Multitrack Home Recording

By describing briefly how we create these songs, we hope to encourage more people to do the same thing.  You need a PC with sound card and CD burner, one good mike, a mike preamp, software like Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 or later, and a plan for your songs.  Basically, we have too many instruments and not enough people to play them.  So we have used multitrack recording techniques to produce the songs on these CDs  

cakewalk main windowTo create one of these songs we first devise on the structure of the song.  We decide whether to make it a vocal or an instrumental.. Each instrument or voice has its own track, represented by the  horizontal lines in the main Cakewalk window.  We also set the number of verses, reflected in the length of these tracks in the window.  If we're doing an instrumental, we decide on which will play the melody on each verse.  We decide what instruments to use as accompaniment, where to put instrumental breaks in vocals, and what instruments should play those.  There are other decisions, such as the meter and tempo of the piece, the basic style, dynamics, variations in tempo, etc

cakewalk wave windowThen we begin recording, one part at a time. Sometimes we record one instrument all the way through a song, but more often we record one instrument for only a verse or two, then go back in the song, change instruments and add a different instrument to the verses already recorded. We record acoustic instruments as monaural wave files, as shown here in the Cakewalk wave window.

cakewalk staff windowWe also do some MIDI keyboard tracks, recorded as MIDI data.  Cakewalk lets us view those data as music notes so we can make modifications as needed, as shown here.   We later convert to wave files for the final mix.

 The individual notes are mostly improvised while recording, although some parts have been recorded by other musicians in other locations and then sent here.

cakewalk mixerThen to finish each song, we mix the individual tracks together, setting the relative volume and position of each track and the overall volume.  For each song, we produce a stereo wave file on disc that we burn to CD.

It takes planning, lots of experimentation, much patience, and lots of time to do multi-track recording.  But eventually the results will be quite rewarding.

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