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Author Topic: Multitrack recording  (Read 1421 times)

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Mcgrooger

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Multitrack recording
« on: February 14, 2020, 05:26:24 PM »

Apologies in advance if this get's long and complicated - it is a question - honest!

Occasionally I've recorded a song or tune with melodeon and then added a guitar track subsequently as here on Tyne of Harrow:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBv5P6Pjp8Q&feature=youtu.be
Or...a song with guitar after which I've added a melodeon track as here with Amphitrite:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1-KjPFgYnY&feature=youtu.be

Getting this done is a bit of a complicated process. I use a now outdated Olympus LS10 digital recorder to record all my tracks at the moment which has no multitracking facility and I don't connect it to a computer until I've made the recording. I record direct to the LS10 through its on board mics.  I record one track and transfer it to my PC. Then I have to put that onto an MP3 player or similar to listen to through headphones whilst I record the second track on the LS10.  This way I avoid any noise from the PC (although tbf it's pretty silent). Then I mix the two tracks together on the free version of Audacity. I've found lining up the tracks really tricky especially if, say, the extra track only comes in part way through the song.

Today on YouTube I noticed a video for the Boss BR80 which seems to retail at about £150. Unfortunately most of the video reviews etc. for it are more concerned with electric/rock guitar than anything else but it does seem to allow for fairly simple MTR via it's onboard mics.  Has anyone tried one or come up with a different easy, fairly non technical way of multi track recording?

One limitation I have is that I don't have any high quality external mics, just a VERY old (50 years) Shure which has a rather bassy response.
I don't want to spend a fortune or spend ages learning new software methods.

Any help/advice/comments will be welcome.
Cheers. McG
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 05:58:29 PM »

I'll send you a PM in a little while (just going out for an hour) I have a machine you might be interested in!
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playandteach

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 06:14:23 PM »

And that has reminded me that we've got a couple of devices at school that are quite complicated, but might be worth me learning to use. Good prompt.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 06:31:31 PM »

Hi Mcgrooger!

I have occasionally synced audio to footage after the fact, and even sometimes included additional footage on other footage. I generally have not found syncing them to be too challenging, but I've often had separate videos of both instruments - perhaps I have gotten used to just post syncing everything.

If I wanted to solve the problem in real time, with things I already have access to, I'd likely attach a USB microphone to my phone, and then use an app that does the job that isn't some sort of bizarre cloud based social network (it appears that this is exactly what the first app I found that would do this is, somehow... - software design these days is so ridiculous). If your Olympus LS10 can't be involved in that that, finding/buying a device specifically to do this could be quite worthwhile.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 06:40:34 PM »

Has anyone tried one or come up with a different easy, fairly non technical way of multi track recording?
I've used a Zoom H2 recorder connected directly to my Macbook Pro laptop and recorded the tracks in Garageband, whilst monitoring through headphones.

But first I set up a 'sacrificial' percussion track for the full duration of the intended recording, using any handy drum loops. As a last resort you can use any real percussion instrument; I've even drummed on an empty pizza box in the past. So long as you can create an even steady rhythm it doesn't matter what you use. I find this method much easier to listen to and work with than a purpose-built click-track or metronome.

Then I lay down each of the proper tracks in turn, whilst monitoring the percussion track through headphones. I can get a pretty good synchronisation using this method.

Finally, having got all the tracks laid down and any tweaks of gain, EQ, L-R balance, etc., I mix down all the tracks to a master, omitting the percussion track. Here's one I did some years ago featuring the one-row 'Golden Box' in D which I made on Emmanuel Pariselle's course:
https://soundcloud.com/steve_freereeder/seven-stars-fantasia
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 06:46:50 PM »

ZOOM are great. I have an H4n, and I can record quad sound using 2 plug in mikes.

SJ
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 07:42:21 PM by John MacKenzie (Cugiok) »
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 06:55:10 PM »

ZOOM are great. I have an H$4, and I can record quad sound using 2 plug in mikes.

Wow dang yeah it looks like the Zoom H4n can do this nicely, although then again, the price tag is going to be £150-200 so might be outside of budget. But, this gives me another reason to want one...
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Graham Wood

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2020, 07:14:55 PM »

Any multitracker is going to be a bit of a learning curve. Having a timing track is key to getting everything tight and together. I normally use a rimshot 4 beats to the bar if you are playing 4:4 time.

I have the BR80 that you mentioned although I don't use it any more. It's small and fiddly but the internal mics and pre-amps are good enough for home use. Learning to use it will take some time and a lot of the functions will probably be irrelevant to what you are trying to do.

You didn't mention what video software you are using. If you don't want to record yourself wearing headphones then it's probably best to run the audio track through a speaker and play to it on video, and then replace the video audio track with the audio track that you pre-recorded and mixed less the timing track. You can use midi timing for punch-ins and out but an audible timing track has always been better for me.

