View Full Version : How long is a piece of string....track counts

David Aurora
April 11th, 2007, 04:44 AM
just been thinking over the setup for the new studio im planning for next year (goddamn, i still havent closed this one yet and im knee deep in the next ones plans)

i want to stay the fuck away from computers. maybe an le setup for emergency drum edits or something, and definitely a setup for 2 track/cd stuff. but i dont want to record on computers

im leaning very much towards a couple standalone 24 tracks. ill have to wait and see what is out when im wearing my buying gear pants in 12 months, but i doubt things will change very much

but i started wondering about something.

ive seen a fair few threads over the years where people have said "ive got A radar/hdr/etc". as in i got the impression they had ONE.

and i started thinking, its been YEARS since i maxed out at 24 tracks. but i do remember doing stuff on a single adat machine and shit like that, and it got the job done.

anyways, its fairly safe to say ill be gearing up 48 tracks of recording. aside from the obvious track count, theres other bonuses such as having a backup machine there in case one shits itself, one could be dragged elsewhere for a job if needed, etc.

but still, ive been trying to remember how i used to lay out my tracks and wondering how others do it. whos working on 24 tracks? 16? 8?!!!?? what do your track sheets look like? i honestly dont know if id like to work like that again, but i sort of think i might. i hate having piles of tracks to manage these days. i used to use way too many tracks a few years ago (for example, one distorted guitar would have a couple dynamics, a condensor, maybe a mic a little further back and then a room mic, all going to separate tracks!!!), but then i think back to 8 track days where for a typical band i managed fine. these days i generally make decisions much earlier so even if i do use 4 or 5 mics on a guitar (which i thankfully dont these days :lol: :lol: :lol: ) it will be one track on tape or 2 if its a stereo setup for the sound. but i still dunno if i could HAPPILY make a normal rock record on 24 tracks, which is crazy because so many of my favorite rock records were made with 24 tracks OR LESS!!!

funny how you become reliant on things like this

so anyways, how many tracks are you guys using, and how?

April 11th, 2007, 05:34 AM
Like you, if i use a multiple mic setup on guitar, i'll record it
to one track these days.

But i do have reasonable track counts.

The reason being, i like to have different 'parts' or 'sounds' on different

So if i dial up a new guitar sound for an over-dub on verse 2,
new track. Lead line over the intro? New track. Arpeggio part
over a chorus? New track.

Similar deal with vocals. Main vocal might have separate tracks
for verse and chorus as they tend to be in different ranges etc
and require a slight different approach to each.
I can also key effects off each without having to worry about
automating the differences.
A harmony for a verse has it's own track and so does the
chorus harmony.

This may seem overkill, but it still actually only really averages
between 40-70 tracks. But adding more instruments can sometimes
be exponential with this approach.
So it can get up to 80+ on occasions.
Back before i used to record guitar mics to a single track,
it was common to be over 100. ._.

You know the drill though, "it depends". :)

Tim Halligan
April 11th, 2007, 08:06 AM
Do not ask Skwaidu! :D

The last project he mentioned had over 200 tracks...apparently because the producer had a decision-making phobia.



April 11th, 2007, 12:00 PM
Do not ask Skwaidu! :D

The last project he mentioned had over 200 tracks...apparently because the producer had a decision-making phobia.



Oh, he doesn't have commitment-phobia.

He's got double-track-mania. I've worked with him as well. Great producer, completely insane! :lol:

My biggest selling work last year had max 18 tracks.

The album I'm doing now has anything from 30 to 100+ tracks.

Next one's going to have roughly 20.


Depends a lot.

With 48 tracks of HDR and an attitude to commit a lot on tape and boldly combine things on the go, you're laughing. With 24 you'll survive and might learn new techniques in conserving tracks.

With an option for good editing functions for Dumb Ass-type drummers, you're well off.

You do need a deccent board and a bit of outboard, though. But if you're clever, you can get away without spending all your cash on 48 compressors... :D


April 11th, 2007, 01:28 PM
I constantly hit the 32 track "wall" in PTLE on my band's own stuff, but haven't really on other people's music...

April 12th, 2007, 03:17 AM
Spent quite a few years on 2" 24 track. You need to plan ahead and work out your priorities, but a common heavy metal tracksheet might be:

11 bass
12-15: double tracked rythm guitars (must learn how to spell rythm one day)
16-17: solos & guitar fills
18-19: double tracked lead vox
20-22: backing vox, percussion etc
23: that other thing that you suddenly needed to add, ideally without too much hi end content - cos its next to
24: SMPTE time code, so you can automate those tracks which have 10 different sounds on them

...and sync your pro-tools to give you some extra tracks.

Hey wait a minute, why not do it all on computer?

April 12th, 2007, 07:52 AM



April 12th, 2007, 07:54 AM
Hahah, seagate beat me to it. :P

April 14th, 2007, 11:22 PM
I RARELY use more than 32 tracks...


1-Bass drum
3-4- Drums left and right
5-6 Room left and right
7- bass guitar
8- tmabourine, perc, misc pointless nonsense
9-16 - guitars
17-lead vocal
18- lead vocal dbl
19-24 back vocals
and then the misc keys or other stuff