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Ensemble: Making Settings with Software Control Panels

All Ensemble settings are made from Apogee’s Maestro software Settings panel. Older versions of Logic Pro have a separate Apogee Control Panel. Certain settings can be also be made from OS X audio control panels. It’s possible to open multiple control panels simultaneously, as settings made on one control panel are mirrored on all others. Additionally, Mic Pre gain and Output level may be controlled from Ensemble’s front panel encoders, as described on the lower half of this page.

What is Maestro? – Apogee Maestro provides the most complete control of Ensemble, including control of all Ensemble parameters, store/recall of configurations, expanded routing and 2 low–latency mixers. Maestro may be used with any Core Audio compatible audio application.

The Logic Pro Apogee Control Panel, found in Logic Pro (9 and lower) under the Audio menu, provides control of all Ensemble parameters and store/recall of configurations.

Audio Midi Setup (AMS) – This OS X utility (found in the rootdrive/Applications/Utilities folder) provides control of Ensemble’s clock source, sample rate and output level.

To set Ensemble’s output level using the Mac’s menu bar audio fader, set Default Output (in AMS) to Ensemble; OSX audio faders (including the menu bar fader) will then control the output selected on Ensemble’s front panel. For example, if the front panel  LED is lit, OSX audio faders control the  output level.

Ensemble: Setting Clock Source

Ensemble’s clock source may be set from Maestro, Logic Pro’s Apogee Control Panel, or from OSX’s Audio Midi Setup utility.

When Ensemble is locked to an external source, Ensemble’s sample rate is still determined by the selection in software. Thus, the sample rate of the external source must be manually set to match the software sample rate. For example, if you want to open a session at 88.2 kHz but lock Ensemble to word clock from an Apogee Big Ben, you must manually set the Big Ben to 88.2 kHz.

ONE: OS X System Preferences – Sound

The OS X System Preferences Sound window provides settings to choose ONE for Mac sound input and output and control ONE’s input/output parameters. If you didn’t choose ONE for Mac sound I/O in step 3 of the Quickstart guide, you may do so in this window.

 

1. Choose Apple > System Preferences and click Sound.

2. Click Output.

3. In the devices list, select an operating characteristic for ONE’s output:

Select ONE: Stereo when connecting to headphones, powered speakers, a mixing console or a home stereo.

Select ONE: Amp when connecting to an instrument amplifier.

4. Set ONE’s output level with the Output volume slider.

5. Click Input

6. In the devices list, select the active ONE input:

Select ONE: Int Mic to use the internal mic;

Select ONE: Ext Mic to use a mic connected to the breakout cable’s (XLR) input;

Select ONE: Ext 48V Mic to use a phantom-powered mic connected to the input;

Select ONE: Inst, to use an instrument connected to the input.

7. Set ONE’s input gain with the Input volume slider.

 


ONE: What sample rate should I record at?

ONE for Mac (first generation) offers a choice of two sample rates, 44.1kHz or 48kHz. So, what’s the best sample rate to record your project at? It’s a good idea to avoid unecessary sample rate conversion stages, so the answer is determined by the sample rate of media on which you plan to distribute your recording. If the final distirbution media is CD, record at 44.1kHz. If the media is video or TV, most often 48 kHz is the best choice. If you’re part of a larger production chain, and aren’t sure, ask whomever is responsible for assembling the final product – they’ll undoubtedly appreciate the forethought.

 

ONE for iPad & Mac (second generation) offers a choice of four sample rates: 44.1kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2kHz or 96kHz.

 

 

ONE: Top Panel 3-Segment LED Meter

The top panel level meter displays either the input or output level, depending on the encoder selection. When an input has been selected, the signal level after the application of input gain is displayed. When the output has been selected, the signal level after the output level control is displayed.

ONE: Selecting ONE for Mac Sound Input/Output

The OS X utility Audio MIDI Setup provides settings to choose ONE for Mac sound input/ output and control ONE’s parameters. To open Audio MIDI Setup, choose Applications > Utilities > Audio MIDI Setup.

 

Selecting ONE for Mac Sound Input/Output

1 Select ONE in the Default Input menu. 2 Select ONE in the Default Output. 3 Leave System Output set to Built-In Audio to send OS X alert

sounds and user interface sound effects via the Mac’s built-in speakers.

ONE: Top Panel 48V Indicator

When Input is set to Ext 48V Mic, a red LED above the  LED lights to indicate the presence of 48 volt phantom power on the breakout cable’s XLR connector. This voltage is necessary to power condenser mics.

Can I record my session on the the startup hard drive?

It’s an accepted “best pactice” of most audio software providers that audio files should be recorded on a hard drive other than the Mac’s Startup drive (i.e. the drive on which the operating system is installed). You can probably get away with recording a few tracks to your computer’s Startup disk, but for the best performance of your Apogee recording system, record onto a separate ATA/IDE, SATA, or FireWire drive whose spindle speed is at least 7200 RPM.

ONE: How do I set a recording level?

Once your microphone or instrument is connected, your audio software is configured and you’ve created a new recording track, just how do you set the input gain for a proper recording level in your audio software? There’s no simple answer, but with a few guidelines and a bit of experience, you’ll master this.

Ideally, the input gain should be set so that when the input signal is at its loudest, the level in audio software (or in Maestro) is just below maximum without lighting the Over indicator.

 

In reality, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to guess just the right gain setting to accomplish this – when your gain is too low, the signal never gets close to maximum and when your gain is too high, a digital Over may occur. Now, with a 24-bit system (such as ONE), the noise floor is so low that there’s no real penalty for undershooting the gain setting and recording at a lower level. There IS a penalty

for overshooting the gain setting – a digital Over that results in significantly increased distortion. Thus, it’s better to work with a recording level that’s a bit too low than a level that’s a bit too high.

Just how much to undershoot the gain setting is determined by the nature of the sound being recorded. As a general rule, instruments such as bass and organ have a more consistent level than percussive instruments, such as a tamborine, and may be recorded at a higher level. Also, the performer’s skill and playing style can dictate more or less caution when setting levels. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to more accurately set a good recording level while avoiding digital overs.