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Monday, January 7, 2008

An Introduction to Multitrack Recording: Part I

Part I: The Problem with Recording Sound

You may see me mention multitrack software a lot on this blog and you may be wondering what it is. Most peoples' idea of studio recording is a band setting up in a room and then playing while a couple of microphones stand in front of them, taking it all in. You just play the song and yer done! Actually, the process of recording just one song with a full, lets say rock band can take anywhere from one day to an entire week or more, not counting post production editing. The problem with recording is that microphones just can't hear as well as our ears and brains can.

Between your ear and your brain is a fully automated mixing console called the spiral ganglion, which will go so far as to turn down what it believes to be background noise before a signal even gets to the brain where it is processed even more before you even perceive the sound. Microphones don't have this, and that is why old recordings from the 30's or earlier, which really were just a microphone directly recording to LP or cylinder or wax paper or whatever those primitive people used, sounded so bad.

Fallen asleep yet? If you haven't, you'll now get the idea that the point I'm trying to make is that because microphones are such inefficient gatherers of audio, we need more technology to get a recorded song to sound more like a live one. Multitrack recording is a completely necessary part of music production. In Part II I'll tell you exactly what multitrack recording is.

(Part II is now available! Click here.)

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