newbie multi track question

windows programs

I have a basic Windows XP machine and would like to know what software programs there are that will allow me to 1) record and mix down multiple tracks, and 2) allow me to record one track while listening back to one or more previously recorded tracks.
Can I do this on a basic XP machine?

thanks for your feedback!

Well, here the obvious answer is: n-Track!! :)
You can do what you want with n-Track, and also in XP

Of course, you’ll need more than just the program - e.g., the appropriate soundcard, some microphones, some musicians, that sort of thing. :)

so I guess those are the obvious questions. then what brand (type) of soundcard? or am I better off getting an external multi track recorder? am I expecting too much out of a PC?

am I expecting too much out of a PC?
Modern Studio Recordings use PC based systems. You dont expect too much out of a PC.

About the soundcard, you can start with a cheap sblive, two tracks at time, but i believe that you will prefer some one more multitracking oriented. Wait the expert advise.

You should definitely start out by downloading n-Track for free (shareware), and see if you can get it to work reasonably with your built-in soundcard. The built-in soundcards on computers are often pretty decent, and getting good results in a song depends WAY more on composition, arrangement, performance, recording techniques, and mixing than it does on the quality of the soundcard (provided it’s decent). You should be able to get far better results with your computer and the builtin soundcard or a cheap Soundblaster than you would with a 4-track cassette deck, for example.

Do you have mikes and a mixer? You’ll certainly use them. And a mike stand, of course. :wink:

Most of all, you’ll use this bulletin board! And it’s free :)

nedjinski, in my book you are better off with a PC (or Mac) based program than you are one of the stand alone all-in-one studios. A whole lot of the PC based stuff has open standards, or whatever the computer people call it, so there are hundreds of third party developers making things you can use, and you can select the set up and the plug ins and such to suit your workflow and needs. One caveat - it’s a good idea to have a single computer for audio use only, and not have it loaded up with games and such.

There is a whole lot to learn, however, about software and hardware and then the art of it all. How about this: tell us what equipment you have, and then ask folks to fill in the blanks, so to speak.

There are several sites that will help you get up and running. Let me recommend several. was assembled by some folks who are by and large n-Track users, although not exclusively. is a great place to start. will get you started on plug ins, DAW sequencers, and such. And then there is If you are serious you will want to sign up for the free magazine from Tape Op. It is great, and it is FREE. :)

Oh, I meant to address that earlier but forgot.

Personally, I agree with TomS. However, consider these contrary points:

1) An HD recorder is quieter than a PC. This can be an issue. There are lots of ways of dealing with it using a PC, but you have to find the ways. Laptops are less of a problem, and you can put together very quiet systems. If budget is no issue, the best solution is to have both, and get an HD recorder that makes it VERY easy to transfer files (e.g., swappable hard drives or Ethernet filesystem).

2) An HD recorder works correctly out of the box, day 1. Sure, it’s a bit harder to figure out how to operate. And you REALLY don’t want to use it for mixdown – use a DAW for that! But if reliability and ease of initial setup are very important, then consider an HD recorder.

But like I said earlier – the best thing is first, use what ya got. Add as needed, and then upgrade as you see fit. Using what you already have, you’ll learn more about what’s important, and it gives you time to absorb what you read about all the options (and options and options!) So it might help you avoid a step in the wrong direction.