Sunday, May 3, 2009

An introduction to the basic recording techniques.

Fostex Personal Multitrack

An introduction to the basic techniques.

Your music begins with an idea. You capture it on tape. Listen to it. Add rhythm, lead and vocal tracks. When you're satisfied with what you hear, blend them all together.

The technique is called multitrack and it's the way that music is being written and recorded today.

Some facts you should know

To record this way, your tape recorder must be capable of playing back and recording different tracks at the same tape head and at the same time.

This feature is called 'sync', and this process of listening and adding fresh tracks is termed 'overdubbing'.

'Sync' is the special feature which separates multitrack tape recorders from the normal stereo machines.

There are of course also more recording channels and tape widths will vary according to use.

As well as a multitrack recorder, you will need a mixer.

This acts as a control centre which allows you to combine signals, alter their sound and then direct them to various recorders, tracks or amplifiers.

Your first recording is made without using special techniques.

To 'overdub', you need to listen to the tracks already on tape, in 'sync' with the ones you are adding.

A simple mixer, termed 'monmix' (normally part of your main mixer) combines all these signals to feed a pair of head-phones that the performer wears.

Switching, in most types modern equipment is automatic.

You decide which tracks are set to record, and the appropriate selection of live and recorded signals is fed into the 'monmix'.

You adjust levels, and record the overdub. The procedure is repeated until all tracks are full.

Finally, the playback signals from the recorder are fed back into the mixer and the recording is finally 'remixed' onto a stereo recorder.

Mixer and recorder may be separate, or both in the same portable package.

A typical four track session

1 You begin by recording the basic tracks. Say rhythm guitar and drums. Recording these on separate tracks 1 & 2, offers the opportunity to balance them against the other tracks more carefully during final mixdown.

2 Listening to the playback of the first two tracks on headphones you can now record the vocal on track 4. (At this point you can 'ping-pong' these first two tracks onto track 4 together with the vocal.
That is, mix all three together and record on track 4 freeing up 1 & 2 for more recording)

Rewind and monitor tracks 1,2,4 while recording lead guitar on track 3.
If you make any mistakes during the overdub process, your recorder should be able to 'punch-in', that is, switching into record at the point of error without having to repeat the
overdub from the beginning.

Finally combine the four recorded tracks with your mixer and master the mix onto a stereo recorder.

Expanding the possibilities.

There are of course many other applications for multitrack beyond building music this way.

The ability to record individual sounds separately means a concert or performance can be captured live for later remix.

And there's a wide range of application in AV or dramatic production.

Multitrack has become a way of life. Music you hear is produced this way. The music industry is totally orientated towards multitrack.

Building tracks one by one. Adding. Changing. Trying new ideas. Tearing things down. Then building them up again.

That's why we build the products you're about to see.

Why we've pushed recording technology to its extreme.

To make machines and mixers that are easy to use. Easy to own.

Products dedicated to musicians, songwriters and producers. And their music.

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