To complete the first project, you will need to record yourself speaking a poem. Doing so will require at least one track of audio and performing some simple setup steps.
external hardware – audio interface
We use Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 for audio input and output in the lab. It’s a USB-powered interface with two mic inputs on the front.
If the interface is plugged in and the computer is on, you will see a green light on top right of the interface by the label “USB.” The top of the interface also has a large MAIN VOLUME 1/2 knob, which controls overall audio output gain for listening.
The front of the interface has two microphone inputs with individual gain controls, and a headphone jack with its own volume control. The Komplete supports the use of two separate headphone mixes out the same physical jack, selectable with a button next to the jack. You can see which headphone mix is selected on the top of the interface.
connecting the microphone
The lab has three Røde NT1 microphones for use on the project. Each has a shock mount and pop filter. You should use both accessories. I’ll go over the setup in class.
The Røde NT1 is a condenser microphone, which means it requires power to operate. The Komplete supplies that power in the form of 48 volts – usually called phantom power. The 48V power button is on the back on the interface, just above the USB connector. When on, there is a 48V indicator next to the USB power on indicator on top of the interface.
When connecting the microphone to the interface, phantom power (48V) must be turned off.
While you might not always damage a microphone when connecting with the phantom power on, you CAN damage a microphone that way. And we don’t want to damage microphones.
setting up pro tools to receive audio input
To record in Pro Tools, you need to have a record-enabled track, and that track has to have the proper input setting. If you haven’t done so already, create a mono audio track to record on. Set the input as shown in the picture (top menu).
You can then record enable the track. If you have set your input properly, and record-enabled the track, you should be able to hear audio from the mic. You can adjust the input gain for the microphone on the interface to get a good audio input level. Make sure that the line/inst button below the gain is set to line.
With a record-enabled track you can hear audio input (monitor it). To record, you need to follow a two-step process. First, click on the record button in the transport (red circle/dot). It will start to flash. Then you need to click on the play button (green triangle) to actually start the transport and the recording of audio input.
volume versus gain
Sometimes controls on the interface will be listed as “gain” controls, and other times listed as “volume” controls. In the most basic of terms, volume is gain. However, the Komplete interface uses gain for controlling input audio levels, and volume for controlling output audio levels.