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Recording My Thai Lessons With a Blue SnowBall

Recording Thai Lessons

I’ve got recording (mostly) sussed…

I finally read all the way through the instructions to my SnowBall, so in this post you’ll get the basics for recording your own Thai too. Whether it’s for your Thai lessons, or a SLR, or a few Thai words here and there.

What I use to record…

  • Mic: SnowBall (inexpensive and gives great sound)
  • Pop filter: Nady MPF-6 Nady 6 Inch Clmap On (guards against spitting sounds)
  • Software: Audacity (free and runs on both Mac and PC)
  • Computer: I’m using a Mac (PC’s are fine too)
  • Thai: A Niwat (translates, does voice, and cleans up nice)

The basic settings to record voice…

  1. On the back of the SnowBall there’s a switch with 3 settings. Flip it left to #1.
  2. Mac (PC will be similar) >> System Preferences >> Sound >> Blue Snowball USB.
  3. Audacity >> Preferences >> Audio 1/0 >> Device Core Audio: Blue Snowball >> 1 (Mono).
  4. Leave the rest of the Audacity settings as is.
  5. Restart Audacity (important).

When I finally had everything in place, there were grins all around. Just check it out.

Recording then.

Recording now.

Both were recorded directly via Audacity without much messing around. Sure, you can tweak the noise removal (as well as a ton of other options), but noise removal makes for a metallic file (once heard, you’ll recognise it on files around the net).

Recording with Audacity…

Open Audacity >> Save Project As (give it a name) >> click the round pink button to record >> click the brown square button to stop.

Cut, paste and delete inside that file, or paste a selection into a fresh file.

To remove volume differences (you’ll be glad you did), select all (Command+A for the Mac, Ctrl+A for the PC), then go under Effect >> Compressor >> and leave the settings as is.

Read the Audacity manual for more editing details.

Personal tip: When recording for long stretches, sometimes my files corrupt. A pain. As a safeguard, save the file, then export as your file type of choice (I’m using MP3 for now).

File >> Export as >> WAV / MP3 …

Setting yourself up…

Living room set upI’m using my living room at the moment. Computer on keyboard stand, script on music stand, mic nearby.

It’s pretty good, but not perfect. What I’m lacking now is a sound booth.

You’ll agree too when you hear the noticeable whooping of a Common Koel in the background of the Thai Alphabet poem (coming next).

In the meantime we’re shutting off the AC’s and fans, holding our breath, and dripping sweat like crazy.

Oh, and hoping the darn birds sleep through each recording session (dream on, yes?) Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing the birds of Thailand (just not superimposed over my Thai lessons).

Still to come, a sound booth…

Harlan Hogan improved on an excellent idea from Douglas Spotted Eagle (no longer online). A portable sound booth. Pretty basic, all it takes is a Whitmor Collapsible Cube and acoustic wall panels (see Harlan’s site for instructions).

If you can’t be trusted with a sharp knife, go to amazon.com and purchase a Porta-Booth ready to ship.

Ingenious really. Douglas figured out that for quiet recording, isolating the mic is a must. But not the whole room.

Featured recording resources and more…

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My passion is promoting the Thai language. Fullstop. Oh, and traveling. I'm passionate about that as well. And photography too.

26 Comments

  1. I thought I’d hear your Thai voice.

    Jessis last blog post..My Warmy Home in Lang Suan

  2. I am unbelievably shy… even my Thai teacher is surprised when she hears it ;-)

    But I’m sure to work my way around to it though (that’s the plan anyway)

  3. You’re a real push and you’re good at it. I didn’t plan to update my blog today, but look what you’ve done…

  4. Hey, great photos Jessi! I’m glad you shared as they are real beauts.

    And now all the guys reading my blog are going to run over to yours to see you in a bikini… :-D

    Last Friday I went to the Mon village further down from me. Next week I’m headed to the other Mon village (the one on the island). I PROMISE I will share both lots of photos under my Bangkok section. Ok? Fair is fair.

  5. Should I put more bikini photos? ha ha…

    Where is Mon village and what island? You mean มอญ, right? How do you find them interesting? I have very little knowledge about them. Please share…thanks.

  6. More bikini photos? LOL!

    Yes, the มอญ.

    The village I’m going to is on Ko Kret island.

    The มอญ are interesting to me because of their ancient history in Thailand. From what I’ve read, the Thais got the Buddhist religion from the มอญ (and they, in turn, from Ceylon).

    I also have a recent interest in the Mani (the original people).

    You see, I decided that if I’m going to live in Thailand for good, then I’ll use my time to check out everything that catches my fancy.

    It’s sort of why I started this blog really. Because the language, culture and history of Thailand catches my fancy.

  7. เกาะเกร็ด??

