Beyond Four Tracks

Sansui six-track cassette format c. 1989

Otari Compact 8-track 1/2″ format c. 1989.   Also, SECK mixer.

Toa 8-track cassette format

…and you better bet TASCAM made one too.

Above: some short-lived “more-than-four” home-recording formats that were available between the 4-track cassette and ADAT eras.   It’s kind hard to imagine how significant an issue ‘track count’ (IE., the number of available tracks of a particular multi-track recording machine) was just a short while ago.  It’s not unusual at all these days for me to make a production for an artist that has 80 or even 100 tracks.  And I am not talking about some crazy orchestral or prog-rock epic; I am talking about just a well-produced indie pop song.  Modern music means layering.  Lots of it.  When I, and many other folks started doing this, we dreamed of someday having more than 8 tracks to work with.  Well, as it turns out, ‘more’ didn’t mean 16, 24, or even 48: it meant infinite.  “Be careful what you wish for…”

What will be the next technological barrier to fall in the world of audio production?

I wouldn’t mind seeing all those goddamn wires go away, for one…

Any other ideas?

2 thoughts on “Beyond Four Tracks”

  1. i still remember when daryl hall’s akai mg1214 was on consignment at eastcoast music mall in good ole’ danbury. 12 tracks (plus 1 track for TC and another for sync) on 1/2″ proprietary tape in a super classy-looking package. one of these days i will buckle and snatch one of these up, if only to rest my elbows on that naugahyde arm rest…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *