Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Recording the Whistle

At some point after you begin learning to whistle, it may be beneficial to record your playing. Listening to recordings of your playing gives you a fresh perspective of your playing, and can be valuable in pinpointing areas where you need improvement.
Of course, a standard cassette recorder is perfectly serviceable to record your playing. However, you do have a few more options, thanks to current digital recording technology.

Recording Tunes Using Your Computer
Shareware/Freeware is available for downloading that works with the soundcard in your computer, allowing you to plug a microphone into your sound card and record .WAV files. These .WAV files can then be converted to the more standard MP3 files using separate software, also available for downloading from the Web. I have had great success with a freeware program called Audacity, which is availabe at

Using Audacity, I have recorded surprisingly good quality .WAV files of my whistle, fiddle (and, most recently, flute) playing using only the cheesy plastic microphone that came with my old Gateway desktop.

Recording Tunes Using Digital Portable Recorders

OK, now we get to one of the big debates: which is the best portable recorder for recording sessions, rehearsals, and lessons....an MP3 recorder or a MiniDisk recorder? The basic pros and cons:

MiniDisk Recorders: Recording quality is usually either very good or excellent. Blank MiniDisks are fairly inexpensive. Unfortunately, with most MiniDisks you cant drag and drop MP3 files from a MiniDisk player to your PC (you can do this with an MP3 player)...this means that if you want to transfer 3.0 hours of music to or from your PC, you have to let the MiniDisk player run for 3.0 hours.

MP3 Recorders: Most have massive storage capacity. MP3 recorders have drag and drop capbability, allowing you to instantly move large files between the recorder and your desktop. With 20 Gigs or more of hard drive, you can also walk around with something like a bazillion CDs to listen to, and you can record for hours at a time (unlike MiniDisks, which only have an hour or so of recording time each--though rumor has it that Sony is coming out with a new format that will dramatically increase recording time on each disk).


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