In today’s workshop, we were introduced to using an external microphone to record vocal audio with the TASCAM portable recorders. Previous to this, I had loaned a TASCAM recorder and a Røde stick microphone to practise recording for my project. Therefore, as we had not been introduced to the microphones in the introduction session, I realised I had made some mistakes. However, I think I will be able to overcome these in post-production. When I record again, I will put into practise the new techniques I learnt today.
Firstly, to insert the microphone, hold down the chrome tab on the left that says Push. Now, insert the lead of the microphone with three prongs inside – matching them up adjacently to the three holes in the machine. Push it in until you hear a click.
Then, to insert the lead into the microphone, do the same. This time, squeeze the button on the end of the lead with three holes in, as you push it into the end until you hear that click again. To remove, do the same procedure, but pull out the leads instead.
To ensure that the TASCAM recorder is picking up sound from the external microphone rather than the built in ones, a couple of switches need to be changed. Firstly, slide the switch on the bottom of the recorder (to the right of where the microphone has just been plugged in) to Mic. Also, change the microphone setting on the front of the machine to XLR. To set up the external microphone within the machine, go to Menu → Input Settings → Mic → Mono. Changing the setting from Stereo to Mono ensures that the audio we are recording is on both the Left and the Right side of the speaker. Due to the fact I had not yet been shown this method in the introduction, I recorded my first clips of audio without doing this. Therefore, they are all playing from the left side of the speakers. This is something that I do not want in my final project, so I will persevere to edit this next week.
Lastly, as some final tips, the lecturer explained the use of headphones. He observed that I was using my own headphones which are of higher value than the set given in the bag with the TASCAM recorder, and advised that I don’t use my own. The reason for this is that expensive headphones adjust audio to make it sound better. There is a range from 20Hz to 20KHz that the microphone picks up and this line needs to be level; however, the expensive headphones may adjust this line by increasing the frequency in some areas to cause the audio to sound better than it really is. This is a disadvantage when using the headphones to listen to what you are recording because it will make the quality of sound you are recording appear better, when it actually is not. Therefore, when you come to playing the clips through a different speaker, the real sound will be played at its original quality.
In conclusion, by the end of today’s workshop, I understood how to use the microphone at a higher level than previously when I used one. And, now I am able to put this into practise.