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Sound Advice

Using a DAW to Remix an Analog Multitrack Tape by Bruce Bartlett

A rap group recently gave me a multitrack analog tape that they wanted to remix. On two tracks of the tape was a synthesizer playing a stereo mix of MIDI sequencer tracks. On three other tracks were the lead vocal and backup vocals. The group wanted to change the mix of the synth tracks and re-do the mix with the vocals. That was going to be difficult since the MIDI instruments were already mixed to two tracks.

I asked the group if they still had the original MIDI sequencer file. Fortunately, they did. We were able to remix the synth tracks after recording them one at a time onto a hard drive through a 2-channel sound card. The procedure went like this:

1. In the synth, turn on only the bass voice in the sequencer.
2. Record the bass onto one track of a digital audio workstation.
3. In the synth, turn on only the drum’s voice in the sequencer.
4. Record the drums onto another track of the workstation.
5. Repeat these steps for each voice or instrument in the sequence.
6. Copy the vocals, one track at a time, onto tracks in the workstation.
7. In the workstation, slide each track in time to align all the tracks.
8. Using the workstation’s mixing facility, remix the tracks.

Bruce Bartlett is the Senior Microphone Design Engineer at Crown International.

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