I’ve been meaning to write this post for about a year, ever since I called M-Audio technical support to talk to them about my setup and the technician I spoke with had never heard of anyone with the same monitor recording configuration I’m using. In addition, I get a lot of questions about the high quality of my telephone interviews.
The purpose of this post is to explain how using a Delta 1010 and Skype (or SkypeOut) on a Windows XP system allows me to record phone interviews that send my own voice and my guest’s voice to separate recorded tracks in Cubase. The advantage is that, during both recording and post-production, I can then treat my audio and my guest’s audio independently (levels, equalization, audio processing, etc…). If anyone knows that a similar setup (using Cubase) is possible on MacOSX 10.x, please let me know.
I should start by saying that most podcasters WON’T have a Delta 1010 card. When I bought the unit for my music hobby, it was amazingly expensive for an amateur hack musician. I believe the card is now roughly $700, slightly more than half the price I paid many years ago — and still worth every penny.
I’m going to assume that your Delta 1010 card is already installed. Next step is to make a few specific settings in the Audio tab of your Sound and Audio Devices Properties (in your Control Panel). Make sure that the default playback and recording devices are set to M-Audio Delta 1010 Multi. Click on the photo to see my settings.
There are several tabs that need to be configured in the Delta 1010 Control Panel. The first tab to visit is the Pathbay/Router tab. Make sure that the following options are selected (click on the photo to see my settings):
- WavOut 1/2 under H/W Out 1/2
Next, mute the H/W In 1/2 Mixer Input in the Monitor Mixer tab of the Delta 1010 Control Panel. Muting this setting prevents a feedback loop when recording the input signal in these channels (click on the photo to see my settings).
The last tab to visit is Hardware Settings. Make sure there is a check next to Disable audio app use of Monitor Mixer and Patchbay/Router under Asio Options (click on the photo to see my settings). Truthfully, I don’t know if this exact setting makes any difference and yet I know my solution works. Like many project studio owners, I don’t mess with a good thing so I’ve never tested to see if having this option unselected messes things up.
Even though the Windows default device was set to the M-Audio Delta 1010 Multi in an earlier procedure, I’ve set my Speakers in my Skype Audio Settings (under Options) just in case I make a change to my Windows settings at a later time (click on the photo to see my settings). This forces the signal from the remote side of the Skype call to be pushed out the Monitor channel of the 1010. Note that this does not separate multiple remote Skype users; it puts all of the incoming Skype stream into one channel.
The Mixer In L Delta-1010 and Mixer In R Delta-1010 input ports need to be Active inputs and Visible in the working environment. To do so, make sure that these options are selected in the Device Setup window. Of course, these options are only available one the M-Audio Delta ASIO driver is selected in VST Audio subsystem (click on the photo to see my settings).
Once the Mixer input channels are activated, an input bus must be created so that the inputs appear as Input Routing options for audio channels. In the VST Connections – Input window, add a stereo bus for the M-Audio Delta-1010 Audio Device and select Mixer In L Delta-1010 for the left channel and Mixer In R Delta-1010 for the right channel (click on the photo to see my settings).
CUBASE RECORDING AND MAKING THE SKYPE CALL
To record your own voice through a microphone to one track and your Skype guest on another, create a mono audio track for your own voice and select Analog In 1 Delta-1010 (L or R, depending on which channel your microphone is plugged in to) and create a second mono audio track for your Skype guest’s voice and select Mixer In (L or R) Delta-1010. Finally, check your input levels, arm both tracks for recording, start the recording, fire up Skype and make your call.
I also own the M-Audio Firewire 1814 audio card which is made by the same company as the Delta 1010. Unfortunately, the drivers for the 1814 do not appear to offer the same power and flexibility. If anyone from M-Audio reads this, I’d love to know if you could add this fantastic functionality to the 1814.