Phase issue in mono

I've been struggling with this issue for a long time and still haven't figured it out perfectly. I use two methods. Say, there are tracks for drums, rhythm guitars, solo guitar, bass, choirs and vocal. Most of the time, the phase issue happens with rhythm guitars and choirs. Here are my methods.
1) Recorded 3 tracks for rhythm guitar. Hard panned L and R, and then put another one in the center. The volume of the center one is around 1/3 of the LR. Thus, the phase issue has been better, but the sound is not crystal clean. When I listen to it in mono, the sides sound pretty low, but if I pull up the LR fader, the sides sound too loud in stereo.
2) Recorded 2 rhythm guitar tracks and hard panned. Put them in a bus channel and add an EQ. Boosted mid of the weak part and cut the side of the same part with m/s processing. But...it's not crystal clean, neither. It also has the same issue as above.

So, I'm wondering how you handle this issue.
 
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rob aylestone

Well-known member
It's not a phase issue if the two or three tracks are unique - as in are not copies of the original. I suspect its something totally different. Are you trying to reproduce something from the early days of stereo? What is the purpose of the three tracks? Are they an attempt to play exactly the same thing but be perceived as a thickening or a kind of wash of sound? What can happen when you have similar rhythm and tone is a partial cancellation - where (say) the two held notes can add or subtract from each other - a kind of tremelo/phasey thing with the volume going up and down, and if partially panned, across the sound stage. If they are hard panned this wont happen, but monoing the signal can reintroduce it. I don't understand the M/S reference unless you recorded M/S - using M/S decoding will do wierd things to separately recording tracks.

Pan one left and one right and hit mono. In separately recorded tracks this never gives complete cancellation, just cancellation when the waveforms align? Mono compatibility is still important, now we have new mono sources in our homes like Alexa, but My repeat playing as in manual double tracking is never precise enough to cause phase problems. If you do hard pan things, I've never really expected the mono version to sound the same. Narrowing pan positions prevents the huge widths that don't sit well in mono, but if you really want mega wide AND mono, something has to give.

I can't quite picture your process. You record the guitar, then record it again? The cleanness you are not getting confuses me. Each recording is clean, but together not?
 

Farview

Well-known member
No matter what you do, instruments will sit differently in mono than they do in stereo. It's really just something that needs to be accepted.

Using M/S processing on a guitar bus is just a fancy way of simply not panning the tracks as wide.

I agree that it isn't phase issues you are having. It's simply that when you add the left and right together, things that are on both sides add together and end up louder than things that are only on one side or the other.
 
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rob aylestone

Well-known member
A famous classically trained synth God once mentioned to me that he had choices - put the many synth parts where they really should be, or spoil the stereo for the few who listen in mono? His attitude seemed to be that people with modest to expensive stereo systems should not be penalised for those who listen in mono. on band limited systems, with no bass, and who think treble is 'tinny'. Mono listeners must nowadays come second best. They're probably also the last to notice a guitar or two has vanished!
 

Ujn Hunter

Active member
Yeah, don't sacrifice your Stereo Mix for some Mono compatibility unless it COMPLETELY makes your track unlistenable or something. Or unless you're going to be listening on some craptastic Mono speaker for some reason, then by all means make yourself happy. Double tracked/panned instruments will always sound quieter when forced into Mono but as long as they don't completely disappear... don't worry about it.
 

JamEZmusic

Active member
You'll lose 3-4db on hard panned sources when summed to mono, that's quite a considerable difference.

Don't pan as wide for best of both worlds, 3 and 9 o clock on rhythm guitars but go 100% for the FX, I believe this is what CLA does, and so does that guy in the videos that "HumanPlanet" just posted.

You're not getting phase issues, no way, even if you could play to the millisecond, physics alone will differentiate the signals enough that should there be any phase issues it would last a nanosecond and your ear won't even be able to detect it. I think it's quite difficult to eliminate phase issues if duplicating a single track though, I try to pitch differently, delay it a bit, some chorus, different FX, whatever I can do to get those waveforms different to each other, but it never sounds good, especially on a key part.
 
It's not a phase issue if the two or three tracks are unique - as in are not copies of the original. I suspect its something totally different. Are you trying to reproduce something from the early days of stereo? What is the purpose of the three tracks? Are they an attempt to play exactly the same thing but be perceived as a thickening or a kind of wash of sound? What can happen when you have similar rhythm and tone is a partial cancellation - where (say) the two held notes can add or subtract from each other - a kind of tremelo/phasey thing with the volume going up and down, and if partially panned, across the sound stage. If they are hard panned this wont happen, but monoing the signal can reintroduce it. I don't understand the M/S reference unless you recorded M/S - using M/S decoding will do wierd things to separately recording tracks.

