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Thread: Converting Mono Recorded Tracks To Stereo Tracks In Your Software: How??

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    Mike Freze is offline Senior Member
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    Converting Mono Recorded Tracks To Stereo Tracks In Your Software: How??

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    Hi! I'm a bit confused on mono recording vs. stereo recording.

    The books I've read (and comments from those here on this forum) have stated that most instruments and vocals are mono signals, mono recordings, mono tracks in your project, etc. They have said that if you choose to record a track in your software program (I have Cubase LE), even if you choose to record a stereo track, it might say that but it really is still a mono track.

    OK, maybe that's true. I understand that the mono tracks will always appear to sound in the center of the stereo field. In order to take advantage of panning, automation, sending effects to different spots in the stereo field, you have to have to have your individual tracks in stereo to do these things (am I still on target here?).

    Then HOW do you change your mono tracks your record to stereo tracks if they are recorded as mono to begin with? What commands do you use to do this?? Obviously, you want every track to be stereo in order to do things like panning.

    Do you need to bounce every mono track individually to a new track (or two separate blank tracks) in your program to convert mono to stereo? If so, do you bounce to two separate tracks that you pan separately for your mix? Or do you bounce to only one new track? I'm confused. I have been told that when you have a stereo track, that one track is really two tracks combined into one: each CHANNEL (left and right) are the separate tracks within the one track.

    If I'm on target here, then how do you change a mono track to fill up both channels in a single track? I never see two channels when I look at a track in Cubase: it just appears as one track (where do you see the separate channels to visualize this??).

    I just need specifics on how to make a mono track a stereo track. What commands do I use in my software program? I know there is an option to choose that when you do your final mixdown to a single, stereo file suitable for a CD. But what about before you mixdown? You want to be able to control each track separately as stereo BEFORE you mixdown, right?

    Please help. Why even bother with mono tracks if you end up wanting all tracks to be stereo in the end when you mixdown? Nobody wants to hear a final CD copy of a song in mono, so I don't get it.

    Mike Freze

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    Chili's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    Hi! I'm a bit confused on mono recording vs. stereo recording.
    .....
    OK, maybe that's true. I understand that the mono tracks will always appear to sound in the center of the stereo field. In order to take advantage of panning, automation, sending effects to different spots in the stereo field, you have to have to have your individual tracks in stereo to do these things (am I still on target here?).
    Nope, you're not still on target. Each track in Cubase has a pan function. If you want your mono track to be completely to the left, then just set the pan to the left.
    I never see two channels when I look at a track in Cubase: it just appears as one track (where do you see the separate channels to visualize this??).
    If you have a stereo track in Cubase, it will show two little waveforms in the one track. A mono track will have only one waveform.

    You don't need to convert a mono track to a stereo track if you want to pan it left or right.
    Last edited by Chili; 02-10-2011 at 17:00.

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    phriq's Avatar
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    This can be a loaded question because it all depends on micing techniques and what you plan to do with your instruments. You are correct in that a single input from an instrument will be in mono. this simply means 1 signal. If you record that mono signal into a stereo track, basically it will have two identical signals each playing out of the right and left side. this will sound no different than a mono signal as the mono signal is just a single signal played out of the left and right side.

    So, well start by talking acoustic guitar for example. If you use 1 mic or use direct input, you will have a mono signal and run into what I just mentioned above. But if you want to make a stereo effect you have to use stereo micing techniques (XY, spaced pair, etc..) This then will give you 2 mono signals but they will be slightly different as they were recorded by different sources with different mic locations, axis's and so on. Now once you have these 2 seperate mono signals, you could pan 1 a certain percentage (well say 70% for example) to the right, and then pan the other signal the same percentage to the left. This now will give you stereo imagery as those outputs on each side will not be identical as they were recorded differently.

    If you were working with electric guitars, you could in theory do this with an amp (but to my knowledge that is not standard practice). To create a stereo image with my electric work (just say for a chorus of a song) I will play the chorus twice and record each take, then pan both takes to seperate sides of the stereo field. This will then give me the effect of 2 seperate guitar players playing the same thing, but one to the left of me and one to the right of me (me being the listener)....

    Does any of this make sense?

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    Chili's Avatar
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    Here's a screenshot. The piano track is stereo, the two acoustic guitar tracks are mono. The stereo track has two waveforms in the timeline while the mono track has only one.

    Either one can be panned, the small difference being, if you pan a stereo track you lose part of the audio. Because a stereo track is two different audio signals, one on the right, one on the left, if you pan completely to the left, you will not hear what is on the right channel.

    Make sense??
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    Mike Freze is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks, Chili!! Yes, I see it now: two waveforms representing the stereo field. Nobody ever explained that to me before.

    My puzzle is still this: how do you convert a mono track recording to stereo? I see (and appreciate) your visual diagram of how two wave files are stacked to represent the stereo (left/right) channels of what your stereo recording is.

    But still, HOW does one change a mono track to the stereo image you gave me above?? There must be some command in the software program that does this. Without trying to sound redundant, I see the end results in your diagram. But HOW did you get the mono to go to stereo?? Is it something I need to bounce?? Duplicate tracks for panning??