For more professional audio recordings I use an Akai MPC-X deck with Shure SM57 mic's. The pre-amps are exceptional. I guess it depends on what you want to achieve.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2020, 07:15:14 PM »

Wow dang yeah it looks like the Zoom H4n can do this nicely, although then again, the price tag is going to be £150-200 so might be outside of budget. But, this gives me another reason to want one...
Gena - PM sent.
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Mcgrooger

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2020, 07:19:01 PM »

Thanks everyone for the quick replies. I've not got a Mac so no Garageband. I've sometimes thought I'd be able to record direct to Audacity via a USB mic but I like the 'standaloneness' of the Olympus apart from the lack of MTR.
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Mcgrooger

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2020, 07:22:25 PM »

I record the video on to a fairly basic camera then edit it with Windows Live Movie Maker where I also mix in the audio.
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2020, 07:34:16 PM »

Ah, my idea may be too complicated, check your messages!
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2020, 07:39:46 PM »

Thanks everyone for the quick replies. I've not got a Mac so no Garageband. I've sometimes thought I'd be able to record direct to Audacity via a USB mic but I like the 'standaloneness' of the Olympus apart from the lack of MTR.
Audacity plus a USB mic is a good combination.
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Mcgrooger

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2020, 07:45:56 PM »

Thanks Pete I've just sent you a reply.
I've thought about the Zoom H4N before but have a slight irrational down on Zoom - I had a multi effects guitar unit of theirs once but found it gimmicky. I think there is a newer Olympus that'll do MTR but it looks a bit insubstantial.
Price isn't necessarily a killer but it probably would be if I started buying decent external mics.
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Graham Wood

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2020, 08:26:46 PM »

PS: I forgot to mention that I really enjoyed your video's. Not much wrong there....lol... probably just the time it took to make them. Great stuff.
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JohnAndy

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2020, 09:06:30 PM »

Wow dang yeah it looks like the Zoom H4n can do this nicely

I have a Zoom H4n. When I first got it, a few years ago, I used it for making a multitrack recording and also for editing tracks - patching over bits where I'd gone wrong!

It does these things well enough, but I found it extremely fiddlesome and tricky to get my head round the user interface and to work out how to actually go about achieving these things.

I guess if I had kept on with this then it would have gradually come to seem more intuitive to me.

I tried another way of using the H4N, connecting it to the USB port on a Windows PC and using it as a microphone/USB audio interface combination. This should have allowed me to do the multitracking using software on the PC - I think I was using Cubase Lite. The problem I ran into here was that the very high latency when using the default generic Microsoft drivers, and the fact that if I replaced the Microsoft drivers with the Zoom-specific drivers (which were supposed to give better latency) then the drivers kept crashing all the time. Someone did explain to me at a later date that there should be a straightforward work-around for the latency problem, but I never went back to try this out)

Since then, I've just used the H4n as a portable recorder - and it's brilliant at that. I love the quality of the recordings I get on it - and that's just with using the built in mics - if you have your own high quality ones you can plug them in instead.

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Howard Jones

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2020, 12:31:04 PM »

Is your Olympus still functional as a simple recorder?  If so, rather than try to replace it with another one for multi-tracking, why not keep it for field recordings (or just use your phone) and buy some kit specifically for recording with a PC?

I have an old Zoom H4 but I've never used the multi-tracking facility.  Instead I've used a small mixer which came with a small unit to connect to a PC via USB (Behringer Xenyx).  It also came with Cubase, and (after some fiddling with settings and drivers) I didn't have any problems with latency.  You can now get mixers with direct USB connections.  Or as Steve suggested, simply a USB mic.  A good music shop should be able to advise.

Alan Morley

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2020, 03:06:42 PM »

I have always used Mixcraft DAW - (Digital Audio Workstation ) you can buy it on download.

It's really simple to use, unlike the famous QBase - which is a very steep learning curve.

https://acoustica.com/mixcraft

If you still want to stick with your old mic - you can get a USB mic lead and plug into your computers USB socket

All my stuff has been recorded with Mixcraft

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0hVoXci6BE
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Mcgrooger

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2020, 04:05:04 PM »

Thanks again everyone for all the helpful suggestions. I feel a bit doubtful recording to my PC - I don't have a laptop which for some reason might make it feel less cumbersome. I certainly wouldn't be getting rid of my LS10 - nearly all my recordings to date were made with it and I'd almost certainly continue with it for that. For a really quick fix I occasionally just use the built in mic on my camera.  The question's really only about MTR.
Everything here is interesting and definitely food for thought. I'm still interested to know if there are any more opinions on the Boss BR 80. I use Boss effects with my electric guitar work with Tumbling Tom and am a big fan of 'em. At the same time it's also interesting to hear what other folks use for their sound recordings.
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Graham Wood

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Re: Multitrack recording
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2020, 05:44:46 PM »

Download the manual from the link below and read it to see whether you could get on with it. It is certainly fit for purpose and I used to use it all the time.

https://www.boss.info/uk/support/by_product/micro_br_br-80/owners_manuals/5c934929-ee32-4791-8007-d075a0968daf/
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