Alesis ML9600 CD recorder

Instructions for Recording


Using the Alesis ML9600 CD recorder


**{+Only use CD-R disks with this recorder!+}**

**{+Do Not use CD-RW disks or the machine will break!+}**



Start-up Checklist


Hints for Using the Recorder

Write Data to CD

Move a Tract to a New Playlist

Clear the Hard Drive

Error Message

**Start-up Checklist:**

1) Turn on the recorder and plug in the preamplifier.
2) Set the HD/CD button to HD.
3) Set the CD format button to CD24.
4) Set input source to analog.
5) Set sample rate to 44.1 kHz.
6) Set word length to 16 bits.  Praat can now take higher bit rates, so you can try higher bit rates if you want to try to get an even cleaner signal.
7) Plug the cable coming from the preamp into the "analog in" slot on the back of the CD recorder. (It doesn't matter whether you use left or right.)


#**Select a playlist**. Look in the little notebook on the recorder and find a playlist that no-one has used, or that someone used and marked "OK to erase" on.  
#**Press "playlist select," then press "up/yes" to move to the playlist number you want to use.**  (There are16 playlists.)  You can only write one playlist to one CD, so you should put everything you want to have on a given CD in the same playlist.  If you make more than one playlist, you will have to use more than one CD to record them.  1 CD holds 60 minutes of speech at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz and bit rate of 16, so if you are going to record more than 60 minutes of speech, you should use more than one playlist.
#Once you have selected a playlist, **press "playlist edit" and then "new track."**  The display will show the track and song number (both which are usually the same).  
#**Now press "record"** (Since you have pressed "record" but not yet pressed "play," the red light under the "record" button will be blinking on and off to show you are testing but not recording.)
#**Check the volume** by having your speaker read a few items as a test.  
#**Adjust the volume on the preamp** to get the level right. Make sure you're adjusting the right microphone, 1 or 2, whichever one you are plugged into.  (Ideally, the level should be going pretty close to the top of the recording meter, but not into the red.)  
#**Adjust the position of the microphone, or get your speaker to move closer to the microphone if necessary.** 
#When the level is OK, **press "play" to start recording**.  The red light under the "record" button will stay on to show you are recording, and the time counter will start to change.  You should be able to hear the speech through the headphones. 
#To pause, but not end the track, press "play/pause."  When you are ready to start again, press "play/pause" again to start recording again.
#To end the track, press "stop."  Now you can press "play/pause" to listen to what you recorded.
#**To record something else, press "new track" again**.  Repeat the above recording steps as necessary.  A playlist can have up to 99 tracks on it.
#**{+Write a note in the notebook+}** saying your name, which number playlist(s) you've used, and the date.  If you don't do this, anybody has permission to overwrite your data without asking.

**Hints for Using the Recorder**

Use the "skip" buttons to move between tracks.
Use the "delete track" button if you want to delete the currently selected track.  The "up/yes" or "down/no" buttons are used to confirm whether you want to delete or not.  (Deleting a track won't actually remove it permanently from the hard drive.  It will only remove it from the playlist it's associated to.  If you delete one by mistake and need it back, see the instructions for moving a track to a new playlist.)

**To write your data to a CD**


#**Put a blank CD in the drive** (press "open/close" to open it).  CDs are in a box on the bookshelf, and you should put 30 cents (or however much the note on the whiteboard says) in the little box next to the CDs for each one you use.
#**Press the "playlist select" button** to get to the playlist you have been working on.
#**Press "playlist edit," then press "create CD."** It will take several minutes, about 1/4 as long as the speech you've recorded.
#**If the screen shows "CD24 creation successful," your CD is done.  
#**Press "open/close,"** and take it out.  Use a permanent marker to write a title and date on your CD for archiving purposes.
#**Put the disk in a computer** to make sure that the files are OK.  Use Praat to open the files.  You will get a message about opening stereo as mono.  Just click OK. 
#**Check to see if your files are correct using Praat on the computer.  
#**If your files are OK, copy them to your hard drive or wherever you want to work on them.  Make sure they copied correctly by opening those in Praat.  Then go back to the Alesis recorder and **write in the book next to your name and playlist number "OK to delete."** Doing this promptly will make Natasha's and everybody else's lives easier next time the Alesis hard drive fills up.
#Data that is left on the machine and not referenced in the log book may be deleted at any time.

