Today we will be diving into the basics of recording audio from a microphone using Pro Tools LE 8. We will be covering how to set up and record on your track (we will not be covering mixing techniques though). Here’s my final product that I’ve created for this tutorial
Let’s get started!
After opening Pro Tools, create a new blank session (File->New Session, or ⌘N).
Set Audio File Type to .WAV, sample rate to 48 kHz (96kHz if available), Bit Depth to 25 Bit, and I/O Settings to Last Used. It is recommended to save to an external hard drive, but for this tutorial saving it to your desktop is fine
Create a new audio track (Track->New or ⌘N). Create 1 new Mono Audio Track in Samples. Rename your track to something more relevant (i.e. Vocals 01) by double clicking on “Audio 1”. This will help not only as you’re recording, but when you refer to files later as you won’t have a mass of “Audio 1” files saved under your project file
Check inputs and outputs. Make sure that your microphone is connected to your digidesign box mic input. Here, the two back cables connect the box to the (raised) mic and the computer, and the front cable connects to headphones.
Note that “input 1” is kept at midway (this controls the mic input volume). If there’s a second input then the knob can be put midway as well. The leftmost knob is the headphone volume. The second leftmost knob controls the overall volume (for headphones and input)
To make sure that the mic is properly connected to your computer, go to the general Mac System Preferences -> Sound -> Input, and select the appropriate input. A connected mic will show audio activity if you speak into it.
On your audio track, make sure that your input and outputs are correct using the I/O interface.
My mic input is “GuitrIn” and output is the main out l/r (“MOL/”). You can change it to the appropriate setting by clicking the input->interface-> your relevant option. Make sure to check your I/O for any new tracks you create! If you don’t see the I/O interface on your audio track, go to View->Edit Window Views->I/O
Choose a Monitoring Mode (under Track). You will see one of two options: Auto Input Monitoring and Input Monitoring. The choice that you see is the inactive choice. We want Input Only Monitoring active, so click the choice so that Auto Input Monitoring shows under the Track menu.
Prepare your track. Record-enable your track by clicking the record button (it will start blinking red)
Adjust the input level. Start talking/singing into the microphone to see how loud your signal is. We don’t want to peak it out, but we also don’t want to be too soft. Adjust the gain level knob appropriately on the digidesign box if you need to.
Add a click track (Track-> Create Click Track. You can adjust the tempo by clicking on the little + on the tempo row]
We’re finally ready to record!
Hit the record button, then play to start recording. Press stop once you’re done! When listening to your recording, make sure to deselect the record button on your track
Finally, to export your audio:
Select all of the audio tracks that you want to export. In the lower left corner of your workspace under “Groups,” select “all”. Triple click on any track to select all of the audio that you’ve recorded
Go to File -> Bounce to -> Disk.
- Bounce Source at “Main Out L/R (Stereo)”
- Unless your Pro Tools is allowed to bounce as .mp3, bounce it as a .wav
- Pick Stereo Interleaved since we want one audio file
- Keep the sample rate at 48, although 44.1 is recommended if you want to put it on a CD
- Convert After Bounce is a good default
Choose a save location
That’s it! It’s a lot of steps in the beginning, but you’ll get quite adept at it as you continue to use Pro Tools. Until next time!