A hardware based digital multi-track is essentially an all in one recording console. What this means is that the mixing board, equalizer, tone controls and hard drive are all built into one self contained unit. In other words, with the exception of microphones and cables, hardware based digital multi-tracks contain all the equipment you need to make a great home recording.
Multi-track Recording — Depending upon which model you choose, you will be able to record anything from 2 to 16 tracks simultaneously in your home recording studio. Additionally, most multi-track recorders offer a huge number of virtual tracks, allowing you to overdub additional tracks when needed.
Physical Interface — Many users prefer a physical interface over the graphical one you get with computer based recording units. With a hardware based multi-track recorder in your home recording studio, you’ll be able to touch and feel all the knobs, allowing you to quickly control the sound in a highly intuitive way.
Onboard Microphone Preamps and EQ — Included with the physical interface are all the controls and equipment you need to set the levels, mix them down, and even master a home recording. Additionally, multi-track recorders almost always provide at least some channels with phantom power; meaning all your condenser studio microphones won’t need an additional power supply.
Expandable — For home recording projects where a digital multi-track recorder isn’t quite enough, you’ll be happy to know that multi-tracks today are often built to solve this problem for you. Some digital multi-track recorders allow you to seamlessly integrate with computer software, expanding your options and controls immensely. Other digital multi-track recorders allow you to export your work through USB or Firewire straight to a computer; giving your home recording studio the option to using either the onboard controls or those of your favorite audio software.
How Many Channels Do I Need for My Home Studio?
When deciding which hardware-based multi-track recorder will work best for your home studio, you should first consider your needs.
For those who primarily want to record themselves playing and practicing at home, a 2-channel multi-track recorder will be enough for the job. In fact, in these instances, a digital portable recorder may be even better.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to record a greater number of instruments, than you’ll want to consider a multi-track recorder with more channels for your home studio. For example, when recording a drum set you may want to use as many as eight or more studio microphones, meaning a multi-track recorder with the ability to record that many tracks simultaneously will be preferable. For those of you searching for the perfect home recording studio platform for full bands, then you may want to consider a multi-track recording unit with even more channels.
By selecting a digital multi-track recorder for your home studio that meets your home recording needs you’ll be able to hit the ground running with all of your projects. However, even in the event that you need additional tracks you typically don’t need to worry since most digital multi-track recorders have extra virtual tracks you can layer on your home recording for just such an occasion.