    You know Thailand better than me! I know มอญ, but I don’t know who Mani and Ceylon are. Sorry that I’m so ignorant, but it’s nice to know how you interested in them and the history of Thailand. If I have a chance to go to BKK, maybe you could give me a lecture on this subject.

  8. เกาะเกร็ด – yes. (I really need to start using Thai for place names!) There is so much more to Thailand than what is on the surface (what most expats see). I just needed to find which surface to scratch. And a bigger problem, what books to purchase. I can research for hours on the internet, but I’m not always confident as to what I’m finding. Books are equally iffy. The Mani are a good case in point (I’ll bore you with that one when you get to BKK ;-)

    But I have time. Hopefully, I have the rest of a long life to wade through the information to get to the gist of the facts. Or rather, the known facts. I may not be an academic, but my interest is keen.

  9. Hi Cat, thanks for your comments. I love your photographs too especially, I noticed that you take photos of cat. I had two cats back home but now my brother takes care of them.

    Your Thai lessons and experiences are very interesting. Reading your blog reminds me that I should put more effort to learn Chinese. For survival:-)

  10. Holy macaroon!!! You speak Singlish!! What a surprise lah…

    I used to study speaking Chinese (not reading and writing) and I was pretty good at it until the teacher went back to China and I couldn’t find any other nice teacher or any Chinese person to practise with. So, now I’m stuck with speaking English because there’s somebody to practise with. :)-

    bye lah…

  11. Whenever I think of how much harder learning Thai is than French, I try and think what it must be like to learn Chinese. And I soon feel so much better!

    I’ve been to Singapore many times (it was the stopover coming out of Brunei). I imagine they do speak a lot of Chinese, but everyone I knew or worked with spoke perfect English. Or rather, Singlish.

    And after 9 years of Borneo, I still speak a bit of Singlish. The Bruneians had their own twist on it, but, same same. I still say ‘cannot lah’, and (obviously) ‘same same’, and such. The rest is so deeply imbedded, I have to have someone remind me of it.

    Btw – there’s a wonderful program for learning the Chinese language (I was wishing there was one for Thai). If you are ever in need, holler and I’ll dig it out.

    Good luck in your Chinese lessons :-)

  12. Lol! Yeah, I love Singlish. It has such a great sing song lilt to it. With British clients we’d be all proper English. Then as soon as they were gone, out would come the Singlish banter with a bit of Malay thrown in. Great fun.

    The British Council was one of my main clients in Brunei. Every year we’d have to come up with a theme for their different education exhibitions, as well as anything else they threw at us.

    One year there was a big UK push in Asia, so the competition between the SE Asian countries was on.

    Singapore come up with ‘UK Ok, lah!’ It was brilliant, one of those ‘I wished I’d thought of that first’ sort of deals.

    But for speaking Chinese, my brain doesn’t have enough elasticity to even try it out. Too complicated. Too rapid fire. I’d always be left in the dust, lah :-)

  13. I went through your “A bit of history..” and It seems to me you’ve been in this world 15 times longer than me (I’m not talking about age, but experience). You’ve lived in so many countries and cities. I’m glad you’ve planned to end up here.

    I’ve just adopted a new puppy.

    Jessis last blog post..A New Ugly Family Member

  14. And I’m glad I found it. After leaving New Zealand, I was looking for ‘home’ for such a long time (since I was in my midteens). Odd that I found it in a big city, but I’m not complaining.

    A new puppy? Lucky you!
    Off to see your new ugly family member… :-D

    cats last blog post..The Expat Women’s Guide to Bangkok

  15. Did you go to เกาะเกร็ด? I’m waiting for lots of photos and interesting information about the มอญ.

    Jessis last blog post..A New Ugly Family Member

  16. It was a different cultural experience from the other มอญ village. This time we were on our own, no มอญ guides. Last time we had two local guides. One ไทย, one มอญ. We also had dancing and music.

    I’m a potter, so it was interesting to see the different kilns on the island. Turtle back, Chinese and electric.

    I have a ton of photos to get online but it’s going to take me a bit. Especially as tomorrow I’m heading out to the beaches of Bangkok to take photos for another site, so there will be even more photos to go through.

    Ah, something curious, which will be of interest to you. The animals on the island were in wonderful health. No mange or sickly critters. The cats were especially a joy (I have cute photos to share with you). The cats were vocal and wanted to wind around our ankles and talk our ears off. Whereas a dog scared the b-jesus out of me when I leaned in to take his photo (he was guarding his spot).

    The people didn’t dress any different than ไทย, unlike in the previous มอญ village where the children had the traditional shaved head with the circle left free (from what I read, all ไทย children wore their hair just so at one time).

  17. สวัสดีค่ะพี่แคท

    พวกมอญที่นั่นทำมาหากินอะไรคะ? (What do the มอญ do for a living?) Why did I translate that? OK…no more translation.

