Getting a Stereo sound from Mono.

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by ericprsse, Feb 18, 2009.


  1. ericprsse

    ericprsse Member

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    When I record I only use one mic, as I only have one, but would like to get a big stereo sound. I currently double the track and set the two with different delay times, and pan them out. I also eq them differently; one with boosted lows, one with boosted highs. It works well, but I'd be happy to learn any tricks people know of and are willing to share!
     
  2. ericprsse

    ericprsse Member

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  3. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    You can get a faux-stereo sound by copying the mono track to an adjacent track, delay it a bit and pan the two tracks hard L&R.
     
  4. Adwex

    Adwex Member

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    What about a stereo effect, such as chorus, modulated delay, flanger, etc.
     
  5. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    You can get one of those SRS processors that were cool in the 80's for next to nothing on ebay (under $20).
     
  6. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

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    Copy the track, pan one hard left, the other hard right, and reverse the phase on one of them. Then put FX on only one track or different FX on each track.

    Or double the track by playing it again. I often layer 3 to 5 tracks of the same thing to get a huge wall of guitars type sound.
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I don't know what instrument you're recording, but sometimes I've found mono works best just being mono. Some of my favorite recordings from the 1960s were the mono mixes for radio.

    But to answer your question... a little bit of stereo chorus, reverb or both might be all it needs to give it a little dimensionality. If the effects are on separate busses send some of the chorus to reverb, too.

    I would not double the track and delay one of them. That usually just results in a weak "phasey" sound. Having the highs on one side and the lows on the other would probably feel unbalanced to me.

    Another possibility, if you want to make a bigger stereo sound, is to record 2 separate takes and pan them apart. That sounds a whole lot better than using the same take with a delay. You might find that panning them less than 180ยบ apart might blend better than hard left & right. You might make the 2nd take much lower in the mix than the 1st, then pan them just slightly apart and pan the effects sends to the opposite sides. E.g.: pan the louder track 10% L and the quieter track 20% R to balance it out (this is just an example, do whatever sounds right). Pan track 1's effects send 50% R and track 2's send 50% L. That's the idea, anyway. Sometimes it works better than others.

    The lazy man's way to the same end is to use verse 2 as the quiet track in verse 1, then verse 1 as the quiet track in verse 2. That depends on the song.
     
  8. Kenny D

    Kenny D Member

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    What type of DAW are you using? One trick can be as simple as inserting a stereo reverb or stereo delay on the track.

    Sometimes, when I want to stereoize a mono signal, I copy the track and nudge one anywhere from 1 to 5 milliseconds. Pan L/R as desired. Too much nudge and you create phase problems so use sparingly.

    I never manually double guitars - gimme that one good guitar tone! I have never been into the wall-o-guitars sound like a lot of the bands do today so if that's what you are into, just multi-track the guitars and pan accordingly.
     
  9. Sunbreak Music

    Sunbreak Music Member

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    Agree w/ MichaelK. The idea of doubling a track and delaying one side can work a little, but it's got it's downside....

    You'd do better to actually record two mono tracks and pan those accordingly.
     
  10. ericprsse

    ericprsse Member

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    thanks guys all cool ideas, will definitely try them out.

    Kenny D, what is a DAW?

    Denyle, Only being alive for one year in the 80s I'm not sure what "SRS processors that were cool in the 80's for next to nothing on ebay " are, but ill do some research.

    thanks again guys
     
  11. meterman

    meterman Member

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    DAW = Digital Audio Workstation either a standalone multitracker or a Mac/PC with software...
     
  12. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    From Wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_Retrieval_System
    I use one on occasion to spread a mono instrument for stereo fx, prior to recording.

    There's also some DIY "stereo simulator" kits for about $10 that take a mono source, split up the audio at various frequencies and pan them to separate sides, all of which can be done ITB (In The Box).
     
  13. fuzzyguitars

    fuzzyguitars Supporting Member

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    be careful when you do this.

    if someone listens in mono you will have no guitars at all!
     
  14. Sunbreak Music

    Sunbreak Music Member

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    That's true, but it's really more than that--not necessarily only when it's listened to in mono. Phase coherent tracks sound better everywhere.
     
  15. enocaster

    enocaster Member

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    "Small Room" stereo reverbs are great for adding a little width and shimmer.
     
  16. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

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    Do you want a "big stereo sound", or just a BIG sound that doesn't necessarily need to be stereo? In my experience, wide stereo sounds often just clutter up a mix and take too much "space" that other instruments need. Visualize the stereo space as a sort of cube extending in front of the listener. The pitch/harmonics of the sound govern its vertical placement (highs and lows), panning governs horizontal placement, and reverb/echo governs its depth or sense of distance from the listener.

    Visualized that way, a big wide stereo guitar sucks up a LOT of space and overlaps with the space needed by other instruments! In a sparse arrangement with few instruments, that may be good. But in a more complex arrangement, it'll be colliding with vocals, keyboards, other guitars, etc.

    Multiple guitar tracks, panned out and eq'd into narrow bands, usually sound bigger than a "stereo" guitar. You're doing the right thing already, imho.
     
  17. ericprsse

    ericprsse Member

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    The pieces I record are almost exclusively guitar trio, and sometimes a rhythm guitar part is added. so if using your cube analogy, the guitar should be filling up that cube quite a bit.
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Hey I learned something today! I've been wondering about those enhanced imaging techniques in car stereos, boomboxes etc. Normally I can't stand them because I feel they mess with a perfectly good mix. But I have to admit, they really do what they say... stretching the soundstage, adding dimension, etc.

    I could see how that would be very cool to use as you say, rather than pushing the whole mix through it.
     

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