The choice of the soundcard (or audio interface) depends on many factors, among which recording quality, number of inputs, MIDI I/O, mic/guitar inputs (XLR etc.), external vs internal, and of course price.
n-Track is compatible with any soundcard that has standard WaveRT, WDM, MME or Asio drivers, including USB, Firewire (IEEE 1394) and PCI audio devices. Follows a list of a few soundcards that have proven to work well with n-Track Studio. Also see the soundcards settings page.
Yes, n-Track takes advantage of quad core and dual core CPUs. The gain from switching from 2 to 4 cores depends on both the structure of the song(s) and the audio buffering used.
The more channels (i.e. tracks, groups, auxs) and/or effects per channel you have, the more n-Track will be able to split the work among the available cores.
Buffering comes into play because the less buffering you have the smaller must be the chunk of work that n-Track assigns to each core, so as buffering decreases the efficiency of splitting the work decreases too and you reach a point where it's faster to just use a single core. It's kind of like dividing work between people: if you have many dishes to wash you finish quicker if you many people and assign to each a portion of the available work. But if you put 4 people to wash 1 single dish you're likely to be slower than one lone washer.
Again depending on the song and CPU type (speed, number of cores, cache, shared vs non-shared cache) the point where single core may perform better than multiple cores may be from 64 to 256 samples per buffer. You can test this by toggling the 'Multithreaded audio processing' box in Preferences/Options and then performing mixdowns of a test song and measuring the time each mixdown takes for decreasing buffering settings. Follows results mixing down a benchmark song on various systems. The benchmark song consists of the Sometimes n-Track sample song (that can be download from the download page), with an instance of the n-Track Reverb (with default preset) on each track (instead of on just a couple of tracks in the original song) to make the song more CPU heavy.
The speedup from using two cores instead of one decreases as the buffer size decreases, but it remains positive even for very low buffering. Adding a 2nd reverb for each track yields for 64 samples buffering 1:12 vs 1:30, i.e. 20% speedup, which means that increasing the song CPU load the relative advantage of using multiple CPU cores increases even for very small buffering.
The uninstallation of the plug-in should theoretically do it. You can try the 'DirectX plug-ins uninstaller' link on the links page. It may be possible to directly remove from the registry the plug-in entries but it may be hard (and dangerous) to find them, so the best way is: reinstall the plug-in, run n-Track, browse with the Windows explorer in the plug-in folder and drag its main file (usually with the .dll or .ax suffix) on the n-Track's window. A dialog box should now ask you if you want to run the self registration of the plug-in: if you click on NO, the program will launch the plug-in self-unregistration procedure, thus removing it from the plug-ins list.You can accomplish the same effect from a command prompt typing: "regsvr32.exe /u plugin_filename_with_path". This will launch the self-unregistering routine that should be in every plug-in. You may need to specify the exact path of regsvr32.exe (usually \WINDOWS\SYSTEM).
You can program the n-Track Drums in three ways:
Soundfonts are banks of sounds that you can load into the MIDI synth memory. If you're using a Creative Labs soundcard (for example the SB Live) you can load the soundfonts banks with the soundcard's built-in software. When you then play a MIDI track with n-Track the MIDI output will have the sounds of the soundfonts bank. You can also load more than one soundfont bank and switch between them with the bank setting on the MIDI track's property page.
Alternatively there are VST/DX instruments synths that support soundfonts.
See the Plugins page.
To decrease the delay between pressing a note and hearing it try lowering the buffering in the View/Settings/Buffering dialog box. Lower latencies can be obtained selecting WDM or Asio drivers in the Preferences/Wave devices dialog box.
The echo mode can also be set to 'auto'. When you do this the program will automatically select for the output of the MIDI notes played on the keyboard the MIDI output port (or VSTi) selected as the output for the MIDI track currently selected, so you'll be able to switch output simply clicking on different MIDI tracks.
More info on VST instruments can be found in the "Using the program/MIDI/VST instruments" n-Track online help topic.
It depends on when you originally registered the program:
To get n-Track (6.0 or later) to create an mp3 file simply select "File/Save As" and select .mp3 as the extension of the file to save to, from the "Save As type" extension drop-down box.
n-Track Studio uses a third party mp3 encoder called Lame Encoder. The program will prompt you to download the encoder on the first attempt to convert to an mp3 file. For instructions on how to install Lame Encoder please see n-Track can't find mp3 encoder even after I've installed it.
You can download the Lame Encoder dll from http://ntrack.com/redist/lame.php
If you have previously installed a different version of Lame encoder that for some reason doesn't work correctly with n-Track, before following the procedure above close n-Track, remove the previous version of the Lame dll from the computer disk (or move it to a different, backup location), then follow the procedure above, making sure that n-Track asks you again to find the location of the Lame dll.
n-Track has been tested with Lame version 3.97 and later.
64 bit: Note that the 64 bit version of n-Track requires a 64 bit version of the Lame DLL, it will not accept/work with the regular 32 bit version of the Lame DLL