Please HELP Me!!!!

Important and frustrating question.

Hello everyone,

I’ve been using N-Track for years, but this is my first post. I didn’t even really know about this webpage!! Very cool.

So, I have a question, I hope it has a really simple answer:

I have some old 4-track recordings I want to use. My goal is to record them in stereo onto an N-Track track. So, I set the recording VU meter to ‘stereo’. On the 4-track ( model: yamaha MT4X) , on the pan dial, I set tracks 1 and 2 to the LEFT/ODD side, and I set tracks 3 and 4 to the RIGHT/ODD side. I record the track. The result is that tracks 1 and 2 record to the N-Track track, but tracks 3 and 4 don’t. So half the tracks are missing. Also, the recording plays out of both speakers, not just the left side.

What am I doing wrong?

Is it even possible to do what I’m trying to do? I assume it must be… I know I could record each track from the 4-track one by one, into seperate tracks, then make it stereo during the mixdown, but I find it difficult to match the timing of all the tracks perfectly. (I tried it).

Can anyone out there please help with this?

Mark Gallagher

By the way, I neglected to mention - I’m using N-Track version 3.3, and Windows 98SE. N-Track runs beautifully and my computer is old, so I haven’t upgraded yet.

I also forgot to mention that when I set up the 4-track as I described above, then connect it to my stereo, it does play all 4 tracks, in stereo. It’s only when I connect it to the computer/N-Track and record that it deletes the 2 tracks I have panned to RIGHT/EVEN.

THANKS AGAIN… I really need help with this.


Hi Mark, welcome to the Forum, what kept you all these years!!

As you have described your setup, I see no reason why it should not work. You say you have had N-Track for a while, so you obviously are not a newbie.
As your 4 track plays perfectly through your stereo, that is working ok. Are you using the same lead to connect your 4 track to your soundcard, or is it a different lead? If it’s a different lead, then it’s possible you have a break somewhere in the cable.
Other than that it could be a problem with the right input channel on your soundcard, or maybe your windows record mixer is set up incorrectly, or maybe your soundcard driver has become corrupted. Yes, strange things happen with drivers, especially under Win98 :D
One last thing, does your record vu meter respond correctly when you input something just on the right channel? (i.e. only one, not both indicators move)
Try to work through the problem methodically, only try ONE thing at a time and, if that doesn’t work, restore the system to the previous state BEFORE trying something else. That way you avoid compounding problems and WILL eventually find a solution.
Keep us informed.

By the way, it is possible to record four separate tracks as individual tracks (well, as two groups of two) and mixdown in N, I did it for some stuff my son recorded on his Tascam analogue recorder.
There is a walkthrough in the Helpfiles, but basically it involves recording a tone (I just flicked my finger on the open inputs to record a burst of mains hum) on all four tracks at once, at both the beginning and the end of the recording. Then you have two points which you can use to stretch or shrink one pair of tracks to the correct length as necessary. Split the two stereo pairs to give yourself four individual tracks and… hey presto!


[quote=Beefy Steve,Sep. 05 2005,05:43][/quote]
Hello, thanks so much for the reply!!

So, I did the test you suggested. When I set a 4 tracks on the 4 track recorder to the RIGHT channel, then record a track to the N-Track, it does not behave as you suggested it might. This is what happens: On the VU Meter, I get slight movement from both indicators, not one. But it’s very slight, as if the sound is bleeding in a little bit. When I play back the track, sure enough, it records, but very faintly. SO basically the N-Track won’t record from the right channel of another machine at all.

So maybe it’s that something is set incorrectly with the soundcard or windows? (There’s nothing that might be set wrong within N-Track??) . Where in windows/what should I be changing?

By the way, yes, I’m using the same lead I used to connect the 4-track to the stereo, which plays the same music perfectly, in stereo. So I know the problem isn’t with the 4-track or the wire. It must be a setting in the computer or for the soundcard. Any and all ideas would be very helpful and very welcome. This is very frustrating, but I definitely want to continue using N-Track…



You are using LINE on your sound card aren’t you and not MIC-IN? MIC-IN is mono and LINE-IN is stereo.



It might be!!
But I just searched and I dont know where to look in windows to change it…? I just went to SETTINGS - CONTROL PANEL - MULTIMEDIA - and looked everywhere, no option … also in SOUNDS … ??


Plug the cable into the LINE-IN, then,

Double click on the speaker icon in your system tray,

Options–>properties and select “RECORDING”. Tick all the boxes below and click OK. You should now be able to select your recording source as LINE-IN. (Note: it may be called something different.

(I note that you’re using Win98. It’s been a while since I used '98 so the above may be slightly different).


My God it works!!!

The truth is, I didn’t even know my computer had a ‘line-in’. I’ve been using only mic.


Does this mean that the music I’ve recorded thus far is, like, garbage? What I’ve been doing is, I guess, recording mono tracks into the N-track, then mixing it in stereo during the mixdown by panning the tracks then … I honestly didn’t know you could have stereo within a track … in the end, it comes to the same thing, or does it? …

Do you EVER use the mic jac, or do you always use the line-in??

I’m relieved and a little disturbed. But more relieved.

and Mark wins the Prize !!

What will it be Mark ? A trip to Hawaii ? A large screen Tv ? or your very own Neumann u87 microphone !!
OR, just maybe, a brand new shiny Line 6 Variax Guitar


I definitely agree that he deserves a prize. Although I can’t offer a new TV, I can offer this:

:p :p :D :p :p

Not to be overly greedy, but I still have the question about line-in vs. mic-in … do you always use line-in? Is mic-in basically inferior all the time? Or while recording, would you, in some cases, prefer to record the various parts of your song into different tracks using mic-in (mono), then use the panning of the N-Track to mix your mono tracks into stereo?

Basically, I’m asking: should I use line-in ALL the time and redo the tracks I’ve recorded using mic-in, or in fact would you normally or sometimes use mic-in? (other than the situation I had, which is loading a stereo track from an outside source, like a 4-track machine, into 1 track) ??


Hi Mark :)

If your source is a line level signal, like your yamaha most likely is, then you would be best off with the line in jack on your sound card.

If your source is a mixer ( the stereo tape out, or the main out for example ) you would still be best off using the line in on the sound card. If you use the main out on the mixer, however, make sure it is a line level signal and not a high powered output, some mixers have powered output that will drive speakers direct, this kind of signal would be too hot for your sound card to handle.

The MIC-IN is generally used for the inexpensive desk mikes and headphone sets that people use while working on their computer, and read what bax3 says below.

Hope that helps :)


When an audio player plays back already created sound use the Line-out of the player to the Line in of the recorder (computer/ntrack). Line in is set up to handle the added power of a playback curcuit. Using the Line out to mic in will aften over load the recorder and sound really terrible. Use the mic in when using a microphone. If you are using the tape recoder as a preamp then you would go to the line-in. A mic plugged straight to the line-in won’t work.

It does help, and HOLY CRAP!!

I’ve made a ton of recordings over the years using only mic-in. Basically, my setup has been:

I have a microphone attached to my Yamaha 4-track machine. Then I have a wire going from the 4-track to the computer mic-in jack. Then after recording however many tracks into the N-track this way, I pan the different tracks right and left to some extent to get stereo sound, then do a mixdown. The final recordings have always sounded very high-quality and truly stereo to me. And they are … but I suppose that … recordings are more ‘true stereo’ if you use line-in rather than mic-in, ya? Is that right?

THANKS. im just trying to understand technically whats happening… whats the difference in sound quality between recording a single track - say, a vocal - using line-in or mic-in? i know 1 is stereo and 1 is mono, but if the entire track will be panned to the left or right at the end, during mixdown, then what exactly is the difference? if a track is panned 70% to the right during a final mixdown, then why should it matter at all if the original recording is in mono or stereo? for sure, the quality ive had so far has been good… but… !!! i just didnt know. anyway, its great information for future recordings.

:cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:

Sorry, 1 more question:

"If you are using the tape recoder as a preamp then you would go to the line-in. A mic plugged straight to the line-in won’t work.“

I have a mic attached to a yamaha 4-track, then the 4-track is connected to the computer/n-track. So, am I 'using the tape recorder as a preamp”? Is that what I’m doing? So therefore I should ALWAYS use line-in? (but I’m still confused a little bit about technically why that should be, as indicated in the email above).

:p sorry to sound like a moron :p

Recording in stereo to a stereo track should be reserved for instances where you wish to capture the true stereo image of the material recorded. That’s not to say that a stereo source should always be recorded to a stereo track though. You can record each side of the stereo field to two individual mono tracks and pan those tracks accordingly during mixing.
Think of stereo as two or more sources that will accompany various areas of the virtual sound stage as recorded with two mics placed in a stereo configuration.
If you are recording a single source, such as a vocal track, you will record to a mono track and pan that track to taste as to place it in the sound stage (stereo image).
All in all, there is no real wrong way to do it. Regardless of how you get to the final product … if it sounds good … it is good.

"If you are recording a single source, such as a vocal track, you will record to a mono track and pan that track to taste as to place it in the sound stage (stereo image)."

I’m always recording a single source, other than when I’m using pre-recorded material on tapes, which is rare.

So, I’m confused about something:

When you say ‘record to a mono track’, do you mean that I should use mic-in?

Or, should I use line-in, but within the N-track program, set the channels of the track to ‘mono’ when I record it? (through the options of the VU-meter). I’ve always left that setting on stereo, I guess that’s wrong?

'All in all, there is no real wrong way to do it. Regardless of how you get to the final product … if it sounds good … it is good.'

This, I definitely understand and agree with, and that’s what’s always dicated my use of the N-Track … I guess my fear is that someday I’ll go to a record company with my tracks, and the company dude will scream ‘IT’S NOT RECORDED RIGHT YOU CRETIN! GET OUT OF MY STUDIO!’?

anyway, its all good. :D

I’m speaking strictly of using the Line In and making the appropriate settings within n-Track.
99% of the time, I’ll set the stereo pairs of my interface/soundcard (MOTU 828mkII) to “Stereo -> two mono tracks” via the settings in the Record VU’s. If I’m recording a mono track, I’ll disable the channel that won’t be used via the red button on the Record VU’s.
There is no real point in recording a single mono source to a stereo track. It’s the exact same data on each channel. The same effect as having a mono track panned center. The difference being that the stereo track is twice as much of the same data needing to be processed. However, we can through a wrench into the scenario for the times when you may wish to use a stereo effect on an insert of a mono source track. ???
This is actually easily handled in the track properties with the option to expand the mono track to stereo. :cool:
In your rare instances that you do record pre-recorded stereo material into n-Track, you can have the settings set for a stereo track or leave it at Stereo -> two mono tracks (panning the the two mono tracks hard left and right to correspond to the stereo image of said material). Either way is fine and just a matter of personal preference.
As far as your Mic In … there isn’t really anything that says you should not use it. However, with most standard soundcards, the Mic input is mono (summed to stereo) and rather cheap noisy circuitry. Perfectly fine for games and voice chat … but not really on par for any serious audio recording. Then again, if it sounds good …
The ears are the final judge. :D

Thank you, crankz. The last post you made is especially helpful. And thanks everyone… I’ve been using N-Track for a long time, but i never really understood this. Now I get it. It means re-recording a few tracks, but finally the sound will be right!