Digital Audio Reflection

Digital Audio Reflection

I correctly predicted that I would enjoy exploring the resources for this module. I wasn’t disappointed by the podcast on the history of audio production, and intend to listen to the rest of the series over the next couple of weeks. I also really enjoyed exploring StoryCorps recordings. My favorites were one with Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed, two transgender Vietnam veterans, and another featuring Civil Rights activist and Congressional Representative John Lewis

At the beginning of the project, I endeavored to record a StoryCorps inspired interview with someone. After listening to the StoryCorps interviews, I was really excited to attempt something similar. Unfortunately, I ended up catching a cold, and lost my voice the day I planned to conduct the interview with my brother. I needed to scrap this plan and come up with a new way to showcase what I’d learned.

I had originally considered the objective to represent a text never previously available as an audio file. I dismissed it as too difficult at first, because it feels like everything is available as an audiobook now. Then I got a crazy idea- If something isn’t published, there’s no way someone has already recorded it. I recruited my dad to read an excerpt from a science fiction story I have been working on, and it turned out so much better than I hoped. I am really proud of this project, and am considering rewriting the manuscript I’ve been working on as a podcast. 

I recorded and edited the digital audio file in GarageBand, and utilized some music loops from the software to add to the production. It was a wonderful learning experience. I had previously worked with GarageBand before, but it had been awhile. I used to try to make songs on my dad’s eMac in elementary school, and this project definitely brought back some fun memories of that. 

In terms of process, I really wanted to use an external mic instead of the one built into my laptop, just because I wanted a better sound quality. I ended up using my younger brother’s X-Box headphones to have my dad record the audio. The mic was surprisingly good, and had less feedback than the built-in or other pairs of headphones with mics I had available. 

I had another goal for the module though. I also wanted to listen to a podcast and think critically about all the intentional sounds used. I ended up listening to three different podcasts. I listened to episodes of Keep It, Las Culturistas, and Pop Culture Happy Hour. All three are pop culture podcasts with two to three hosts and a weekly guest. I noticed the level of production on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour as very official, much more akin to NPR’s typical radio programming. Las Culturistas and Keep It tend to be far more conversational in tone and production. I noticed how when someone is speaking on Las Culturistas, they didn’t tend to edit out the natural responses of those listening, and the hosts would speak at the same time on occasion. Keep It uses different musical cues when going to commercial or beginning a new segment of the episode.

All in all, this first module was a wonderful experience, and I’m really glad that I chose Digital Audio. I’m proud of Chapter One, and excited to have acquired some new skills in digital audio production, as well as an increased appreciation for the time and skill required and the purposeful techniques used to make these recordings.

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