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Soundtrack (also called sound channel ; English "track") is the recording strip in music production and sound engineering for analog recordings, which takes up a certain proportion of the entire width of an audio tape . In analog film , the soundtrack is that part of the filmstrip that contains the sound recording .


The term audio track only gained importance after the development of multi-track technology, when at least two parallel tracks could be recorded on a magnetic tape . That was the case from January 1943, when the German sound engineers Helmut Krüger and Ludwig Heck started making stereo recordings for archival purposes with 2-track technology at the Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft in Berlin. A blend in the modern sense, however, was not yet possible, because both tracks were synchronously recorded on the same tape and took up the same sound signals. The American manufacturer Ampex sold the Ampex 200 from April 1949, a device for the two-track system. First a track was recorded, after this recording the magnetic tape was played back to the beginning and started again at the beginning. Then another recording could be started on the second track of the same tape - synchronously with the first recording on the first track - without deleting the first track. After that, Ampex developed two recording heads for the tape machine, which enabled two tracks to be recorded in parallel.

Development of multi-lane technology

Soundtrack next to a single image from the sound film "The Snowman" (1944)

In 1953 Ampex presented the first four-track device with the A500 . The "Selective Synchronous Recording" ("Sel-Sync") method presented by Ampex in October 1955 allowed overdub and made it possible for the first time to use mixing techniques. The innovative company succeeded in manufacturing the eight-track device in 1957, which initially met with little response. Guitarist Les Paul , who also experimented intensively with sound engineering, bought the first device; only in 1958 did Atlantic Records acquire the third.

Since then, a track has been a channel of a multi-track recording consisting of several channels. The recordings of all channels are combined into a master mix . The mix is ​​now complete, so that editing can begin.


With the two-band sound process , sound and image are initially recorded, cut and projected onto different carriers, later the sound is recorded and reproduced parallel to the image on a uniform carrier. The audio track is the part of the film reserved for audio playback.

Digital technology

In today's digital technology, the term soundtrack is still used colloquially in music production, but correctly it concerns synchronously recorded parts of an audio file or several audio files. Soundtracks are virtually created and saved here, they can with all the relevant software offered tools are often freely edited. A generation loss of poor quality, which used to be the case with tapes, no longer occurs.


A commercially available compact audio cassette has four tracks; H. one each for the left and right stereo channels for both the A and B sides.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. WordPress, Cream of Audio , stereophony at the RRG from August 13, 2010
  2. Brent Hurtig / JD Sharp, Multi-Track Recording for Musicians , 1988, p. 8
  3. Mix Online from October 1, 2005, Ampex Sel-Sync 1955: When the Roots of Multitrack Took Hold ( Memento of the original from January 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Andy Bradley / Charles Roger Wood, House of Hits: The Story of Houston's Gold Star / SugarHill Recording Studios , 2010, p. 36