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Thread: Record in Mono Or Stereo

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    Record in Mono Or Stereo

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    I'm having huge problems with figuring out the best way to record certain sounds.

    I've always recorded everything in stereo due to that's what i've been told. However I only have one mic so that's pretty stupid to even think I should have been doing that. Now I know mono = one mic stereo = two mics but I'm still not getting proper instructions on what needs to be mono and what needs to be recorded in stereo.

    I do know vocals are mono due to it needing to be centered. However, I have an apollo twin duo audio interface and I have no idea on how to even begin to record in stereo with my electric guitar and bass?? If i'm even supposed to?? But If I am or if I'm not how would you go about recording in stereo with the Apollo Twin Duo??

    I appreciate all feedback!

    Just another learning home recorder,


    Chris

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    If you only have one mic, record to a mono track.

    The only thing the stereo tracks are good for is recording instruments that are actually stereo, like a keyboard, which has a left and right output.

    Some people record drum overheads (two mics, one left and one right) to a stereo track, so that they don't have to match eqs on the two mono tracks.

    When you record something to a stereo track, that doesn't make it stereo. A stereo track can contain stereo information, but you have to give it stereo information in order for it to be stereo.

    Think of it this way, you can use lamp cord to plug into the wall to power a lamp. You can also use lamp cord to run between your stereo and a speaker. Whether it is a power cord or speaker cable has nothing to do with the wire, it's what you are using it for that makes the difference.

    Stereo micing is when you place the mics in a configuration so that they pick up the spacial information that creates the stereo image. Like two overheads on a drum kit. When you listen to the mics, you hear the hi hat on one side and the ride on the other.

    If you use two mics to close mic a guitar amp, there is no stereo information because it is a mono source and the mics are both close to it. In that case, you would record the two mics to their own mono tracks.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Record in mono unless you have some good reason to record in stereo. When setting up a track's record input select a single input rather than a pair (or whatever is the equivalent way of recording one input to a mono file in your software). Even if all your recorded tracks are mono you can still mix in stereo.

    If the guitar or bass has some sort of stereo effect that you want to capture then record to a stereo track, but normally mono is fine. If you're double micing an amp then use two separate tracks.

    If you want to record both instruments at once (with a friend playing one) then record two separate mono tracks.

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    I like putting a stereo chorus on my guitar and I'll use an amp sim pedal to do that. So I almost always record my guitars in stereo.
    I used to do the same with my bass, add a subtle chorus and record it in stereo. but I recently bought the UAD Ampeg plug and I probably won't use my bass amp sim pedal anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    I recently bought the UAD Ampeg plug and I probably won't use my bass amp sim pedal anymore.
    I've used the Ampeg SVX sim. I'm no fan of sims but that thing is amazing.

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    Someone told you we ought to record everything 'stereo'. What an... "interesting".. but very odd thing to 'teach someone.
    Placebo stomps 96k ....... Recent projects
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisKY View Post
    I've always recorded everything in stereo due to that's what i've been told. However I only have one mic so that's pretty stupid to even think I should have been doing that.
    If you only have one mike, then you have only been recording mono, even if that recording has been recorded on the left and right channels of a stereo track.

    When you play that recording back, you can pan the mono signal to the left channel, the right channel, or somewhere between. Which means the vocal track you recorded in mono and which typically would sit down the middle, could in fact be placed somewhere to the left or the right.

    Stereo can refer to a method of recording or to a method of outputting that recording. As someone above said, in a stereo recording you use two mikes to capture the differences between left and right, and thus create a sense of space. This is how our ears work.

    When playing recordings back, you typically play them back on a stereo system, i.e. two speakers or a pair of headphones. The sense of space created in the stereo recording emerges through the speakers. You can also playback a stereo recording in a mono output: mix left and right together so that the same sound appears on left and right, and the sense of space disappears.

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    I appreciate the comments everyone. I guess what I'm basically asking for is, are they a list of what you should record in mono and what you should record in stereo to achieve a professional commercial sound?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisKY View Post
    a professional commercial sound?
    There's a whole lot more to 'a professional commercial sound' than mono or stereo.

    It starts with the song.
    Then the performance
    Then the capture of the performance.
    Then how the engineer/producer/artist fills out the sonic stage. panning, eq, space, presence, etc....

    If you only have one mic, you can only record mono. But you can record the same part several times and pan those different recordings across the sonic stage and get a stereo recording.

    For a basic rock song; ie: Drums, bass, guitars, vocals...
    Drums - stereo. Actually 4 or more mics and panned across the stereo field.
    Bass - mono and centered
    Guitars - record multiple guitars in mono and pan them across the stereo field. Solo guitar mono and centered unless you don't want to.
    Lead vocal - mono and centered.
    Backing vocals - record many parts and pan across stereo field.

    That's the basic formula that covers 75% of rock music you might hear commercially. Of course, for every rule, there's 5 exceptions.

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    If you only have one mic, you can only record in mono.

    I'm starting to get the idea that you don't fully understand what stereo is. You may need to study up, after that you will know which instruments to record in stereo. There is no list.

    The reason there is no list is because the choice has more to do with the type of production than the instrument.

    For example, an acoustic guitar can be recorded either mono or stereo. If it is the main instrument in a mix, stereo is normal. If it is a background instrument in a dense mix, mono is probably a better choice.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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