• General Studio Praxis
  • How much disk space may I use?
    Each workstation has one disk partition for undergraduates and another for graduate students. Every student should use no more than 16 GB on whatever disk their directory is located. One exception to this rule is the RAID array in Room 33, "Tycho's Vision," which is intended to be used only for video projects. A larger disk quota of 24 GB applies to the Studio Transfer shared directory on the HUSEAC Server. NEVER use Studio Transfer as a working volume—it is only for making transfers. -back to top-
  • May I install my favorite, pet software without which I cannot live?
    No. Definitely not. We have a lot of software installed already, but if there is something particular you need, see the Studio Manager about getting it installed. Not only will you not have to install it, but it will be installed on all the HUSEAC workstations if required.

    In general, this ban also applies to sound libraries. You may have a license for them but, if the Studio does not then they should not be installed on a HUSEAC workstation. It is okay if you keep the library on your own FireWire drive and hook it up to a workstation when you need it.
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  • Where can I get help?
    Read the manual. Every bit of software and hardware has electronic and/or hard copy documentation in each and every room.
    Manuals are also available on the HUSEAC website. (This section of the website is protected with the usual password.)
    Electronic manuals and workstation-specific documentation can be found on each computer in the menubar item that looks like a gear.
    Unlike the Dock, almost every installed application and manual is available here for quick access.
    The Studio Manager is available to solve technical problems and give instruction in Studio practices. She/he/it may not have time to help with coursework, but you can always ask.
    Contact info is available in the Studio Vitals section of this website.
    Consider emailing one of the Studio discussion lists too. -back to top-
  • How should I archive my work?
    The best way to back up your work in progress is to use a portable FireWire hard drive. Each workstation has a FireWire hub on the back of the left monitor, except Room 33, which has a hub sitting on the desk near the video deck. Optical media is also useful for archiving projects. Each workstation has an optical media burner sitting on the desktop, except Room 22, where the Mac's built-in optical drive is accessible. Use CD-R (~700 MB) or DVD-R (4.7 GB) disc. Don't use -RW discs for archival purposes! They typically have a shorter shelf life than their WORM counterparts.
    DEFINITELY read the Mac Care and Feeding article available in the Student Resources section of this website. It describes several different varieties of backup and how to maintain the directory files on disks.
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  • At what speed should I burn an audio CD?
    If the CD is just for quickly listening to a mix in different environments, the burn rate could as high as recommended for the particular media on hand. But, if the CD is a master, being sent to a duplication plant et cetera, burn it at no more than 2X. Use 1X if you can stand it.
    At lower burn speeds the pits and lands made by the laser are carved more accurately.
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  • Should I eat a mayonaise sandwich and drink corn syrup while using the Studio?
    EATING IN THE STUDIO IS FORBIDDEN! OPEN BEVERAGES ARE FORBIDDEN! If the beverage is in a bottle with a screw-on top, and the top is screwed on, that's okay. Coffee cups with travel lids are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. Definitely don't place beverages of any kind on the workstation table. Also, if you've just eaten something greasy (yum) do everyone a favor and wash your hands before getting to work. -back to top-
  • Why is the Studio a mess?
    First, the Studio Manager is not your nanny. Second, we get no custodial services. The custodians don't clean the Studio rooms because we work around the clock and (usually) don't want to be disturbed. The Studio Manager will attempt to keep things clean but, by all means, feel free to water the plants, vacuum the floors, et cetera. -back to top-
  • Who organizes the patch cables for the analog synths in Room 22?
    You do. -back to top-
  • Equipment Loans
  • What happens if the equipment is dropped/lost/stolen?
    The person who signs out the equipment is responsible for the care and return of the equipment in good working order.
    If you give equipment that you've signed out to someone else in the class it is still the original borrower of record who is responsible!
    Some of this stuff is expensive! You break it, you buy it.
    Learn how to operate something unfamiliar BEFORE using it. -back to top-
  • For what duration may equipment be loaned?
    There are no hard and fast rules for this. Loan durations are typically shorter when classes are in session than during the summer.
    In general, equipment loans will be made on a per project basis.
    Signing something out just because you might use it may affect other students ability to get work done.
    We try accommodate everyone, including the production of concerts in Paine Hall.
    Not returning equipment on time will affect your ability to sign out equipment in the future at the sole discretion of the Studio Manager.
    Most Harvard facilities charge late fees for equipment not returned on time. Please don't make us resort to this practice.
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  • When can I sign out and/or return equipment?
    During the office hours posted on the Studio website or by special arrangement. If you return equipment by leaving it in a Studio room or at the Music Department front desk, you will continue to be responsible for it until the Studio Manager actually receives it.

    When making an "alternative" equipment return, you must contact the Studio Manager about it so that the gear can get checked in and back into circulation as soon as possible.
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  • Must I already know how to use the equipment?
    Generally, yes. You may learn how to use the equipment in class, section or during the sign-out process.
    The Studio Manager may not loan you certain equipment if you can't demonstrate some level of competence using it.
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  • What kind of equipment is available to borrow?
    No definitive list is currently available.
    The courses taught here will introduce different kinds of equipment as they progress which may then be checked out.
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  • Recording
  • How do I digitally transfer from a DAT?
    The DAT decks are connected to the Digidesign (Pro Tools) interfaces with AES/EBU or S/PDIF digital audio cables.
    Check the Workstation documents in the gear-shaped menu for whichever Room you are using to determine how each specific workstation is wired.
    In Pro Tools, open the Setup menu, select Hardware. Select AES/EBU or S/PDIF for the Digital Format, then set the Input of your choice to the same.
    Finally, set the Clock Source to match. After the transfer, for playback, editing and printing to tape, the clock source should be returned to Internal.

