Are you getting ready to record some audio with a rackmount recorder? While this is a great quality piece of equipment, installation can be tricky if you have not utilized this equipment before. Before you tear your hair out trying to decipher an installation pamphlet, read this to get a simpler breakdown.
There are some obvious no-nos when it comes to electronics, such as keep them away from water, keep children away from cords and plugs, don’t place cords where they can be tripped on, etc. You also want to be sure that you do not place the rackmount recorder next to any sort or heat-generating apparatus such as radiators or stoves, and if you install on a moving cart be sure to use caution when moving the cart to prevent injury from tipping over. Also make sure any ventilation openings are left uncovered to prevent the device from overheating.
Some standard features that are included in rackmount recorders are the ability to record to SD cards as well as USB flash drives, mono and stereo recording and playback capabilities, and MP3 audio compression format. The other option available is to record in PCM format, which is uncompressed. The audio files produced will be compatible with Windows as well as Macintosh computers. There are also some nifty features such as automatic recording, which stops recording if there is no sound, then restarts when the sounds continue for seamless recording. Another handy feature is that you can opt to control levels manually or allow to device to do so automatically.
It’s a good idea to only use the accessories that are included with the device, or ask a professional about using other accessories to ensure compatibility. The accessories that are usually included are: 1) an audio cable, which has red and white connectors on each side, making installation easy since the receptors are color coded, 2) a power cord, usually with a three-wire or three-pronged grounding plug, which should only be used with a compatible three-pronged outlet, 3) a USB cable, which allows you to connect the device to a computer system without interference or conduction noise which can cause a malfunction, 4) a CD-ROM with instructions as well as any necessary software installations, 5) a security screw for the SD card door, 6) often the SD card door is also included in the accessories package.
The first thing to remember is to plug in the power cord only when everything else has been plugged in correctly. Always be sure to check twice that the connection is secure, that right and left channels correspond (left with left which is white plug with white socket, and right with right which is red plug with red socket). The same goes for any digital connections, be sure that labels correspond such as “in” or input with audio input, and “out” or output with audio output. The SD card should be installed in the SD card door before using, and the door must be secured with the screw from the accessories package. The power cord should never be disconnected while the device is in use. There is also normally a headphone jack to give you the option to listen with headphones.
Recording and Usage
Once everything is plugged in, press the power switch, and select a file list to store the recording. There should be a FILE LIST button, depending on which brand of rackmount recorder you are using, and you can select form a list of files. To navigate the list, rotate the jog dial and press, then when you are finished, press the file list button again. Press the RECORD button to record, the STOP button to stop, or you can also use the PLAY/PAUSE button. Be sure that you have enough recording capacity at the time you begin recording, or add a USB disk to automatically collect recording data if the SD card becomes too full. To playback, visit the file list again, and press PLAY/PAUSE when you have selected the file name you chose at the start. There is often a PITCH ON//OFF button that allows you to adjust pitch during playback as well. To plug into a computer, make sure the device is on, and the SD card is mounted in, then connect the USB cord form the device to the computer, and the screen of the device should alert you when connection is complete.
If you experience any problems, follow this procedure: 1) Check that all connections are correctly corresponding, and that they are secure, since loose connections cause malfunctions. 2) If you are hearing buzzing or humming sounds that won’t go away, try separating the power cords from the connection cords, since they can cause feedback. 3) Make sure that all other devices in use are operating properly, or are connected correctly and securely. 4) Check the owner’s manual for Troubleshooting tips specific to your brand and model.