    หมาแมวที่นั่นคงจะน่ารักมาก แสดงว่าพวกมอญต้องรักสัตว์และสะอาดแน่ ๆ เลยใช่มั้ยคะ? อยากเห็นรูปมาก ๆ ค่ะ ทั้งรูปคนมอญ หมามอญ และแมวมอญ :)

    พรุ่งนี้ขอให้เที่ยวสนุกนะคะ ถ่ายรูปมาเยอะ ๆ และเล่าเรื่องเยอะ ๆ ด้วย อยากอ่าน

    Jessis last blog post..A New Ugly Family Member

  18. painter = จิตรกร

    potter = ช่างปั้นหม้อ

    but you’re an artist, so…how about ศิลปินปั้นหม้อ or ศิลปินเครื่องปั้นดินเผา? (pottery artist?)

    Jessis last blog post..A New Ugly Family Member

  19. มอญ ทำ pottery (?) คะ

    ขอบคุณ ใช่ พวก รัก สัตว์ และ จง โชค ดี ค่ะ

    ใช่ ฉัน ถ่ายรูป และ เล่าเรื่อง (วัน ศุกร์…?)

  20. Ok… Pottery… ทำ เครื่อง ปั้น ดิน เผา

    ?Potters? Artists? Artists who work with clay?

    เครื่อง ปั้น ดิน เผา จิตรกร

    ?

  21. Did you have a nice time? Did you bring back anything?

    Pictures, info… quick quick

    Jessis last blog post..I’ve Broken Out In a Rash!! Help!!

  22. I like ศิลปินเครื่องปั้นดินเผา (pottery artist) as that’s what I do. I create from the beginning, I don’t recreate existing work.

    Did I have a nice time? Yes, it was a hoot. We had an adventure as we went down the left hand side of the Gulf of Thailand instead of the right (if you are facing a map north / south).

    While heading home, we stopped off at the Phanthai Norasing Shrine where I saw mud skippers (fish that live on land and water).

    I’ll (hopefully) get the photos up tomorrow night (fingers crossed!)

  23. Yo! you ศิลปินเครื่องปั้นดินเผา! Glad you like it. Anywhere I can see pics of your pots?

    Left hand side of the Gulf, and it’s still Bangkok? Hmm…I see…you went to ศาลพันท้ายนรสิงห์ in สมุทรสาคร. I’ve never been there.

    You’re making life in Bangkok so lively.

    Hankering for photos…

    Jessis last blog post..I’ve Broken Out In a Rash!! Help!!

  24. I don’t have any decent photos of pots I’ve made as I’m more of a sculptor with aims at pottery (I have a kiln imported from the UK). But there’s one of my sculptures on this page http://www.katzidesign.com/gallery/

    I do collect pots though. Have you ever heard of D’Avesn and Catteau? They both worked during the years between the two world wars – around the 1920-30’s. I love their work (but not all). D’Avesn was a Lalique designer way back.

    ‘Left hand side of the Gulf’

    Well, it’s not still in Bangkok, but it’s called the Bangkok beach. Yes, I went to สมุทรสาคร (and I’ll be back as there’s a ton of interesting things to see there.

    An ongoing interest is Spirit Houses. I have what I believe are the only two books written in English on the subject. Great stuff. I’ll eventually write a post on it but I keep getting more information that gets my desire up to take even more photos so I don’t know when that’ll be. I’d like to interview people here about their childhood memories too…

    Btw – BKK IS lively :-D

  25. You painted all that!! Lovely!! I like the Borneo Old Man one the best. Your sculptor, nice, but a bit น่ากลัว for me. But I’m glad to know an artist like you.

    Never heard of D’Avesn and Catteau. I can’t even pronounce their names. I’ve been looking for their pics of art on the internet but couldn’t find any pots. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. I wouldn’t mine if you give me a link of their arts.

    Never known there’s a ton of interesting things in สมุทรสาคร. You could be my tour guide.

    Spirit House ศาลพระภูมิ. Almost every Thai house has one, but I don’t have it in my house because I don’t want a spirit wandering around and haunt my dogs. It’s become a piece of art lately since Beckham came to Thailand and bought several of them.

    So far…very nice to know you. You’re an interesting person and your interest intrigue me. Keep talking to me. Thanks.

    Jessis last blog post..I’ve Broken Out In a Rash!! Help!!

  26. I have most of my collection online, but it’s password protected (need to send it via email). And of course, I don’t own the expensive pieces (I’d be too scared to dust them).

    I’ve loved Spirit Houses since I saw my first one. Then another and another. Something really embarrassing happened, but you’ll have to wait for my post on Spirit Houses to find out what ;-)

    Nice to know you too. I’m looking forward to meeting you some day soon!

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