Digital Multi-Track Recording Essay, Research Paper
Digital Multi-Track Audio Recording
The art of multiple track audio recording has been around since the invention of
audio tape, which was actually created to record multiple tracks to mix down into a stereo pair on a vinyl record. Lately, with the fast growing technology in the area of digital audio, a plethora of mediums are now available for recording multiple tracks of audio.
The first, and still most widely used, form of digital audio recording is the DAT (Digital Audio Tape). The tape itself is very similar to the VHS cassette that most people use in their VCR?s, however, it is formatted just for audio, rather than audio and video. Most DAT recorders can record up to eight tracks of audio at 48 kilohertz (which means that there are 48,000 bits of audio data for each second recorded). This is much higher quality than a compact disc, which is recorded at 44.1 kHz. Most systems can link up to 16 units for the ability to record 128 tracks of high quality digital audio. The only drawback of DAT recording is the high cost. Each recorder can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000, making this medium out of reach of a small studio or a home studio.
Another high quality medium for digital recording is hard disk recording. There are two types of hard disk recording: personal computers with specified hardware and software and self-contained units. If a person already owns a PC with a large hard drive and a good sound card, computer-based recording is the way to go. With software available for as low as $40, and professional quality software around the $300 mark, it is an inexpensive way to enter to world of digital recording. However, if a person does not already own a PC, or the PC that he/she has is insufficient for digital recording, a self-contained unit may be the best value. It can cost anywhere from $400 to $2500 to purchase a self-contained hard disk recorder.
In the same price and value range as the self-contained hard disk recorder, is the removable media digital recorder. These mediums can be anything from a zip disk to a mini-disk. The looks, operation, and features are, in most cases, identical to those of their hard disk cousins. The only difference is the ability to remove the data discs. Although the owner will pay a little extra to buy a lot of discs, those discs can be kept in case a song needs to be remixed at a later date.
In my opinion, the PC based recording is the best value. It provides better quality, with the ability to record at 96KHz, lowest price, and more editing features than any other medium. It also provides the ability to remove the data, if a large capacity removable disc drive is attached to the PC, and keep it for later remixing. I own and use software to record music that I write, because of its high quality as well as its high value.