Software Notes

Below we have configuration notes and external links to help set up your microphone and links the three main software packages we will be using for this training -- Zoom, Soundtrap, and Acapella. This page is a companion for the setup page providing configuration and other tips for each application.

Microphone Setup

Many of us will be making use of high-quality cardoid microphones in this training, which have a recording sensitivity pattern that is very directional (Cardoid Pattern).  In any recording environment, you want to take advantage of this pattern to capture your instrument and reject unwanted sounds.  In a home recording environment especially, it will be necessary to experiment with what works for you.  Don't hesitate to try different configurations and do some test recordings using the entire dynamic range of your instrument until the results sound good to you. (Soundtrap is good for doing test recordings, for instance.)

Cardoid Pattern (Note: with the audio-technica AT2020USB+ microphone, point the microphone upwards and point the blue light towards the "front" -- Example Photos)

Introduction to Microphone Polar Patterns

When using the audio-technica AT2020USB+ microphone, note that it has a headphone output port on the microphone which is incredibly useful.  You can select that output as a computer audio output for listening to audio tracks while mixing in what's being recorded on the microphone.  Please read the instructions included with the mic for more information.

Operating System Microphone Adjustments:

Microphone Adjustments for Windows 10

Microphone Adjustments for MacOS

Note:  For OS adjustments, you generally want to turn off automatic settings when recording with your instrument.

Zoom

For any musician who wants to use the Zoom client on a computer, there are written instructions here about avoiding audio distortion when playing an instrument over Zoom by using the "Original Sound" option as well as adjusting other audio settings for quality recording.  If you don't turn off the "Suppress Background Noise" options as described in the instructions, then you may find that when you start playing your instrument is filtered out and doesn't transmit to the other Zoom call participants.

Soundtrap

Soundtrap has excellent built-in tutorials in their own help system.  The following three videos are a good introductory set:


     Crash Course
     Audio
     Collaboration

At the two-minute mark in the "Audio" tutorial above, they talk about turning off Reverb to do a "Dry" recording -- that's probably what we want for our recordings -- try it.

Acapella

Quality videos on how to use Acapella:

How to Use the Acapella App

Acapella App Walk Through

How to Do a Collab with the Acapella App

Late in our process, we're going to want to master the art of having more than 9 collaborators -- here's how to do that.

Some notes regarding lighting when using Acapella:

  -- Make sure your face is well lit.
  -- A window on a sunny day can provide great lighting if you’re facing it
  -- If window light is not available, try placing 2 or 3 lamps in front of you to soften harsh shadows.
  -- Please avoid having any bright light sources behind you. 

USNSCC BAND OF THE WEST

commissioned 2013