Chicago Audio Studio and Campus Audio Resources

by Baynard Bailey

A few years ago I gained access to and gradually became the manager of the Audio Studio that is in the basement of Chicago Hall. The audio studio has a sound-treated room with two high-quality cardioid microphones on movable stands, and a computer equipped control room and mixing board. The sound treated room can fit three to four people comfortably, but entire a cappella groups have been known to squeeze in from time to time.

The space is the legacy of Rick Jones, a retired sound engineer that used to support the technical needs of the language faculty. The studio has supported countless student and faculty projects, as well as professor hosted podcasts like Curtis Dozier’s Mirror of Antiquity.

Gaining Access

If you are interested in doing a one-off recording, you can email me (Baynard Bailey) and I can engineer for you. If you have a need for multiple recording sessions, then I can train you on the equipment and the room protocols and put you on key permission. Afterwards, just reserve the room by emailing me, and then you can pick the key up from the circulation desk in the Main Library. (Bear in mind that Chicago Hall is open from from 7:30am-7pm, Mon-Fri and from 9am-11:30pm, Sat & Sun. After hours access can be arranged.) The training generally takes thirty to forty-five minutes but it can go quicker if you are already comfortable with audio tech such as sound boards, XLR and USB connections.

Technical Details

The two mics in the room are the Heil PR 40 and an Electro-voice RE20. The sound board is a Mackie ProFX8. The studio also hosts an ISDN line capable of lag-free remote broadcast, but it hasn’t gotten much use lately. If that is something you are interested in, let CIS know and we can plan accordingly. 

Other Campus Sound Resources

The circulation desk in the library signs out USB headsets with microphones that are useful if you want to record on your own laptop and want to improve upon the sound quality of its onboard microphone (usually not so great). The headset enables a more intimate sound containing less room noise. The Main Library also hosts the sound nook for high quality spontaneous recordings in the Digital Media Studio. 

usb headsetUSB Headsets can be signed out from the circ desk for 2 hours at a time. They can also be signed out from Media Resources for a week at time.

 

zoom h1Zoom H1 Recorder kits can be signed out from Media Resources. ACS maintains a classroom set of recorders that can be used for class projects. These are perfect for field recordings. Contact mediaresources@vassar.edu for individual borrowing or acs@vassar.edu for class projects or training. We also have a handful of field recording kits with shotgun mics.

Miscellaneous

There is a band practice room in the basement of Blodgett Hall; to access it, please contact campusactivites@vassar.edu. The Film Department has a small Foley booth but it is generally reserved for Film students.

 

Share

Introducing the Audio Nook

The Audio Nook

ACS has worked with User Services to install an “audio nook” in the Design Studio. Located in the north wing of the main library, this is a DIY audio recording station. It’s a great place to make a quick recording. 

Audio Nook Workstation

The Snowball cardioid microphone does a great job picking up the speech of the narrator at the same time ignoring background noise. You don’t have to talk very loud, you just need to be close. Listen for yourself!

There are two moveable sound baffle panels which dampen background noise and also provide a degree of privacy while you record.

Here’s another angle featuring Digital Media Consultant Jaineel Doshi ’20. 

Audio Nook Workstation overhead angle

The Design Studio staff sits at the design studio service desk and can provide help you if you need it.

Other Campus Sound Resources

Chicago Hall Audio Studio

Chicago Hall Audio Recording in progress

If you need more sound isolation or more privacy, you can arrange to use the Chicago Hall Audio Studio. The space provides more sound isolation and professional quality recording capacity. To arrange to use the space, please email Academic Computing Services acs@vassar.edu.

 

 

 

usb headsetUSB Headsets can be signed out from the circ desk for 2 hours at a time. They can also be signed out from Media Resources for a week at time.

 

zoom h1Zoom H1 Recorders can be signed out from Media Resources. ACS maintains a classroom set of recorders that can be used for class projects. These are perfect for field recordings. Contact mediaresources@vassar.edu for individual borrowing or acs@vassar.edu for class projects or training.

Audacity LogoAudacity is a free program that can be downloaded and installed on Windows or Macs. It is installed on all the Design Studio and Library Electronic Classroom machines.  If you need help, please ask a design studio student employee or email Baynard Bailey babailey@vassar.edu

adobe audition wave form Adobe’s Audition is a “comprehensive toolset that includes multitrack, waveform, and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing, and restoring audio content.” Audition is also installed in the Design Studio and the Electronic Classroom. 

