of college radio production manager
s and garage band
s, to pyramid
a track is to take several recorded tracks on a multitrack recorder
and mix them down, onto another track on (usually) the same recorder. The proliferation of inexpensive
4-track cassette recorders during the late 80s made this a popular way for a poor
artist to achieve the same depth
of sound that an artist in a 24-track studio
can get. It takes work, however, and sacrifices must be made in S/N ratio
if one wants to go to many tracks.
The best 4-track cassette recorders have separate read & write heads, with the read in front of the write. (Usually, tape decks have their write heads in front of the reads, so you can monitor the actual recording as you make it.) These recorders have the abililty to mix three of the tracks into an already-present mixdown on the other track. By adding three newly recorded tracks at a time, soon a lush sound could be produced on even a meager budget.
The advent of large hard disks on inexpensive personal computers have made this process a relic. Anyone has access to an n-track recorder with a 60 GB HD these days. All one needs is a copy of Deck.
Note that this process was not purely a pursuit of the track-deficient recording artist. The Beatles used pyramiding extensively during their psychedelic era, often laying hundreds of tracks into the final mix.