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Encyclopedia > History of multitrack recording

The history of multitrack recording begins with Bing Crosby's gift of a commercially-produced reel-to-reel tape recorder to an inventive guitarist named Les Paul. Harry Lillis Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor whose career lasted from 1926 until his death in 1977. ... A Sony TC-630 reel-to-reel recorder, once a common household object. ... For the guitar, see Gibson Les Paul. ...


There were earlier precedents (such as TEARZ's 1941 song, "Sheik of Araby"), but the person credited with the invention of magnetic audiotape multitracking was guitarist, composer and inventor Les Paul, who also contributed to the famous Gibson Les Paul model electric guitar for Gibson Guitar Corporation in the early 1950s. Multitrack recording is a method of sound recording that allows for the recording of multiple sound sources, whether simultaneously or at different times. ... For the guitar, see Gibson Les Paul. ... For the jazz guitarist, see Les Paul. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Paul had been experimenting with overdubbing in the late 1940s and in 1947, Capitol Records released a record featuring Paul playing eight different parts on electric guitar. These recordings were made with wax discs; Paul would record a track onto a disc, and then record himself playing another part with the first. 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1947 calendar). ... Capitol Records is a major United States-based record label, owned by EMI. // The Capitol Records company was founded by the songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1942, with the financial help of movie producer Buddy DeSylva and the business acumen of Glenn Wallichs, (1910-1971) (owner of Music City, at the...


Paul's invention of multitrack recording was made possible by a gift from his friend Bing Crosby -- an Ampex Model 200, the world's first commercially-produced reel-to-reel tape recorder. These machines were based on modified German Magnetophon recorders which had been acquired by audio engineer Jack Mullin while he was serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the closing days of World War II. Mullin had studied and modified the recorders, hoping to sell the system to the Hollywood movie studios as a new means of recording movie soundtracks. Harry Lillis Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor whose career lasted from 1926 until his death in 1977. ... A Sony TC-630 reel-to-reel recorder, once a common household object. ... Magnetophon was the brand or model name of the pioneering reel-to-reel tape recorder developed by engineers of the German electronics company AEG in the 1930s, based on the magnetic recording experiments of Valdemar Poulsen. ... John T. Jack Mullin (1913–1999) was an American pioneer in the field of electronic audio and video recording using magnetic tape. ... ...


After hearing a demonstration of Mullin's tape recorders in June 1947, Crosby became a major backer of the new technology — he hired Mullin as his chief engineer and immediately invested US$50,000 in the electronics firm Ampex so that the company could develop a commercial version of Mullin's machines. Crosby became the first performer in the world to pre-record radio broadcasts and master his commercial music recordings on tape. Ampex is based in Redwood City, California. ...


In 1948 Crosby gave Paul one of the first production units of the new Ampex Model 200 reel-to-reel tape recorder. Within hours, Paul had the idea of modifying the machine by the addition of extra recording and playback heads which could allow him to simultaneously record a new track whilst monitoring the playback of previously recorded tracks. A Sony TC-630 reel-to-reel recorder, once a common household object. ...


Development of new equipment

Paul's multitrack experiments progressed rapidly and in 1953 he commissioned Ampex to build the world's first eight-track tape recorder, at his own expense. (This is not to be confused with an 8-track cartridge machine, an offshoot of the four-track recorder, introduced in 1965, which played in stereo.) Ampex is based in Redwood City, California. ... The 8-track cartridge or Stereo 8 is a magnetic tape technology for audio storage, popular from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ...


Ampex released the first commercial multitrack recorders in 1955, naming the process "Sel-Sync" (Selective Synchronous Recording). Coinciding the advent of full frequency range recording (FFRR), stereo and the high-fidelity microgroove vinyl LP format, multitrack recorders soon became indispensable to vocalists like Crosby and Nat "King" Cole. 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the spacecraft and the mission. ... It has been suggested that Childrens gramophone records be merged into this article or section. ... Nat King Cole in The Blue Gardenia (1953) Nat King Cole (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965) was a hugely popular American singer and jazz musician. ...


The earliest multitrack recorders were analog magnetic tape machines with two or three tracks. Elvis Presley was first recorded on multitrack during 1957, as RCA's engineers were testing their new machines. Buddy Holly's last studio session in 1958 employed three-track, resulting in his only stereo releases not to include overdubs. The new three-track system allowed the lead vocal to be recorded on a dedicated track, while the remaining two tracks could be used to record the backing tracks in full stereo, and this system was also used extensively by producer Phil Spector in the early Sixties for his famous "Wall of Sound" recordings. Elvis Aron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), often known simply as Elvis and also called The King of Rock n Roll or simply The King, was an American singer, musician and actor. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... RCAs logo as seen today on many products. ... Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), better known as Buddy Holly, was an American singer, songwriter, and a pioneer of rock and roll. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Harvey Phillip Spector (born December 26, 1939) is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer. ... Wall of Sound is a phrase used to describe the effect created by the music production techniques of record producer Phil Spector. ...


