Recording Studio Users' Guide

The recording studio consists of a control room and an adjoining recording studio. Equipment available currently includes three Tascam DTRS 8-track digital recorders, an Otari MX-80 2" 24-track recorder, an Ampex ATR-800 analog 1/4" stereo recorder, a ProTools HD|2 system, a Yamaha DM2000VCM mixing console, an Apogee Big Ben word clock system, a Presonus M8 eight-channel mic preamp, a Universal Audio 2-610 mic preamp, a Waves L2 Ultramaximizer digital limiter, a Panasonic SV-3800 DAT recorder, a Tascam CD-RW700 CD-R/RW recorder, a Tascam 122 mk III cassette recorder, a Lexicon 224XL digital reverberator, an Eventide Orville effects processor, Westlake BBSM-10 and JBL 4208 monitors, and outboard gear including equalizers (Furman PQ-6 parametric, Rane GE-30 graphic), compressors (Teletronix LA-2A, Universal Audio 1176, dbx 166 and Ashly CL50), and digital effects processors including Yamaha SPX-1000, SPX-90 and Korg A-1 processors. All digital recorders and the mixer are synchronized to word clock from the Big Ben. All analog equipment in the control room is connected through a patch bay, and all connections are to be made through the patchbay: NEVER DISCONNECT ANY AUDIO CONNECTIONS IN THE RECORDING STUDIO. A Linux PC-based computer system is also available in the control room. Microphones available in the recording studio include a Neumann U87ai, a Neumann TLM-193, two AKG C414B-ULSs, two Audio-Technica AT4049 omni condensor mics, 2 Josephson C42 cardioid condensor mics, a Beyer M-500, a Sennheiser MD-421, two Sennheiser E-604s, two Electrovoice RE-20s, an Electrovoice N/D868, a Shure Beta-57, and several Shure SM-57s. Microphones are stored in the file cabinet in the control room closet; condensor mics in the top drawer and dynamics in the second drawer. Microphone adapters and mic stands use quick-disconnects for easy mounting and these should not be removed. There is a Yamaha DC7 Disklavier MIDI grand piano in the studio. Two snakes connect microphone inputs from the studio to the control room: one connects directly to the first 16 DM2000 mic inputs and the second connects to the Presonus mic preamp system. Returns 19/20 of the larger snake sends headphone signals to the Furman HA-6AB studio headphone amplifier for monitoring. A loudspeaker talkback system operates between the control room and the recording studio, located on a panel in the patchbay rack. The talk switch is off in the center position and on in either the locking (up) or momentary (down) positions. The studios are available 24 hours a day, but ONLY to registered CCRMA students (who are taking or have completed Music 192, Theory and Practice of Audio Recording), faculty, and staff. Priority is given to students currently enrolled in 192. During the school year, users are limited to 8 hours of studio time per week. Occasionally, larger projects may be undertaken with prior permission, but these must be planned well in advance. User sign-up boards are located outside the studios. The calendars allow sign-ups no further that four weeks ahead and are not to be advanced except by staff. If you need greater access, please talk with Jay Kadis.

Some Studio Etiquette

When using the studios, it is necessary to adhere to the CCRMA security procedures, especially those regarding building access: NO DOORS ARE TO BE LEFT OPEN UNATTENDED. Equipment may be brought in for recording, but it CANNOT BE STORED here. CCRMA is not responsible for loss or damage to any equipment left here. Cables for studio use are stored on the wall inside the studio. These cables are for temporary use in the studio only: if you need cables for use outside the studio, see staff. The cables should be stored on the wall, either wrapped up with no ends hanging free (longer cables) or draped over the hooks (shorter cables). Please see that the cables you use are not tangled hopelessly when you return them. NEVER disconnect any audio connections in the studio (Exception: you may connect microphones to the mixing console directly to the mic inputs.) Be sure to return the snake fan-out connections when you are done. Food and drinks are not allowed in the studio control room. This is necessary to prevent accidents from damaging the equipment. There are kitchen facilities upstairs and you should use that area for eating, as long as you clean up after yourselves. If you sign up for time, you are expected to use it. If you cannot make use of a booking, you should erase it from the signup board and notify local-users@ccrma. If you bring non-CCRMA people into the studio, you are responsible for their adherence to the CCRMA rules. Please be respectful of others working at CCRMA and limit disruption: keep the studio door closed to keep sound from disturbing others. Try to minimize the impact of your project on the general CCRMA community.

Recording Media

CD-Rs as well as videotapes for the Tascam digital recorders can be purchased at appropriate retail stores. It is best to Hi-8 video tapes designed for the DA-78/38, however standard Hi-8 video tapes may be used in an emergency. For using 24-bit mode recording on the DA-78HR, use ONLY Fuji DPD-113 DTRS tapes, which you may buy from CCRMA. NEVER use head cleaning tapes in the DTRS recorders...see staff if you have any problems. Tape for the Otari MX-80 can be purchased on the internet from such sources as Tape World , US Recording Media and Encore Data Products among others. We recommend RMGI 468 tape. Expect to spend about $250 for a 2" roll and many vendors only sell by the case of two rolls.

