Country Blues > The Back Porch

Please Read! Guidelines for the Back Porch

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Weenie Campbell Members, either through the internet or at workshops like Port Townsend's Country Blues Workshop, have always encouraged performance.  Performance often starts by playing in front that little red recording light (and it's amazing how intimidating that red light can be!).  The Back Porch is a place where members of can post mp3 files of their playing.  Any member may post mp3 files, regardless of their level of ability.  It's a place to share handmade music and to get constructive feedback.  You must be a forum member to download mp3 files from the Back Porch.

The Back Porch is a place to

* share Country Blues you've figured out or written yourself.
* demonstrate licks you want to share with others.
* post the Country Blues tune you've been working on.
* show how the Country Blues tune you play has changed in the last six months since you first posted it.
There are alternatives to the Back Porch if you're interested in promoting yourself, Soundclick is one.  It is a free service that allows you to upload sound files and sell CDs.  If you create an account at Soundclick, be sure to create a topic in the Performance Corner, announcing your CD so members can check it out and buy it.

Making mp3 files

We limit mp3 file size to 1,010kb (1 megabyte).  If you need some pointers or tips on how to record an MP3, just ask for some help in the Jam Session board.  In the meantime, we hope that you will find the following information helpful.

There are a couple of issues to resolve if you're interested in creating an mp3 file

1. Record audio in some way
2. Get audio in some digital format
3. Convert digital format to mp3

No matter how you deal with the above issues, you'll have to have a decent soundcard (most computers made in the last few years probably came equipped with a sufficiently good sound card).  The sound card needs to have a line-in jack or microphone input.  For step 3, you'll need some kind of encoding software. If all you've got is a soundcard (with no line-in) and a cassette deck, you're either going to need access to someone with the right hardware and software, or you'll need to do some shopping!

Here's a process that assumes a minidisc recorder or cassette deck is used to capture the audio:

Record the song into the M/D recorder or cassette deck.  Repeat as necessary.

Connect the line-out or headphone jack (for M/D) or line-out (for cassette) into the line-in of the soundcard.  Play the audio from the M/D or cassette while simultaneously recording it on the computer.  Software that can be used to record audio on your computer includes:


These two are free.  There are a number of commercial alternatives depending on how much you can spend.  CDex is intended as a CD ripper, but can also record from the soundcard as well as convert to mp3.  Audacity can do some sound file editing.

When recording from the M/D or cassette, you may need to set the Sample Rate and Resolution.  Here are some suggested settings:

Sample Rate: 22050 (22khz, try 32khz as well))
Channels: Mono
Resolution: 16-bit

Once the song had been captured digitally by your computer, it needs to be encoded as an mp3 file.  In order to keep the file size under the 1,010kb limit, it is recommended that the target bitrate (compression) be set at 24kbps.  This can be changed to 32kbps, depending on the length of the song, but 24kbps is probably a good place to start.  If you want better audio quality, you could opt for less aggressive compression, of course.  Whatever mp3 encoding software you use, experiment with the options - you can learn a lot about the effects of compression just by experimenting.

We look forward to your contributions!  Have fun!

Since I was frustrated for some time by my Mac G4 Cube not having a mic jack, as apparently no G4 or G5 now does, I thought I'd post the simple solution I finally stumbled onto. I think, actually, someone posted about it on the IGS forum a few weeks back. I had looked at all kinds of USB Audio Capture devices with MIDI and phantom power, 2 in 2 out, yada yada, all for way more than I really had to spare at the moment. This little gizmo, which lists for about $40 is an iMic by Griffin and it is a little smaller than a hockey puck, plugs into a USB slot and has a mini jack for a stereo mic and another for headphones. The mic jack can also be switched to line level for inputting from a stereo (RCA plug adapter included) so you can digitize LPs or even 78s).
For those of you Mac users in the same generation as me, i.e. you were well thru college before the advent of the PC, I'll go thru what turned out to be a relatively simple procedure. I used a little stereo T mic by Sony that I bought with my minicisc recorder for PT, plugged into the iMic. I plugged some CD player earphones into the output jack, but didn't monitor while I sang. I opened up Garageband and, following the Help directions for real instruments, I was able to record a simple no effects basic stereo track (well, I admit it took me quite a few takes but that was my playing, not the computer). I played around a bit with effects but eschewed everything but just a titch of echo. Then you select Export to iTunes from the File menu and it mixes down, opens iTunes and delivers an .aif file into your own album file. In iTunes you go into Preferences, select Importing, and select Custom in the Settings menu. Then set the Stereo Bit Rate at 48 and and the Channels to Mono. When you select OK you'll see that the Mono Bit Rate is 24. Select OK again and then select the .aif file and select Convert Selection to mP3 from the Advanced menu. Bingo. Broke Down Engine, which was over 4 minutes came in at about 750 kb. Perfect. You have to find the file in the Finder to see how big it is. Then just open a new Topic in the Back Porch, select Additional Options just below the text box and select Choose File. That'll open up your Finder and you find and select the file, post, and there you are, hangin' out with the Weenies on the Back Porch. Hope this helps some of you folks get over the hump.
All for now.
John C.

Thanks for the tip, John.

For anyone else interested in recording, there's a thread that discusses some techniques and hardware here.  A few weenies have elaborate recording setups, but many do not.  You don't have to be a recording whiz to contribute.

I'm sure there's an obvious instruction that I'm missing somewhere, but I don't see how to upload an mp3 on this site. Assuming that I have a recording in mp3 format, what do I do and where do I go to upload it? Sorry to be so dense but I just don't see where to do this. I did a search on the word "upload" but didn't find anything useful there.

When you post a new message or reply to anything you can click on "additional options" and there you can browse for your attachment (mp3 track)

good luck




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