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Beyond the Studio: An Insider's Look at Home Recording

Categories: Volunteerism

NAME: Dave Bebko LOCATION: Snellville, Georgia BACKGROUND: Bachelor’s degree in physics from Case Institute of Technology, followed by many years working at IBM. Currently retired. FAMILY: Married with 4 daughters and 6 grandchildren. VOLUNTEER HISTORY: 3 years recording in the Athens studio, 9 years recording from home. With nearly a decade of home recording experience under his belt, Learning Ally volunteer Dave Bebko is one of our resident experts on the subject. Newly retired from IBM and looking to volunteer, Dave was introduced to Learning Ally (at the time called Recording for the Blind) by his daughter, who volunteered as a reader while attending law school. Dave found he enjoyed recording, and would make weekly hour-long trips to the Athens studio. He didn’t mind the drive time, but as gas prices began to skyrocket, he explored alternatives with the Athens production staff. They suggested he test the home recording software, which at the time was fairly primitive compared to the tools available now. In the beginning, Dave recorded onto discs that he would deliver to the studio, but with each new version of the software he tested, the process improved. Now recordings are able to be transferred to the studio over the internet. “The software is fairly self-evident and doesn't require a lot of computer knowledge,” Dave explains. “It takes a little getting used to, but once you’re comfortable with the software it’s easy to work with. After that it tends to be very straightforward. Then it’s just a matter of going ahead and reading.” The aspect of home recording that Dave appreciates the most is the flexibility. He’s able to switch between 2 or 3 books at a time, putting his tech background to work with information technology, data networking, economics, and advanced math textbooks. The change of pace that comes with alternating subjects keeps recording interesting. Since he can record on his own schedule, Dave sits down to his computer whenever he has free time, sometimes for a 2 hour recording session, and other times for only half an hour. With his recording computer situated in the relative solitude of his home office, Dave has found that the sound quality he produces is comparable to that done in a recording booth. He’s also found that he records a great deal more now, averaging 8 to 10 hours per week, than he did when he was recording in the studio. For volunteers who are considering home recording, Dave’s advice is simple. “Do it. If anyone is thinking about home recording, they should just try it. Be prepared for some differences, but don’t be intimidated. Home recording, for people like me, who are a bit far from a studio, is a good way to go. The fact that it’s an option makes recording an opportunity for so many more people.” For more information on remote volunteering, please email us at volunteer@LearningAlly.org. 

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