By Peter Bosher
This is a summary of the TAVIP Masterclass webinar held on 10 May 2023, and which was attended by around thirty-five members. It was deliberately wide-ranging, to give an introduction and overview, so in the first half, I asked the question: “what do you want to record?” such as somebody else’s voice for a podcast or audio book or magazine, interviews, music, acoustic or electronic instruments, field recordings of birds, wildlife, nature soundscapes, or specific sound effects. It might be for souvenirs of family holidays or outings, or perhaps you need to transfer old tapes, vinyl records or CD’s. Any of those scenarios were fair game for the session.
I explained the different ways of capturing sound, either using different types of microphones, handheld recorders with built-in mics, from makes such as Zoom, Olympus, Sony, Tascam, Rode etc or using a smartphone, iPhone or Android, with mics from the likes of Shure, Rode and Sennheiser. For this purpose I discussed apps such as Recorder HQ, Just Press Record, and the Voice memos app built into iOS.
This led on to audio interfaces, the devices which link the sound source to a computer, and the software used to edit the resulting files. This software splits broadly into two types, stereo editors such as SoundForge and GoldWave for Windows, and Amadeus Pro for Mac, and then multitrack software, usually called a Digital Audio Workstation (or DAW) for recording multiple tracks and combining electronic and acoustical instruments for music and drama.
I then played a series of short demo’s illustrating: mic positioning, different methods of how to deal with recording levels, editing, processing such as equalisation and compression, ways to clean up audio, and effects used in creatively adapting or enhancing sounds.
The second half of the session was open for questions and discussion, and covered topics such as scripts and add-ons for using programmes like GoldWave, SoundForge, Reaper, Logic and ProTools with screenreaders, normalising and dealing with levels in live mixing situations, transferring from vinyl and CD’s, locating and identifying music, the use of machines specially designed for visually impaired people, such as the Victor range from Humanware, the new Sense Player from HIMS, and other options, particularly recommending Steve Nutt of Computer Room Services as a fount of knowledge on those as well as the Olympus range mentioned earlier.
That discussion highlighted two topics for possible future sessions, one on ‘ripping’ CD’s and sourcing music, and one specifically on Goldwave, that being the most popular affordable stereo editor. As there was particular interest in Goldwave, we are making available a very useful and comprehensive set of notes written by David Reay, who gave a seminar about using Goldwave some years ago. You can download that here:
I concluded the session with a brief introduction to the Sound Without Sight project, described in a previous newsletter. This is the ‘knowledge hub’ and network which launched on 4 May 2023, and supports visually impaired people in the fields of audio and music, so, rather than a list of company websites, which should, in any case, be easy to find through web-searching, I refer you to the Sound Without Sight website:
You are welcome to Email me with any specific queries following from the session, (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you can listen to a recording of the session here: