How to use the FourTrack iOS App.
- Demo Video: Audio Copy & Paste between more than 30 compatible apps.]
What is a FourTrack?
Stereo tape recorders record two tracks at a time on a cassette. A four-track recorder allows you to record one track at a time while listening to the other three. This allows you to record a guitar part, then add a vocal part, then add a harmony, and so on. The Beatles recorded several albums using only four tracks. Four-track cassette recorders were the first affordable multi-track recorders for home musicians. Multitrack recording software, like GarageBand and Pro Tools, allow you to record many tracks, but the principle is the same. FourTrack (the iPhone app) gives you the simplicity of the old-school cassette four-track in an affordable and convenient package. With FourTrack. in your pocket, you can record music anywhere at the moment of inspiration.
FourTrack Features & Release Notes
4 tracks plus bounce
16 bit, 44.1 kHz
Accurately monitor record and playback levels
Recording Clip Lights
Ensure input levels do not cause distortion
Accurately adjust playback level of each track
Move tracks from left to right
seek to anywhere in your song instantly
Accurately move within your song
Prevents over-writing your tracks
Qccurate to within 1ms
Unlimited song count
Mix a song to track 1 and 2 of a new song. This makes room for two more tracks, while preserving the originals for syncing to desktop recording software
Make a backup of a song and continue working on it in a different file
Maintain a consistent tempo by recording along with real drums (not MIDI). Select a tempo by entering a number or by tapping. Choose from seven sounds, including three beats by celebrity drummer Jason McGerr on his signature Ludwig kit recorded in his Seattle based studio, Two Sticks Audio. Other sounds (Block A, Block B, High Hat, and Pop) are samples of live drums and percussion courtesy of Discrete Drums, the original multitrack drum library. Time signatures include 3/4, 4/4, 6/8 and X/4 (which are unaccented beats that can be used to play 5 ,7, 9 and other odd meters).
Mixdown directly on the phone, with or without the metronome audio, then WiFi Sync either the mixed WAV file or individual tracks.
- See below for more features added in FourTrack updates.
FourTrack 3.0 Changes
PromoTracks were added in 3.0 but removed in 6.0
MasterFX: sweeten the sound of your recordings with a compressor-limiter and a 4-band parametric EQ MasterFX Demo Movie
Multiple performance tweaks, improved stability, and memory enhancements make this the best FourTrack version yet.
FourTrack 4.0 Changes
AudioCopy - Copy a track or a mix in FourTrack. Name a copy to easily identify it in the AudioCopy history list of up to 12 items which includes audio previews. Paste to another track in FourTrack, to another song in FourTrack, to any AudioPaste enabled app, and to apps that support Apple's general pasteboard.
Input Monitoring - Use FourTrack's settings tool to enable/disable input monitoring. Input monitoring is enabled when a track is armed and in either Pause or Record mode. Playback of existing tracks overrides input monitoring. When input monitoring is on, sliders on armed tracks are enabled and control the monitor mix.
GuitarJack Control Panel
GuitarJack Control Panel - Adjust the input settings of the GuitarJack audio accessory for compatible iOS devices. Select from 1/4", stereo 1/8" or both inputs simultaneously, and adjust input levels with 60dB of analog gain control. FourTrack remembers GuitarJack settings. Settings are maintained by the GuitarJack while powered, and it can be used by most apps that do recording or playback such as tuners, amp models, and more. When a stereo mode is selected, tracks will arm in pairs (1&2 or 3&4).
TaylorEQ - Sonoma Wire Works teamed with Taylor Guitars to create an input EQ for enhancing the FourTrack recordings of Taylor Guitars or any acoustic guitar. Select from a range of Taylor body styles in basic mode, or select the Advanced tab to adjust the 6 band parametric equalizer manually.
ARM Optimized Audio Engine
ARM Optimized Audio Engine - Hand optimized assembly code makes this the fastest running FourTrack release ever.
Higher Resolution Graphics
Higher Resolution Graphics - Optimized for the iPhone 4 Retina Display.
Please see this FourTrack guide for up to date information:
Please see this FourTrack guide for up to date information:
FourTrack 4.1.1 Changes
Bass Response Correction
When set to AUTO, this will boost the bass response of the recorded signal when using the built-in microphone and headset jack, but not affect devices connected via the dock connector.
Audio can now be played through the speaker in addition to the headset/earpiece.
Plus Various improvements for increased stability.
FourTrack 6 Changes
AudioCopyPaste is Temporarily Removed in FourTrack 6
AudioCopy and Paste is being updated from 1.x to 2.0 by the Retronyms and Sonoma is planning on adding it soon.
- FourTrack 5 on iOS 6 still has working AudioCopyPaste 1.x.
- FourTrack 5 on iO S7 copying will work via the general pasteboard (but with no history).
- FourTrack 6 removed AudioCopyPaste 1.x until it is updated with AudioCopyPaste 2.0.
- FourTrack 6.1 will include AudioCopyPaste 2.0 so it will be compatible with apps that run * AudioCopyPaste 2.0, and it will be backward compatible to apps that haven't yet updated to AudioCopyPaste 2.0 (eg. via the general pasteboard, but with no history).
Updated GuitarTone amps and effects included with FourTrack - now with improved tone
- iPhone running iOS 4.3 or later with iPhone headset mic or third-party mic and headphones
- iPod touch (2nd, 3rd or 4th generation) running OS 4.0 or later with a GuitarJack or third-party mic and headphones
Why isn't the first generation iPod touch supported?
The first generation iPod touch does not have a mic input.
How do I know which generation of iPod touch I have?
Can I record more than one track at a time?
Yes, with a GuitarJack. Otherwise the iPhone and iPod touch have a mono mic input, so only one stream of audio is available to record in FourTrack.
Can I jam along with my iTunes Music?
Yes, GuitarTone stand-alone app and Sonoma's FourTrack recording app both allow iPod playthrough, but StudioTrack does not. Apple will not allow recording of iTunes music using an recording app on an iOS device, but you can hear it while you are playing. Simply start the iTunes music before you launch FourTrack.
Music recorded using FourTrack
- iTunes "That's Your Boyfriend" by Chris Price was iTunes Single of the Week on May 22, 2012 - entire album recorded using FourTrack
- Black (original song) recorded using FourTrack on the iPhone 3GS
- Black (original song) recorded using FourTrack on the iPhone 3GS
- "Love is the Thing" by The 88s was recorded with FourTrack. Watch how they recorded it.
- "FourTrack Test Track" on jasoncross.net boomtap2 on RiffWorld
- "Thrice - Better Days" by tempAccount2 on YouTube
- Thedreweffect on RiffWorld.com
- mrhaze on RiffWorld.com
- aaronneber on RiffWorld.com
- franzbri on RiffWorld.com
- KevinAnderson on RiffWorld.com
- Piano Theme by Andy K
- Beatles "Come Together" on FourTrack imported into RiffWorks.
- "Lokah-MiniCut" by dazzagreenwood
- "Happier" by Jeff McDougal
- "FourTrack" by Jeff Macdougal
- "We on the Couch!" by Asher
- "FourTrack is Fun in a Car" by Nick Campbell
- Also great for recording podcasts for blogs: "FourTrack PodCast" by C.K.
If you've recorded a song with FourTrack, tell us on the FourTrack Forum.
Operation - Getting Started
How do I record with FourTrack?
Before launching FourTrack, make sure you have a microphone plugged into your iPod headset jack. The iPhone will record via the built-in microphone, but the sound will only come out of the ear piece. Using a separate head-phone mic adapter where the microphone can be placed somewhere stable away from your body will give the best results.
When you first launch FourTrack, track 1 will be armed. The meter for track one will light up when you make sound. The ideal recording level is between -18dB and 0dB. You want as much of the meter to light up as possible, but you don't want the red light at the top of the track to light up. This light means the input level has clipped. Clipping causes distortion, which sounds bad. There is no input level control on the iPhone. To get a lower level, you either have to reduce the volume of the thing you are recording, or point or move the microphone away from the sound source.
Slide to Record
When you are ready to record, slide the record control to the right. Recording begins immediately. It is best to give yourself a count-in (say 1,2,3,4, or tap your foot) so that you know when the next track will start.
Stop recording and move to the next track
There are two ways to stop recording in FourTrack.
- When you are recording on a fresh empty song, you can stop recording by pressing the PLAY button. This will automatically seek to the beginning of the song, and arm the next track, so that you are ready to record again. This will only arm a track that has no data on it yet. You can tell a track has data because little sound waves will appear next to the track number.
- If you just want to stop and record again on the same track, you can press STOP RECORDING. This will stop the recorder and will NOT seek to the beginning. To seek to the beginning, tap the left edge of the TimeLine.
What does the red light above the meters mean?
