Recording Multi Instruments On Several Tracks


Happy new year to everyone. I have been having such fun with my gear. My question this time is about how to record several (different) instruments on dedicated channels/tracks at the same time on LE5.

Let me break it down. Assuming Peter plays the guitar; John, bass; Mike, Sax; Tom, keys. If I want to record all four guys playing at the same time, how do I do that? I know I can balance their levels from their individual channels on the mixer, then record all four using one track in Cubase. But the issue is, what if I want to isolate each instrument for obvious reasons? Therefore, can I dedicate different channels on the mixer to work (record to) specific tracks in Cubase? For instance, can I put Peter and his guitar on say track 1 in Cubase; John on track 2; Mike on 3 and Tom on 4 while recording all four simultaneously?



How many audio inputs does your audio interface deliver into Cubase? Meaning, how many audio inputs does Cubase report as being available. This would limit how many individual sound sources you could record at any one time.

You refer to a “mixer”, which really does seem like an external mixer (separate from the computer) and if you then route a stereo (or two mono) signals into the computer, that is about as “individual” as you can record inside Cubase.

Break it down into a little more details (e.g. your audio interface) and it will be easier for people to help out.

I have a 12-channel Xenyx mixer into which all the instruments are connected and mixed, then sent via USB port to the computer to be connected to Cubase. That is my basic configuration. Of course, the mixer has Left and Right outputs.

How many audio channels does Cubase show coming from your USB mixer?
(Devices - Device Setup… and then locate your ASIO information.)

2 INs, 2 OUTs. 4 in total

Then obviously you can record two different tracks at a time with your interface /Mixer

Two questions. How then can I record the two tracks? Assuming I have drums on channel 1 and keys on channel 2 on the mixer, and I want to record them simultaneously but differently on tracks 1 and 2 respectively in Cubase, how does that work? I tried it without success. That’s why I had to come here.

  1. How can I increase the number of tracks so I can record more instruments at once?


On your mixer pan the drums left and the keys right. Ijn Cubase create two mono busses, with one input Channel 1, one with input channel 2. (Or stereo L / or what ever the Xenyx channels are called in Cubase).

Use an interface that provides the desired number of inputs.

Thank you, kind sir. My gear is actually setup as described except for the panning of the desired channels.

Off the top of your head, can you recommend any interface with this multi track recording capability? If not, I’ll research it. You have been of much help.

Now how many channels do you want exactly? And what price range? What connection to the computer? Usually standard is interfaces with 8 or 4 mic inputs, some then expandable via ADAT, AES or spdif, to up to 32 mic input channels.
Tascam US 1800
Presonus audiobox 1818VSL
Focusrite scarlett 1820 i
MOTU 8pre
For example.
Or you could use your xenyx as stereo submixer into an interface with less mic input channels.

At this moment, I do everything myself and it works for me. I am just doing research in advance to take care of some “expansion”. What if 8 guys come in and want to record? Laying tracks one at a time is time wasting and does not spur creativity.

I’ll research the list you have given. The Tascam and Scarlett jumps out right away though. I’ll come back with my research findings. Thanks again.

I have just checked out the Tascam US-1800. Here is what it says:

A versatile 16-in/4-out, 24-bit/96kHz interface bundled with Cubase LE5.

The US-1800 audio interface from Tascam offers a high amount of inputs for a minimum amount of cash. The > US-1800 features up to 16 inputs and four outputs that are transmitted to your Mac or Windows computer over a high-speed USB 2.0 connection. > There are a total of eight XLR microphone inputs with phantom power and 60 decibels of clean gain, as well as six balanced line inputs, stereo digital I/O and MIDI in/out. Also Included with the US-1800 is Cubase LE5 workstation software from Steinberg. This 48-track audio workstation includes must-have features like automation, plug-ins, mixing, editing and MIDI tracks.

I tend to like this, but if the instruments are plugged directly into the interface (Tascam in this case) and from there to the DAW (Cubase in this case), how do you refine the sound going into Cubase? This is where I like the mixer. It allows you to refine the sound up to a point. You can tweak the Hi, Mid and Lo frequencies, even add some effects before sending out. Do you have that luxury if you send the instrument directly into the DAW via the interface?

You can’ t do that with this interface. But then again, almost any software EQ inside Cubase is probably just as well, or even better than what you have in your Xenyx.

Makes sense. Got it. If everything is in the DAW, why bother with the Xenyx, especially in studio application? Some of us still enjoy the look and feel of tangible sliders. But of course, bulky hardware are being replaced by software. Neater. Simpler. Cheaper.

I will acquire the Tascam. 16 inputs will more than suffice for now. Thanks.

Me too I prefer the real thing, and certainly not all hardware can be replaced by software, and not all software is cheaper but in the price range of the Xenyx, I´d say it´s not a problem to replace hardware with software.
You just need to know if you´re monitoring through Cubase during recording, you might have to deal with latency. Which you don´t with the Xenyx. But also the ineterface should provide a zero latency monitoring possibility - then without the Cubase EQs though.
Apart from that, there should also be mixers that allow for more than two channels recording, like the Presonus StudioLive series (Firewire), The Behringer X32, the Yamaha N8 / N12 (Firewire), Yamaha CL series (Dante), for example.

I’ll bet they cost an arm and leg. :laughing: My setup more than meets my need, which is purely personal entertainment. Being able to record my work the way I want, when I want, is pure ecstasy. Plus, unless you are a full time recording engineer or make a living from the studio, there is a lot of learning to do about using these things. But what you sow is what you reap, I guess. I had a hard time learning to use Cubase and I tried to avoid it, but now I zip through my recordings just like that. I am nowhere near an expert but I get my stuff done.

With the integrated hardware, it is easy to navigate your way around the equipment and get things done. Plus they impress visitors to your studio and make you feel like the (wo)man behind the controls. You don’t get the same feeling behind a PC or Mac. :laughing: The way they are going, everything, including musical instruments will be on the computer very soon, such that you have your PC, you have everything you need to do a world class music production. Or are we there already?

Pretty much.

I thought as much…

Even with your LE5 version’s included sounds, if you got a small MIDI controller keyboard - something like a Korg Microkey 37 - it would open up a whole new world to you, I have a feeling.

And even without a controller, you can always create a simple Instrument Track and “draw” in whatever you want.

It’s a wide open world. Sounds like you are going to have some fun :sunglasses: .

Good luck and happy music making!