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Hear What You're Recording, With USB Adapters.
Drew's USB MP3 Recorder Tutorial
(Plus Makes Timed Recording From Any Source.)
The USB Recorder Is An Added Option Of The Advanced Editor Version Only.
It's a problem. A USB turntable or USB audio adapter overrides your sound card and takes over the audio of your computer. That's great for recording, but it's not linked to your sound card's connection to your speakers, so while you can record flawlessly, you can't hear while you record which is a bummer.

So till now, we've made it possible to monitor what you record by plugging headphones or computer speakers into the front of the DAK Mixer Interface. And that works great.

But now, thorough some very innovative programming what we are doing is harnessing a computer capability called Playthrough. It's really a very neat programming trick, but what we do is capture the signal as we record and concurrently send a copy of it to your normal sound card so you can hear it.

It works perfectly. It has no effect on your recording, or anything else, but you can hear as you record so no headphones or speakers need to be attached to our mixer.

Plus this is one really neat recorder. It uses 2 of our new displays. The peak Reading VUs for record and the Spectrum Display for playback. So while it really doesn't matter to anyone but me, it's a treat to watch as you record.

Special Everyone Recording Note: While this recorder features the Playthrough programming feature for recording with a USB source, you can also use it with LINE IN and Stereo Mix. It's a great recorder and I've incorporated our count down recording timer too. So no baby-sitting needed recording is yours.

OK, Let's explore how it works.

Record And Hear From USB Inputs.
(Or Record From Anything).
Here's the DAK USB MP3 Recorder in action. It's super easy to use and you'll make great recordings through our USB audio adapter, through your USB turntable or from any source that you can record from in your computer.

Full Easy Controls.

Arrow 1.) Access the Windows Mixer to choose the USB adapter or any other source you want to record from.

Arrow 2.) After choosing a source, always click the Refresh Recording Source Settings Button.

Arrow 3.) This is where you see the selected Source.

IMPORTANT SOURCE NOTE: In most cases you need to go to the Windows Mixer to set your source. You cannot do it from the USB Recorder. The best trick is to simply close the recorder and reopen it. Then the recorder will show the selected source.

Arrow 4.) This recorder records in MP3. Use 128 bit-rate if you are going to put the recordings into your iPod or other MP3 recorder. Use 328 bit-rate if you are going to burn CDs. 328 bit-rate is equal to WAV files with the added advantage that it has standard MP3 tags so you can have perfect sound and tags too.

Arrow 5.) This recorder has the DAK Playthrough capability. When you are using an MP3 Audio adapter or a USB turntable, just check this box and you'll be able to hear the sound as you record. It's a super neat programming trick that passes the sound as it's recorded onto the sound card that's already in your computer so you can hear, which you never could before when using an USB audio adapter.

Arrow 6.) Click to Start Recording Manually.

Arrow 7.) Click to Stop Recording Manually.

Arrow 8.) Click to start Timed Countdown, no-babysitting recording after you've chosen a length of time to record.

Arrow 9.) Use this pull down timer menu to choose how long you want the recorder to record unattended.

Arrow 10.) Stop timed record should you wish to stop prior to the time you've set for automatic stop.

Arrow 11.) This is the input VU meter. Use it to set your levels for record. It has both constant and peak reading elements to help you set perfect levels. Usually setting it to about 60% of the height of the windows brings flawless reproduction. If you ever hear muddy, no perfect sound, reduce your recording level. Use the volume slider you'll find in the Windows mixer in the record section to control your input level.

Arrow 12.) This is the playback spectrum display. It looks great. Since it's playback it really mimics the input level meter to the left. It lags by a second or so, but you'll use it for relative levels too.

No Baby-Sitting Timed Recording Control.
No baby-sitting timed record is one of our best things. I hate recorders that require me to sit there to be sure the recording is stopped. Sure our Track Tracker removes any blank at the beginning or end, but what if you let it run for 4-5 hours or overnight. That's not a pretty thought. Would your computer even recover from being stressed by that size file. It could be hundreds of gigabytes. Use the timed record, even when you are going to stop it yourself. Sooner or later, you'll be glad you did. And most of the time you'll simply love the convenience.