In 1958, Atlantic Records led the world, becoming the first record company to install an eight-track recorder in its recording studio. (It was installed by engineer Tom Dowd.) However, recorders with four or more tracks were restricted mainly to American recording studios until the mid-to-late Sixties, mainly because of import restrictions and the high cost of the technology. In England, pioneering independent producer Joe Meek produced all of his innovative early Sixties recordings using monophonic recorders. EMI house producer George Martin was considered an innovator for his use of two-track as a means to making better mono records, carefully balancing vocals and instruments; Abbey Road Studios did not install a four-track recorder until around 1963, and all the Beatles recordings prior to their first world hit single I Want to Hold Your Hand (1964) were made on two-track machines. Atlantic Records (Atlantic Recording Corporation) is an American record label, and operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Music Group. ... Tom Dowd (October 20, 1925 - October 27, 2002) was a famous and influential American recording engineer and producer who died from emphysema. ... Template:For Joe Meek, mountain man Joe Meek (born Robert George Meek; April 5, 1929 in Newent, Gloucestershire — February 3, 1967 in London[1]) was a pioneering English record producer and songwriter acknowledged as one of the worlds first and most imaginative independent producers. ... The EMI Group (LSE: EMI) is a British music company comprising of the major record company EMI Music which operates several labels, based in Brook Green in London, England, and EMI Music Publishing, based on Charing Cross Road, London. ... Sir George Henry Martin CBE (born 3 January 1926 in Highbury, London, England) is sometimes referred to as the fifth Beatle—a title that he owes to his work as producer of almost all of The Beatles records. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Beatles were an English rock band from Liverpool whose members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. ... I Want to Hold Your Hand is a 1963 Beatles song that was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and started the British Invasion of the United States music charts. ...


Other western countries also lagged well behind the USA -- in Australia, the largest local recording label, Festival Records, did not install a four-track recorder until late 1966; the first eight track recorders did not appear there until the late Sixties; Australia's first sixteen track recorder was installed at Armstrong's Studios in Melbourne in 1971; Festival installed Australia's first 24-track recorder at its Sydney studio in 1974. Festival Records was an Australian music recording and publishing company which was founded in Sydney in 1952 and operated until 2005. ... Melbournes CBD has grown to straddle the Yarra River in three major precincts. ...


Impact on popular music

The artistic potential of the multitrack recorder came to the attention of the public in the 1960s, when artists such as the Beatles and the Beach Boys began to multitrack extensively, and from then on virtually all popular music was recorded in this manner. The technology developed very rapidly during these years. At the start of their careers, the Beatles and Beach Boys each recorded live to mono, two-track (the Beatles), or three-track (the Beach Boys); by 1965 they used multitracking to create pop music of unprecedented complexity. The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... The Beatles were an English rock band from Liverpool whose members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ...


The Beach Boys' acclaimed 1966 LP Pet Sounds relied on multitrack recorders for its innovative production. Brian Wilson pretaped all the instrumental backing tracks with a large ensemble, recording the performances live, direct to a four-track recorder. These four-track backing tapes were then 'dubbed down' to one track of an eight-track tape. Six of the remaining seven tracks were then used to individually record the vocals of each member of The Beach Boys, and the eighth track was reserved for any final 'sweetening' overdubs of instruments or voices. Pet Sounds is a 1966 album recorded by American pop group the Beach Boys. ... Brian Douglas Wilson (born June 20, 1942 in Hawthorne, California), is an American pop musician, best known as the lead songwriter, bassist, and lead singer of the American rock band The Beach Boys. ... Overdubbing is a technique used by recording studios to add a supplementary recorded sound to a previously taped musical recording. ...


The U.K. division of Decca Records was among the first to install a professional 8-track recorder at its London recording studio in 1967. This equipment was used to record Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues which was released in December 1967 on Deram Records. It has been suggested that Decca Music Group be merged into this article or section. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Not to be confused with the X-Men story arc Days of Future Past Days of Future Passed, The Moody Blues second album (released in 1967), was also their first of what would be a succession of concept albums. ... The Moody Blues were originally a British rhythm and blues-based band; they later became best known for psychedelic music and early progressive rock. ... Deram Records was setup by Decca Records (UK) as a label for alternative artists. ...


