Like you, I started out recording with a Tascam 4 track. It was fun, it was creative and I earned a lot. First I mixed down to cassette with the Tascam. But, cassettes are a drag. I wanted be able to put the songs onto CD.
I had a PC with a CD burner, so â€¦ as I saw it, it only required me to move the audio tracks onto my PC from the Tascam tapes. This failed at first because the Windows recorder software had a 60 second limit. My kids hooked me up with some other freeware recording software (I can't remember the name) and it solved the 60-second limitation problem. I could record my stereo outputs into my "line in" jack on the Sound Blaster Live (SBL) card and create a "WAV" file.
Someone gave me a unused copy of Cool Edit Pro (CEP) multitrack recording software to try. Once I installed it and did some preliminary tests I was able to record 2 tracks (channel 1 and 2) from the Tascam into the "line in" jack on the SBL card as a stereo file. CEP would allow me to copy each side (left or right) into a separate single track. Now I could transfer all my Tascam work into my PC. This was a large project and I spent many hours making that transfer. However, now I could create a multitrack session with stuff I already recorded. Once I finally got the tracks aligned in time I could add effects, cut and paste lead riffs, filter out noise and pops, adjust volume for specific areas of a track â€¦ and best of all â€¦. I could add tracks to songs I thought I would have to record over. That part of my experience lasted about a year, it was good because I learned how to use the software (but only 1 tenth of what it can do). I experimented with many variations until I was so bugged out from mixing and remixing I forgot what it was like to actually play.
Now I can still use my Tascam if I am on the road or away from my PC. I can record with friends, and transfer what was good. I can mix it on the PC and have people over to add tracks, I can even FTP session files from my PC (or put them on CD) to other friends who have the same software and we can build songs and never have to be in the same room together. I love this tech stuff.