    Pro Tools Hardware Setup for AES/EBU input

    When finished, open the Hardware Setup window again, click on Set To Default button and make sure the clock source is set to Internal.

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  • How do I digitally transfer from a MiniDisc?
    The MiniDisc deck (only in Room 22) is connected to the Digidesign (Pro Tools) interface with S/PDIF digital audio cables.
    In Pro Tools, open the Setup menu and select Hardware. Select S/PDIF for the Digital Format, then set the Input of your choice to the same.
    Finally, set the Clock Source to match. After the transfer, for playback, editing and printing to tape, the clock source should be returned to Internal.

    Pro Tools Hardware Setup for S/PDIF input

    When finished, open the Hardware Setup window again, click on Set To Default button and make sure the clock source is set to Internal.

    -back to top-
  • Can I assign more than one output from a Pro Tools track?
    Yes, Pro Tools allows you to send audio out from a single track through two actual paths simultaneously.
    Hold down the Command key while selecting the output for a track and select the second output.
    A plus sign (+) will appear on the output button signifying that multiple outputs have been selected.
    The output selected first is the one that will be displayed next to the plus sign.
    This allows one to monitor a quad or surround session while simultaneously transferring a mix to ADAT.
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  • Surround Sound
  • What's this 1L-2C-3R-4Ls-5Rs-6LFE stuff?
    HUSEAC conforms to the film industry standard for surround sound channel assignment.

    1L-2C-3R-4Ls-5Rs-6LFE


    1 Left
    2 Center
    3 Right
    4 Left Surround (Ls)
    5 Right Surround (Rs)
    6 Low Frequency Effects (LFE)


    Or, more pictographically:


    ---------------------------------------


    6 Low Frequency Effects*
    1 Left 2 Center 3 Right





    4 Left Surround 5 Right Surround


    ---------------------------------------


    *The subwoofer (LFE) could be in any one of several places depending on the room acoustics, space issues, etc. The location in Room 33 is depicted above. -back to top-
  • How do I make an audio DVD?
    This topic can become very complicated very quickly. In a nutshell, use the application DVD Studio Pro.
    The tutorial is very good and will get you up and running in short order. Currently, we support PCM and Dolby AC-3 encoding.
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  • What kind of recordable DVD discs do I need?
    DVD-R or DVD-RW. Not DVD+R or DVD+RW. The disc burner in Room 33 burns DVDs at 8X. Don't spend extra money buying faster DVDs.
    Fortunately, CD-Rs are burned at a useful 32X. The Studio keeps a small supply of media on hand for emergencies. -back to top-
  • Video
  • Why does Final Cut Pro say it can't find the digitizer when it starts?
    DV video compression (digitizing) takes place in hardware--the hardware in the MiniDV deck. Power on the deck before starting Final Cut Pro.
    Or, if you see the dialog saying that the digitizer cannot be found, power on the deck then click on "Search Again."
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  • Why can't I see video on the monitor?
    Make sure that the MiniDV deck is powered on. Make sure that the TV monitor is powered on and the correct input is selected (input 1 or A).
    Pull down the View menu in Final Cut Pro and make sure that External Video is set to Show All Frames.
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  • What is the audio format of DV?
    The DV format supports either two tracks at 48 kHz and 16 bits or four tracks at 48 kHz and 12 bits.
    For our purposes, the latter format is fairly useless.
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  • How do I burn a DVD?
    This topic can become very complicated very quickly. In a nutshell, use the application DVD Studio Pro.
    The tutorial is very good and will get you up and running in short order.
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  • What kind of disk does the DVD burner take?
    DVD-R (or DVD-RW). Do not use DVD+R disks. -back to top-
  • MIDI
  • How do I address a specific MIDI device in my Max patch?
    There are a number of ways to do this but the simplest is to address a device using its Max "port" name.
    On each MIDI device there is a small piece of white tape in a prominent place with a single, lower-case Roman letter on it.
    This is the port name. So, to get MIDI into a patch one might use a 'notein' object with a single letter as an argument: 'notein a.'
    An output, for example, might be: 'midiout c.'
    The way names are mapped to MIDI ports is set up within Max via the Options -> MIDI Setup... menu item.
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  • Is there a way to be sure that MIDI is actually being sent from a controller?
    The full-size MIDI controllers do sometimes get locked up... Press any of the keys and look at the front of the MIDI interface.
    It's usually a single-space, silver box in the studio rack labeled MIDI I/O.
    If there are little lights flickering in concert with your key presses then the keyboard is working and your problem is elsewhere.
    If no lights flicker on the interface, cycle the power on the keyboard and try again.
    You may have to go through several iterations of power cycling.

    A handy tool for checking the MIDI messages coursing through your system is the MIDImonitor application.
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  • How do the MIDI to CV converters on the Serge work?
    Very well, thank you. Take a look at the example patch on the virtual desktop of the Mac. Be SURE the range is limited as described to constrain the output voltage between 0-5 volts. Then, go nuts. Imagine feedback loops in your MaxMSP patches whereby the sound from the Serge is fed into the patch and converted to MIDI which controls the Serge, sending sound back into the patch... -back to top-