Selecting a Multitrack Recording Sound Source

When you select a sound source for your multitrack recording, you simply set up your instrument or microphone so that it records to the track of your choice. Here’s how to select a sound source:

  1. Turn the input trim knob and fader on the channel strip of your mixer all the way down to avoid hearing an unpleasant noise or potentially damaging your monitors.

  2. Plug your instrument or microphone into the appropriate input jack of your system.

    For a microphone, this may be a separate preamp or the internal preamp in your mixer, SIAB system, or audio interface. For an electric guitar or bass, use the Hi-Z input or a direct box, and for a keyboard or other electronic instruments (such as a drum machine or sound module), use any of the instrument inputs.

  3. Choose the track that you want to record the signal to.

    This procedure varies from system to system. Here’s how to route the signal in the following systems:

    Studio-in-a-box (SIAB) systems: In many SIAB systems, you can route the signal from any mixer input to any recorder track by pressing a button. For example, on the Tascam 2488, just press and hold the Input button for the input channel your instrument or mic is connected to until it flashes.

    Continue holding the input channel’s button and press the Select button for the track channel that you want to route that instrument or mic through. Release the Status button, and you’re all set.

    Computer-based systems: You need to open the Input window to choose your input source. This process is pretty simple and is similar for most programs. Here’s how you do it in Pro Tools:

    1. Choose Display→Edit Window Shows→I/O View.

      The I/O section of the Edit window appears, showing the inputs and outputs for each of your tracks.

    2. Click and hold your mouse button on the Input selector until the Input menu pops up.

    3. While still holding down your mouse button, move the mouse over the Input menu until it rests on the input listing you want.

    4. Release the mouse button to select the input listing.

      This menu closes, and the input you’ve selected appears in the Input selector.

    Stand-alone systems: If you have a stand-alone recorder with a separate analog mixer, you need to connect a cord from the input channel that your instrument is plugged into to the track that you want to record to (use the direct line outputs from the input channel).

  4. Arm the track that you want to record to (that is, set it to the Record mode).

    This procedure also varies from system to system. Here’s how to arm the track on the following systems:

    Studio-in-a-box systems: A Selector button glows various colors, depending on the mode that the channel is in. Press the button on the track number that you’re recording to until you see a red glow. This means that the track is ready to record.

    If you are using an SIAB system and want to record to a different track number than the input channel you’re plugged into, make sure that you arm the track that you want to record to and not the track associated with the input channel.

    If you don’t do this, you either record your music to the wrong track (and possibly erase something else) or you don’t record anything, depending on the routing of your system.

    Computer-based systems: Arm the track within the software by clicking the Record Enable button in the main window of your program. In Pro Tools, for example, this button is located in both the Edit window and the Mix window for each track.

    Stand-alone systems: Press the Track Selector button located near the Track Level meter on the front of the machine until the button blinks red.

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