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The Sound Studio

This is a collection of resources, instructions, and policies regarding the recording studio in the Olin College of Engineering Library.



The following terms are used in the instructions. Here are some basic definitions to help you  troubleshoot and communicate about the recording process.

Multitrack Field Recorder - a.k.a. Zoom F8. This device records up to 8 input signals.

Controller - a.k.a mixer, F-Control, FRC-8. The controller is the wide flat device on the table with several knobs and gray sliders. It provides easy access to the options on the field recorder that enable quality audio recordings, most importantly trim and fader. It does not record any information itself, it simply controls the recorder.

Fader  - This switch controls fine tuned changes to the volume of recorded audio

Trim - a.k.a. Gain - This knob controls more drastic changes to the volume of recorded audio

Pan - - The Pan knob controls the distribution of the audio signal - in a range of left to center to right (or vice versa). You will use this most frequently to affect what you hear in the headphones. Some people prefer an even distribution of voices in the headphones, while other people like hearing one person in one ear, and another person or sound source in the other.

Input - The audio signal from the source of the sound you want to record.

Output - The audio signal leaving the recorder - either to an SD card and headphones, or,   it can send an analog signal to an external destination like a computer, a remote receiver like a headset, or speakers.

Record - The red button on the controller, and the area of the menu to set output formats.

Wind Screen - The round black object attached to each microphone stand. It can be put in between you and the microphone to help reduce wind noises and ‘plosives’ in the recording.

Cardioid Microphone -  a.k.a. Shure Microphone, SM7B, dynamic microphone - A studio microphone designed for voice.

Levels a.k.a. level, levels, “to level” audio - Recording at a good level means to have your gain/trim and faders at the ideal setting for the loudness of the source.

Format - This can refer to many things, but, in this context we talk about formatting SD cards and output formats. Formatting an SD card means deleting all files. There are many output formats to choose from, like .wav or .mp3.

Plosives - Plosives are harsh sounding tones, like p, t, and k’s.

Channel a.k.a. track - Represents an audio input.

Clip or Clipping or ‘hot’ mics - When the audio single maxes out the amplifier, clipping or cutting off, the actual sound wave. This commonly happens when levels are set too high to accommodate a dynamic range of loudness, from whispers to laughing to yelling.