Like last year, all entrants are going to cut a "demo tape" for Otaku Idol. Before the screams go out that "I can't do that!" yes you can, and it's simple enough that ANYONE can do it!
If you already know how to record yourself at home, then skip this FAQ and see how to submit your demo tape for Otaku Idol 2012.
THE FOLLOWING GUIDE IS PRESENTED AS-IS, WITH NO WARRANTIES, GUARANTEES OR TECH SUPPORT PROVIDED. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO AUDIO MIXING AND PRODUCTION, BUT SIMPLY A DEMONSTRATION OF THE EASIEST PATH TO A USEABLE ENTRY.
The best balance between cost and performance is to buy yourself a stereo headset with a microphone. These are available at any Best Buy, Staples, Office Max, and pretty much anywhere that sells computer hardware and software.
Of course you can also use any microphones you already have. Please do not go out and buy prosumer or professional grade equipment just to do this, it's simply not necessary. Many handheld microphones have big 1/4" plugs on them, you can buy an adapter (1/4" to 1/8th")
You shouldn't have to spend more than around $15 on this. And what you will pull out of the package is the headset, with 2 plugs on the end of the wire, Green and Pink. If you've bought your PC in the last 5 years or so, you will have corresponding green and pink jacks on the back or front of your computer (or both). They'll be right next to where your speakers plug in. Plug the green (headphones) into the green plug and the pink into the microphone (pink) plug. Macintosh owners should have plugs with headphone and microphone (line in) icons.
SAMPLE, MAY NOT MATCH YOUR COMPUTER
Microphone placement is important for a good recording. Do not place it in front of your mouth
Or like this
Instead place it slightly above your mouth, at approximately a 45 degree angle. This will help avoid breath pops and sound clipping.
Download a free audio editor called Audacity
This program is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux and more
If you want to output MP3 from Audacity, make sure you download the LAME plugin as well.
When you start it up, the first thing you're going to want to do
is to set the inputs you want to record. The easiest thing to do is to use the "what U hear" function, that will digitally record everything that's going to your speakers. Look in the picture, and
select "What U Hear" from the dropdown box.
Now you're ready to record
You need to adjust your input/output levels before you record, so double click the volume icon in the taskbar (circled in blue). This will bring up the Play Control menu. You need to use the Wave/MP3 slider (green) to adjust the music volume while you record, and the Microphone (red) slider to adjust your microphone's volume level.
If you don't see these options on your play control, click "options" at the top, then "properties." At the bottom is "Show the following volume controls.' Check "Wave/MP3" and "Microphone".
IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE WITH THE MICROPHONE INPUT, LINE-IN MAY ALSO BE USED
Make sure the mute checkboxes are not checked on the Wave or Microphone channels
Insert your CD into your computer/load up your MP3 or MIDI and we're all set to go (acapella people ignore this step)
Now that you're about to hit record, take a minute and relax, and when you really feel ready, hit that big red circle to start recording. Press the tan square when you're ready to stop. Make sure you have your headphones on and your speakers off so that you get the best sound quality.
When you finish, play it back. If you're like me, you're probably not going to like what you hear on that first try, and that's OK. The beauty of computers is that you can keep trying. Play around with the volume sliders to make sure that either the music or your voice isn't too high. Try moving the microphone around and see if that helps.
When you're happy with what you have, Go to File and then "Export As MP3" and you're all finished. If you're going to burn to CD and mail it, use "Export to Wav".
Feel free to play with the software if you want to get fancy. Instead of "What U Hear" you can set it to your microphone input and record just your vocals. Then you can apply effects and play around with the sound in other ways. Experiment and enjoy!