My Take on Music Recording with Doug Fearn

What Morse Code Taught Me About Music Recording

May 14, 2020 Doug Fearn Season 1 Episode 11
My Take on Music Recording with Doug Fearn
What Morse Code Taught Me About Music Recording
Show Notes

This topic may seem like a stretch in a podcast about music recording, but using Morse code on Amateur Radio taught me quite a bit about hearing acuity. And my experience building devices for my hobby taught me a lot about electronics, circuit design, and construction.

From my first exposure to Morse code from interference from a RCA Coastal Marine station in New Jersey as a kid, to learning the code and using it for over 50 years, the code has been part of my life. Although I do not have much time to use it these days, it is a skill I try to utilize when I can.

I also taught myself the original Morse code, as developed by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail in the 1830s, which is quite different from the modern code.

This episode has actual code segments to illustrate my points, including a recreation of the cacophonous jumble of code signals I had to deal with before I could afford more advanced equipment.

Interacting with people from all over the country and all over the world via Morse code also taught me things about communicating with different cultures and backgrounds.

Special thanks to Ian Alexander, voiceover artist, former radio broadcaster, and second engineer on most of the recording projects I have done over the past 35 years.

As an illustration of one of the points I make in this podcast, I purposely recorded this episode without any written material or notes. Previous episodes have been either completely scripted (usually based on something I had written for another outlet), or at least outlined. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, but I think for most episodes I will stick with scripting them in detail.

As you might imagine, this episode has a lot of edits, some of which are not as smooth as I would like.

Technical details: I used an AEA KU4 directional ribbon microphone for this episode, instead of the usual AEA R44 I have used on most of the previous shows. The KU4 goes into a D.W. Fearn VT-2 Vacuum Tube Microphone Preamplifier, a Merging Technologies Hapi converter, and was recorded in Pyramix. A D.W. Fearn VT-7 Compressor was used on the mix buss, but there is no equalization at all.