Students pressed “play” on Recording Lab
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GCU News Desk
Once upon a time, books were the best way to learn about the world. The people who wrote them simply needed paper, a pen and a quiet place to write.
Podcasts are all the rage today, and producing them from the comfort of your home isn’t that easy. You need equipment. Good equipment. Do you need space. Above all, you need a place that is not only quiet, but soundproof.
Grand Canyon University students, staff, and alumni have found such a place to create podcasts and more: the GCU Recording Lab, located on the fourth floor of the Technology Building next to the Recording Studio. . One of the newest Lopes Live Labs, built last summer, opened this academic year to loudly proclaimed praise.
From 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, users can reserve one of four rooms.
The blue and burgundy rooms and the larger orange room are only $5 per hour and $18 for a four-hour session. The cost of the largest unit, the Purple Room, is $10 per hour, assuming it will usually be occupied by at least two people who can split the cost. There are also special rates for a month and even a semester.
The result has been a new culture in which a dozen students have created new podcasts, and the work done in the lab is regularly shared on her Instagram page.
“It was cool to see all these students starting new projects because the resource exists,” said the lab coordinator, Joseph Vaught, responsible for creating the planning process and protocols.
The typical student feeling, according to him:
“Now I can go to this space which is so much better than my bedroom, where there is an air conditioning unit and there are noisy roommates.”
So why are podcasts suddenly making the news in the media industry?
“It’s the new radio. It’s the new voice of the world,” said Eric Johnson, which runs the recording studio and recording lab. “We don’t have time to read, but we have time to listen. I no longer read books, but I listen to audio books.
Does Christian, a worship arts student who regularly uses the lab, sees it this way:
“If you’re in a car and you’re bored, that’s just what you do sometimes if you’re tired of listening to music. It has become much more popular over the past couple of years. I think it’s partly the pandemic because people were stuck at home all day. You couldn’t meet and work on music, but what you could do was sit on Zoom and record yourself talking.
Christian, indeed, has spent the last five years creating his own home studio.
“Next to that, it’s the most comfortable space I’ve been in,” he said, sitting in the orange room. “I normally get writer’s block when I’m in other spaces.
“I write songs, I arrange songs for people, I create scores. Sometimes it will be editing podcasts, mixing and mastering. I love these rooms.
He loves them so much that he uses them two to three times a week, for two hours at a time. He’s so serious about making a career out of it: Like Johnson, he graduated from the Gilbert Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, and he hopes to become a songwriter and studio technician.
But he also keeps his faith front and center by sharing.
“I try not to be here too much because I want to let other students use the rooms,” he said.
Vaught was giving tours Monday at the open house. First, the blue and burgundy rooms, each of which can accommodate one person. There is no computer, just an interface, headphones and access to all the microphones in the lab.
“The most common use is as a one-person podcast or vocal sing-along,” Vaught said. “They can put down their computer, open their project and start recording in a minute or two.”
Microphones are essential. Users can choose a microphone when making an online reservation, and the certification process outlines the types of microphones, what they are used for, and how to use the recording software.
“They don’t come in completely blind,” Vaught said.
The Orange Room offers different types of recording software – GarageBand, Logic Pro, Pro-Tools and Ableton Live, as well as Final Cut Pro for video. It’s a great place for a one-person podcast.
“If a student has some experience and some software, for the most part we’ll have one of those,” Vaught said.
The Purple Room features a rectangular table – perfect for a two or four person podcast – in addition to the computer console. It has the same software as the Orange Room, but in a larger space. Users are free to unplug computers and use their own devices.
Comfortable tables and chairs are set up outside the check-in rooms for collaboration, if needed, or just as a nice place to wait for a play.
The list of lab projects goes far beyond podcasts. The most common usage, unsurprisingly considering it’s GCU, is faith-related. But there are others, like a group of students from the College of Fine Arts and Production who are scheduled to record “Little Women.”
Johnson said Vaught had done such a good job of creating a new culture in the lab that one student wanted to start a new club – the Recording Club. A kick-off meeting for a new Songwriters Guild drew 30 attendees.
“The nature of the projects underway is quite telling and very encouraging,” Johnson said.
So the word is spreading to the rest of campus, judging by the daily usage numbers. It’s the place to go for all recording needs – and especially if you want to start your own podcast.
Voice of the world, indeed.
“It’s just a way to get more intimate with your art and craft and share it with people,” Christian said.
How ironic that students, staff and alumni can delivered a recording room. The world has turned the page on communication, and it’s an audible change.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].
UGC Magazine: GCU’s new recording lab set to go live this fall
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