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What Is A Click Track? The One Thing You Should Never Record Without!

October 19, 2022 
BY DAN SPENCER
Click Track Blog Cover Image
Last Updated on May 24, 2023

If you’ve ever recorded music, chances are you’ve used a click track. But what exactly is a click track? A click track is a metronome that is used to keep time while recording. It is typically a steady, repetitive sound that is used to help musicians stay in tempo.

A click track is an essential tool for recording music. It helps musicians keep their playing tight which ultimately makes for a better result. It also makes it possible for the engineer to line up the different tracks of the recording in the editing process.

If you’re new to recording, or if you’ve never used a click track before, this article is for you. We’ll explain what a click track is, why it’s important, how to make one, and lastly some tips on how to record to one.

What Is A Click Track?

A click track is a recorded or daw-generated track that provides a consistent tempo for a musician to play along to. The track is typically in audio or aux track formats. Click tracks are commonly used in studio or live performances to help keep the band or ensemble tight and in time.

Click tracks can be created with various software programs or recording devices, and they typically consist of a steady click or metronome sound that is repeated at a consistent tempo. The tempo of the click track can be adjustable, which allows musicians to play along at a comfortable pace. There are also a variety of sounds that can be used from plucks to cowbells that have become popular for click tracks.

Musicians will often use headphones to listen to the click track while they play. This ensures that they can hear it well and that they can keep time throughout the song. This also makes sure that it isn't picked up during a recording or isn't audible to an audience.

Click tracks are an essential tool for recording and performing most genres in modern-day music.

The Benefits Of Recording To A Click Track

Now that the question what is a click track as been answered, it's important to know the benefits of recording to one.

First, it helps ensure that all instruments and voices are in sync with each other. This can be especially helpful when layering tracks or when recording with multiple musicians.

Second, a click track can help prevent mistakes and missed cues. Recording with a click track can help take the guesswork out of recording and help make the process more efficient.

Finally, a click track can add a sense of discipline to the recording process and help keep everyone on track.

So if you're looking to get the most out of your recordings, consider using a click track.

How To Setup A Click Track

Now that you know what is a click track and its benefits, it's time to set one up. There are two different ways you can go about doing that. The first way involves recording an actual click into your daw and the second involves using your daw's built-in metronome. Let's first discuss the more complicated task of recording a click into a daw.

Record An External Click Into A Daw

Recording a click in a daw only requires a few pieces of equipment. First, you'll need an audio interface and a set of headphones. You'll also need a metronome or drum machine to create the click sound itself. Once you have all the necessary equipment, setting up the click track is a breeze.

First, create a basic drum beat on your metronome or drum machine. Then, plug your audio interface into your computer and launch your recording software. Create a new audio track in your software, and select your interface as the input source. Finally, hit record and record the click sound in.

Going forward, you will now have this click track to reference and record all your other tracks to.

Daw Built-In Metronome

Using a daw's built-in metronome is the best way to utilize a click track. For example, in Pro Tools, all you have to do is go to the "track" menu and then select "create a click track" and you are done. It is as simple as that! Other daws have other ways of going about it, but either way, it is still preferable to option 1.

NOTE: The only time I see option 1 being used is if there is a preferable click sound that someone wants that is only available via hardware.

6 Tips For Recording To A Click Track

If you're a musician, chances are you've been asked to record to a click track at some point. And if you've never done it before, it can be a bit daunting. But don't worry - we're here to help! Here are 6 tips to get the most out of your click-track recording experience.

  1. Before you start recording, practice with the click track to get comfortable with it. It's important to be able to hear the click track over the music in your head, so that you can stay in time.
  2. When you're ready to start recording, make sure the level of the click track is low enough that it's not distracting, but high enough that you can still hear it clearly.
  3. Start by recording a few takes without the click track, to get warmed up. Then, when you're ready, turn on the click track and start recording.
  4. Take your time and don't rush. It's important to be able to play relaxed and focused, even with the added pressure of staying in time with the click track.
  5. If you make a mistake, don't worry about it - just keep going. The goal is to get a good performance, not a perfect one.
  6. Once you've recorded your performance, listen back and see how you did. If there are parts that sound off-time, see if you can identify where you went wrong and correct it for next time.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we've answered the question what is a click track, what is its benefits, how do you create one, and gave you some tips on how to better record to one. To sum it up, it's a must to use a click track when recording so that all of the tracks line up perfectly and sound great when played back.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about music production, mixing, and mastering, consider subscribing to my blog.

"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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