This article aims to provide a step by step guide to demonstrate how to get started with your first recordings. The equipment used in this demonstration will be a Xenyx 302 USB mixer, an XM8500 dynamic microphone and a Mac computer.
Step 1: Installing my software
Once you have your Xenyx 302 USB mixer you will require a DAW (digital audio workstation) to record into. Behringer offers 2 free options with the purchase of the mixer they are Audacity and Tracktion. To obtain your free copy of Audacity you need to head to the product page of the Xenyx 302 USB and click on the 'Downloads' tab on the top right of the page or click on this link which will take you directly to the page:
On this page you can download the available documents, images and software for the Xenyx 302 USB. If you head to the Apps section this is where you will find the software available for Mac by clicking on 'see all applications'. Audacity can be downloaded by clicking the 'Audio Software for Mac' icon. Please note you will need to agree to Music Group Ltd. terms and conditions to commence the download.
Once complete the software will appear as a .zip file in your 'Downloads' folder which you can move to your desktop. To extract the folder just double click on the .zip file. Enter the folder and you will see two subfolders 'Audacity' and 'Podcaster'. In the Audacity folder you will see two DMG files to install the software, one is for Macs with Intel processors the other is for PPC processors. You can determine which DMG you need to install by clicking the apple icon and selecting about this mac. Then run the relevant DMG to commence installation.
The following icon should appear on your desktop. If you double click this icon the folder will open and you fill see the Audacity icon. Move one icon to your 'Applications' folder and one to your desktop for easy access in the future.
Move to 'Applications'.
Move to desktop.
Audacity software is now installed and ready to use.
If you wish to install and use the Tracktion software please consult the following article:
Step 2: Setting up the mixer
Now that Audacity is installed and ready to use we can use our Xenyx 302 USB to record with the software. Connect your Xenyx to your Mac using the USB cable provided and the unit will power on automatically. Once the mixer is plugged in you need to go into your 'System Preferences' folder and select the 'Sound' icon.
The Xenyx 302 USB will then appear as an option in your input and output option. Select 'USB Audio CODEC' as shown below to set your mixer as your input/output device.
You can use your Xenyx as an input device and your built in speakers for output if you do not have any external speakers to use or set both input and output to USB Audio CODEC if you wish to plug external speakers into your mixer. Now the mixer is set as your input device we can open Audacity and set our preferences in the DAW. The image below shows where you change the input and output options in Audacity.
Once again set the input and output (if speakers are plugged into the Xenyx mixer) to USB Audio Codec.
Step 3: Recording
Now on the Xenyx mixer we can plug in our XM8500 to the MIC IN input, turn up the GAIN and the MIC volume. In Audacity use the drop down arrow next to the microphone to 'start monitoring' for a visual representation of your signal strength as shown below. Use this to set the microphone to a suitable level for recording.
Once you have your levels set you can hit record and audacity will automatically create a track and begin your recording.