The ideal recording level is between -18dB and 0dB. You want as much of the meter to light up as possible, but you don't want the red light at the top of the track to light up. This light means the input level has clipped. Clipping causes distortion, which sounds bad. There is no input level control on the iPhone. To get a lower level, you either have to reduce the volume of the thing you are recording, or point or move the microphone away from the sound source.
Why can't I move the fader on the armed track?
There is no way to adjust the input level on the iPhone so we disabled the fader on the armed track.
How do I delete one track?
There is currently no way to delete a specific track. However you can simply record over it again by re-arming the track and re-recording over it. You can then either record silence or record new music over it. If your previously recorded track is longer than the new recording, simply record silence over any remaining sound you would like to be erased. This does not affect any of the other recorded tracks.
More information about how to use FourTrack features can be found throughout this page.
Microphones and Other Inputs
Can I record with the built-in mic on my iPhone?
Yes, but while doing so, the only way to hear the sound will be through the ear piece on the phone, or through headphones. The speakerphone speakers would cause feedback while recording.
Do I need a microphone to use my iPod touch?
Yes for the iPod touch (2nd and 3rd generation) which has a microphone input on the headset jack, but does not have a built-in microphone.
How do I use an external microphone?
For best results, we recommend using Sonoma's GuitarJack audio interface with a recommended microphone. If you don't have a GuitarJack, the headset jack on the iPhone and iPod touch (2nd and 3rd gen.) have three contacts inside. The normal two for stereo headphones and an additional contact for the mic input. Several companies have released "headphone-mic" adapters so that you can use your high quality headphones as a headset. These add-on microphones are a good way to record with FourTrack because you can position the microphone away from the sound source and have a longer lead for your headphones.
Which headsets and microphones work with FourTrack for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch (2nd, 3rd and 4th gen.)?
Sonoma Tested These Headset Microphones and They Work Well:
- Monster iSoniTalk Microphone Headphone Adapter for iPhone
- Apple iPhone headset with mic (the headset included with the iPod Touch does not include the required mic)
- Belkin A/V cable for mic input to RCA connector
- Blue Mikey works very well with FourTrack on the iPhone when used with headphones. However, multitrack recording with Mikey does not work on the iPod touch because of the location of the headphone jack. Listen to the Mikey Live Music Sample 1 Recorded with FourTrack. Watch YouTube Movie: Blue Microphones Mikey, iPhone & FourTrack App used to Create Song.
- See "Can I Plug.." below for other cable info.
FourTrack User(s) Reported Success Using These:
No Reports Yet of People Using These - Should Work Well:
- Griffin Tunebuds
- Sennheiser MM50 iP Stereo Headset for iPhone
- Shure Music Phone Adapter for iPhone
- Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic $29
- Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic $79
- Alesis ProTrack (able to record with it, but not able to hear playback)
Offer your opinions and tips about these and other microphones in the FourTrack forum.
The microphone distorts, what should I do?
Lower the volume of the source you are recording. Point the microphone away from the source, or move it farther away. If you are using the Apple headset microphone, it could be rubbing against your clothes while you are recording causing scratching noises.
Can I plug my guitar (or fill in the blank) into FourTrack?
Yes, you just need an adapter. We recommend GuitarJack for the best results. GuitarJack connects a wide range of instruments, microphones, and other audio hardware to the iPod touch (2nd and 3rd generation), iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G via 1/4 inch instrument and 1/8 inch stereo mic/line inputs. GuitarJack makes both level control and input monitoring possible when using a GuitarJack enhanced app. GuitarJack also makes stereo recording possible in FourTrack. Comparison Chart of Audio Accessories for iOS Devices GuitarJack Model 2 is coming soon. Subscribe to News about GuitarJack Model 2.
There are also adapters available that break the headset jack out to two mini-jacks, one stereo output for headphones and one mono input for a mic. These are hard to find, but you could plug a guitar into one of these using a 1/4" to mini adapter.
There are also cables available that can be purchased for the iPod that break out the mini jack to three RCA jacks. These are designed to let you connect the video signal of an iPod to a TV. On the iPhone and iPod touch (2nd and 3rd gen.) the yellow jack is the microphone input, instead of a video output.
You could connect a guitar to the yellow jack using a 1/4" to RCA cable connected to an RCA-RCA female connector connected to the RCA to mic connector. You would also need to connect the Red and White RCA connectors to some speakers headphones. However, the sound being recorded is not played through the output because the latency (time for the audio to go into the phone and back out) is too high. So you would only be able to hear your guitar playing in the room, not through the headphones while recording.
