new (scary) adventures in (not so) hi-fi

Earlier this evening, Natalie and I were experimenting with some digital audio recording .. ok, actually we were recording .wav files on my laptop. She was practicing a song she’ll be singing at some friends’ wedding we’re going to this weekend. (She sounded great, by the way 🙂

I was using Winamp with a line-in input plugin and the diskwriter output plugin to record so that she could hear her own voice. In between recordings, I accidentally switched from diskwriter output to regular, allowing us to hear a just recorded .wav file.

Unfortunately, I forgot to switch back before starting to record again. So instead of being quietly written to the harddrive, the sounds coming in through the laptop’s builtin microphone were played through the laptop’s builtin speakers, which was again picked up by the mic, ad nauseum.
Really — nauseum. The laptop started to screech, like when you pick up the phone right next to the answering machine while it’s taking a message. Only louder .. and harsher .. and much screechier.

It was hurting our ears, so of course I start yanking out cables (why I chose the ethernet cable, I’m not sure). Natalie said “ow” and the machine apparently agreed because it started repeating, half-lost in the shrieking feedback, “ow ow ow ow ow …” Natalie said it sounded like it was posessed … I think it was.

After what seemed like long enough to break our eardrums and the computer’s vocal cords (but was probably only 3 seconds), I hit ‘Suspend’ .. when I turned it back on a minute later, it started with the screeching again. I chose the mute button this time, and then exorcised the evil feedback demons – using the stop button of course. Not sure why I didn’t hit that first. The power switch seemed faster than using the mouse, I guess.