Pan one left and one right and hit mono. In separately recorded tracks this never gives complete cancellation, just cancellation when the waveforms align? Mono compatibility is still important, now we have new mono sources in our homes like Alexa, but My repeat playing as in manual double tracking is never precise enough to cause phase problems. If you do hard pan things, I've never really expected the mono version to sound the same. Narrowing pan positions prevents the huge widths that don't sit well in mono, but if you really want mega wide AND mono, something has to give.

I can't quite picture your process. You record the guitar, then record it again? The cleanness you are not getting confuses me. Each recording is clean, but together not?
My apologies if my description wasn't clear. Well, I use the virtual guitars such as UJAM, Ample Sound and RealGuitar. They provide the stereo knob and multi-track function. I use stereo sometimes and multi-track sometimes. But the result is almost the same. What I can guess is that the sound that virtual guitars make isn't different so much regarding what you say. I should make them different manually.
 
A famous classically trained synth God once mentioned to me that he had choices - put the many synth parts where they really should be, or spoil the stereo for the few who listen in mono? His attitude seemed to be that people with modest to expensive stereo systems should not be penalised for those who listen in mono. on band limited systems, with no bass, and who think treble is 'tinny'. Mono listeners must nowadays come second best. They're probably also the last to notice a guitar or two has vanished!
Well, actually, many people listen to music in mono even these days. Go Amazon and find which speakers are sold the most. It would be Bluetooth portable speakers, and many of them are mono.
 
You'll lose 3-4db on hard panned sources when summed to mono, that's quite a considerable difference.

Don't pan as wide for best of both worlds, 3 and 9 o clock on rhythm guitars but go 100% for the FX, I believe this is what CLA does, and so does that guy in the videos that "HumanPlanet" just posted.

You're not getting phase issues, no way, even if you could play to the millisecond, physics alone will differentiate the signals enough that should there be any phase issues it would last a nanosecond and your ear won't even be able to detect it. I think it's quite difficult to eliminate phase issues if duplicating a single track though, I try to pitch differently, delay it a bit, some chorus, different FX, whatever I can do to get those waveforms different to each other, but it never sounds good, especially on a key part.
Thx. Btw, 3 and 9 o'clock can be 100% hard panned. Isn't it? Or have I misunderstood it till now?
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Well, actually, many people listen to music in mono even these days. Go Amazon and find which speakers are sold the most. It would be Bluetooth portable speakers, and many of them are mono.
Indeed. The point is that clearly they are shall we say, less discerning listeners, who don’t care about quality. If they don’t mind no bass and no stereo, why would you make quality decisions for them? Plenty of people eat Big Macs, me included, but should cordon bleur chefs dumb down their recipes to make them taste the same?
 

Ujn Hunter

Active member
If you're using the same virtual guitar... with the same MIDI notes... that isn't "double tracking" and will indeed (even if the virtual guitar uses multiple samples per note round robin style randomization) result in "phasing" issues when forced to Mono. Either use 2 different virtual guitars or harmonize them (don't just copy the tracks with same notes and pan them, that's not going to do it).
 
Indeed. The point is that clearly they are shall we say, less discerning listeners, who don’t care about quality. If they don’t mind no bass and no stereo, why would you make quality decisions for them? Plenty of people eat Big Macs, me included, but should cordon bleur chefs dumb down their recipes to make them taste the same?
LOL. I got your point. Well, I'm concerning the majority of people.
 
If you're using the same virtual guitar... with the same MIDI notes... that isn't "double tracking" and will indeed (even if the virtual guitar uses multiple samples per note round robin style randomization) result in "phasing" issues when forced to Mono. Either use 2 different virtual guitars or harmonize them (don't just copy the tracks with same notes and pan them, that's not going to do it).
Gotcha. Actually, I was thinking about it recently. Thx for the advice!
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I know - it's just that we all know .wavs are better than .mp3, and 20-20K is better than 100-15K, but so many people consider those inferior specs OK? ironically, we often use mp3s for quality listening on here - which makes me smile. If I push my mono button and it sort of collapses into something recognisable as the same mix, it will do. I certainly won't compromise the stereo. Most of my work is big washy pad like sounds - they sound dreadful in mono - even good quality mono.
 

Ed Fones

Well-known member
I know - it's just that we all know .wavs are better than .mp3, and 20-20K is better than 100-15K, but so many people consider those inferior specs OK? ironically, we often use mp3s for quality listening on here - which makes me smile. If I push my mono button and it sort of collapses into something recognisable as the same mix, it will do. I certainly won't compromise the stereo. Most of my work is big washy pad like sounds - they sound dreadful in mono - even good quality mono.
On that point Rob thinking back to when I was a kid with a mono record player. When you put a stereo record on it, you almost lost part of the sound in the odd place. Does this not happen converting a track back from stereo to mono?
 
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