    The other comment above suggests that I use "stereo miking techniques." OK, that can be done. I don't want to do that. I just want to record a mono signal using one mic (say, for a guitar track). Then it gets into my computer software program as a mono track. Then HOW do it convert that mono track to a stereo track?

    I'm sorry if I seem stupid. I understand your diagram of how a stereo will appear after it becomes a stereo track. Thank you. But you didn't tell me how to get the mono track to change to a stereo track.

    Mike Freze

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    Chili's Avatar
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    Well, again Mike, you're asking how to convert to stereo so you can pan the track left or right and I told you already, you don't need to convert to stereo to pan left or right. Just pan the Mono track. Do you know how to use the pan control?? It's in the manual.

    In order to take advantage of panning, automation, sending effects to different spots in the stereo field, you have to have to have your individual tracks in stereo to do these things (am I still on target here?).

    This right here is where you got it wrong and you're basing this whole thread on an errant notion. You don't need a stereo track to pan, you can do so with a mono track.

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    I swore off answering your incredibly long-winded questions Mike, but I'm bored, so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    Hi! I'm a bit confused on mono recording vs. stereo recording.
    True dat... you've been confused on so many things that I'm really looking forward to hearing some actual outputs in a few decades time when you get it all sorted....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    The books I've read (and comments from those here on this forum) have stated that most instruments and vocals are mono signals
    Concentrate on the signals, forget the mono/stereo terminology. -> 1 mic = 1 signal, 2 mics = 2 signals, L and R outs = 2 signals, 2 mics + pickup feed on acoustic guit = 3 signals... drum kit can = as many as 12 signals...

    A signal is a signal is a signal. You can put each and every one of them wherever in the STEREO field you like, via the pan fucntion. However there are general practices that most people follow because they sound good... like ALWAYS panning your snare drum hard left and your kick drum hard right....

    OK... kidding on the drums panning, but would you have noticed? And the point's still valid...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    I understand that the mono tracks will always appear to sound in the center of the stereo field.
    Wrong - read what I said above - you put them where you want them to go, L, R, middle.. wherever dude......

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    In order to take advantage of panning, automation, sending effects to different spots in the stereo field, you have to have to have your individual tracks in stereo to do these things (am I still on target here?).
    Wrong - read what I said above...


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    Then HOW do you change your mono tracks your record to stereo tracks if they are recorded as mono to begin with? What commands do you use to do this?? Obviously, you want every track to be stereo in order to do things like panning.
    Read what I said above and work with whatever you have - you don't convert anything.... and BTW just because you have a "stereo" set of L and R outs for, say, a keyboard, does not necessarily mean that you pan them hard left and hard right... you could spread them only slightly and put them both L if you wanted to...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    Do you need to bounce every mono track individually to a new track (or two separate blank tracks) in your program to convert mono to stereo? If so, do you bounce to two separate tracks that you pan separately for your mix? Or do you bounce to only one new track? I'm confused. I have been told that when you have a stereo track, that one track is really two tracks combined into one: each CHANNEL (left and right) are the separate tracks within the one track.
    What I said above should clarify this...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    If I'm on target here, then how do you change a mono track to fill up both channels in a single track? I never see two channels when I look at a track in Cubase: it just appears as one track (where do you see the separate channels to visualize this??).
    You don't... as explained above....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    I just need specifics on how to make a mono track a stereo track. What commands do I use in my software program? I know there is an option to choose that when you do your final mixdown to a single, stereo file suitable for a CD. But what about before you mixdown? You want to be able to control each track separately as stereo BEFORE you mixdown, right?
    No, no, a thousand times, NO!!! As above... work with what you have...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    Please help. Why even bother with mono tracks if you end up wanting all tracks to be stereo in the end when you mixdown? Nobody wants to hear a final CD copy of a song in mono, so I don't get it.

    Mike Freze
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    I didn't quite get that, Armistice...can you repeat it please...?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Freze View Post
    My puzzle is still this: how do you convert a mono track recording to stereo?
    As has already been said, you DON'T.
    You can pan a mono signal anywhewre you want to pan it.
    Now ..... you can run a mono signal into a stereo effect such as delay and THAT signal will be stereo but once you do that you pretty much eliminate panning.

    And once again ..... you don't turn a mono signal into stereo ..... there's no command that'll do this because it can't be done without running it into some kind of effect.
    You don't seem to get it at all so I'll try one more time.

    You DON'T convert a mono signal into a stereo signal ....... period! Everything you play back when mixing is going to a stereo field and you can pan it anywhere you want.
    No computer program ...... no command ....... nothing you have in any of your programs will convert a mono signal into stereo and that example you quoted was written wrong or worded wrong ...... you don't convert things to stereo before panning.

    Got it?













    Probably not ......... yeesh.
    If you know the secret codes you can get by the mastering boss on level 8.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Bob View Post
    As has already been said, you DON'T.


    And once again ..... you don't turn a mono signal into stereo ....
    From past experience, it will have to be repeated 30 more times and he'll still start 5 more threads asking the same question 8 different ways.
    Got it? Probably not ......... yeesh.
    Exactly.

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