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Author Topic: Discussion: Multi-track recording  (Read 2980 times)

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zubz

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Discussion: Multi-track recording
« on: March 02, 2010, 12:04:03 PM »


Steve - that was brill....

Can I just ask though, how complicated is it to mix it all together, as you've done?

Is it the province of the confirmed 'technogeek' (ie, special hardware/software etc), or is it something that we could all aspire to on basic home computers?

John

There's a good program called Audacity - it's free and allows mixing and "mucking about" with various tracks. I've used it for simple stuff (ie only a v small part of its capability) and found it a good tool.

It's not completely intuitive but an hour on YouTube looking at tutorials makes it possible without much hassle.

So all you need is a digital recorder or a mic for the PC and you're away ....

Chris
« Last Edit: March 10, 2010, 09:33:47 AM by Clive Williams »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Theme for the Month for March 2010 - Tunes from Wales
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2010, 02:53:12 PM »

Thanks for all the nice comments, everyone!  (:)

I have a lot of fun with the multi-tracking. I love the sound of several melodeons with different voicings playing together. Add a piquant touch of concertina and fluid whistles for that extra dimension.
<Thinks> It would be really good to get a little melodeon band together to explore these tunes properly </thinks>

Can I just ask though, how complicated is it to mix it all together, as you've done?
Is it the province of the confirmed 'technogeek' (ie, special hardware/software etc), or is it something that we could all aspire to on basic home computers?


For this Welsh set, I used a Samson USB mic plugged directly into my Mac computer and recorded the tunes one track at a time using Garageband, but Audacity (freeware) would do a similar job. The hardest part of multitracking is getting the synchronisation between the tracks absolutely spot on. The slightest error does tend to become obvious. There are a few places in this set where it is not so good.

For this set I first recorded a 'click track', which in it's simplest form is a metronome clicking constantly at the right tempo. Garageband has a built-in metronome click which doesn't require a separate track; you can have it going or not as you choose.  You can listen to the click (headphones are best) whilst recording the proper music tracks; and once one music track has been laid down, you can listen to that too whilst recording the next. But it takes real hard discipline to play exactly in tempo the whole time. If nothing else, this multitracking lark teaches you to play in time. It is possible to subsequently edit the tracks fractionally to move small sections forward or back in time, to try to correct for poor synchronisation, but it's not always easy to do it successfully.

After all the tracks have been recorded, you can go on to edit the volume of each, adjust the L-R separation, add effects such as reverb and EQ settings, etc.

Garageband allows me to save the files to iTunes which converts the tracks to a stereo AIFF audio file, and from that point you can additionally convert it to mp3 format, which significantly reduces the file size and allows you to upload it to Youtube, Onmvoice, etc.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 03:03:30 PM by Steve_freereeder »
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Johnjo

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Re: Theme for the Month for March 2010 - Tunes from Wales
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 03:23:54 PM »

That sounds well beyond me, I'm afraid.

I was feeling all smug with myself for having managed to record an audio file on the old Emac and convert it to a mp3 file.

But thanks again for making the effort.

John
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Re: Theme for the Month for March 2010 - Tunes from Wales
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2010, 03:47:30 PM »

That sounds well beyond me, I'm afraid.

I was feeling all smug with myself for having managed to record an audio file on the old Emac and convert it to a mp3 file.

But thanks again for making the effort.

John
I'm sure it isn't well beyond you...
If you've recorded a single track on the eMac, you can record two tracks 'vertically' as it were. I can't remember whether eMacs came with a version of Garageband, but if not, you can download Audacity for free:
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Start simple. Record one track first, then record a second track in parallel - just try playing the same tune in unison to start with, while you get the hang of it. See how you get on. It's a learning process, but one which is fun to do.
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Clive Williams

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Re: Theme for the Month for March 2010 - Tunes from Wales
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2010, 04:18:01 PM »

That sounds well beyond me, I'm afraid.

I was feeling all smug with myself for having managed to record an audio file on the old Emac and convert it to a mp3 file.

But thanks again for making the effort.

John

If you think about it, recording the 2nd/3rd/etc track isn't any different to playing along with others at a session - you just follow the musician leading the tune (which in this case is you of course!). Give it a go and see where you get - I may well try it myself this month.

One thing which I'm not sure if Steve mentioned. When playing your 2nd/3rd/etc track, listen to the 1st track on headphones while you record the new track - if you listen to it on speakers, you'll get feedback, or at very least, not a very good recording.

[Once this sub-thread has run its course I'll split it off into a new thread and add a link from the FAQ - this is helpful stuff that will apply to any TOTM.]

Cheers,

Clive

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Re: Theme for the Month for March 2010 - Tunes from Wales
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2010, 11:05:48 AM »

If you think about it, recording the 2nd/3rd/etc track isn't any different to playing along with others at a session - you just follow the musician leading the tune (which in this case is you of course!).
It does help if you're trying to follow your own playing instead of someone else's, but the whole process is not trivial if you've never done it before. In order to keep in time, you have to be able to hear what was recorded before, but you don't want that sound going into the microphone when you make the second track, so you need headphones, then you've got to mix a bit of your own sound into the headphones (or use the one ear on/one ear off trick) so you can hear what you're playing...

I use a Yamaha dedicated hard disk recorder - for other reasons I needed to be able to record several players simultaneously - and it makes the job a lot easier. I have Audacity, but mostly use it for trimming and editing stereo material only.

How ever you do it, multitracking takes a bit of getting used to but is good fun.

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Re: Discussion: Multi-track recording
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2010, 03:42:02 PM »

After all the tracks have been recorded, you can go on to edit the volume of each, adjust the L-R separation, add effects such as reverb and EQ settings, etc.

Another fun thing is duplicating and overdubbing tracks, to create an effect similar to the "wall of sound" in use at the times of mono recordings and AM radio! Or, copy a track recorded with a dry-tuned melodeon, lower/raise the pitch, mix it with the original, and presto: a wet-tuned melodeon sound! Well, almost...


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