Wave files ("*".wav) on a PC. When you start up Windows 95 you are greeted
with a kind of hello noise which is a wave file being played back off your hard
drive. This is a simple form of hard disk recording. Plug a microphone into your
sound card, open Windows Sound Recorder and you can record sound directly onto
your hard drive. Nothing new there. It's what you can do with it when it's on your
hard drive which makes it interesting.
A dedicated hard disk recording package can completely replace a whole studio
(well, sort of). You can record multiple tracks, add effects, mixdown and now even
burn it directly onto a CD. Beats booking studio time.
Simple example time:
Mic up your guitar amp, click on Record, and play like Hendrix with his hair on
fire for a few minutes, or strum a few chords if you like. Play it back and grimace
at your own ineptitude. Wrong note in the solo, isolate it and use the pitch shift
tool to nudge it up a semitone. First chorus was pants, delete it. Second chorus was
god like, copy and paste it where the first one should have been and four times at
the end for good measure and once in reverse in the middle. Paste a verse onto
another track, pitch shift it up a fifth for an instant harmony. Mix down to tape,
send it to Sony, sell your soul to the devil, and you're a rock god.