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How to record with unlimited tracks

Can your DAW handle 32 tracks? 64? A hundred?? A thousand???

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Turn the clock (or the calendar) back ten years and we were all struggling to get enough tracks. Hard disks weren't up to it, CPUs weren't up to it. Bouncing mid-session to free up tracks was the norm.

Now, it's no problem to run a 24-track session, with all the tracks in stereo if you like. But what if you want more tracks, I mean really more? Like an unlimited number?

Well amazingly, there is a way to do this, and with a device, not a DAW. Say hello to the Korg SR1 Sound on Sound digital recorder - a portable recorder that really does have unlimited tracks.

The way it works is this...

You record one track. Then record another while monitoring the first. Then record another while monitoring a mix of the first two tracks. Then record another. Each time you record a new track, it is mixed with the previous recordings. There is no limit on the number of times you can do this, so you really do have unlimited tracks available.

It has to be said that each new recording consumes a proportion of the SD card's memory. So if you wanted to record a thousand tracks, then your song would have to be pretty short. But a song with a thousand tracks would probably be painful to listen to, so perhaps short would be good in this instance.

Of course, you can see the downside of this. As each new recording is mixed with the previous recordings, you can't get at any individual track and, say, lower it in level.

But...

You can get at individual tracks! Each new track is also recorded separately for later export and mixing in your DAW!

Of course, if you record a thousand tracks in the SR1, you'll need a DAW capable of a thousand tracks for mixing. Oh well...

But as a concept, this is brilliant. Let your imagination wander where it will and build up a beautiful collage of sound. Then export and mix in your DAW.

The Korg SR1 Sound on Sound is an amazingly innovative product and whoever thought of it deserves a sizable bonus in their pay packet.

Of course, some old-timers were doing this thirty years ago on their old-fashioned tape recorders ;-)

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By David Mellor Thursday November 3, 2011
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