N Track or Roland 1680

software or hardware

i posted on this site about two years ago. That was when i was first starting to get into recording. i liked N track alot but i heard that it crashing alot latly, i have down loaded the 4.0 version and it crashes like crazy. it never did before.hmm well anyways maybe its because i have a old hp pavilon. I tried my freinds Roland 1680 and that thing is very cool . plus u can pick them up on ebay for like 500 bones … WHAT SHOULD I DO spend the money on a ROLAND 1680 or N track and a new computer … i have a SP C1 for the Mic and a VTB1 for the preamp… and i also have a Roland MC 909 grove machine … PLEASE HELP

Depends on what you’re looking for. I was asked the same question by an online bud and I told him "if you want a quick and dirty, no-muss no-fuss tracking situation, pick up the hardware recorder. If you want to really dig down deep into the production, mixing and other options, go software."

I can’t answer for you, but for myself, I’d probably spend the cash on upgrading the computer and spend the time on getting n to work for you. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what I did. I’m pleased with the results, and would do the same thing again if needed.

For full disclosure’s sake, I’ve not gone to v 4.0 yet. I’m still running 3.3 and have few problems at all with it.

Sorry I can’t give you a more definitive response…it really does boil down to what you want in a recording rig.

software seems like a great idea… what kind of system do u need to get it going without any problems, and i will most likly use the 4.0V .sence i cant find the older one. i kinda want build a 64B AMD 3400 with about 2 g of ram… what is a good system for 4.0v???

does any one even know what a roland 1680 is anymore? ???

Sure…16 digital tracks, 256 virtual tracks, yada yada yada. Like I said, it’s a fine piece for just the “plug it in and go for it” use. Never having owned one, I don’t know how easy it would be to dump the data over to the computer for mastering or tweaking. Still, from what I understand it’s a nice enough machine.

To answer your question regarding what would be a good system, I’ll refer you to Flavio’s FAQ.


2.3 - Q: What are the minum system requirements to run the program?
A: CPU: Pentium 160 or better, 32 Mb RAM, a soundcard.

I’m running a 750 mh processor with 512meg of ram. I do okay with that, but I’ve learned to back off the effects plug-ins.

1.f - Q: Do I need a fast CPU to use effects ?
A: Faster CPUs will be able more effects and/or more tracks. If you don’t need too many tracks chances are that you’ll be able to use some effects even if your processor is not the faster in the market. The best thing is to try: if you can hear jumps in the playback or the system nearly freezes, then it means that it hasn’t enough power to do that.

The faster your machine is, the easier you’ll find n to work with.

2.a - Q: What is the best soundcard to use with the program?
A: The choice of the soundcard depends on many factors, among which price, sampling quality, number of inputs, MIDI synth etc., so there isn’t a definitive answer to this questions. However here follows a list of a few soundcards that have proven to work well with the program. Also see the soundcards settings page.

General purpose cards

Creative PCI64 (also known as “Ensoniq AudioPCI”) and PCI 128: inexpensive but with a very good recording quality
Creative Soundblaster Audigy: the card works well with n-Track Studio. It’s a 16 bit card, it doesn’t support 24 bit recording or playback as the specifications may seem to suggest. It has a very good MIDI hardware synth.
Creative Soundblaster Extigy: it too is a 16 bit card, it doesn’t support 24 bit recording or playback as the specifications may seem to suggest.
Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2: unlike the Audigy 1 the Audigy 2 finally supports true 24 bit recording and playback at sampling frequencies up to 96 khz. The Asio drivers only work up to 16 bits/48 Khz but 24 bit/96 Khz recording works with WDM drivers. Since n-Track natively supports WDM drivers the limitation with Asio drivers is not a concern.
Creative Soundblaster Live! is quite good for both audio and MIDI. It has the characteristic that it internally always works at 48000 hz and for different frequencies simply does a sampling frequency conversion. This seems to happen also with digital I/O. This can make the card less attractive if you plan to work at 44100 hz.

You get the idea…just get the best system you can, then spend the time to learn how to make it play nice with n. Then spend the time to get the most out of n-track that you can. Equipment is all well and good, but it doesn’t take the place of knowing how to use what you’ve got to its fullest potential.

Hope this helps.


Once you’ve mixed a project on a good computer-based DAW, you’ll never go back. The ability to SEE what’s going on, make all manner of adjustments, and tweak to your heart’s content is a lovely thing.

On the other hand, if 100% reliability when recording lots of tracks is critical, then the hardware option might make more sense. Especially if the unit has a decent interface for transferring tracks to your DAW, but my guess is it wouldn’t be going so cheap if it did.

Based on the other gear you say you have, it sounds like you do mostly one-track-at-a-time work. In that case, I wouldn’t bother with the hardware DAW. It doesn’t take much money to get an up-to-date MOBO and CPU.

BTW, the MOBO is generally more critical for good solid operation than the CPU. Lotsa folks do just fine with Pentium, Celeron, and Athlon. But either stick with Intel MOBO chipset or else use a MOBO that’s tried and true with the soundcard you expect to upgrade to when that time comes. Meanwhile, use an SB-Live card and record at 48kHz (or any of the other cards mentioned above) and do just fine until you can afford a quality soundcard.

Sticking with the Athlon will avoid a problem some folks have had with P4 and “denormals”, which cause some FX plugins to take lots of CPU time for silent spots on tracks.

If you’re not a PC nerd, be sure to have some nerd friend help you match up memory, MOBO, and processor for a good combination. For the rest of the stuff, what you currently have should work just fine. Later, add a separate hard drive in a swap bay, and do your audio on that. When it fills up, just buy another drive and replace it but leave it on the shelf as your archives.

A recent addition to my acoustic band has a Yamaha blah blah wolf wolf 16 track digital recorder. when he saw n-track on my puter and the easy recording and mixing features, he was P.O.ed he had dropped the bucks for the hardware. When I told him the price for n he was really P.O.ed. We have compared mixes on cd’s and he can’t believe all I can manipulate with n.


Software is the way to go. So much more power, so many more options - think of all the plug ins you can get for nothing or next to nothing that can contribute to variety of sounds. Upgrade the computer, don’t go on the cheap for that, go with Intel, build it yourself or have it built by some local computer guys, keep all the useless crud off of it, no web surfing or games on it, get the most updatged drivers, and you will never have a crash that is the fault of n-Track. I have only had it crash on my dedicated computer when some 3rd party plug ins had some sort of conflict. :)