Because the Beatles did not gain access to eight-track recorders until later on, their groundbreaking Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP (1967) was created using pairs of four-track machines; the group also used vari-speed (also called pitch shift) to achieve unique sounds, and they were the first group in the world to use an important offshoot of multitrack recording, the Automatic Double Tracking (ADT) system invented by Abbey Road staff engineer Ken Townshend in 1966. The Beatles used eight-track to record portions of the "White Album", the single Hey Jude and the later Abbey Road. It was during the White Album sessions of 1968 that EMI's Abbey Road Studios finally had eight-track recorders installed, and up until then, the group had to go elsewhere to record with eight-tracks. Sgt. ... A variable speed pitch control (or vari-speed) is a control on an audio device such as a turntable, reel-to-reel, tape deck or CD player that allows the operator to deviate from a standard speed (such as 33⅓ or 45 rpm in the case of a turntable). ... Pitch shift is a sound recording technique, in which the normal pitch or tone of a sound is altered (shifted), for effect or for other purposes. ... Automatic double tracking (ADT) was an electronic system designed to augment the sound of voices and instruments during the recording process. ... Ken Townshend was an Abbey Road Studios engineer. ... The self-titled double album The Beatles, released by the Beatles in 1968 at the height of their popularity, is often hailed as one of the major accomplishments in popular music. ... Hey Jude is a rock ballad written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney) and recorded by The Beatles. ... Abbey Road is the eleventh official album recorded by The Beatles. ... The self-titled double album The Beatles, released by the Beatles in 1968 at the height of their popularity, is often hailed as one of the major accomplishments in popular music. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


Other artists began experimenting with multitrack's possibilities also, with the Music Machine (of "Talk Talk" fame) recording on a custom-built ten-track setup, and Pink Floyd collaborating with former Beatles recording engineer Norman "Hurricane" Smith, who produced their first albums. The Music Machine (1965 - 1969) was an American garage rock and psychedelic (sometimes referred to as garage punk) band from the late 1960s, headed by singer-songwriter Sean Bonniwell and based in Los Angeles. ... Pink Floyd are an English rock band that earned recognition for their psychedelic rock music, and, as they evolved, for their avant-garde progressive rock music. ... Audio engineering is the branch of engineering dealing with the production of sound through mechanical means. ... Norman Smith is a musician and record producer. ...


In 1968 Ampex Corporation introduced the MM-1000, the first commercial 16-track recording machine. One of these machines was installed at CBS Studios in New York City where it was used to record songs for the second album by Blood, Sweat & Tears and The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel both released in early 1969. 1968's "Crimson And Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells was among the first sixteen-track recordings to be released (mixed to stereo and mono); another was Frank Zappa's 1969 album Hot Rats. (A 1987 remix of the opening track, Peaches En Regalia, became the first compact disc single, years later.) Another early 16 track recording was Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane also from 1969. The back of the Jefferson Airplane album cover includes a picture of the MM-1000. Ampex is based in Redwood City, California. ... 1969 self entitled album by Blood, Sweat & Tears Track Listing Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie (1st And 2nd Movements) Adapted From Trois Gymnopedies Smiling Phases Sometimes In Winter More And More And When I Die God Bless The Child Spinning Wheel Youve Made Me So Very Happy... For the 1997 film starring Daniel Day-Lewis, see The Boxer (film). ... Simon and Garfunkel are an American popular music duo comprising Paul Simon and Arthur Art Garfunkel. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the 1968 Gregorian calendar. ... This article cites very few or no references or sources. ... Tommy James (born Thomas Jackson on April 29, 1947 in Dayton, Ohio) is an American pop-rock musician and singer. ... Frank Vincent Zappa[1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, guitarist, singer, film director, and satirist. ... For the Stargate SG-1 episode, see 1969 (Stargate SG-1). ... Hot Rats is an album by Frank Zappa. ... 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A remix is an alternative version of a song, different from the original version. ... Volunteers is a 1969 album by American psychedelic rock band, Jefferson Airplane. ... Jefferson Airplane was an American rock band from San Francisco, a pioneer of the LSD-influenced psychedelic rock (or acid rock) movement. ... Jefferson Airplane was an American rock band from San Francisco, a pioneer of the LSD-influenced psychedelic rock (or acid rock) movement. ...


