A MultitrackStudio track is a combination of a mixer's channel strip, a tape recorder's record/playback switch and a piece of tape, the latter being replaced by an audio or MIDI file on the hard disk. Tracks can be added using the Add Track menu's Add Audio Track, Add MIDI Track or Import Audio/MIDI File options. The latter can import multiple files in one go using the Shift key or the Ctrl key (Windows) / Command key (Mac). Tracks can be removed by dragging the file name box (on the left) to the Garbage Bin (in the bottom left corner of the main window). The order in which the tracks appear can be changed using drag-and-drop as well.
All tracks have the following basic features:
- File Display: The File Display shows the name of the opened file.
The lower text line indicates the type of the file:
- "mono audio (.wav)": Mono audio file of the .wav type.
- "stereo audio (.wav)": Stereo audio file of the .wav type
- "midi": MIDI file with one stream.
- "multi midi": MIDI file with multiple streams.
- "not opened": The file isn't opened, probably because the file does not exists or it's an unsupported file type. In this case the Play, Rec and Edit Buttons are disabled.
- the "(r)" appendix means the file is opened as read-only.
- File Options Menu (appears on clicking the File Display)
The file options menu contains the following items:
- Color: Here you can choose a different color than the default color, which is blue in the standard theme. The color is used for the File Display and the track's editor.
- Open: Open an existing Audio/MIDI file. This option does not copy the file to the song folder, unlike the Add Track menu's Import Audio/MIDI File option. Windows: If the file doesn't exists it will be created. The type of the file is determined by the file's extension ('piano.mid' loads or creates a MIDI file, 'piano.gjm' loads or creates a .GJM Audio file). If no extension is entered a .WAV Audio file is opened or created.
- Save: Save MIDI or .aem file to disk. Use this if you want to save performed edits. This item is available for MIDI tracks and edited audio tracks only. It is disabled if the file is unmodified.
Note: The tracks are saved automatically whenever the Song menu's Save option is invoked, so saving tracks explicitly usually isn't necessary.
- Save As: Copies the file to a new file and opens the new file.
- Rename: Rename the file. Note: the file will be closed and reopened, so the editor's undo history will be lost.
- Close: Unload the file.
- Properties: Shows the file's properties. If it's an .mp3 file you can edit the file tags in this window.
- Add Stream: (MIDI track only). Adds a stream to the MIDI file.
- Split Streams: (multiple stream MIDI track only). Splits the MIDI file in separate single-stream files, these new files will be opened in new tracks.
- Alternate Take: Creates and opens a new file and puts the track in record mode, so you can quickly record an alternate take. The files will appear on the menu so they can be opened easily. The new file will appear in a new track if you keep the Ctrl key (Windows) / Command key (Mac) down while clicking the mouse.
- Copy live performance to clipboard: (MIDI software instrument track only) After a software instrument has been played 'live' without actually recording it, the performance can be copied to the clipboard, and subsequently pasted in a track.
- File History: Every time a file is opened it is added to the menu. Using this item you can reload the file. This can be very useful for auditioning Alternate Takes. If you press the Shift key while clicking the file will be opened in a new track. You can rightclick (Windows) / Ctrl-Click (Mac) for more options. The "Remove from list" options allows the Find Unused Files tool to mark the file unused.
- Play and Rec buttons: Put track in playback or record mode. Starting the transport will actually start playback/recording.
- Volume fader: This fader sets the playback volume for the track.
- Mute button: Pressing this button will mute the track.
- Solo button: Pressing this button will solo the track. The signal will still be routed through any Group and/or Effect Return sections. Use the Effect Return's Mute button if needed.
Multiple tracks can be soloed by keeping the Ctrl key down while clicking additional Solo buttons.
Double clicking a Solo button invokes 'half solo': other tracks will be attenuated by 12dB rather than muted fully. The Solo button reads 'H' in half solo mode.
- Pan: This knob (with a blue dot) sets the Pan position for the track (0% = left, 50% = center, 100% = right).
- Level Meter: The Level Meter shows the sound level.
- Edit button: Shows/hides the track's editor.
The Play, Rec, Mute and Edit buttons operate on all tracks if the Ctrl key (Windows) / Command key (Mac) is down when the button is clicked.
Audio tracks (tracks with an audio file) have the following additional features:
- Effect Send: An Effect Send knob determines the level of the (mono) signal sent to the corresponding Effect Return section. Effect Sends are of the 'post fader' (and 'post effects') type: the Effect Send signal is affected by the Volume fader, the Mute button and the effects.
- Effect Slots: The Effect slots can contain effects such as an EQ or a Compressor. Effects processing takes place before volume and pan processing, so compressor settings don't need any adjustments when moving the Volume fader.
- Output Selector: The Output Selector determines the routing of the track's output. You can choose between the Master section or one of the Group sections. The Pro edition can also route tracks to a pair of channels (3/4, 5/6...) of the Audio Out Device if the song uses multiple stereo outputs (see Song Properties). The Pan knob can be used to send the signal to one channel only. The Output Selector isn't available if there are no options other than Master.
MIDI tracks (tracks with a MIDI file) have an Instrument slot that determines where the track's output will be routed to. If it contains a software instrument, like the default MultitrackStudio Instruments, the MIDI data will be converted to audio and the output routed through the mixer. If it contains an External MIDI Instrument the output will be send to an external hardware synthesizer. See the MIDI Instruments section for more information on this subject.
MIDI tracks using a software instrument have all the extra controls audio tracks have (except for the first Effect Slot, which is replaced by the Instrument Slot).