throughout and possibly trying a different mic as well. He lent me two kinds: one dynamic and one condenser to try out before I went home, but during the time we focused on a song I had written called “Potion” that was going to be part of a set for an upcoming showcase my friends and I were putting together.
Dynamic (Left) and Condenser (Right) Microphones
The main ways he had me edit the sound were equalizing (or EQ’ing), and compressing the sound in a digital program called FL Studio where I usually produce and record my music. The goal was to make the sound more balanced with the while letting the vocals lay on top of the beat rather the being muffled under or interfering with them. With the equalizer tool, you can adjust certain components of frequency within an audio signal, sort of like molding different parts of wet clay to shape the overall sculpture better. The compressor on the other hand, pushes low and high frequencies together, making the sound thicker in a sense while still keeping it controlled and moderated in amplitude. I had a digital plugin versions of these in my software, but Daniel also showed me how to use a real-life EQ and compressor that he had in his studio for an interesting effect.
Digital vs. Real-Life Compressor and EQ
He handed me a mic and a pair of headphones and I crouched down near the dials. As he turned on the compression the sound of my own voice changed. Even when I tried yelling loud, I saw that the peaks wouldn’t reach past the given threshold on the monitor. As I went back to my own song, I gained a better understanding of what these functions did and while my results weren’t perfect, Daniel guided me through the process of fixing certain elements and let me work on the rest on my own.
Later in the week I tested out the mics he gave me and one more mic Mr. Winkelman lent me (if you’re reading this thanks, btw). I wrapped up the finishing touches of my song and released it a few days later. The finished song is now on Soundcloud: