All the Essentials You Need to Know About Multitrack Recorders

All the Essentials You Need to Know About Multitrack Recorders

In the recording industry, the multitrack recorder is employed to catch and merge sounds from a variety of different resources. Standard designs of the unit are composed of 4, 8, 16 and 32 track recorder gadgets.

A single sound or groups of sound are provided with a particular track for the recording session. This makes it a cinch for sound engineers to change and modify the recording sounds by supplementing, taking away or tweaking with separate tracks individually.

Contemporary multitrack units might work independently, be digital multitrack recording units, or they can be a combination of both.

By using such a device, sound engineers can oversee and revise recordings to generate effects or produce a customized piece of music. There are methods used in order to enhance the power of a musician’s vocal prowess or generate, for instance, a choir linking up with the chorus.

Solo musicians can produce complicated multipart recordings in a home setting too, by recording every segment separately then later on mixing the tracks.

The four-track recorder is considered to be the original multitrack unit, although it soon gave way to the rise of the DIY home recording studio. It makes use of a procedure called ‘Bouncing Down’, wherein 4 tracks are recorded on the unit then remixed into one track before being remixed with other tracks that have also undergone the Bouncing Down process.

This procedure would eventually become simpler and faster with the creation of the 8, 16 and 32-track recorders. These innovations meant that the ‘Bounce tracks’ were no longer needed.

Today’s crop of multitrack recorders is more advanced when compared to their predecessors. A digital or computer-based multitrack recorder might make an almost limitless amount of tracks and effects available to the sound engineer.

When it comes to these recorders, the requirement to bounce might be wholly gotten rid of if the setup has enough sound input features. Putting together independent devices with a strengthened digital multitrack recorder can produce an amalgam setup with plenty of audio inputs.

In cases like this, it is technically possible for a whole orchestral lineup to be recorded in just one sitting, then worked on and edited by the sound engineer to identify separate performances.

The Different Kinds of Digital Multitrack Recorders

Before the digital multitrack recorder was invented, real-time performances were needed to record songs. Furthermore, all tracks had to be played in just one event. Then came the analog multitrack recorders, which gained popularity among musicians, producers and sound engineers due to the convenience they offer.

The long, costly process of recording music has been significantly cut down. The multitrack recorder became a great choice for people working in the music industry, since it lets users employ several tracks to be recorded to go together with each other and also allows for in the use of other sorts of effects that were innovative at that time.

The types of recorders that were employed at this time are now digital and they might be employed not only for recording music, but for other kinds of recordings as well, from movie sounds down to voice acting.

There are varying types of audio multitrack recorders that include features that are advantageous for several kinds of recording procedures. Several digital multitrack units include computers that feature a MIDI interface plus an individual audio interface.

This allows musicians and users to see the sound wavelengths that are being recorded. This is beneficial, particularly for identifying proper pitches and frequencies in the sound or voice.

The sound, music or voice are documented to the hard disc of the computer then kept for editing later on. The sounds or music can undergo the mixing process on the recorder, however, there are models that have a USB port so the sound and music can be stored there.

The sound can then be transferred from the USB then directly to the computer for the mixing process. Another kind of recorder is the individual unit that lets mixing and management of sound or music to be serviced on the unit itself. This is an advantage since it minimizes the number of tools required to produce output by having all the units and features gathered in just a single gadget.

This kind of digital multitrack recorder might keep the audio in the internal processor, however it might also document the audio onto other units like a cassette or a disk.

The most sought-after multitrack units though are software that can be employed on desktop computers and laptops. The software or application lets digital and visual display of the audio show up on the screen, providing a neater and more organized visualization.

This kind of software can be bought or downloaded online by just about anybody who needs them. Many recording studios have used these applications as well due to the convenience they provide and their user-friendly attributes.

The neater and more organized way of presenting the audio offers the user with simpler visuals so they can decipher sound and have the capability to mix and manage the audio.

The sounds are recorded by means of a microphone and the desktop computer or laptop can be connected to the microphone unit to administer the sound, as an independent recorder would do.

Selecting a Multitrack Recorder

Digital multitrack recorders can provide for sound engineers and musicians’ needs. Several models are designed for convenience, while others provide a fast and easy means to record lots of audio channels for mixing later on DAW applications.

Other units can be standalone ones that come with adaptable signal routine, strengthened editing properties, and internal effects processing.

Each and every multitrack recorder is made to record multichannel audio or sounds. Even so, there are a number of kinds made for a variety of applications like recording performances, producing demos or managing tracks minus the help of a computer.

What you plan on using the unit for must be included in your considerations. Here are several kinds of unit used today:

Small format workstation

This downsized model is ideal for smaller bands and solo artists. It can record a few channels, thus is perfect for managing regular projects, for practice and for beginners in the recording industry.

They typically feature standard editing attributes and a built-in audio processor. Users can record additional tracks than the amount of inputs would recommend.

Large format workstation

This is for users who want to record professional-quality stuff. They are a nice substitute to computer-based productions. Recordings that are done through the computer are a permanent fixture in the industry but still, there are artists and sound engineers who choose the dependability and simplicity of this option.

One can produce radio-friendly tracks using this and the user will also be provided with more signal processing abilities. It also offers formidable editing capabilities and wiring in external items like EQs and compressor.

Record-only

If you are working with live sounds or are given the job of recording a complete event, the last thing you need is a messy recorder. A record-only multitrack recorder is available in lots of options.

There are rack-mountable types as well as more portable types that users can merely connect their inputs to and simply press record. This kind of unit is ideal for schools, churches, businesses and other locations that feature a live sound setting.

About Track Types

There are disparities between virtual tracks, recording tracks, and playback tracks. A virtual track refers to a number of separate recordings that the workstation can deal with in just one recording session.

Recording tracks refer to the amount of analog or digital signals that users can put in the recorder at one time. Meanwhile, playback tracks are composed of a number of recorded tracks that users can mix collectively and undergo playback one at a time.

When it comes to 8-track units, users can record 2 inputs at the same time, for example, the vocals and a chosen musical instrument. Users can then document 2 more signals to supplement another layer, and then continue until they have documented all 8 tracks.

About Mixing

Lots of downsized recording workstations provide faders for users to employ on their tracks. However, they might include fewer faders than playback tracks in order to cut costs.

For instance, a 16-track unit might only include 8 faders, and you will not find any downsized recording workstation that has motor-powered faders. If you are only after basic musical or sound projects, things like this might not bother you.

However, if you want accessibility to all track faders at the same time and the quicker recall provided by motor-powered faders, then you will absolutely want to go after a larger workstation.

It is somewhat challenging to look at a multitrack recorder and comprehend what it does and absorb its capabilities. Although your choice unit might only have several knobs and faders, you might have instant access to important recording aspects like editing, routing, effects and mixing.

As soon as you have found a workstation that features the proper track count and connections for your project, make sure you determine if the unit has both the mixing and editing capabilities that you are after.

5 Recommended Multitrack Recorders

Because a multitrack recorder is important to every musician, finding one should never become a chore. To make the hunt easier for you, we have compiled a ready list of 5 of the most coveted multitrack recorders at the moment, based on positive feedback from satisfied customers.

Check out the list and see whether you will find your (recording) companion for life.

Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder 2016

The new and improved Zoom H4N PRO is a huge step away from its predecessor. Now you will be able to make clearer, more distinct audio recordings to use in music, movies and podcasting.

The company has placed all of the good things that the older H4N has in the PRO, plus some great improvements. It includes organic-sounding preamps, ultra low noise floor and high-tech X/Y mics. Now you can record anything from a live concert to animal sounds in the wild with astounding authenticity.

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Produces superior sound quality
  • Quiet preamps
  • File transfer from recorder to computer is easy and fast
  • Versatile and compact

Cons

  • Deleting larger files takes time
  • Power-up time is slow
  • Effects cannot be used during live streaming
  • Has weak battery life if not in Stamina mode

TASCAM DP-008EX Digital Portastudio Portable Multi-Track Recorder

TASCAM has a new product in the form of the DP-008EX model. This is a nice 8-channel portable recording studio that has integrated input plus master effects.

Every channel it provides is packed with useful items like reverb, de-esser, volume, auto punch in and out 2 XLR microphone inputs and integrated condenser microphones. Truly, this is a system that every traveling musician should have in their music and recording gear.

Pros

  • Provides superior sound quality due to integrated microphones
  • Is a durable, well-constructed model
  • Has excellent reverb
  • Has integrated mastering effects

Cons

  • Does not include AC adapter
  • Allows only 2 seconds of playback prior to automatic punch-in
  • Does not have MP3 support, which means you have to use an external program for the unit

Zoom R24 Digital Multitrack Recorder

The R24 includes all of the essentials a musician needs in order to create pro studio-level quality recordings anywhere they go. This is a must for any traveling musician who wants to make and record songs at a moment’s notice.

It is a 24-track recorder, a rhythm unit, a pad sampler and a control surface for your preferred DAW application. It also serves as a computer audio interface. Basically, it is a multitrack recorder that is packed with features from a good selection of inputs/outputs to over a hundred onboard effects.

Pros

  • Portable and travel-friendly
  • Makes use of batteries and adapter
  • Includes excellent manual
  • Provides great value for money
  • Produces top notch sound quality

Cons

  • Some of the banks do not function
  • Product is made with plastic

VocoPro SDR4000 Channel Digital Multitrack Recorder

Now you can record songs in an easy and convenient manner with the VocoPro SDR4000 multitrack recorder. It works like two cassette decks but has all the great factors that make digital recording an advantage. The digital recording procedure guarantees high-fidelity audio recordings at all times. Due to it being adjustable, it allows musicians to steer clear of fuzzy recordings.

This is a nice addition to any homemade, DIY setup since it also serves as a dual side digital audio player. The unit is not for musicians alone; it can also be used for businesses, schools and locations/events that require audio recordings of the proceedings.

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Includes easy-to-comprehend manual
  • Has great construction and quality
  • Provides nice sound quality
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Does not have remaining time on recording on-screen view and playback

Zoom R16 Multitrack SD Recorder Controller and Interface

The Zoom R16 is a portable, travel-friendly battery-operated unit that can change any setting into a 16-track recording hub. It has 8 inputs for connecting the microphones, instruments and line devices.

It also includes integrated stereo microphones for over 100 onboard effects that musicians can use on their tracks. The R16 can also be employed as a DAW control surface and as an 8 input audio interface. The effects can be used over the course of recording and the mixing or users can opt to use it for playback only.

Musicians can even get two R16s to work together through USB for 16 tracks of simultaneous recording and 32 tracks of playback.

Pros

  • Has built-in good condenser mics
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Provides good battery life
  • Has a great range of effects
  • An excellent addition to any DIY home setup

Cons

  • Average preamp quality
  • Does not have MIDI
  • Does not have individual channel outputs

Conclusion

Finding a good multitrack recorder that will complement your recording needs will be easier now that you have this helpful guide on hand. A multitrack recorder has all sorts of benefits that will help musicians and bands because it will allow them to record music and sound anywhere they go, at any time.

It also allows them to record a track first, work on it a bit, and then edit the track later. It is a nice companion for musicians who are often on the road: now they can record instant bursts or creation by means of this handy device. It will also help musicians save up on studio time, which can get pretty expensive.

The multitrack recorder is also a welcome addition to any user who wants to build his or her own DIY home recording system. We have technology to thank for making musical recordings easier and more convenient for all of us. Just get a multitrack recorder that fits all your needs and you can get on with your compositions.