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Recording Basics

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Band in a Box will allow the user to record a single track while the selected song plays. This allows the user to record themselves playing their chosen instrument. When played back the recording will also play synchronised with the selected song.

Establish an InputEdit

Your first step to recording with your PC is to establish an input. Your sound card most likely already has one. Check your sound card, most will have jacks labeled mic, line in, line out, spk out or some combination like this. Line in is the best choice but mic may also be used.

You may plug your instrument directly into the line in or mic jacks using a 1/4 inch phone jack to 1/8 inch phone jack adapter. This will work but isn't ideal. You will get slightly better results if you plug your instrument into a DI box and plug the DI into the PC line in. Still this is also not ideal.

If you have a mutli channel mixer you can plug the mixers main out (or line out) to your PC line in. You then plug your instrument into one of the mixer channels. This is the setup I use. Using this setup provides more flexibility than the previous setups. For example, you can easily add other instruments or mics through the mixer. You may also use a DI between your bass and the mixer if desired.

Finally, you could purchase a firewire or USB input box of some type. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. First there are extra costs. Then, you require more computing power. You may also find latency issues. I don't use this setup so I won't comment further.

Testing the InputEdit

It is best to test your input first before trying to record anything. Even if you are going to use a DI or mixer I suggest you make a direct cable connection from your instrument to sound card first as this will reduce the complexity. Make sure your instrument is turned down before plugging into the sound card. This will protect your speakers. When you have established a connection pluck, key orotherwise trigger your instrument and gradually turn up the volume. If you hear the instrument through your speakers you have a successful connection.

If, on the other hand, you reach maximum volume on your instrument without any output you will need to set up your PC input (recording) mixer. First, turn your instrument all the way down again. Next you need to activate the Windows input mixer. There are many ways to do this but usually there will be a speaker icon on the status bar tray at the bottom right corner of your screen. Double click the speaker. Under Options|Properties you will find a radio button that will bring up the input (recording) mixer.

Make sure the select box is checked, trigger your instrument and turn up the volume. If you start to hear your instrument you have a successful connection.

If not, turn your instrument down again. Try increasing the gain on the line in slider and try again. If you still don't have any success check that you are plugged into line in and not mic. If you are plugged into line in and still have no luck try plugging into mic and repeat the procedure.

If none of this works you will need to contact your PC or sound card vendor or microsoft (good luck) or perhaps purchase a dedicated input box.

Completing the setupEdit

If you are only planning a direct connection there is nothing more to do. If you are using a DI or mixer now is the time to finish the setup. Connect the DI or mixer to the same PC input you just tested. Then connect your instrument to the DI or desired mixer channel.

Turn on the DI or mixer. Set the master output volume to the mid point (usually marked as 0dB boost). Set your instrument to your normal playing volume and tone. Gradually increase the gain on the DI or mixer until you hear your instrument.

At this point you will want to experiment with the various settings until you reach the ideal settings for your system.

Recording SoftwareEdit

To record you will need recording software. Windows ships with a functional but limited recording program. It is in the C:\WINDOWS\SNDREC32.EXE folder. You can use this to make simple recordings without effects etc. The output is in wav format though so it can be imported into sound editing software.

Your sound card may have shipped with recording software. For example Creative Labs sound blaster cards may include Wave Studio. You may choose to download Audacity or some other recording and editing software. In any case you will have to follow the instructions for your chosen software.

Band in a Box has a very interesting feature that allows you to record while you play along with a song. The output is in wav format so it can be edited either in BiaB or in another program.

Adding a BypassEdit

You may find it hard to hear yourself while recording and your speakers may not be up to reproducing the bass. In this case you might want to bypass the PC. With a direct connection there are no options but with a DI or mixer it should be simple.

Most DIs will have some kind of parallel output. Run a cable from here to an external amp or to a channel on your main mixing board. Use this to crank your instrument while keeping the level to your PC down.

If you are using a mixer then run a cable from your FX send, monitor out or even tape out to an external amp or to a channel on your main board. Use this bypass to mix yourself in loud enough to hear while keeping the input to your PC at a resonable level.

External LinksEdit

Audacity:Freeware DAW

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