Doubling - achieving Stereo vs. Big Mono

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by redking, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. redking

    redking Senior Member

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    What are your guys thoughts on doubling guitar lines? What gives it the most prominent stereo effect - the doubled performance being ever so slightly different than the original take, or the sound / tone of the 2 guitar rigs being slightly different? (or a combo of the 2?)

    ie. Will recording parallel guitar rigs that sound different during the tracking of "take 1" give you that big stereo spread as well as 2 separate takes?
     
  2. bocage44

    bocage44 Premium Member

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    I have incorporated several different approaches to doubling in the sessions I've worked. One of the more common is recording two passes of the same section and having them panned anywhere from the 9 o'clock/3 o'clock positions to full wide. It's important to use two different takes, as the inconsistencies between takes are what really gives that nice full sound.

    I've also used completely different setups for the right and left sides - that produces some really cool results. But again, using different takes for each.

    Using just one take to try to create a doubling effect would produce unsatisfactory results I'd think, no matter if it's through two different amps. Even if you try to slightly shift two tracks of the same take in your DAW, you'll probably run into some phasing issues.

    When you're recording the passes to create the doubled parts, a looser (not as exact) take will give you more of a chorus effect. The closer the two takes are, the more focused the sound. If you want to get adventurous, try different chord voicings, or even use different tunings (such as Nashville). Also, play around with different panning combinations. Be careful with too much distortion, it tends to muddy things up.
     
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  3. Nard

    Nard Senior Member

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    When I was in my first band as a teenager the other guitarist said there was no point being in the band if I only play the same parts as him as it doesn’t add to the song. For that reason I always record two guitar parts with subtle differences. I’ve always listened to bands with two guitarists or more and like listening for the different approaches they take to the rhythm parts.
     
  4. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Solid advice^

    depends on how much you shift. Anything up to about 10ms will get you a phasey, stuck flanger effect. But if you go for say 35ms of delay and spread the pan on the original and delayed signal, this can widen your mono track without creating phasing issues. This is known as the Haas effect.
     
  5. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Not at all. If you take a single guitar performance and split the signal into two paths, one going to one rig and the other signal going to a completely different sounding rig, you can pan them hard and still it will not be perceived as any kind of big stereo spread.
     
  6. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    I dunno about all this Haas effect business and while I usually find myself agreeing with you on many things I believe in this case I have to disagree with you. :p

    Rather than stating why in my own words I'll refer you to the good folks @ SOS

    https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-can-haas-delays-be-mono-compatible

    the highlights: "Can Haas delays be mono compatible?
    The short answer is ‘no’: although Haas delays often sound very impressive when heard in stereo, the parts on which they’re used will disappear or, at best, change in tone and level when mixed to mono, due to phase cancellation. And while increasing the delay time outside the 5-35 ms Haas region can remedy the cancellation problems, it will negate the effect that you found pleasing in the first place: you’ll hear a discrete echo, not a single sound."


    Successful applications of the Haas effect can be found in Live sound reinforcement (Delay towers) but IMO using Haas effect to widen critical mono sources in a stereo field will always result in mono compatibility issues. And while I'm no expert on mp3 encoding it is my belief that any fancy wide Haas effect widening will be first to be thrown out by the codec, remember that mp3 encoding relies on Haas effect ( if you're supposed to locate left, you only get left) and temporal masking (among other things) to identify "unnecessary audio information", heck they have to remove 90% of audio data so what's first?....HF content above 15KHz (nobody can hear that, right?) and unnecessary non-correlated signals. Listening to the side signal of an audio stream reveals the ugly truth. IMO the best thing you can do to mp3 proof your mixes is to rely on honest mono compatible techniques and and avoid distortion from maximizers, but that's another story altogether. The other thing that i usually think about when it comes to these "delay tricks" is that with microphones we tend to obsess about the detrimental effects of (minimal) group delay on the sonic integrity of the signal yet adding liberal amounts of delay (relatively speaking) to the original guitar signal is somehow ok. What about the transient mess it'll create in mono?

    The only things that works well IMO are double tracking with different rigs/ sounds or M/S type treatment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  7. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Fair enough....but the question was not whether it would fold down to mono compatibility. :)
    I do tend to think of these things in terms of what I do mostly, which is either live sound or creating a sound design for playback in a theatre. In both of these instances I never worry about mono compatibility or any other kind of "translation to another system" concern because both those situations are proprietary.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  8. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    I have always found the best and easiest way is to just play the part twice. I will use a different guitar and a different rig for each take.

    I have used one guitar performance and "doubled" it via a splitter box and two different rigs, but not to any real satisfying result. Usually I'd do that with cleaner takes, using a chorus box as a splitter.

    I also have a true stereo Rivera S120 amp with built in stereo chorus. I have tracked that amp with two separate cabs - one power amp with EVMs, the other with G12-75s - and the chorus to "spread" the sound. It sounds okay, but not as good as just playing the part twice with different guitars and rigs.

    These days, I do A LOT of my tracking using a Line 6 Helix. Even using the Helix, running two parallel rigs to separate outputs panned L-R, it just sounds better to track the part twice, lol.

    Basically everything bocage44 said is what I have discovered over my years of recording. He has given some killer advice.
     
  9. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Yes, the question was not about mono but I also draw from what I do mostly and mono compatibility is still huge in my field.

    But yes, if you control the reproduction system you can get away with a lot more, feature film mixing would be another example of that, until it comes time to mix the film for DVD or broadcast release where all bets are off, you can't predict the playback situation. Imagine where surround music releases would be if there was a way to ensure proper playback system alignment, but I digress.

    The mono thing is incredibly important and not enough people are aware of this, in the last 6 months I had to reject music scores and audio mixes delivered for broadcast, done by professionals, due to total lack of mono compatibility. they always ask why it matters, nobody listens in mono, etc.. Fact is that more people listen in mono that one might assume, many of them don't know it though. Anyway, I think it's a valid point to consider when discussing these production techniques, that's why I brought it up.

    Also, not too many folks consider what happens to their mixes during (multiple passes of) encoding and the undesirable, sometimes unpredictable side effects there have nothing to do with mono compatibility but everything to do with the psycho-acoustical considerations on which these codecs are built. IMO these are important issues to consider during the mix.

    Out of curiosity: Does anyone build a decent facebook/ youtube/ spotify/ soundcloud/ etc. emulation plug-in to check what these codecs do to a stereo mix?
     
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  10. Frogfur

    Frogfur Senior Member

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    Can't Buy Me Love. Recorded in Paris then double tracked back in England.
     
  11. rxbandit

    rxbandit Senior Member

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    Yup, https://nugenaudio.com/mastercheck/
     
  12. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Cool, I had tried several of the Nugenaudio loudness tools, especially the LM-correct for batch automated loudness correction, and liked them a lot but I didn't realize they also had codec emulations, very cool.:cheers:
     
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