Setting up the input devices in Cubase (Part 2)

7 12 2011
Recording pro Hank D.

Recording pro Hank D.

In part 1 of this tutorial we have seen how choosing no input device could spell trouble for your pro recording projects, as it results in an empty audio track. The track you recorded does not even deserve the name ‘audio track’, because there is no audio in it whatsoever! That’s not much of an audio track, is it?
So, you think you learned your lesson: if you choose an input device, everything should be fine, right? Wrong! The following example will make that clear as day…

Your aunt Thelma is in town. She is only here for a couple of days and you’re looking forward to seeing her again. She comes over and you spent a nice evening together. You’re both having a great time! At some point during the conversation, you mention your Cubase sequencer software, and what you can do with it. Aunt Thelma is stoked. She sings in a choir at her local church and would love to record herself and delete that recording afterwards. But, of course, not without actually listening to it before.
You both decide to make an audio recording of her voice. She grabs the microphone like a pro and starts singing. ‘Sha-la-la-long she-bong!’ After some time you ask her if she is ready to be recorded, which she confirms. You check if the microphone is turned on and whether it is connected to your DAW. Affirmative! You hit the record-button in Cubase and aunt Thelma starts to sing..
After some time she is done and you hit the stop-button. The recording is finished. You double-click the stop-button so the position marker jumps back to the beginning of the audio file. A quick look confirms that Cubase did in fact create an audio file, which is now ready to be used in all your pro audio recording projects. You decide to listen to the track, and hit the play-button. After some time it becomes clear that something went wrong. No matter how hard you listen, there is simply no sound to be heard. Aunt Thelma can’t hear anything either. She is disappointed, to say the least. Later you find out, that you had chosen the wrong input device, which in turn led to Cubase not being able to record the voice.

These are only two examples of what can go wrong, when you don’t choose an input device in Cubase, or, as we have seen in the last example, choose an input device that is not the right one. As a professional recording engineer with years of practice, I can tell you: there are tons more, Each and every day, somebody wants to record an audio track, but is disappointed with the results, just because he did not select the correct input device.

I have to hammer home this point: you not only have to select an input device, but you have to make doubly sure that you select the right input device. Otherwise it will simply not be possible to make a pro recording, and all the secret pro tips in the world will be of no use to you. It might seem a bit of a hassle at first, but it is well worth the effort in the long run. I know, a newbie wants to start right away recording and mixing the next hit, but you have to do your homework first. By choosing the right input device in Cubase you lay the foundation for everything that comes in the future. Your destiny is in your hands.

This concludes part 1 of the Cubase Pro Recording Tutorial.