Setting Up Mixcraft & Music Equipment in Your Music Department
Compatability of Mixcraft
Mixcraft 8 is for PC computers only, it won't work on a Mac. Version 8 is supported by Windows 7, 8 or 10 (32- or 64-bit), and is still supported on Vista, and XP, although there will now be very few schools in the UK with these rather outdated platforms. It would be great if every pupil had a computer in the department - but judging by our experience this is not the case in the majority of UK schools.
Mixcraft 8 arrives in your email with a link to download from SOFTPLANET or directly from our UK distributors.
Mixcraft Site Licenses
A Mixcraft Site License can be purchased for a minimum of 5 computers - and at the time of writing this will cost around £175.00 ex vat. The price falls significantly if you buy 25 units or more for your department.
The next best arrangement, if resources are tight, is to have small groups of pupils around a computer to share its use - and it may be that individual pupils can take turns of instrument playing / controlling the equipment, singing and using microphones for recording etc.
Where resources / space are really tough, you can still operate a meaningful experience using Mixcraft with one computer and a projector for many lesson plans.
MIDI Controllers are devices that normally use a keyboard interface to control virtual instruments or other external hardware. Of course, there are many different kinds of controllers such as assignable controllers and velocity controlled pads. These devices work well in a classroom setting to control and perform with Mixcraft’s virtual instruments.
For example, a student performing with a MIDI keyboard device can actually trigger & “play” Mixcraft’s Organ Instrument. For those setups we highly recommend the use of ASIO drivers or external audio interfaces.
PC’s have built in audio drivers that communicate between software applications and the computer’s sound card. The best possible performance is using ASIO drivers for your audio hardware (check out ASIO4ALL Audio drivers), - these drivers can be found included as external downloads with audio interface setups. If you decide not to use additional audio interfaces you will experience high latency or delay between playing a sound and playback. This makes the recording process virtually unusable. So, we highly recommend using an external audio interface for each computer and the appropriate drivers. We can offer advice on audio interfaces if you need help.
Functions of an Audio Interface
This changes the incoming audio signal into a digital audio signal, so your computer can digitise it into a compatible format. Some interfaces offer support for MIDI signals (mainly from keyboards), so we suggest you buy your interface which has BOTH audio and MIDI interface connections or audio and USB.
Connecting an Audio Interface
Audio interfaces are easy to set up - usually just plugging into the USB slot on your PC. In our experience the best interfaces for schools have a couple of audio inputs and a MIDI / USB port -that will let you record 2 x audio and say a MIDI keyboard. Look for interfaces that fit the budget of the classroom. Mixcraft will work with almost all audio interfaces for PC.
If you haven’t already purchase a condenser microphone, there is plenty info online of what to buy and you can purchase a good mic for your classroom purposes and projects for well under £100.
Mixcraft 8 can record all electronic and acoustic instruments. Electronic instruments like electric guitars, drum machines and synths, simply plug your audio cable from the instrument to the audio interface (usually a ¼ jack), if using an audio interface or USB mixer. Acoustic instruments such as acoustic guitars, drums, and all other instruments will need a microphone. Again simply plug into your audio interface.
Cables & Leads
Usually the connection for mics will be an XLR to XLR or XLR to 1/4" Jack. MIDI or USB cables are also required for your electronic keyboards. Look after your cables and always have extra on hand, they do get broken easily and they do disappear!
Headphones & Monitors
Headphones are an absolute must in the classroom. You have to decide whether to spend a bit more in getting ones which will last (seek out ones with removable headphone cables that can be replaced cheaply). However, school budgets tends to direct towards the cheapest!
Also try and have at least a decent pair of monitor speakers on one computer to let the class hear performance at its best.
USB Audio Interface. Here is a typical one for class 2 audio inputs and a MIDI input – we can advise on good interfaces at reasonable prices.
For more professional advice on Mixcraft or music hardware simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.