Bouncing tracks

Hi everybody, I’m new here. I’ve not done any recording for years (before digital recording was commonly accessible), and I’m now considering whether to get and use audacity for home recording work.
So maybe this has been discussed but I didn’t find it on a search …

I understand Audacity will “only” multitrack up to 16 mono tracks - not bad for a freebie, but I just know I’ll want more! Years ago, when I was recording on actual reel-to-reel, we would expand by recording the first few tracks - maybe a “guide” guitar, plus several tracks for the drums (typically 8 or so) and then we would “bounce” the drum tracks down to a stereo pair (sending them out to the desk and mixing them back down onto two empty tracks on the tape), so now we were back to only having taken up 3 tracks, leaving 13 more to record all the other stuff; being only a first generation copy, and on good quality gear, you didn’t really loose much from the drums other than the ability to change your mind over the mix (!), but it allowed a lot more other instruments.
… so can you do the same thing in Audacity?

Render/export your 8 tracks of drums into one stereo file and then import it in a new project. Or you can “bounce” your 8 tracks by using the record button.

If the hardware and drivers support it, Audacity can record up to 32 tracks simultaneously.

The total number of tracks in a project is limited only by the capabilities of the hardware. On an i7 with SSD I can run a 3 minute project with 256 mono tracks, though Audacity is becoming a bit sluggish with this number of tracks.

Great, for the replies both of you - I can’t imagine I’ll ever want more than 32 tracks, so with a decent PC (I need to replace my laptop anyway) I should be able to get along without any bouncing at all, which will be absolute luxury relative to my past (ancient) experience!!

So on the subject of a new laptop, how would I be with an i5 machine with 4GB RAM and a 250GB SSD? Good enough? Worth the extra to go to i7 or not?

More RAM would be better.

I run 64-bit Xubuntu (Linux) with 8GB RAM and I rarely go above 50% usage, though occasionally I do exceed 50%.
Windows 10 requires a LOT more RAM.

Microsoft state that 64-bit Windows 10 requires a minimum of 2 GB. That’s just to boot the operating system.
4GB should be just about adequate most of the time for light use, but there are likely to be times when the system grinds to a halt due to lack of RAM.
My advice would be at least 8 GB RAM, preferably more if you will be using Windows.

SSDs are wonderful :smiley:
250 GB should be plenty for normal running, but if you have a lot of big files (such as a big collection of videos), then an external HDD can be useful as additional storage.

An i5 processor should give pretty good performance unless you are expecting to do things that are particularly CPU intensive. Audacity isn’t CPU intensive. My laptop has an i7, though most of the time I wouldn’t notice the difference if I had an i5 - it’s only when I’m running multiple demanding apps at the same time (for example, running Windows in a virtual machine, while compiling C++ code, while doing something else) that the benefits of the i7 are relevant. Currently I have a load of tabs open in Firefox while recording with Audacity and my CPU is running at around 16%.

If you’ve not already got it, save a bit of cash for audio equipment, such as a nice sound card and microphone. The audio input on most laptops are somewhere between poor and dreadful.