University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

Using the Audio Lab

1) Check that the Mac Operating System’s audio INPUT and OUTPUT are set to ‘Onyx Firewire (2421)’.

  • click on the apple icon in the upper left of screen
  • click on ‘System Preferences…’ (the 4th item in the list)
  • after the window opens, click ‘Sound’ (the speaker icon, 2nd row down, last item in list)
  • click on the ‘Output’ tab (middle button in the center of window)
  • select ‘Onyx Firewire (2421)’ from the list
  • click on the ‘Input’ tab (right button in the center of window)
  • select ‘Onyx Firewire (2421)’ from the list
  • close the window

2) Open up Audacity software and set ‘Playback’ and ‘Recording’ device as ‘Onyx Firewire (2421)’ AND set ‘Channels’ to the appropriate choice of ‘Mono’ or ‘Stereo’ microphone input.

  • click on Mac ‘Finder’ (the first icon in the dock that looks like a square face)
  • in the window that opens Click on ‘Applications’ in the left column list
  • double-click on the folder icon named ‘Audacity 1.3.12’
  • double-click on the icon named ‘Audacity’
  • click ‘OK’ in the introductory window to make it dissapear
  • click on the ‘Audacity’ menu item in the upper left of monitor
  • click on ‘Preferences’
  • in ‘Devices’, make sure ‘Playback’ ‘Device:’ is set to ‘Onyx Firewire (2421)’
  • make sure ‘Recording’ ‘Device:’ is set to ‘Onyx Firewire (2421)’
  • set ‘Recording’ ‘Channels:’ to ‘1 (Mono) IF you are recording with a mono microphone (AKG C-1000S) -OR- set ‘Recording’ ‘Channels:’ to ‘2 (Stereo) IF you are recording with a stereo microphone (audio-technica AT822)
  • click ‘OK’ to accept the settings and make the window disappear

3) Check that the physical microphones and cables are plugged into the right places.

  • studio monitors – plugged into ‘CONTROL RM’ L&R (on back)
  • microphone – plugged into track 1 for mono -OR- tracks 1 & 2 for stereo (upper left)
  • headphones – plugged into ‘PHONES’ jack (upper right)

4) Check that ALL of the mixer knobs, buttons, and sliders are set to their DEFAULT positions.

  • all buttons in UP position except:
    •  ‘48V’ pushed down to give ‘phantom power’ to mics
    • all ‘MUTE’ buttons pushed down for all tracks you are not using
    • ‘FIREWIRE (OPTION) button pushed down to allow audio to come from computer
  • all knobs on top of black bar (AUX) should be turned all the way to the left
  • ‘CONTROL ROOM’ , ‘PHONES’ , and ‘TALKBACK LEVEL’ also turned to left
  • Turn all the ‘GAIN’ knobs (horizontal top row of knobs) all the way to the left.
  • Slide all the sliders so they point to the ‘U’. (This stands for Unity (neutral))
  • ALL other knobs should be centered (pointing upward)

5) Test that you hear sound through the speakers from the Mac.

  • click the ‘volume up’ or ‘volume down’ keys in the upper right of keyboard until the graphic on the screen shows volume is about 75% up. (the keys have a speaker icon with one or three curved lines coming from them)
  • While clicking back and forth between the 2 keys, slowly turn the ‘CONTROL ROOM’ volume knob on the mixer up, while listening to hear the ‘blip’ noise coming from the studio monitor speakers (the ‘CONTROL ROOM’ knob is on the right of the mixer, next to the ‘PHONES’ volume knob)
  • IF you CAN hear the ‘blip’ sounds, your computer is communicating with the mixer. You can move on to step 6.
  • IF you can NOT hear the ‘blip’ sounds, your computer is NOT communicating with the mixer.
  • IF you are SURE that you followed step 1 accurately AND the ‘FIREWIRE (OPTION) button is pushed down (step 4a) THEN you can try powering OFF the mixer (switch is on back, on right)
  • Power it back ON and go back to step 1.

6) Optimize microphone placement for preferred sound.

  • In the recording booth, set up the mic stand so that the “pop filter” (wind screen) is within an inch of the microphone head, but NOT TOUCHING it.
  • For a “big” sound, keep your mouth about two inches in front of the filter, aiming directly into the center of the microphone. (There is actually an audible difference in both tone and volume when your sound source changes relationship to the mic even slightly, so be consistent. Explain this to your “voice talent” so they know.)
  • Tell your “talent” to start speaking into the microphone in the tone and volume that your script dictates. Have them repeat a line over and over until you tel them to stop. (Make sure what they repeat has a moment that is the maximum volume they will speak in the session AND include a few words that start with “P” because the “P” sound POPS) Put the headphones on your “talent” and shut them in the booth.
  • Look for the row of audio level lights next to the slider in track 1 on the mixer, keep your eye on these while you slowly turn up the ‘GAIN’ knob at the top of the track. until the top red light occasionally flashes only during the loudest “P” sounds. This is called “CLIPPING” which means the audio level is so high that the recorded signal is damaged. Slowly turn down the ‘GAIN’ until the red light NEVER flashes.(Note: you want your recorded signal to be as HOT (loud) as possible to get a high quality recording, but NEVER clipping.)
  • Turn the ‘PHONES’ knob about 1/3rd up. Turn the ‘TALKBACK’ ‘LEVEL’ about 1/3rd up. Lean in to the ‘TALK BACK’ ‘MIC’ above the knob. Temporarily hold down the ‘TALKBACK’ button at the bottom while you say something like.. “Thanks Johnny! I’ve finished setting the levels. Lets go ahead with the script reading, etc…”

7) Turn the mic ‘GAIN’ knob to maximize your input signal without clipping.

8) Record a track in Audacity.

202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
(716) 645-6878
(716) 645-6970 fax
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