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Recording “Great Things You Have Done” (part one)

While Ohio was under a “Stay-At-Home” order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided it would be a perfect time for us to record a song together as a family. Thankfully, our home is also the location of Taylor’s Playground Recording Studio.

We took a few pictures throughout the process and had everyone speak into the camera each day, simply talking about their experience. The end result is a song that we are pretty proud of and a fun family memory that we will not soon forget.

We hope that our little recording adventure, as well as the song that was created, will be a blessing to you. God truly has done great things and is worthy of our worship.

DAY ONE was focused on teaching the kids all about the different aspects of the recording studio, and a general overview of how the equipment works. We set up a session in Pro Tools and I walked them through how to physically record and what to watch for.

Their biggest takeaway seemed to be the concept of “clipping”. As an audio engineer, you want the recorded signal to be within a range that is not too quiet, and not too loud.

If the signal is recorded at a level that is too quiet, then it will be too close to the “noise floor”. That is a problem! In that situation, by raising the volume of the recorded sound to the point where it is loud enough for the final mix, you will also be raising the volume of normal humming and buzzing sounds. This will make your final mix sound really noisy… essentially really bad.

If, however, the signal is recorded at a level that is too loud, then it will clip. Audio clipping occurs when an amplifier is pushed beyond its limit. This is essentially “distortion”. In the analog world, this can actually be a desirable effect, depending on the situation. In the digital world, this is really bad. When a signal clips in Pro Tools, the corresponding meter lights up in red, indicating that the track was pushed beyond its limit.

While a signal that is recorded too close to the noise floor sounds bad, a signal that has clipped sounds terrible. It becomes completely unusable.

After sharing this bit of information with the family, they became absolute “Clip Police”! No signal was going to clip… not on their watch. Haha.

With the all-important awareness of proper leveling in mind, we dialed in the drum set and officially began the recording project. Day one was a huge success.

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