50 songs 4 tracks 1/2 a brain

A year ago I tried to transfer a song from my old 4 track portastudio into n track using the method outlined in the n track FAQ. The process was tricky, the results weren’t ideal & as I’ve got about 50 more I’d hoped to transfer I gave up.
I’ve read in these pages recently of something called a Firebox, although it’s out of my price range would something like this or something simpler & cheaper enable me to transfer 4 tracks simultaneously.
Would installing a second soundcard work or is the setup complicated? My knowledge of these things is limited.
Any opinions gratefully received.


The technique explained in the FAQ is indeed somewhat long winded, but works if you’ve only got two inputs on your soundcard. Nowadays there are plenty of 4 (or more) input cards available at really good prices.

My suggestion is a M-Audio Delta 44 card. Great value for money. 4 ins, 4 outs, and 24 bit too.

I’m sure others will have input but there’s a starter for 10 (do you folks who didn’t grow up in the UK in the 70’s and 80’s know what that expression means?)


"“There’s a 10” in my book refers to something quite else. “There’s a starter for 10”…?



I’m sure others will have input but there’s a starter for 10 (do you folks who didn’t grow up in the UK in the 70’s and 80’s know what that expression means?)

Mark, I’d finished my growing up by then! :p (There again, I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever finish. :( )

Anyway, good old Gasper Bampot, “Sorry Jesus, but I’ll pass it to Magdalene for a bonus!” :D


I’ll second the Delta 44, I bought one for the same reason, to transfer tracks from a Tascam cassette Portastudio. I’ve added a second Delta 44 to transfer tracks from a Tascam 688… Check ebay, you can grab used Delta 44s for like $100…


"“There’s a 10” in my book refers to something quite else. “There’s a starter for 10”…?

Part of growing up in the UK was watching a BBC programme called University Challenge hosted by a chap called Bamber Gascoigne. As the name suggests, it was (and still is I think) a quiz show between universities. It was “very BBC”, and nobody ever watching knew the answers to the questions.

Anyway, the first question in a round was for 10 points and Bamber’s (- it’s not right to call it a -) catchphrase was “here’s your starter for 10”, which, certainly from where I come from, now means… here’s something to get your going… or here’s a first suggestion… starter for 10

Ali- I’m not sure I’ve finished growing up yet… but that’s a guy thing innt!


Thanks for all the information on University Challenge & the bit about the Delta 44

jetboy, as I wrote that FAQ entry way back when I transfered my 4-track recordings, I feel obliged to tell you the rest of the story…

Like yourself, I got fed up with the limitations of two recording tracks at a time, so I obtained a second soundcard - a SoundBlaster PCI 128, which I installed alongside my SoundBlaster AWE 64 Gold already present (which happens to be an IDE type card with just 8-bit playback in duplex mode, BTW).

Setting up the cards under Windoes 98 SE was easy as pie - n-Track has the capability to let you use whatever soundcards you have available on your system, and duplex was not an issue for a four-track transfer. I guess I did have some very slight sync problems between the cards, but nothing I ever had to consider in practice.

A week ago I parted with my AWE 64 Gold card - still present in my old 400 MHz P-II machine - which i let my brother inherit, as it is still in very good condition considering the age of the system. I still have the PCI 128 lying around somewhere, but for the last four years I have been using a Maya-44 four-track soundcard which serves me well in daily use. I am considering moving up to a firewire-based recording system, maybe eight tracks, but not untill I feel the need for it.

regards, Nils

Hmmm… In the world of Jetboy things normally happen at supersonic speed
Thanks Nils for your input.
Looking into the Maya soundcard I came across a Maya 44 USB one. This looks interesting as:
It’s more in my price range ( I can get it for £69 new)
I don’t really want to remove my existing souncard (audiophile 2496).
Once I’ve got the songs from the 4 track into ntrack I’m not sure I’ll need to use the 4 ins /4 outs again
A lot of people seem to have terrible things to say about the delta 44
I dont wanna change my name to Indecisiveboy, any further opinions welcome

Here is a method I used with a stereo sound card:

1) I recorded two tracks that had music going all the way through the song, like rhythm guitar and bass.

2) Then I recorded two tracks that had more space between notes, like vocals and lead guitar.

3) I used the “wave files offset dragging tool” (the one at the center top of the toolbar with the arrows pointing in all four directions) to line up the beginning of tracks 3 and 4 (vocals and lead guitar) with tracks 1 and 2 (rhythm guitar and bass).

4) If you start all four tracks playing it will sound fine…for a while…then tracks 3 and 4 will start to go slower or faster than tracks 1 and 2. To fix this I do one of two things:
(A) Start to splice tracks 3 and 4 during rests between the vocals and lead guitar notes and again use the “wave files offset dragging tool” to put parts in rhythm with tracks 1 and 2, OR (B) I clone tracks 3 and 4 as many times as necessary then use a combination of the “offset tool” and “volume drawing” to get parts from tracks 3 and 4 in rhythm with tracks 1 and 2.

This method has worked very well for me on songs on my old 4 track tape recorder where at least two of the tracks had lots of space between notes of music (like vocals and lead guitar).

All the best,

That’d be a tedious method for 50 songs!

A 4-input card is the simplest option. You shouldn’t have trouble with two soundcards installed.

Another option is a second 2-input soundcard that will record well at the same sample rate as your Audigy. If the Audigy works well in 48k, then an SB Live card might be just the ticket. In this case, be sure to send the S/PDIF output from one card in to the other, and set the other card’s clock to “from S/PDIF”. Then record all 4 tracks from the one card (2 analog plus 2 S/PDIF) if it supports that. If not, input from both cards, but with the assurance that the clocks for the two cards are synchronized by the S/PDIF link.

If you have two soundcards and don’t synchronize them, you’ll get sync problems that will get worse the further you are into the recording. If there’s much bleed (e.g., for live recordings) this can be a deal-breaker. If the tracks are all studio and clean, then you just get the timing problems. The amount of the problem depends on how lucky you are that the two clocks happen to run at nearly the same rate. Anyway, you can avoid this issue using S/PDIF to synch the two together.