Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 1, last updated 6/25/2013
Figure 1.48 A sample editor window zoomed down to the level of the individual samples. The dots in the
waveform indicate each sample.
Multitrack editors divide the interface into tracks. A track is an editable area on your
audio arranging interface that corresponds to an individual input channel, which will eventually
be mixed with others. One track might hold a singer‟s voice while another holds a guitar
accompaniment, for example. Tracks can be of different types. For example, one might be an
audio track and one a MIDI track. Each track has its own settings and routing capability,
allowing for flexible, individual control. Within the tracks, the audio is represented by visual
blocks, called regions, which are associated to specific locations in memory where the audio data
corresponding to that region is stored. In other words, the regions are like little “windows” onto
your hard disk where the audio data resides. When you move, extend, or delete a region, you‟re
simply altering the reference “window” to the audio file. This type of interaction is known as
non-destructive editing, where you can manipulate the behavior of the audio without physically
altering the audio file itself, and is one of the most powerful aspects of multitrack editors.
Multitrack editors are well-suited for music and post-production because they allow you to
record sounds, voices, and multiple instruments separately, edit and manipulate them
individually, layer them together, and eventually mix them down into a single file.
The software packages listed below handle digital audio, MIDI, or a combination of the
two. Cakewalk, Logic, and Audition include both sample editors and multitrack editors, though
are primarily suited for one or the other. The list of software is not comprehensive, and versions