Example Hardware Setups

The following sections provide several examples of different hardware setups:

Setup with Powered Speakers

With this setup, you can monitor the audio output through a set of connected powered speakers.

This setup uses the following equipment:

  • Your computer and display

  • A set of powered speakers, including speaker wire and a power adaptor

    Figure. Illustration showing speakers and power cables connected to a computer.

Setup with a USB Audio Interface

With this setup, you can record audio input from microphones and musical instruments, and monitor audio output, through a USB audio interface.

This setup uses the following equipment:

  • Your computer and display

  • USB audio interface (from 2 to 8 channels) with USB cable to connect to your computer

  • Microphone

  • Musical instruments (guitar, bass, and keyboard)

  • Cables to connect microphones and instruments to the audio interface

  • Set of monitors or speakers

    Figure. Illustration showing a USB audio interface and other devices connected to a computer.

Setup with a FireWire Interface and a Control Surface

With this setup, you can record audio input from several sources simultaneously and monitor audio output channels independently, through a mixer connected to a FireWire audio interface.

This setup uses the following equipment:

  • Your computer and display

  • FireWire audio interface with FireWire cable to connect to your computer

  • Control surface and MIDI interface with USB cable to connect MIDI interface to your computer

  • MIDI cables to connect control surface to MIDI interface

  • Set of powered monitors or speakers

  • Speaker cables

    Figure. Illustration showing a FireWire interface, a control surface, and other devices connected to a computer.

Setup with a Video Output Device

With this setup, you can play video and audio through an external video output device. Because using a video output device can result in increased latency, you may want to combine this setup with an audio-only setup, and switch between the two setups.

This setup uses the following equipment:

  • Your computer and display

  • Video output device (FireWire device or PCI Express card)

  • High-quality video monitor

  • Audio monitors

    Figure. Illustration showing a video output device and video monitor connected to a computer.

Setup with a PCI Express Video Interface Card with Breakout Box

Many PCI Express cards aren’t big enough to fit all of the necessary video and audio connectors. In these situations, a breakout box is connected to the PCI Express card via a multipin connector on a long cable, and the connectors are accessible on the breakout box instead of on the back of the PCI Express card. A breakout box is also useful because it allows you to place the connectors somewhere more convenient than the back of your computer, such as on an equipment rack or a desktop.

This setup uses the following equipment:

  • Your computer and display

  • Video interface (PCI Express card with breakout box)

  • High-quality video monitor

  • Audio speakers

    Figure. Illustration showing a breakout box and video tape recorder connected to a computer.

Setup for Stereo Mixing

By default, Soundtrack Pro is set up for stereo mixing. Most video editing suites use nearfield monitors, which are speakers designed to be listened to at fairly close range. Speakers should be at least a foot or two away from any walls to prevent early reflections of sound that combine with and muddy the original sound.

Position the speakers as far from your listening position as they are from each other (forming an equilateral triangle). For example, if the distance between the speakers is six feet, you should place yourself six feet from each speaker. The apparent width of the sound stage, or stereo image, increases as the distance between the speakers increases. However, if the two speakers get too far apart, sound information appearing in the center (between both speakers) starts to disappear.

Setup for Surround Mixing

For complete instructions on setting up the surround mixing tools in Soundtrack Pro, see Setting Up Soundtrack Pro for Surround.