7. The Recording Section

The recording section is, depending on the device, equipped with between 4 and 32 tracks. The data backup takes place - as already discussed - on FlashCards or hard disks. As with their semi-professional and professional brothers, compact beginner studios allow you to access virtual tracks in addition the main tracks. Created when each of the main tracks is subdivided, the number of virtual tracks creatable is model dependent, ranging from 8 to over 200. For a better understanding read the example below.

Imagine the following situation:

After finishing the base tracks of a song (e.g. bass, rhythm guitar, and voice) you decide to refine a specific song passage with a guitar solo. The whole thing will take up the last available track. So far so good. But, once you're done, something that happens is typical in any recording session: in the final assessment, you wonder if the guitar solo would be better with just one more run through. But you've used the last track to record what you already have! There would normally be no alternative: either keep it or delete it entirely. Not the case with hard disc recording systems! The virtual sub-tracks of the individual tracks offer the possibility to start further experiments without having to delete a previous track. You only have to start the unpleasant process of deciding which tracks to delete in the final editing process. Working with virtual tracks is an extremely creative process and supports a musician's passion for experimentation.

Simultaneous recording of multiple tracks:

To prevent disappointment after purchasing you should keep in mind what you'll be using the device for. Primarily you'll be considering how many tracks can be recorded at once. For home recording almost any device will do the job. Next are the 8 track multi trackers which can record two tracks simultaneously (and of course play 8 at once). So you can record an external drum computer or stereo keyboard and then work with the end product track by track, just like in a normal studio. But if you want to record a completely mic'd drum set or a full band you'll have to get creative to bring all signals to the front as just two tracks. Of course it's possible but you won't be able to edit the sounds of the instruments individually.

So if you want to record multiple instruments simultaneously you should choose a multi tracker capable of managing 8 or even 16 tracks at once. Then you'll be safe from the get go. Once again, it is important to pay attention to the product text and technical data on our website as well as the device manuals available on the respective manufacturers websites.

Digital Editing

Just as you are able to manipulate text in a word processor, you can also cut, copy, paste and insert audio tracks on multitrack recorders.

Location Points

These enable you to visually mark specific points of a song such as verses and choruses, so that you can quickly and conveniently navigate around without having to continually search through– highly convenient when used in conjunction with copy and paste functions.

Track Bouncing

If you’re running out of tracks, you can mix several of them down to one or two in order to free them up. This is a handy trick, but care should be taken, as unless you’re using virtual tracks, you cannot later remix.

Punch In/Out

This feature is often used to replace mistakes or re-record parts of a track that could have been performed better. It lets you enable and disable recording while playing back the song to record the part on the fly. Also sometimes referred to as ‘dropping’ in/out.

Auto-Punch

Short for ‘Automatic Punch In/Out’, it makes punching in and out both easier and more precise. Typically available on higher-end multitrackers, the feature allows users to set ‘in’ and ‘out’ recording points, which will cause the recorder to automatically drop in and out of record.

Mute and Solo

Pressing a track’s mute button will simply remove its output from the mix until the button is pushed again. Soloing a track produces the opposite result - all channels are muted except the one being soloed.

Sample Rate

The sample rate is a measure of how many times per second the source material is being ‘sampled’. Sample rate affects the frequency response of the final recording - the highest frequency that can be accurately represented is just under half the sample rate. Generally speaking, the higher the sample rate, the better the sound quality, but the most sensible sample rate to use will depend on your system - the higher the rate, the more storage required, and sometimes the lower the track count. The law of diminishing returns definitely applies here – 96kHz does not sound twice as good as 48kHz!

Mastering

The process whereby recorded material is taken from the multitracker and prepared for duplication in the format of the final release. This can include any or all of the following - equalisation, compression, limiting, normalisation, stereo widening, fades, and simply arranging the songs in the desired order.

Non-Linear Editing

The editing of audio on a system that has the ability to randomly access data, with the upshot that the user can define a region and move it forward or backward in relation to other regions.

What is 'Digital Recording'?

Audio information saved as digital information. Can be stored on the following mediums: Magnetic band (video cassettes), hard drive, or removable storage such as discs and SD cards.

What is encoding?

Refers to reducing the amount of data from audio and video recordings by using a variety of data compression methods. Among the best known variants is the MPEG 3 (MP3) format.

What is a 'marker'?

An electronic marking of a specific part of a song, allowing you to narrow down certain areas of an audio track to be replaced or copied. Also serves to mark the entry and exit points in the punch in / out process.

What are patches?

Completed effect presets.

What is 'speaker simulation'?

Digital adjustment of the sound characteristics of guitar or bass amps.

What is the undo function?

Many digital recorders work with a protective recording system. When dubbing tracks, the "deleted" data is stored until it is finally sent to data nirvana when the song data is optimized. The original tracks are recoverable until then by using the 'undo' function.

What are virtual tracks?

Each of the main tracks on a digital recorder is divided into up to 10 sub-tracks, depending on the device. The 'v-trax' offer the possibility of recording different takes (versions) of the same song part. You only need to choose one of the virtual tracks when it comes time to mix the recording.

What is 'amp-modeling'?

Digital reproduction of the sound characteristics of guitar or bass amps.

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