See this Forum Post for a Recommendation for 4-Pin 3.5mm Minijack to 3 x RCA Composite AV Cable
How do I get my recordings off the iPhone?
Once you have recorded a song and you want to download the tracks to your computer, use DropBox Sync or iTunes file sharing to export your tracks from FourTrack for use in desktop recording software (without your pan and gain settings).
Dropbox Sync - Tap "Song Tools" and then "Dropbox". Sign in to your Dropbox account and allow FourTrack access. Once signed in your can upload your current song and are then given options to share this track by emailing download links to others.
File sharing with iTunes 9.2 and iOS 4* - Go into the Fourtrack File Sharing section of the Apps tab in iTunes and drag your session onto your desktop.
- Important Warning - To prevent losing data during iTunes sync:
1. MAC - Before connecting your device, in iTunes, click on Preferences - Devices to access the device menu. Make sure the "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically" box is checked. Doing this will require you to manually sync from this point forward.
PC - Before connecting your device, in iTunes click Edit - Preferences - Devices tab. Make sure the "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically" box is checked. Doing this will require you to manually sync from this point forward.
2. Before syncing, back up your device. To back up, right click on your device and click "Back Up".
3. Before syncing, make sure to transfer purchases. To do this click File - Transfer Purchases from "NAME OF YOUR DEVICE" Following these steps will prevent information from being deleted accidentally from your device. For additional information, consult Apple.com.
Also Important: If you delete the FourTrack app from your phone, your FourTrack songs will be deleted, too. Back up your songs regularly (especially before you delete the app or update iOS) by using the FourTrack project export methods explained here. If you accidentally delete FourTrack or your FourTrack songs, and you have a backup of you phone, you can try finding a desktop application for browsing your past backups in iTunes to see if that helps you find your FourTrack songs. We cannot guarantee that these backups browsers will work, but it might be worth a try. Try "Google-ing" "iPhone app itunes backups browser."
Why aren't the tracks panned when I download the wav files?
These wav files do not contain the Pan and Gain information that you set in FourTrack, they are the actual recordings. These files can be loaded in a DAW for further editing. If you import them using RiffWorks Standard or RiffWorks T4 the pan and gain settings will be loaded (see above).
What do I do with these wav files?
You can load these files in a multi-track audio editor (DAW) like GarageBand, ProTools, Logic, etc.
Known Issues & Workarounds
iOS 7 Microphone access
In iOS 7 a user is presented with a popup when launching any app that uses the microphone. They have to give permission to the app to access the microphone. If you select "no" that app (FourTrack, StudioTrack, GuitarTone) cannot get input from the device. Even though it seems to only refer to the built in microphone, it really means ALL audio input including GuitarJack. To fix this, the user needs to launch the Settings App and go to Privacy - Microphone and then change the switch so it shows green.
Strange noise/feedback heard
There is a strange bug in Apple's audio system that seems to be caused when plugging in the microphone after launching FourTrack. Be sure to plug in your mic before launching and this problem will does not happen.
Updating FourTrack can erase your songs
This is a bug in Apple's update process. A small percentage of users will have all their songs deleted during an update. Please use WifiSync to backup your tracks before updating.
FourTrack needs more memory
We recommend force quitting both Safari and Mail to free up more memory. To force quit an application, press and then hold the sleep/wake button. When the slide to power off the screen appears, press and hold the home button for about six seconds until the application quits. Also, check out this discussion for more information: FourTrack memory forum thread
Auto-lock can cause FourTrack to glitch during playback
FourTrack disables Auto-lock during recording, but not during playback. If it is set to 1min (default) this can cause a consistent glitch or even a freeze during playback. Users are reporting success by setting Auto-Lock to Never in the Setting->General app. We are investigating disabling Auto-lock during playback to alleviate this problem.
FourTrack won't launch - Jail-broken SBSettings conflict
We have two confirmed reports that FourTrack crashes on launch on Jail-broken phones with SBSettings installed. Uninstalling SBSettings fixes the problem and FourTrack launches correctly. We do not intend to support Jail-broken apps that misbehave and cause problems that aren't there otherwise. See below...
Jailbroken iPhone Compatibility
FourTrack is not compatible with certain jailbroken applications, including SBSettings. We can not ensure compatibility with jailbroken iPhones.