Before you record audio, you should check your input levels. If the levels are too low, you may end up with too much hiss and background noise in your recording. If the levels are too high, your recording will be inaccurate or distorted. To check your audio levels, use the audio meters in the either the Track view, Track Inspector or Console view. To adjust the input levels, you must use your sound card’s software mixer program (or the Windows 7 mixer) or an external hardware mixer for certain sound cards.The audio meters indicate the volume at which the audio will be recorded, in units called decibels (dB). The meter values range from ‑INF (silent) to 0dB (maximum volume). You can change many options in the way SONAR’s meters display data: see Metering. To maximize the dynamic range of your recording, you want to set the levels as high as possible without clipping.When the audio level exceeds 0dB, some of the audio information is lost. This is known as overload. Many sound cards use clipping to deal with an overloaded signal, but clipping can distort the audio signal. As a result, you should avoid letting the meter level exceed 0dB.
Note: Because SONAR is a digital recorder, a level of 0dB indicates digital zero. Digital distortion will occur at 0dB. You will not get analog compression or warmth from pushing the input levels. If you are transferring data from a DAT or another device, you may want to calibrate the input levels of your sound card with the output levels of other devices in your studio. This will ensure that 0dB on one unit will appear as 0dB in SONAR.
1. In the Track view, choose the inputs for the tracks you want to record, and arm the tracks for recording.The default meter range is from 0 dB to -60 dB. To change the range, right-click on the meter and choose a new range from the menu.Perform at the loudest level at which you plan to record.Watch the meters respond. Increase the input volume as high as possible without ever letting the meters move all the way to 0dB, even for an instant, or letting the Clipping indicator turn red. If either of these things happen, reduce the input volume just enough to avoid them during the entire performance. Note that some kinds of audio, such as percussive or plucked musical instruments, can produce very short, high-level “transients” when struck or plucked aggressively, which can lead to clipping if the input volume is set too high. Consider the possibility of these transients when examining the meters and setting your record level.
Once you have set your sampling rate and input levels, you are ready to start recording. If the meters do not move, check your sound card software’s mixer program and make sure that you have the proper input enabled for recording.When you record audio, SONAR stores each audio clip in a separate file. These files have the same format as a Wave (.wav) file, but they have special names and are stored in a separate directory on your hard disk. SONAR automatically manages these audio files for you, making it easier for you to manage your projects. If you want to work with these files directly, or to learn more about how SONAR stores audio data, see System configuration.
5. Play or perform the material you want to record.As you record, SONAR displays a waveform preview of the new material in the Clips pane (unless you have disabled the Display Waveform Preview While Recording option in Edit > Preferences > Customization - Display). If you have turned off the option, SONAR displays a red swath along the area of the Clips pane where you are recording.SONAR displays a clip containing the new material in the Clips pane. To listen to the new material, set the Now time to the start of the clip and press the SPACEBAR or click . If you’re not happy with the recording, use Edit > Undo to erase the new material.If you do not see a new clip in the Clips pane, you may have a problem with audio input. See Troubleshooting for more information.
Important: Make sure you have enough space on your hard disk when recording digital audio. Running out of hard disk space when recording can lead to unpredictable results.
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