Arrow 1.) Pull down the timer menu. Set the timer for a few minutes longer then you think your recording is going to be. I've put times in to take care of records and cassettes, giving you added time for each.

Arrow 2.) Click Start Recording to record.

Arrow 3.) If you want to stop the recording without waiting for the timer, just click Stop Recording.

Choose Your Recording Source.

Arrow 1.) LIke any recorder, you need to choose a source to record from. In this case it's likely our USB audio adapter or a USB turntable, but don't forget this record can record from any source your computer has. Click this button to get to the windows sound mixer in either Vista or XP. I've shown you the steps in the next section below.

Important Playback Note: Any time you are using a USB audio source, you want to set the recording section of the Windows mixer to the USB device. BUT, set the playback section of the Windows Mixer to the built-in sound card of your computer.

Arrow 2.) Refresh the Recorder any time you make a change.

Arrow 3.) With some sound cards when you set the Windows mixer and then hit refresh, the names will change in the pull down boxes. Mostly this will happen in XP. But if they don't change, close the recorder and reopen it, then you should see the correct settings. For USB adapters, it's always necessary to plug in the USB adapter and have it recognized by your computer before you open the recorder.

IMPORTANT PLUG IN THE ADAPTER 1ST. With a USB adapter YOU MUST PLUG it in and be sure your computer recognizes it BEFORE you launch the program, or it won't be recognized.

OK Here's how to set your Windows Mixer. Click the link for the Version of Windows you are using.

For Vista, Click Here.

For XP, Click Here.

Choose Your Recording Source - Vista 1.
When you click the Record Source/Sound Mixer Button, this is the 1st screen you'll see in Vista. This is the Playback screen and you want to be sure that your Windows MIxer is set to your built-in sound card, not the USB audio adapter or USB turntable or you'll never hear any sound.

Arrow 1.) This is the USB adapter Play setting. DO NOT make this the default device. Often when you 1st plug in the adapter, it becomes the default device. But, change it once, and you shouldn't have to do it again.

Arrow 2.) This is the sound card in my computer. I've selected it to be my default playback device. Whatever card is in your computer should be your default playback device.

Arrow 3.) If your own sound card isn't your default playback device, highlight your sound card by clicking on it. Then click The Set Default Button and it will become and stay your default play device even when you plug in and unplug the USB adapter.

Choose Your Recording Source - Vista 2.

Arrow 1.) Click On the USB adapter with your Left mouse button so it's highlighted. This is how you choose what device you want to record from.

Arrow 2.) click the Set Default to lock in the USB audio adapter as your source for recording.

Arrow 3.) Click Properties to access the actual controls of the device you make your default recorder. You'll get different controls for each device you choose and you can change to another input any time you like. Your computer will go back to your prior choice automatically when you unplug the USB audio adapter.

Choose Your Recording Source - Vista 3.

Arrow 1.) This is the 1st screen of the properties menu. Nothing to do here but click on the levels tab.

Choose Your Recording Source - Vista 4.

Arrow 1.) This is the levels tab. This is where you determine the input volume that you want to use for recording. I like to set this to about 3/4 of the way or so.

Volume Tip. You can keep this screen open and make changes as you start to record. You don't have to ever close the windows mixer.

Choose Your Recording Source - Vista 5.
OK this is really odd. But Windows Vista seems to see all USB audio adapters as microphones. And if that's not odd enough, it by default sets the recording to mono.
Don't worry that it says microphone, that's just a name, not an electrical specification. But you do need to change to stereo and we're gong to do that right now.

Arrow 1& 1a.) Just open this pull down box and choose 2 channel 16 bit, 44,100HZ. This is the exact CD quality that you want.

Arrow 2.) You must click the Apply button for this to take effect.

