Akai DR8 Hard Disk Recorder (part 4)
The DR8 is so quick and efficient as a multitrack recorder, I would still like it even if it didn't offer any editing capabilities, but it does and they are good. In multitrack recording it is common to want to use the same section of audio in several places in a song. Usually it is done using a sampler, but it's much quicker using the DR8. Simply mark the in and out points, then use the Copy function to repeat the audio as many times as you like. Of course, copying identical audio data doesn't take up any extra disk space. Finding the in and out points is done with the jog/shuttle wheel. You can scrub the audio in the same way as you would on an analogue reel to reel tape recorder, or a top of the range megabuck hard disk recorder like a SoundStation or AudioFile. Unfortunately, Akai haven't quite got it right in the scrub department yet since duplicating reel to reel style scrubbing in a software environment is a far from trivial task. The scrub function does work, but I found that each time I rocked the jog wheel back and forth, its position would change with respect to the audio. This is precisely what you don't want to happen, and I found that I was never quite sure that I was hitting the right spot. Perhaps I've been spoilt by my experience with the top systems. Despite this, it is very easy to audition and adjust the in and out points so I don't want to seem too critical. It's a lot better than some equipment I have tried, and there is almost certainly some scope for Akai to improve it in a software update. Checking that your in and out points are in the correct place is straightforward. Once you think you have your mark, press the To key to listen to the few seconds of audio leading up to the mark, or the From key to hear from the mark. You can scrub and audition any combination of tracks by the way. Once you have marked out a section, press the In to Out key to hear it in isolation.
When you have the section you want precisely located between between the In and Out points, there are several things you might want to do. It could be a vocal for instance, and there are some breaths or other noises you want to silence. Select the Erase function and it's done, leaving everything else in place as it was before. Suppose you wanted to get rid of some audio and close up the gap, then choose Delete. You may want to copy the backing vocal of the first chorus to all subsequent choruses, but it is spread over four tracks. No problem, choose the Copy function and select the tracks you want to operate on. You can Move audio in a similar way, and there are other useful options. The full list is as follows:
- Copy the specified section to any track. Material at the destination is overwritten
- Copy and Insert the section to any track. Subsequent material is moved back
- Move the section to any track. Material at the destination is overwritten
- Move and Insert the section to any track. Subsequent material is moved back
- Insert a blank section of a specified length and move the subsequent material backward
- Erase the specified section
- Delete the specified section and move subsequent material forward
- Slip the material forward or backward to the edit point.
Slip would be used, for example, if the guitarist played ahead of the beat for a few bars. You could simply slip the offending section back in time.