Some of you might be old enough to remember how revolutionary those old 4-track Tascam Portastudio cassette recorders were back in the late '70s. Suddenly, musicians and songwriters could compose and demo tunes wherever they were, with no need to visit — much less pay for — a recording studio.
Sonoma Wire Works' FourTrack brings that same functionality to your iPhone or iPod Touch (2G version, please). Hook up your iPhone headset mic, or one of Sonoma's recommended microphones, select a track to record to, hit Record, and strum/plunk/sing away. (Keep in mind FourTrack only records to one track at a time…) Put a drum machine on one track, guitars or keyboards on two more, sing on the last track — voila, you've got a song.
But ease of recording is only part of the story. FourTrack's slide-to-record button prevents accidental overwriting of tracks. Clip lights on each channel give you visual warning that your input is distorting. You can pan each channel from left to right, and even kick in compression to fatten the sound. When you synch your iPhone, the recorded tracks are transferred to your PC and can be further developed in any audio recording program.
Now, with only four tracks — and an introductory price of US$9.99 — some may be tempted to dismiss this as a toy program. But remember: Bruce Springsteen recorded his entire NEBRASKA album on a Tascam 4-track. And if you've ever struggled to teach your band a new song just with your voice and a guitar — now your can bring a finshed demo to rehearsal on your iPhone, play it, and tell them "THIS is what it's supposed to sound like!"
[Available on iTunes]