how do I transfer from 4-track to my computer

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thelowercasethieves
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how do I transfer from 4-track to my computer

Post by thelowercasethieves » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:30 am

This may be a basic question, but I bought my boyfriend a 4-track (Tascam) and I would also like to get software for him to transfer his recordings to the computer. Is there any software available for download, or can you recommend a certain program? Right now he is using Windows XP.

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inverseroom
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Post by inverseroom » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:30 am

You could do it with a free program like Audacity, which will record multiple tracks at once...but if you want the four tracks to stay separate and synchronized, you'll need an audio interface with at least four inputs, such as the PreSonus Firebox. Otherwise, if you do them one at a time, little fluctuations in tape speed may cause them to drift apart...

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:50 pm

by "may" he means "absolutely will".

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Post by drumsound » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:07 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:by "may" he means "absolutely will".
:rofl:

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Post by djimbe » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:50 pm

mmm...drifting tracks from a casette machine...

Yeah, to do it the best, most synced way would be to get a sound card with 4 channels. Audacity is good software, and n-Track is good cheap software, and what I learned digital recording on. The n-Track web site is:

www.fasoft.com

there's a good forum there with helpful long-time users, and lots of information about doing just this task you'd like to do; what sound cards work best with what machine configurations, which of the most recent releases is performing the best, how to configure a computer for recording, etc. Best of luck!
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Post by housepig » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:52 pm

inverseroom wrote:You could do it with a free program like Audacity, which will record multiple tracks at once...
J - have they changed it so that it will recognize discrete inputs from a multi-input device? I still use it as a general wave editor, but last time I looked into it as a tracking program, it couldn't discriminate between inputs - if you had signal going into 3 inputs, and recorded three tracks, it recorded the sum of all three inputs on all three tracks, instead of input 1 = track 1, input 2 = track 2 etc...

what version are you using, and with what kind of interface?

for the original poster - one trick that will help a little if you can't transfer all tracks at once - find some dead space on the tape and record a bit of signal with a distinctive 'mark' - a sharp transient like a snare hit, for example. I usually use a quick on/off of an oscillator sending a square-wave.

once you import each track one at a time, you can use this transient to visually assist lining up the tracks so they are in time relative to each other.
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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:06 pm

the issue with the transient thing though, is that if you put that on all yer tracks right at the beginning, then sure it's easy to line them up on the computer after the fact, but the problem is they will still drift over the course of a couple minutes or whatever. you know? i think anything on tape needs to be transferred all at once or you're in for a world of hurt....

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Post by djimbe » Tue Sep 05, 2006 5:33 pm

the problem is they will still drift over the course of a couple minutes or whatever
Yes. This is the problem. If you know you are going to be tracking to a cassette 4 track then later dumping to computer, I've found it best to use the shortest tape you can find and use only the middle section of the tape. I used 30 minute tapes. Yer TASCAM 4xx series machine runs at 3 3/4ips, so that 30 minute tape is really 15, then I only used the middle 7 minutes. It's the most stable in transport speed, since the tape pack is more evenly devided between the reels in this area. It's kind of a drag to work that way, but it does help keeping things synced up. Still not as fool proof as dumping all tracks at once...
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Re: how do I transfer from 4-track to my computer

Post by I'm Painting Again » Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:08 pm

thelowercasethieves wrote:This may be a basic question, but I bought my boyfriend a 4-track (Tascam) and I would also like to get software for him to transfer his recordings to the computer. Is there any software available for download, or can you recommend a certain program? Right now he is using Windows XP.
you could just get a hardware cd burner and skip the computer if you want to just make cd's off the 4track..

if you need two inputs you could get a 2 input card and software if the 4 track has 4 outputs you can get a 4 channel card for greater flexability..

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Post by housepig » Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:59 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:the issue with the transient thing though, is that if you put that on all yer tracks right at the beginning, then sure it's easy to line them up on the computer after the fact, but the problem is they will still drift over the course of a couple minutes or whatever. you know? i think anything on tape needs to be transferred all at once or you're in for a world of hurt....
I agree, and that's why I picked up a Tascam that has 4 individual outs for transferring my old 4-track tapes over.

I've found in a situation where that isn't an option, the transient thing is a help - if I had enough room in between tracks, I'd do one in between each track, then transfer. but I also know myself - I used to fill tapes to the gills and not leave a whole lot of time in between tracks!
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Post by inverseroom » Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:34 pm

Hey Housepig, I might be totally wrong about Audacity and multitracking. I think the latest beta is supposed to do it, but I only do two things with it...one is importing up to 10-track 24-bit wavs from my standalone DAW (to separate them out and import them into my computer DAW), and the other is stereo editing. I know they're intending to make it a fully functional multitrack eventually & assumed you could already do that.

That said there are a lot of ways to get a free multitracker. Every interface, including the Firebox, comes with one...I believe I got a cut-down Cubase with mine.

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Post by creature.of.habit » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:09 am

there's always Reaper..it's the only thing i use now..

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inverseroom
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Post by inverseroom » Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:36 am

Oh that's right...Reaper's gonna start charging now though...

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Post by Johnny B » Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:42 am

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:the issue with the transient thing though, is that if you put that on all yer tracks right at the beginning, then sure it's easy to line them up on the computer after the fact, but the problem is they will still drift over the course of a couple minutes or whatever. you know? i think anything on tape needs to be transferred all at once or you're in for a world of hurt....
Absolutely. A better way is to transfer two tracks at a time, but have one of them be the same track every time. Then you can figure out how much each pass is off from the others and time stretch them all to match.

Or you can just troll ebay looking for a cheap 4-input box for the computer like one of my friends did...

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