Arrow 3.) Then Click OK to close this dialog box.

Great News.) Once you set this once, you shouldn't have to mess with it again. So just teach Vista one time and record from then on in perfect CD quality stereo.
Choose Your Recording Source - XP 1.
XP is super simple. Frankly it's likely that it will be chosen automatically. But let's find out.

REMEMBER TO PLUG IN THE USB ADAPTER 1st. Then wait for your computer to recognize it. Finally, open the recorder.

Arrow 1.) This is the 1st screen you'll see when you open the Windows Mixer. Just click on the Audio Tab and you'll be all set.

Choose Your Recording Source - XP 2.

Arrow 1.) This box in the center of the Audio Tab is where you control the Recording Source In the Windows Mixer. In this case you want to be sure it's set to USB and not your sound card. If it already says USB, then leave it alone. If not open it and select the USB audio device. If you don't find it, try plugging the USB adapter into another USB jack on your computer.

Arrow 2.) This is the Playback section of the Windows Mixer. If it says USB, change it to the sound card in your computer. If you leave it on USB there will be no sound coming from your computer speakers because they are connected to your built in sound card.

Arrow 3.) Then click Apply if you have made changes. If you have Apply will be black and not grayed out. If you've made changes, click Apply. If you haven't made changes then you don't need to click Apply.

Arrow 4.) Click OK to close this box.

Now You Can Hear From USB.

Arrow 1.) This is the select box that determines if DAK's USB MP3 recorder activates the Playthrough circuitry. If you check this box before you start recording, you will hear back with a second or two delay exactly what you are recording. If you are using a USB adapter or USB turntable check this box. If you are recording from Line In or Stereo Mix, then you don't need it.

Record By Timer Or Manually.
It's totally up to you when you record if you want to use the no-babysitting count down timer or just click Record manually. Either way you'll get perfect recordings. I like to use the count down timer even when I don't need it so if I get distracted or leave and forget to stop the recorder I won't create huge files of blank nothing.

Arrow 1.) Start Recording Manually by just clicking Record.

Arrow 2 & 2a.) Set the amount of time you want to record by using the handy pull down timer menu (2a) and then just hit the Record Button (2.).

NAME YOUR RECORDING 1ST. Either way, before recording starts you'll get the dialog boxes below so you can give your file a name and choose the folder you want to save it in. This is a real time recorder that records directly to your hard disk so you can record for several hours with no problem and it doesn't make temp files or load up RAM. It records direct to your hard drive.
How To Save 1.
This is the 1st window you'll see when you hit record. It's a standard Windows Browser to let you decide where your file will be stored and what you want to call it. I'm using Vista here, but XP is the same.
Arrow 1.) I'm just showing you that I'm on my Desktop and that any folder on my desktop that I click on will become the folder I store my recordings in. OR. . .

Arrow 2.) Click on computer here and navigate to another part of your computer to store your files.

How To Save 2.

Arrow 1.) Now I'm on my C: Drive and I'm going to click on a folder I've named USB Recordings. You can call your folder anything you like.

Arrow 2.) Click Open to open the folder to store your files.

How To Save 3.

Arrow 1.) Now you see I'm saving in my USB Recordings folder

Arrow 2.) Type in a name that you want to use to save your file.

Arrow 3.) Click Save and your recording will immediately begin. Now you are actually recording. See below.

You're Recording - You Can Hear -
You Can See Both The Input & Playback.
This is what the USB MP3 Recorder looks like when you are recording.
Arrow 1.) The meter on the left shows the actual input level. Set it to be about 60% the height of the meter. The Red floating elements are peak reading meters.

Arrow 2.) This is the Playback side. You are still seeing what you are recording, but it's also impacted by the play volume settings of your computer. .

A few last things that I want to mention.

Now there's no reason to suffer if you have a notebook computer. Now you can hear the sound through your laptop speakers as you record. And you'll make flawless digital copies of all you copy.

Enjoy. . . Drew

Tutorial Review Please.
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