Recording

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Important

Test the following steps before you record with your instrumentalists and let the administrator know at least 24 hours before if there is a problem or if you have questions.

What you'll need

  1. A key to open the rack drawer, which holds microphones and XLR cables. Check this out from the administrator.

Procedure

  1. Locate mic cables and mics in rack drawer (below mixer), and mic stands (behind piano).
  2. There is an 8-channel break out box below the teacher station which you can pull out to the middle of the room and connect the mics into channels 1 and 2 (or more channels if desired).
  3. Behind and to the right of the teacher station iMac, there is a black metal box. Make sure that the button on the black box at the end of the desk is popped out. This setting connects the audio interface to the iMac.
  4. At the rack, locate the Saffire Pro 40 (black with blue trim). On the right side of the Saffire there is a power switch. Make sure the device is powered on (you will see green lights if it is on). If it is off, you will need to turn on the sound system before you can power up the Saffire. To turn on the sound system, locate the button that says "POWER ON" on the console immediately below the Saffire. Press this button and wait for the sound system to power up. Then, turn on the Saffire.
  5. Log into your CAMIL account on the teacher station iMac. Once you are logged in, hold down the "option" key and click on the speaker icon at the top-right of the screen. Select "Saffire" as your input device.
  6. Go to your Applications folder and open the program "Saffire MixControl". Click on "Sync Source" in the bottom right quadrant of the Saffire MixControl window. Select "Internal" as your Sync Source. Your "Sync Status" should now be "Locked".
  7. In Saffire MixControl, go to the File menu at the top of the screen and select "Load From Hardware". This ensures that the Saffire and the iMac are communicating with each other. Go back to the File menu at the top of the screen and select "Clear All Settings". This clears any pre-existing settings in the MixControl app that might cause problems with your recording.
  8. If you need phantom power, locate the buttons on the left side of the Saffire labeled "MIC 48V". Pressing the top button activates phantom power for channels 1-4, and pressing the bottom button activates phantom power for channels 5-8.
  9. Go to your Applications folder and open the program "Audacity". Next to the mic icon select "Saffire" as your input device. Make sure number of channels to record is set to 2 (or more, if desired).
  10. To set levels, adjust the "GAIN" knobs on the Saffire. There are separate gain knobs for each of the 8 input channels. On the front of the Saffire there is a dB meter for each of the 8 input channels. 0 is clipping and if you record at this level you will hear obvious (and ugly) distortion. It is common on this particular interface for the gain to be set fairly high (about 7-9) to get ideal levels, depending on what you are recording. Sound check the loudest thing you intend to record, and try to set the levels as high as possible without clipping. This will minimize the noise from the mic gains.
  11. To record in Audacity, click on the record button (red circle). When finished, click on the stop button (yellow square).
  12. To listen to what you've recorded through headphones, follow the directions here.
  13. To listen to what you've recorded through the room speakers and sound system, follow the directions here.
  14. To throw away a take in Audacity click the "x" at the upper left of your clip. To save, go to File -> Export... and export in the format of your choice to the location of your choice. It is preferable to export at the same sampling rate and bit depth that you record. If you wish to modify the specifications at which you are recording, that can be done in Audacity's "Preferences..." menu.
  15. When you are done with your recording session, turn all knobs on the Saffire down to zero and press "POWER OFF" (on the console immediately below the Saffire) to turn off the sound system. Return all mics and cables to the rack drawer and lock it. Put all mic stands back behind the piano. Return the rack drawer key to the lab administrator as soon as possible. Please remember to turn off the lights when you leave the room.

Mic Selection

For vocals or loud instruments use the large diaphragm Samson C01 pair. For sensitive, or difficult to mic instruments use the Neumanns.