 

 

Share

ACS Collaborates with ART 386 students and faculty on “first-of-its-kind exhibition.”

Amitabha Buddha, Central Tibet, 19th century; pigment on cloth; 38 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.; The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, F1997.6.3.

Amitabha Buddha, Central Tibet, 19th century; pigment on cloth; 38 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.; The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, F1997.6.3.

ART 386,  Embodying Compassion in Buddhist Art: A Curatorial Training Seminar was taught by Karen Lucic during Fall semester, 2014. The purpose of the class was to give students the opportunity to research and curate an exhibition at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. During the summer of 2014, Professor Lucic contacted me to discuss creating a website for her students to use as a repository for their research and eventually this site would become a companion site to the final exhibition in April, 2015. Over the course of the Fall semester, students wrote and compiled content for the site and they worked closely with ACS to design and populate the site.

From ART 386 Syllabus:

Each student will be responsible for the digital content and interpretation of 2-3 works in the exhibition. The instructor will assign the objects to each student, based on her/his experience and preparation. These student contributions will be posted on the exhibition application and/or website. (60% of grade.)

Students will work in teams to produce additional resources for the exhibition: gallery guide, interactive maps, guide to web resources, etc. Students in the team will also give feedback on other team members’ work before submission (20% of grade.)

From ART 386 Assignment Sheet:

The purpose of this assignment is to create digital educational content for the exhibition. Always remember who your audience is: visitors to the exhibition, or online users, who might not know much—or anything—about the topic. What you write, and your choice of materials should be based on your assessment of what will enhance their experience and understanding of the exhibition. Texts should be concise and to the point. Other materials should be short but engaging.

For each work you have been assigned:

1) Write an interpretative text (no more than 100 words) for app/website

2) Select one comparative image (must be open access and high resolution); include full caption of comparative image

3) Write a text (no more than 100 words) explaining the comparison

4) Select an audio file, if possible, that enhances the work (no more than two minutes). Examples: chanting, singing, mantra recitation, etc.

5) Select a video file, if possible, that enhances understanding of the work (no more than 2 minutes). Examples: practitioners circumambulating, prostrating, spinning prayer wheels, making sand mandalas, offering incense, etc.

6) If there are no appropriate audio or video files, choose another comparative image.

7) Compile a list of unfamiliar terms from your texts, with definitions

8) Map your work, at least by country. With some works (Putuoshan, Nachi, etc.), it may be possible to be more precise about locations.

9) Record your written contributions.

While students were working to create the content for the site, ACS student employee Bryce Daniel worked on building a wireframe for the WordPress site. Professor Lucic also collaborated with Duke University students to design an App for the exhibition. The App hosted audio files recored and edited by ACS Consultant, Baynard Bailey. These recordings, narrated by both students and Professor Lucic, include short commentaries describing individual pieces in the exhibit, as well as a pronunciation guide for a glossary of terms.

The Embodying Compassion WordPress site is a comprehensive online exhibit reference guide, containing audio, video, images, interactive hotspot maps, and extensive research, curated by ART 386 students. This project proved to be a excellent example of how students, faculty, and ACS consultants collaborate to produce educational materials for the classroom and public audience.

 

Links:

Embodying Compassion Website

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art  Center: Embodying Compassion is a first-of-its-kind exhibition celebrating one of the most important figures in Buddhist art, April 23-June 28, 2015

Get the App

 

 

 

Share

Downloading Audio and Video from YouTube

If you want to download the audio or the video from a YouTube video, here’s a great resource for you: http://offliberty.com/

It is very straightforward. Paste the YouTube url into the box, and press the power button. After a shortish wait (can be longer if the video is long) you will be given the choice of downloading the audio as .mp3 and/or the video as .mp4.

The demonstrative part of this video begins at 51 seconds in.


I can imagine any number of situations where this utility would be extremely handy. (It is always good to have a backup plan when you are teaching a class.) However, as the website points out, “Sometimes browsing offline content requires permission from its author or owner. Remember to be sure that you have it.”

Share