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From https://books.google.com/books?id=MFSilO_OEPAC&lpg=RA1-PA8&ots=CYMCOLez-K&dq=sequencer%20recorder%20difference&pg=RA1-PA9#v=onepage&q&f=false

After information is recorded, you assign the data or track to separate channels for playback. MIDI channels are synonymous with timbre. If you want separate timbres, then you must assign the tracks to separate channels. if you want all the same timbre then assign the tracks to the same channel.

At a single time, does a track hold just one signal, and does a channel hold just one signal?

Assuming a track can only hold one signal and no more, the quote seems to say that if I want several signals to be played with the same timbre, then I should assign them to the same channel. Does that mean that I should assign the multiple signals to the same channel at the same time (so the channel will hold multiple signals at the same time), or at different times (i.e. play the multiple signals one after the other, i.e. the channel holds the different signals at different time and hold one signal at only one time)?

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I think the quote is misleading. Let's say you want five different MIDI violin parts to play, all with the same violin sound. You would normally have five different MIDI tracks, each with their own mixer channel to process both MIDI and audio data (so five channels - sometimes called instrument channels or instrument tracks), and all the five channels would be set up with the same violin sound.

Depending on the software, another way to do it is to have five MIDI tracks, each with their own MIDI data channel, with the MIDI output of all five tracks routed to an aux, return, or instrument channel which plays all five parts at once. Sometimes that doesn't work as well as having it all separated, even when the software supports it.

Finally, you could have all five parts combined into one MIDI file and therefore one MIDI track, which could be routed through one instance of a virtual instrument with the violin sound on one channel. Some software supports taking one MIDI track and having playback come from more than one channel.

With audio (not MIDI) data, it's pretty much one audio file is represented by one audio track which is routed through one audio channel. There's a lot of subleties and variations of supported configurations and routing, but that's the typical setup.

  • thanks. can a track store more than one signals separately? – Tim Jun 26 '15 at 23:38
  • No. Anything recorded to a track can only be processed all at once. For instance, if you want to apply a filter to a track, the filter will apply to everything recorded on that track. That's why each instrument in a band is usually recorded all alone on a separate track from each other instrument. – Todd Wilcox Jun 27 '15 at 13:20
  • then why in audacity, I can split a track into left and right channels and even make the two channels two mono tracks? – Tim Jun 27 '15 at 14:25

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