What Are the Different Types of Digital Multitrack Recorders?

Jean Marie Asta

Prior to the invention of digital multitrack recorders, recording of music required real time playing and all of the music had to be played in a single instance. With the invention of analog multitrack recorders, multitrack recording gained popularity by reducing the recording of music into smaller pieces. It also gained popularity as an artistic tool because it allowed for multiple tracks to be recorded to sync with each other as well as allowing for the application of other effects that had not been heard of until then. The types of recorders used these days are now digital multitrack recorders and they may be used for musical recording as well as other types of recording, such as voice acting or movie sounds. The types of recorders include ones with different interfaces, standalone models and software.

A vocalist can record multiple harmonies with a multitrack recorder.
A vocalist can record multiple harmonies with a multitrack recorder.

There are different types of audio multitrack recorders that come with tools that are beneficial for some kinds of recording, but not others. Some digital multitrack recorders come with a computer that has a midi interface as well as a separate audio interface, allowing the user to view the wavelengths of the sound being recorded. This is especially useful when determining if the correct pitch and frequency is being hit by the voice or sound. Music, sounds, or voices are recorded to the computer’s hard disk and stored to be used later. These sounds can be mixed on the recorder, but some recorders allow the music to be saved to a USB if the recorder is connected through a USB port, and then transferred from the USB to a computer for mixing.

A computer can be used to produce multi-track recordings.
A computer can be used to produce multi-track recordings.

Another type of recorder is a standalone model that allows all mixing and manipulation of sound to be processed on the device itself. This is beneficial because it reduces the number of devices needed to create an end product by having all tools and features on one machine. Digital multitrack recorders of this kind may save the audio to its internal processor, but it may also record those sounds to other devices such as a disk or cassette, though these two peripheral devices are becoming less common.

More popular digital multitrack recorders come in the form of computer software and are used on a laptop or personal computer (PC). The software allows digital and visual representations of sound to appear on the screen for a cleaner way to view them. Though this type of software can be purchased or downloaded easily from the Internet by anyone, recording studios have also taken advantage of the software because of its ease of use. The clean method of representation provides the user with easier visuals of sounds to “read” and the ability to mix and manipulate the sounds. Sounds are recorded using a microphone of some sort, and the computer can also be hooked into devices like the microphone to process the audio as a standalone recorder would.

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