**If you wind up with more than 60 minutes of recording on one playlist (how to move a track to a new playlist)**

You can only write 60 minutes of recording to one CD, and a playlist writes only to a single CD.  The easiest thing is to record no more than 60 minutes of speech on one playlist in the first place.  However, sometimes you think a speaker will only take 30 minutes and then they take 35, and you wind up with more than 60 minutes on one playlist.  If this happens, here's what to do so you can write your data without deleting any of your tracks:
#Pick a track that, if removed from your playlist, will make the remaining tracks total to less than 60 minutes.  You're going to move this track to a different playlist and then remove it from this one.  Press "playlist select" to get to your playlist if you haven't already, then "playlist edit," then use the skip buttons to figure out which track to move.  Make a note of how long this track is.  Change this track's song title by moving the cursor to within "song 01" or whatever it's called using the arrow keys, and then press up or down to change some of the letters.  I usually change them to things like "rong 01" or "tong 01" because it's easiest if I only have to change one letter.  The goal here is to get a unique, easy to identify, song name, so if somebody else has used "rong" or "tong" lately, you'll need to get more creative.  
#Pick out a second playlist number, one that's currently unoccupied, that you can use to put this track into.  Look in the notebook to make sure no one has it, and then use "playlist select" to make sure there's nothing in it.  If there is stuff in it, but it's been marked as "OK to delete" in the book, then go to that playlist, then press "playlist edit," then for each track on that playlist, press "del track" and then "up/yes" until that playlist has no tracks.
#Now you should be in the playlist you're trying to move the track into, and there should be no tracks in it.  Press the skip right button even though there are no tracks in the playlist.  You will start to see audiofiles go by.  Audiofiles are recorded songs that may or may not be associated to any track.  It's sort of song limbo:  even if a track is deleted from its playlist, it remains as an audiofile on the hard drive until the hard drive is cleared.  Keep pressing the right skip button until you come to the audiofile you're trying to move to a different playlist.  You'll be able to tell by the unique name you gave it in step 1, and by confirming that it's length is the same as the one you're looking for.  Once you've found it, press play and listen to make sure it is indeed the track you're trying to move.  (If you use the skip buttons to keep going through all the audiofiles on the hard drive, that's how you can verify that nobody else has used "rong" or "tong" or whatever lately, by the way.)
#Once you've found your audiofile you're trying to move to a new playlist, press "track move."  It lets you choose the destination track, but the default (track 1) is probably fine.  Then press "track move" again.  The display will ask you to confirm.  Press "up/yes."  Your audiofile should be in the new playlist.
#Push playlist select, go to your new playlist, and verify that your track is indeed there.  Listen to it to make sure. 
#Press playlist select, and go back to your original too long playlist.  Find the track you just moved to the new playlist.  Press "delete track" and then "up/yes" to delete it.  Hopefully, your playlist is now under 60 minutes, and you can write it to CD.  You'll have to write the new playlist to CD as well, on a separate CD.  If your playlist is still too long, move some more tracks.
#Instructions for all this are in the manual on pp. 16-19, so if you get stuck, read that.

**How to clear the hard drive of the Alesis recorder completely**


{+Don't do this without checking with Natasha or someone else in charge!+}

If the hard drive is almost full (you can tell by looking at the "HD free space" amount on the display), someone needs to clear the hard drive.
 Less than 1 hour is too little, and it's time to clear the hard drive.  Natasha normally does this.  If Natasha isn't available anytime soon, here's what to do.
#Look in the notebook and see who has recordings that they haven't marked as "OK to delete."  Make a note of their names.
#Use "playlist select" to go through each playlist and verify whether anything's on it.  If a playlist has tracks on it, but isn't listed in the book as being anybody's, listen to the beginning of the tracks and try to figure out whose project this recording would be for.  Make a note of their names, and which playlist they're using.
#Send an email to everybody you found in steps 1 and 2.  Ask them to confirm that it's OK to delete their recordings.  Give them an appropriately hard time for not having marked "OK to delete" in the first place like they were supposed to.  Remind them that if they haven't written their data to CD and verified that the files are good yet, they need to do so immediately, and that they're preventing other people from doing research until they finish this.
#After people have all responded that they've got their files onto CD and checked, or you've given them long enough to do so anyway, press "utility"  on the Alesis until the screen says "util8 HD format" and then press "yes" twice to delete everything on the hard drive.  The "HD free space" indicator should now read 36 hours of free space.
#Note:  Steps 1-3 above are a courtesy.  If we get desperate enough, we can delete anything left on the hard drive for more than a few days without asking the people who recorded it.

**Error messages**

*This hasn't happened in a long time, but if you get an error message when recording to a CD that says "CD write failure HDCD to reset" press the HD CD button and try again.  You may have to restart the machine.  
*If you get some other error message, look in the Alesis manual and try to figure out what to do.  As long as you don't clear the hard drive, there's a good chance your recording will still be there.
*Let Natasha or someone else in charge know if unexplained error messages occur.