I decide that I'd use the standard investigation and implement method I normally used that consisted of defining the problem, researching, implementing and refining the implementation.
The first peace of the puzzle that I focused on was finding recording software. From previous experience with recording software I knew there was two different types of recording program types; single and multi-track. Single track recorders are the simpler version out of the two, they normally records from one Input and enable you to edit what you have recorded to be mixed with other audio that you have previously recorded or other sound files.
On the other hand multi-track recording programs allow for recording from multiple inputs onto separate tracks and also edit with other audio files or recordings. For my particular situation I decided to go with a multi-track program even though a single track program would have done the job of recording the sermon but I wanted a program that later down the track that could be used for record bands or multiple presenters at once to more than one editable audio file so that editing and mastering would be a lot easier to do.
Once decide on a type of recorder I went and looked around online for recording software that was both single and multi-track. I decide to look for both types just in case I could not find a suitable multi-track recording program I could still find a good single track one. At the end of the research I had found three possible recording programs; two single track and one multi-track.
Audacity and Sound Booth where the best I found for single track recorders. Audacity was free but had a somewhat difficult graphical user interface that made editing an even slower process and it also required an export module to export to MP3 which was my preferred format so it was out of the running.
Sound Booth had a much friendlier interface but was not select either as it was exceedingly expensive which put the program out of range of the budget. Mixcraft was finally decide to be the program to be used to record with because not only was it a multi-track recorder but it also had and easy to use user interface, a free to use loop library built in, midi editing possibilities and a large on line fan base which are a great help in finding tutorials and provide help to any question through the using the online forum.
Next in the list of to-dos was getting the sound from the sound desk to my computer and it was the part I spent the most time on. This was mainly because there are so many options to plug recording gear into most modern analogue sound desks.
The table below is a list of the 3 main different configurations I tried out and the positives and negatives of each configuration.
With the final configuration in the above table I was finally happy with how I was getting the audio from the sound desk however if you are going to be recording yourself note that you could do it any way you want my solution may not be the best situation for you and you may be able to come up with a better one.
So what did I learn from this endeavour? The most importing idea that I can take from this experience is that designing solutions to audio problems is much easier if you defining the problem, research, implement and refining the implementation rather than designing a solution blindly and getting in way over your head.
Secondly that when designing a solution it is OK to try different configurations because the next one you try may be a better solution and if it is not you can always go back. All in all I'm happy with the configuration I have to record audio for my church and if you interested in recording anything, I say go for it as it's a good experience to go through; particularly if you're into audio technology.
Zach Radloff lives on the Gold Coast and is studying IT technology at university.
Zach Radloff's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/zach-radloff.html