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By Jeff Strong

Before you can start multitrack recording on your system, you need to set up a few things. First, you need to find and choose the instrument or sound that you want to record.

If you’re using a digital recording system, you need to open a new song file. When you do this, you may be asked (or prompted) to choose the sampling rate and resolution of this new song. (Some systems have you provide this information when you choose a track to record to rather than when opening a song file.)

You generally have the option to choose a sampling rate, which is the number of times every second that the digital recorder or converter takes a snapshot of the sound. Your options may include 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192 kHz.

Some digital recorders don’t allow you to make a CD if you record with anything but a 44.1-kHz sampling rate. Check your owner’s manual if you intend to eventually put your music on a CD.

Some systems may also let you choose the bit depth — the size, in binary digits, of the sample that the converter or recorder takes — that you want to record in. For this parameter, choose the highest bit depth available to capture the best sound possible.

If you choose 20 or 24 bits, you need to convert the final mix to 16-bit if you want to put your music on a CD, but the advantages you gain from recording at a higher bit depth far outweigh the conversion factor.

Finally, name your file, and you’re ready to select a source signal to record.