AUDIO HARDWARE SETUP
In order to record audio, your computer will need to be set up for audio input with appropriate recording hardware.
CHOOSING COMPUTER AUDIO HARDWARE
Dedicated audio interfaces for music production are designed to handle high-quality recording and playback of multiple audio channels. Many audio interfaces include high-quality onboard mic preamps and instrument inputs as well as MIDI input and output. Generally speaking, these are the best choice for a small- or medium-sized music studio as they include everything you’ll need for recording with a computer.
AUDIO INTERFACE TYPES
We recommend an interface that uses a USB connection; as of this writing, Firewire and PCIe audio hardware have largely been phased out (anyone wanna buy my FireStudio Project for cheap?!?). Thunderbolt is a high-speed connection used in some high-end audio hardware, but at the time of writing, it’s mainly a Mac thing and hasn’t gained a foothold in the Windows world.
CHOOSING AN AUDIO DRIVER
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 monitor recordings as they’re made, you’ll need to use a low latency setting along with audio hardware and a computer that are up to the task. ASIO drivers offer the best performance, followed by WaveRT. If no other drivers are supported, choose Wave.
SETTING AUDIO DRIVER TYPE AND LATENCY
When Mixcraft is first launched, it’s important to ensure that the audio latency is optimally set. Ideally, using a very low latency setting is best, as it results in little or no audible delay when playing virtual instruments or recording using software monitoring.
Your computer’s processor speed and amount of RAM, as well as your audio system or sound card all affect audio playback and recording performance. Optimally adjusting your sound device will be a balancing act between latency versus gapping or breaks in continuous sound. If you are recording audio using Mixcraft’s built-in monitoring or playing virtual instruments, you’ll need to adjust your latency response properly. Audio driver and latency settings as set as follows:
1. Click File > Preferences... or the gear icon in the top menu strip.
2. Click on the Sound Device tab.
3. Wave RT is the default audio driver. If you have a slower computer, you may need to increase the latency setting.
4. If you’re using Windows 7 or 8, you may be able to click WaveRT Exclusive Mode. Depending on your computer’s speed and power, this mode will allow down to three milliseconds of latency. In this mode, other programs will lose audio capability when Mixcraft is running. You may need to restart other programs to get their audio back. WaveRT exclusive mode is the best way to use every last ounce of computing power.
5. If you don’t have WaveRT, the next best option is ASIO. If it’s grayed out, go to your sound device or sound card manufacturer’s website and install the latest drivers. Click on the ASIO Device flip menu and choose the sound device or sound card you wish to use. You can adjust the settings of the ASIO device by clicking “Open Mixer.” Each ASIO driver is implemented differently; consult the manual or help for your sound device in order to optimize the latency setting. Ensure that Default Output (Playback) is set to the correct device so you’ll hear audio properly.
6. If you don’t have Vista or an ASIO option enabled, select Wave. To reduce latency, decrease the Number Of Buffers and reduce the Buffer Size. The Latency field will update - this will entail a bit of trial and error as adjustments are made. Click OK, then check the quality of audio playback. A setting of 100 milliseconds or less is tolerable; lower settings of 20 milliseconds or less are preferred.
WINDOWS AUDIO DEVICE FORMATS
The default option. Latency down to 20 milliseconds.
Takes over the computer’s audio, but will work down to three milliseconds of latency. This option is available when WaveRT is selected. Audio from other programs and Windows will not work at the same time that you are in this mode.
Best for playback and recording synchronization. Must have a supported ASIO driver for your sound device.
Only use if absolutely necessary.
COMPUTER SPEED CONSIDERATION
If you have a slower computer and experience audible breaks in audio recording or playback, you may need to increase the latency setting. Alternatively, you may need to purchase a higher-performance sound card or audio system designed with music recording and playback in mind. Changing the latency will depend on what type of audio driver is used. See the Choosing An Audio Driver Type section on the previous page for more information. Another effective speed enhancement is to defragment your hard drive or purchase a new hard drive. (Old hard drives can get slow with age.)
Notice the CPU meter on the lower right corner of Mixcraft. This indicates the amount of CPU resources used by Mixcraft compared to the entire computer’s CPU usage.