I recorded my first CD containing my original songs with the help of a friend who happens to own his personal recording studio. He told me to take all the time that i need to record my songs and to gain more experience he also volunteered to mix the music for me.
This is really my first official recording experience despite that fact that I’ve recorded a few demos years back using a rather classic four track cassette recorder. Digital recording was an innovative idea, and my friend had one of the first set-ups for recording direct to PC hard drive. It absolutely was an indescribable encounter. I watched how my friend did microphone placement for vocals, guitar amplifiers and drums; how he placed instrumentalists in separate rooms so they could play live “together” and he could record multiple tracks without audio bleed-over; how he solved problems on the fly when things did not go as he’d planned. I paid close attention during the mixing process, as my friend would make the smallest changes to the track volumes or equalization to improve the sound. I kept asking questions about the procedure and my friend would patiently explain the whole procedure to me and at the same time answer all my questions. Collectively we produced a recording we can both be proud of.
I don’t think I realized just how much my very first recording experience taught me until many years later, when I was put into a couple of circumstances that drew upon my knowledge. The first one was as a small-time musician, in hosting events where there was no sound engineer or sound person; if I wanted to make it sound good, it was up to me. I was surprised at how I was able to figure out the existing sound equipment and adjust the mix, a little at a time, until it was at least presentable. My very first recording experience provided me with all the fundamental knowledge that I need.
The second situation where I was required to use my fundamental knowledge was when I was hired as an audio engineer and was tasked to write musical scores for two short movies filmed by my son. Not really being qualified (I thought), I felt astounded and quite out of my forte; but I’d learned enough from that time in the studio to detect when an audio signal was too loud or too soft, and how to make up; and in post-production, I was able to write and record multiple songs on a Mac computer, and I knew how to make the modifications to balance the sound levels. In addition to that, I found a way how to remove those unwanted noise in the background from the movie and this is very much helpful whenever the background noise affects the movie quality.
In taking on these projects (which at the time I thought were more than I could manage), I found out just how much that my initial recording experience had taught me. With that experience I was able to determine that you actually learn a lot when you start using what you’ve learned in real life setting.