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Audio Studio Guide

Getting Started

Welcome to the Audio Studio Guide

Welcome to the Audio Studio at the Harriet Irving Library Research Commons, room 321C. This studio is equipped with a few options for recording and playback. This guide will show you the easiest, recommended options for basic vocal/spoken word recordings.

Choosing the Microphone


The left microphone is a "Blue Yeti". It is a black microphone that says "blue" on the front. If you want to have an easy time recording one or two voices, this is your best option!

Audio Technica Condenser Mic 

This large microphone is on a swinging arm plugged into the red interface below the PC monitor. This is a good microphone for recording songs/music rather than multiple voices. 

Using the Microphone

  • Your distance from the microphone will change the sound
    • Too close will result in less-than-ideal recordings
    • Too far from the mic will result in a low volume recording
    • Try a few positions and see how they sound before you record your full project

Microphone Settings

  1. Microphone Array
  2. Microphone Gain
    • Control Yeti’s gain (sensitivity). Gain determines the sensitivity of a microphone. At low gain, a microphone will only pick up close sounds and recording levels for someone with, for example, a soft speaking voice may be too low. At high gain, a microphone will pick up sounds from a further distance and someone with a loud speaking voice might find their recording sounds blown out or fuzzy (this is called "clipping"). The gain knob is located on the back of the microphone. Turn the knob right to increase the level, and left to reduce the level. Check your levels before you start recording so you don't record for an hour and find out afterwards that it was far too quiet or incredibly loud.
  3. Microphone "Pattern" Selection 
    • This changes the type of microphone the Yeti uses. You can select from Yeti’s four pattern settings (stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional) by rotating the pattern selector knob.
      • Stereo- Uses left and right channels, excellent for recording acoustic guitar or choir
      • Cardioid- One sound source, excellent for recording podcasts or one sound directly in front of the mic
      • Omnidirectional- picks up sound equally from around the mic, excellent for capturing "ambience" or a conference call. 
      • Bidirectional- records from front and rear, ideal for a duet or two-person interview. 
  4. Mute Button 
  5. Headphone Volume Control
    • If your headphones are plugged into the headphone jack on the Yeti (6), this knob will control the volume of playback or monitor levels sent to your headphones. 
  6. Headphone Output
  7. USB Connection
  8. Standard Thread Mount


Ableton Live

Ableton Live 11 is a professional grade Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that enables advanced recording, creation, and editing of audio projects.  You don't need to be an expert or have grand ambitions, however, to realize your ideas and create superior projects to what is possible in entry-level software like Audacity.  Below are illustrations of basic functions to get started with Ableton in the Research Commons Audio Studio:

In this section:

Audio track inputs and outputs: Yeti microphone

Ableton Configure Audio

Go to Configure for the individual track

Ableton Yeti configuration

From the Audio tab, choose the MME/Direct X Driver and Audio Input / Output devices as shown.  Remember to plug the studio headphones or your own into the bottom of the Yeti Microphone.

For Focusrite Controller (red unit) and at2035 condenser microphone

Ableton AT20 config

From the Audio tab of the configure screen, choose the ASIO Driver and Audio Input / Output devices as shown.  Remember to plug the studio headphones or your own into the Focusrite controller (red unit).


Be sure that "Auto" is activated so you hear yourself during recording and playback.


Using the mpk mini MIDI keyboard


Choose MPK Mini... from the drop down in a MIDI track



Select instruments, effects, etc. from the left pane to provide sounds for the keyboard to actualize


Exporting tracks from an Ableton set (project)

Ableton File Export

Select tracks (by clicking and dragging the mouse across them) and then go to File ->Export


Ableton Export settings

Choose All individual tracks to render each individual track, and Master to render the entire project as one file; toggle Create Analysis File to Off; and choose WAV as File Type

To learn more:


Learning Ableton from Ableton


Using Recording Software

The Yeti microphone will work with any of the recording software options we have available on this machine. The easiest and least complicated option installed is Audacity. You can find a shortcut to Audacity on the desktop when you log in.

Audacity Settings

Audacity should automatically detect the Yeti and default to its input and output (the headphone jack on the bottom of the Yeti microphone). But, if it doesn't you can adjust this very easily. 

In the main menu for Audacity, you should see four dropdown menus. Simply click the input (next to the microphone icon) and the output (next to the speaker icon) and select the Yeti from the list.

Preparing to Record

  1. Open Audacity.
  2. Make sure input and output are both set to the Yeti microphone.
  3. Check microphone and settings:
    • Make sure the mic is not muted;
    • Make sure your headphones are plugged into the bottom of the mic;
    • Select the microphone type you want to use on the back of the mic (cardioid is recommended for a single voice recording)
  4. Check your levels:
    • Above your input and output settings, click the text that says "click to start monitoring" (you should now be able to hear sound through your headphones);
    • While talking, adjust your distance, speaking volume, and gain setting on the back of the microphone until you're happy with the sound;
    • Watch for clipping
      • the bar that said "click to start monitoring" will show you your input and output levels visually
      • if, when you speak, the bar goes all the way to the right and is red, your input is too high. lower the gain knob.
      • if, when you speak, the bar barely moves, try turning the gain knob up
  5. Lastly, try recording a basic track before you start your project. There's nothing worse than talking to yourself for 40 minutes only to find the sound wasn't ideal and you have to start over.

Recording a Basic Track

  1. Open Audacity.
  2. Make sure input and output are both set to the Yeti microphone.
  3. Prepare a new track:
    • Look to the menu at the top and click on "tracks" > "add new" > and select "mono track".
  4. Click record ⏺ and start talking.
  5. Click stop ⏹ when you're finished.
  6. To listen back, return the playhead to the beginning of your audio by clicking the rewind button ⏮ and then pressing play ▶.

Saving/Exporting your Work

  • To save the project, go to File > save project. This will save the whole recording project so you can return to your work.
  • To save your work as an audio file for playback, go to file > export > and select the desired format
    • MP3 files are compressed (smaller file size) 
    • WAV files are uncompressed (larger file size) but less likely to be playable on any device


Reaper is an inexpensive digital audio workstation with high functionality and a less than intuitive interface.  However, those who like it, like it a lot.  If you are on a quest to be one of them, here are some tips.

Configuring audio inputs/outputs

Reaper PreferencesOpen the Options menu and choose preferences

Reaper YetiFor configuring the Yeti Blue microphone

Reaper - at2015

Configuring the at2015 microphone

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