The first 16-track machine in the U.K. probably the one installed at Trident Studios, London in late 1969. After The Flood a song from the Van Der Graaf Generator album The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other was recorded at this studio on 16 tracks in December 1969. Other groups using the same studio at this time included Genesis and David Bowie as well as Queen who experimented with multi tracking extensively most prominently on their albums Queen II and A Night at the Opera. Trident Studios is a British recording facility, located at 17 St Annes Court in Londons Soho district. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This article is about the band. ... The least we can do is wave to each other is an album by the British progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. ... It has been suggested that Six of the Best be merged into this article or section. ... David Bowie (IPA: []) (born David Robert Jones on 8 January 1947) is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger and audio engineer. ... Queen is an English rock band, formed in 1970 in London by Brian May, Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor, with John Deacon joining the following year. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... A Night at the Opera is a 1975 album by English rock band Queen. ...


During the 1970s, sixteen, twenty-four, and thirty-two tracks became common, with recording tape reaching two and three inches (5.08cm - 7.62cm) wide. By contrast, the advent of the compact audio cassette (in 1963) ultimately led to affordable, portable four-track machines such as the Tascam Portastudio which debuted in 1979. Cassette-based machines could not provide the same audio quality as reel-to-reel machines, but served as a useful tool for professional and semi-pro musicians in making song demos. Bruce Springsteen's 1982 album Nebraska was made this way, with Springsteen choosing the album's earlier demo versions over the later studio recordings. The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979. ... Typical 60-minute Compact Cassette. ... Year 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... TASCAM is credited as the company that invented the affordable home recording studio. ... The TASCAM Portastudio is a type of cassette recorder which records four or eight tracks of audio on a CrO2 audio cassette. ... Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... A Sony TC-630 reel-to-reel recorder, once a common household object. ... A demo version or demo of a song is one recorded for reference rather than for release. ... Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is an American rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nebraska is a heartland rock album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 1982 (see 1982 in music). ...


The familiar tape cassette was designed to accommodate four channels of audio -- in a commercially recorded cassette these four tracks would normally constitute the stereo channels (each consisting of two tracks) for both 'sides' of the cassette -- in a four-track cassette recorder all four tracks of a cassette are utilized together, often with the tape running at twice the normal speed for increased fidelity. A separate signal can be recorded on to each of four tracks. (As such, the four-track machine does not utilise the two separate sides of the cassette in the conventional sense; if the cassette is inserted the other way round, all four tracks play in reverse.) As with professional machines, two or more tracks can be bounced down to one. When recording is complete, the volume level of each track is optimized, effects are added where desired, each track is separately 'panned' to the desired point in the stereo field and the resulting stereo signal is mixed down to a separate stereo machine (such as a conventional cassette recorder).

The Alesis HD24 stand-alone multitrack hard disk recorder.

Today, multitrack recorders can be analog or digital, and are available with many more tracks. Analog multitracks can have up to 24 tracks on a tape two inches wide which is the widest analog tape available. Prototype machines, by MCI in 1978, using 3" tape for 32 tracks never went into production, though Otari made a 32 track 2" MX-80. Digital multitracks can have an almost unlimited number of simultaneous tracks and can record to and play back from a number of media and formats including digital tape, hard disk, and optical disc. The lower cost has made it easier to find multitrack recording technology outside a typical recording studio. For example, Apple Computer's GarageBand is included in all of the company's new computers, and is used by amateurs as a cost-efficient way to downmix music and podcasts. Image File history File linksMetadata Alesis-HD24. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Alesis-HD24. ... Apple Inc. ... GarageBand is a software application that allows users to create music or podcasts. ... Look up amateur in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... An orange square with waves indicates that an RSS feed is present on a web page. ...


Starting around 1995, another revolution in multitracking began, with the arrival of cheap digital multitrack recorders, which recorded sound to a computer hard drive, a digital tape format (such as ADAT), or in some cases Minidiscs. The prices of these machines steadily dropped over time. Meanwhile, the power of the personal computer increased, so that today, an average home computer is sufficiently powerful to serve as a complete multitrack recorder, using inexpensive hardware and software (under US $1000.00). This is a far cry from the days when multitrack recorders cost thousands of dollars and few people could afford them. Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ... This is an article about the digital recording format. ... See also IBMs VM operating system family, where minidisk refers to a logical unit of storage. ...


Some of the leading providers of multitrackers are Tascam (hard drive or cassette based), Alesis (ADAT digital tape based), Roland (hard drive based), Fostex (hard drive based) and Yamaha (hard drive based). TASCAM is credited as the company that invented the affordable home recording studio. ... Alesis is a manufacturer of electronic musical instruments based in Cumberland, Rhode Island. ... Roland Corporation TYO: 7944 is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. ... Fostex is a Japanese manufacturer of loudspeakers and professional audio equipment. ... Yamaha redirects here. ...


 
 

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