Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
GarageBand for poets.

Late, late last night I did what just might be the most pretentious thing I've ever done. I cracked open GarageBand, linked up my iSight, and did a reading of "Ghost", one of the poems I published in our Fall edition. (Yes, I know our Winter edition is running way behind. Sorry about that.) I took a jazzy stand-up bass loop and slapped that behind it, and then noodled quietly on the grand piano track for effect. The resulting MP3 is pretty cool, but I'm not quite ready to share it with the world yet. On relistening to it, it's very quiet, to the point where you have to strain to hear it, and the iSight microphone picks up a lot of background hiss. I'm not sure how to whack that ambient hissing noise, but I think I'll be able to figure it out sooner or later.

This is a neat portent right here. I'm thinking about posting a call to poets and storytellers for our next edition, and do a posting of Inkblots where all the poetry is available on MP3. How cool would that be?


Right now I'm imagining you recording a cover of Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick." And that's a very happy thought indeed. Or, if you prefer, a very happy thawt...

Your program might have a "de-esser" setting in the audio effects toolbox. Alternately, you could set the limiter to remove all sound levels below -40db. Or you could just scrap it, go buy yourself a decent mic at Radio Shack for $40 and re-record it. The SM-57 or SM-58 is a good cheap, decent quality mike. Make sure to get a stand for it, though, and don't cross the mic cable with any power cords.

I didn't much like my sound professor, but darn it if I didn't learn a lot from his class!

Oh, and now that I think about it, the hissing may be inevitable with your laptop mic, due to the aforementioned electrical current proximity.

You could post my lighting & field project online. It's pretty cool.

*peers jealously at Shannon*

Actually, I need to figure out the best way to wire a mic to the Mac. Nick's Mbox hasn't worked properly in months, so I'm hesitant to go that route. Hmmm.

Oh, that's EASY. Also at Radio Shack you should find an XLR cable that converts to a 1/8" mini stereo jack, which you can plug into the audio line in port on your Mac. Maybe the neatest, most unappreciated thing about the G4 is the audio in quality it provides: you can input at line level audio, which is professional quality, rather than mic line, which is just about good enough for karaoke. Or you could drop some more cash and get yourself a pro tools digi deck, but that seems somewhat excessive.

All this, and I can rewire a ceiling light, too. Beauty, brains, boompoles and BNC's. I am SO cool.

Sorry. It's just been a really ego-stroking day. And I made Geoff peer jealously at me, which just made my entire month. Hee hee hee!

Also, there's minidisco.

They sell a number of small mics, some of which work quite well. If you're in the $40 range + adapter from RadioShack, just get a little mic (or stereo pair) instead--fewer bits and bobs.

But, you might rather follow the advice of the recently-ego stroked woman. She's probably a more reliable source than me any day. And she can rewire lights, which is something I haven't done before. :)

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