Audacity: is '4-track analog output' from laptop possible?

I’m trying to find out if Audacity can be used to create playlists of ‘4-track output audio’ songs, and run them in ‘continuous’ mode in a live gig.

The context is, I’m intending to dub songs comprised of four discrete audio tracks that currently reside on 4-track minidiscs into a laptop and play them from there. I’m draggin’ myself (my drummer, actually!) into the new century!

The interface I’ll use between the laptop and the four outputs going into a stagebox/multicore, will be an external firewire I/O box - for example, something like the Edirol FA66 - connected to the laptop.

So presumably - and haven’t tested this yet of course - Audacity will recognise the four-input device, and will then allow two stereo channels to be simultaneously enabled, to record the four minidisc outputs… so far, so good - any problems in those assumptions…?

In any audio program, it’s easy enough to have multiple ‘songs’ (or 'Projects, or ‘Sessions’, or ‘Multisessions’ whatever each manufacturer calls them) already open within the program and just click on one to bring it to the foreground, and then hit the spacebar to play… or easy to even open another one more or less instantly from within the program…

…but I want to be able to somehow actually create a playlist or setlist in advance, so that I hit ‘start’ and all the songs in that list play sequentially from start to finish… roughly analogous to loading 15 midi files into the Korg Triton, and then saving that list again as a ‘song’ which can be recalled in one hit.

Does anyone know of a way of doing something similar to this with Audacity?

I am an experienced user of Pro Tools / Wavelab / Audition - and even Audacity - and have fiddled around with Reaper recently, but despite my familiarity with processing within these types of programs, the ‘create playlist/continuous play’ sort of features I require, I’m totally unaware of.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Audacity can record from some multi-channel audio devices, but it depends on whether the device driver has a “multi” option. Audacity does not support ASIO by default, so for multi-channel recording there must be a multi-channel Windows driver (assuming you are using Windows). Also, Audacity can only record from one device at a time, so if the drivers present Audacity with several 2 channel devices (as some multi-channel sound cards do) then Audacity will only be able to record from one pair of inputs.

Audacity does not currently support playing multiple channels.

Audacity does not support playlists.

You can create a show in advance that has several songs one after the other then play through the whole lot (really you are just making one big song), but no playlists.

How about just recording the stuff to CD and playing the CD?
How about iTunes, WinAmp, Windows Media Player, Foobar2000 or any of the other dozens of media players that support playlists?

If you are looking for a program that allows greater interactivity when playing, perhaps Ableton Live (Windows) or FreeWheeling (Linux).

Thanks stevethefiddle… as you’ve suggested, I will have a look at Ableton Live (I have Ableton Lite installed with ‘the Tools’ apparently, but have never looked at it)

I thought it was a pretty tall order, asking whether Audacity could do what I’m after, but I just thought I’d put it out there (and have put up the identical post on other sites also) to avail myself of the collective wisdom from people such as yourself.

The choice of external sound device will be critical also, I’m aware - need separate headphone mix, an earth-lift, and ASIO compatibility would be good.

As a matter of interest, I tried to get Reaper to recognise the digidesign 002 interface (it showed up in the drop-down selection menu), but it shat itself! Crashed, not just froze. But lots of fun, experimenting with the various free programs anyhow!

cheers, thanks for your input.