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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Portable Multitrackers

5. Input

Most musicians shopping for a multitracker are looking for a ‘studio in a box’ - a complete solution that replaces the roles of a variety of modern recording equipment. It’s often easy to overlook the features that are most important in helping to achieve a professional recording, and one of these is the input section:

It’s well worth considering exactly how you plan to use your multitracker, both now and in the future. If you plan to use condenser microphones for example, make sure you select a model with good quality mic preamps and phantom power. The number of inputs you’ll require is also important to bear in mind - if you’re planning on recording drum kits or a live band, you’ll need quite a lot, and also the facility to record multiple tracks simultaneously. Most multitrackers offer both microphone (XLR) and mono and/or stereo line (jack) inputs, but the number and ratio vary considerably from machine to machine.

If you’re a solo artist however, you’ll probably only need to record a couple of tracks simultaneously, so choosing a model with fewer inputs will free up your budget for other equipment - better quality microphones or studio monitors for instance. It’s also worth mentioning that the number of inputs does not necessarily have any bearing on the number of available tracks, and that the quality level you use - sample rate, bit depth etc - can reduce the number of simultaneous recording tracks available to you.

A typical multitracker input section
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Portable Multitrackers overview

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