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Using TesiraFORTÉ USB audio with For The Record

TesiraFORTÉ's USB audio port can be used to receive or transmit up to eight channels of digital audio to a PC. One application where this is particularly useful is court recording systems. Many courtrooms use digital court reporting systems to keep a digital record of everything that takes place in a courtroom.

For The Record is a digital evidence recording software platform that runs on Windows PC's. This article describes how to connect the USB interface of a TesiraFORTÉ processor to a Windows PC, and use For The Record software to record 1-8 channels of digital audio.

Create a Tesira configuration

The first step to integrating TesiraFORTÉ with For The Record (FTR) software is to create a Tesira configuration file that includes USB blocks.  While TesiraFORTÉ's USB interface supports both sending and receiving of audio signals, most court recording applications only require the TesiraFORTÉ to send audio signals to the recording application. Therefore, in most cases, only USB Output blocks will be utilized in the Tesira configuration.

USB blocks can be inserted via the I/O Blocks menu in the Object Toolbar.  They can also be inserted when a set of TesiraFORTÉ blocks are added to a configuration. When configuring the USB blocks for this particular application, the USB blocks should be in "Line In/Out" mode, and in most cases you will be using "Output Channels Only":

FTR-USB-init.png

This will create a USB Output block with up to 8 channels.  For The Record (FTR) software can record all 8 channels of audio, however please note that FTR software will only support up to 4 channels of audio recording unless the FTR Mixer application is purchased and installed.

Choosing the right TesiraFORTÉ

Depending on the requirements of the courtroom audio system, the correct model of TesiraFORTÉ will need to be selected.  The table below summarizes the features of the different models:

tesiraforte_chart3.png

If the courtroom requires any kind of teleconferencing or videoconferencing capabilities (including remote interpretation), a TesiraFORTÉ model that includes acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) processing should be used.  If multiple Tesira devices are required to satisfy the input/output requirements of the system, a TesiraFORTÉ model that includes AVB audio networking should be used.

Connect TesiraFORTÉ USB to computer

FTR-windowsCP.pngNext, connect a USB cable from the TesiraFORTÉ USB connector to any USB connector on the computer.  Note that TesiraFORTÉ's USB connector is a Standard-B type connector.  Any computer that supports USB Audio 1.0 will work with TesiraFORTÉ, without the need for manually installing drivers.  Most modern operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) support USB Audio 1.0 natively.

When you connect the USB cable to your computer, it should automatically detect the TesiraFORTÉ and automatically install any necessary drivers.  Once fully connected, TesiraFORTÉ will show up as an audio device in Windows.  You can verify this by going to the Sound control panel (Windows Control Panels→Hardware and Sound→Sound).

 

Configure FTR software to use TesiraFORTÉ

Once the USB cable is connected, the FTR software must be configured to use the USB audio from the TesiraFORTÉ. The setup procedure for FTR software is different depending on how many audio channels need to be recorded. Follow the steps in the appropriate section below:

Set up FTR to record 1-2 channels

  • Open the FTR Reporter software.
  • In the toolbar, click the Menu button, then select Tools→Options→Recording.
  • Select the Multimedia tab.
  • For Sound Card, select the TesiraFORTÉ device.
  • For Input, select "Master Volume".
  • Check the checkbox for "I want Recorder to control my sound card recording level".
  • Select the Mixer tab.
  • Select the desired number of channels to record.
  • Click Finish.

The FTR software should now be configured to use the TesiraFORTÉ USB audio signals.  To confirm audio levels, click the Menu button, then select View→​Input Level Window.

ftr-multimedia-forte.pngftr-mixer-forte.png

Set up FTR to record 3-8 channels

To use FTR to record more than two channels, some additional steps are required. Ensure that you have first followed the steps above, under "Set up FTR to record 1-2 channels", and then follow the instructions below to expand FTR's capabilities beyond two-channel recording.

Note that you cannot record more than four channels of audio with FTR unless you have also purchased and installed the FTR Mixer application.

By default, Windows cannot handle a USB audio device that uses more than two audio channels.  Therefore, in order to send more than two audio signals to FTR, third-party software is required to make the additional channels available. One technology that helps with this is the ASIO driver, which overcomes the limitations of Windows and is supported by FTR software. The steps below are based on using ASIO4ALL Version 2.11 software.

  • Download ASIO4ALL Version 2.11 software from www.asio4all.com
  • Install the ASIO4ALL software.  When installing the software, be sure to check the "Off-Line Settings" checkbox to include that component in the installation.  This is required to enable proper operation of all channels.

asio4all-install.png

  • Open the Windows "Services" application.  One way to do this is to go to the Windows Start Menu (or press Windows-S in Windows 8) and type "Services" into the search bar:

services.png

  • Right-click on the "FTR Recorder Manager" service and select Properties.
  • Select the Log On tab.
  • Select the "This account" radio button, and enter the username and password of the user that installed the ASIO4ALL configuration. If the computer is part of a domain, provide the domain as well (e.g., username@domain.com).  Alternately, you can click the Browse button to browse for valid users.

services-list.pngservices-logon.png

  • Click OK.
  • Restart your computer. (Restarting the service without restarting the computer isn't sufficient.)
  • Open the FTR Reporter software.
  • In the toolbar, click the Menu button, then select Tools→Options→Recording.
  • Select the Multimedia tab.
  • For Sound Card, select the ASIO4ALL device.
  • Select the Mixer tab.
  • Select the desired number of channels to record.  (Note that the FTR Mixer software package must be purchased and installed before FTR Reporter will allow more than 4 channels to be used.)

ftr-multimedia-asio.pngftr-mixer-asio.png

  • If all of the channels aren't available, you may need to open the "ASIO4ALL Off-Line Settings" application and confirm that TesiraFORTÉ is the currently selected device.
  • Click Finish.

The FTR software should now be configured to use the TesiraFORTÉ USB audio signals.  To confirm audio levels, click the Menu button, then select View→​Input Level Window.

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