There are two main ways to hook up recording hardware to your computer.
Analog Mixer With Sound Card
The outputs of an analog mixer can routed to a sound card’s stereo inputs. (This may require specific audio cables and/or adapters.) Once a mixer is plugged into the sound card, microphones and other audio inputs are plugged into the analog mixer.
Firewire or USB audio interfaces designed for music production are the best choice, as they are designed to handle high-quality recording and playback of multiple audio channels. Many audio interfaces include high-quality mic preamps and instrument inputs. Some also include MIDI input and output.
The audio driver is the “go-between” software that allows audio hardware to communicate with Mixcraft. Mixcraft supports three types of audio drivers:
If you are playing virtual instruments or want to live monitor, you’ll need to use a low latency setting along with audio hardware and a computer that are up to the task. ASIO drivers usually offer the best performance, followed by WaveRT. If no other drivers are supported, choose Wave.
Learn more about setting up audio drivers in "Important Sound Setup Information", pg. 6.
Arming a track simply means you’re preparing it for recording. At this time, you’ll want to make sure the correct audio hardware input is selected and recording level is optimally set. Don’t worry, it’s easy!
To arm a track, click its Arm button; the button will turn red letting you know that the magic is about to happen. You can also arm the current track with the key shortcut
Note: If you’re using Core Audio/Wave RT or Wave audio drivers, the track volume fader will turn red as shown in the picture above. If you’re using the ASIO audio driver, the track volume fader will disappear. This is normal, and we’ll explain why a little later.
Mixcraft allows recording from multiple sound cards and different inputs simultaneously. Many audio interfaces allow recording of multiple inputs simultaneously.
To select the hardware audio device input for recording, click the selector arrow on the right side of the Arm button. You’ll see a list of all available inputs from your audio device(s).
Select the device, followed by the input that you’d like to arm for recording.
If you’re recording a mono signal, click the sound device followed by Left or Right depending on where you’ve plugged into your device. If you’re recording in stereo with left and right inputs, select Stereo. Pay close attention to this setting, because it’s easy to unnecessarily record mono input sources (e.g., lead vocals, bass guitar, etc.) as a stereo file if you’ve set this incorrectly. It won’t hurt anything, but you’ll unnecessarily use twice as much hard drive space.
After selecting the input, send some audio through the input to verify that the correct input was chosen. You should see the meters moving on-screen in the recording track.
When a track is armed, the volume slider turns into a red recording level adjuster. Move the slider to adjust the recording input level. If peaks send the meter into the red,
back off the level. Ideally, the input signal should nominally sit in the yellow area.
Important Note: If you’re using an audio device with an ASIO driver (you can check in File>Preferences>Sound Device), the volume slider will disappear when the track is armed for recording. This is because ASIO recording drivers do not support input level adjustment in software. To set the proper recording input level, you’ll need to use either the input level on your audio hardware, or, if it doesn’t have one, the output level control on an external preamp or channel strip. If you don’t have any of these, stand further away from the microphone.
Multiple tracks can be armed simultaneously if your sound device supports it. In this way, you can record an entire band in real-time, with each input recording to a separate track, allowing far greater flexibility at mix time. Remember that you’ll need to set the record input individually for each track.
In this example, we’re using a FireStudio Project audio interface and would like to record one mono track through the left channel input. To choose an input, click the Arm arrow for track 1. Click on the name of the audio interface; in our case that will be
FireStudio Project, and choose Left Channel.
On the second track, we’ll record the right channel input. Click the Arm arrow on track 2, followed by the name of the audio interface, then choose Right Channel.
Both tracks are now armed for recording.
Once you have armed a track, you can record clips.
To hear yourself with the channel’s inserted effects, turn monitoring on by clicking the speaker icon after arming the audio track
Record in loop mode or in a specific time section. To learn more about loop recording or punch in/out see "Recording Audio", pg. 111.
There are three recording modes, selectable by right-clicking or by clicking
Track>Recording Mode in the Main Window menus.
Takes Overdub Replace
Default recording modes for audio and MIDI can be independently set in
Preferences>Recording in the Main Window menus.
Takes mode is very useful for laying down multiple performances without starting and stopping each time. It’s generally used in conjunction with Loop Mode wherein a section is looped and each cycle records a new “take” (see Loop Recording below). Mixcraft automatically creates recording Lanes to accommodate each pass.
As new takes are recorded, the clips of previous recording passes are automatically
muted. Audio tracks default to Takes mode. Take clips can freely be moved to their own audio tracks.
When Takes mode is used in conjunction with punch in/out, it creates a clip on a
new lane in the punch area, but only mutes the portion of the audio clips in the punch area.
In this mode, all previous clips are heard during recording. Virtual Instrument
(MIDI) tracks default to Overdub mode. This works well for quickly stacking parts. Each new recording is placed on a new lane.
In this mode, existing audio is replaced by new recordings. New lanes are
Saving Time With a Multi-Input
A project with the correct inputs and armed tracks for multiple-input recording can be set up and saved as a project template. This is handy if you’re recording an entire band – the next time you record the band, simply load the template and all inputs will be ready to go!
(Provided all instruments and inputs are plugged into the same inputs… keep notes!)
Loop recording allows recording of multiple takes or overdubs without stopping the transport.
To create a loop, click the Loops mode button in the Transport, then drag the Loop Start and Loop End markers in the Timeline to set a loop area.
Punch In/Out recording lets place markers that define where to start and end
Be a Loop Mode Ninja!
A faster way to set loop points is to drag a purple highlight area either in the Timeline or Main Clip Grid, then click the Loop button.
This automatically sets the in and out points to the beginning and end of the highlight region. (You can also use the
L key shortcut to toggle loop mode on and off.) Remember that the Snap setting affects where the loop region markers land; we recommend setting this to Snap To Grid
or Bar for more congruent clips.