The Mixer

For a detailed description of the Yamaha DM2000, read the DM2000 Users' Guide A familiarity with the mixer's operation is essential as the connections are all programmable and may be changed from user to user. The main Stereo L-R output is connected to the Tascam CD-RW700 CR burner through the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer digital limiter. This AES/EBU connection allows the limiter to be applied to the stereo output recorded to the DAT without patching. If you do not wish to use the limiter, set it to bypass. To employ the limiter, take it out of bypass mode and adjust the threshold control. The lower you set the threshold, the more limiting you will get and the louder the output will be. You can set the maximum level to 0 dBFS or lower. Try the ARC automatic release function before you play with release times. Clocking should be set to Digital and the input must be set to AES/EBU. If you record to DAT or CD, you should use the L2 16-bit dither setting.

Help! How do I get some light?

Lighting in the recording studio and control room is controlled by a pair of rotary switches, one for on and one for off. To turn on lights, push in and turn the ON switch. To turn off the lights, push in and turn the OFF switch. Each switch has numbers that correspond to the banks of lights, so each bank can be switched on and off independently. A map next to the switches details the location of the various banks. (This confusing system allows dimming the light level without using conventional dimmers, which contribute lots of electrical noise.)

Help! How do I get some sound?

So what's the simplest way to get some sound into the console? Line level signals are fed via the patch bay into insert returns or from digital tape machines into the digital tape returns. Microphone signals from the studio are directly connected to the first 16 mic inputs through a snake (multichannel cable), so that mic channel 1 goes to input channel 1 and so on up to channel 16. Mic inputs from the second snake go to the Presonus M80 Mic preamp. You must adjust the DM2000 preamp trim controls to get mic signals into mic/line inputs 1-24. There is also an Eventide Orville effects processor connected through the AES/EBU digital connection. Connections to the Lexicon 224XL reverb are made through the analog patchbay. The Otari 24 track recorder is partially normalled to the inserts of the DM2000: the first 12 and last 4 (channels 21-24) line inputs are normalled to the Otari outputs while line inputs 13-20 are normalled to the Presonus mic preamps. These outputs from the Otari need to be patched to the line inputs on the patchbay. All inputs to the Otari must be manually patched through the patchbay. The control room monitoring system is controlled by the Monitor section of the DM2000. The eight source selection buttons for the control room monitor system can be mixed by pushing multiple buttons. If you monitor the mix and the tape return from the DAT or CD burner simultaneously, you will hear phasing. This is due to the time delay created by the digital machine. Simply select one or the other. Sources available currently include DAT playback on 2TR D2, CD playback on 2TR D3, analog cassette playback on 2 TR A1. Selecting "Stereo" plays the stereo mix to the monitor speakers. "Small" will select the JBL 4208 monitors, otherwise the selected source will play through the Westlakes. Studio talkback is available through headphones connected to the headphones return to the studio with the talkback button on the DM2000. Another talkback system is located on the patchbay panel, which uses a speaker in the studio. This system is turned on by a switch which is momentary in one direction and locks on in the other. Be sure to turn it off when you're not using it or everyone in the studio will hear you. For more complete information, see the DM2000 manual in the control room. Connected to the main stereo output (through the L2 Limiter) is a Tascam CD-RW700 CD-R/RW recorder. To use the CD-R recorder as a stand-alone recorder, set its input to Coaxial, which is connected to the S/PDIF output of the Waves L2 limiter. The CD-RW700 can record track-at-once or disk-at-once in automatic or manual modes. See the manual for more detailed information. The simplest method is manual mode, controlling start and stop manually. To duplicate DAT tapes, the input of the CD-R recorder is set to Optical and the DAT machine must then be switched to optical S/PDIF output. This may be accomplished by placing the SV-3800 DAT machine into its menu mode by holding the mode and reset buttons while depressing the Pause button. The first menu item is the digital mode and it is toggled between AES and S/PDIF (IEC-O and IEC-C) by pushing the >>| (skip ahead) button to advance the selection. IEC-O is the optical S/PDIF mode to use. Be sure to return the CD-RW700 input mode to coaxial when you are done.

Help! How do use ProTools?

To log into the ProTools Mac Pro, you can use you CCRMA system login. All sound files must be stored on the ProTools drives (ProTools 1 and 2) and not on the system drive. You can use your own external FireWire drive, but note that ProTools sessions may not span internal and FireWire drives in the same session. ProTools output is connected to inputs 25-40 of the DM2000 via ADAT lightpipe connections to the Digital 192 interface (There is no direct analog input to ProTools.)

In order to start using ProTools, the first time you create a session you must set the hardware setup correctly: Both channels 1-8 and 9-16 must be set to ADAT (the default is AES/EBU) and the clock must be set to External. Subsequent sessions will remember your settings. The sample rate set by Big Ben and the session sample rate must agree.

All systems are clocked externally from the Big Ben and all recorders and mixers should be left in external word clock mode at all times. To monitor ProTools, you bring up channels 25-41 (25&26 are the default stereo output from the ProTools mixer.) Users are responsible for backing up their ProTools files, and files may only be left on the ProTools disks while they are in current use. Disk space is limited and abandoned files may be deleted by staff when space becomes necessary. Be sure to back up any files you cannot afford to lose!!! The Mac Pro has a DVD burner.

CCRMA ©1999-2008 Jay Kadis
All Rights Reserved.