Recording with a Laptop and Audio Interface

The analog model of signal flow directly relates to using a stand-alone recorder with a separate console or mixer.

Understanding the analog model of signal flow is useful when working strictly in the box or with other recording setup configurations.

between the audio interface and the laptop. Most interfaces use a USB 2.0 connection (see connectors Chapter 15).

Turn up the mic at the preamp. (STORE) Send the signal to a recorder/computer.


Make sure that the correct input and output is selected (often this is IN 1 and 2 and OUT 1 and 2/ stereo bus selected in the software). Return signal from the recorder/computer.

This means selecting the correct bus or output. (MONITOR) Turn up the monitor or main output knob on the interface.

If speakers or headphones are plugged in and turned up, the signal will be heard.

How To Record

The two main differences between using a laptop/audio interface to record and using the traditional console/recorder setup are :

1. The audio interface’s preamp captures the sound instead of the console’s preamp.2.

The computer stores the sound instead of a separate, stand alone analog or digital recorder.Here are step-by-step details that can be followed when recording with most software types:1.

Turn on the computer and audio interface.2.

Open the software application.3. Set the session parameters, bit depth, sample rate, and audio file type.4. Determine the file name and destination where you will save the file.

Very important! Pick an easy-to-remember location and be consistent with file naming so that you can retrieve files quickly.5. Create a new track and name it.6. Put the track into record pause (input ready) by pushing the red button.7.

Make sure that the correct input is selected.8. Plug your mic into the interface and adjust the preamp.

If no mic is required, import the audio track to a desired location.9. Make sure that the level isn’t set too high or too low.

Most interfaces will have a meter to check the mic level.10. Record the track.11. Unarm the track (take it out of input/record ready).12. If you can’t hear the recorded sounds, select the correct output. Most default settings direct the output to the stereo bus or OUT 1 and 2.

13. Turn up the monitor/volume and listen back.

Monitor/volume adjustment is typically found on the audio interface.


Make sure that you properly label and save tracks so they are easy to locate and identify.

Don’t leave audio tracks labeled Audio 1.0, Audio 1.1, etc.

Many engineers label tracks by the mic or specific instrument that was recorded.

Also, don’t forget to back up your audio files to an external drive or other additional storage device.


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