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getting a better stereo image

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Anonymous
May 4, 2005 11:00:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I've made a few recordings of local bands with a Fostex
VF-160 hard disk recorder. I don't have ADAT capability,
so I'm limited to the 8 non-ADAT channel inputs. I always
use one ambience mic, and then combine things like drums
and backround vocals onto unused aux and subgroup lines,
and get lead vocals and individual instruments (bass, keys)
from direct outs if they're available. (And, just out of
curiosity, what good is a post-fader direct out?) When I
mix down later, the recordings usually sound decent, but
they don't have that big stereo image.

When there are two guitars I can pan them fairly hard.
When one is solo-ing, I move it closer to center and then
back when the solo's done. I pan lead vocals some too (one
of the bands I record has two lead vocals, I always pan
those out). But I'm beginning to think it's the drums
combined onto a single line like that (and then centered in
mixdown) which most needs to be addressed. Kick and snare
centered, with rack and floor toms spread out just like
they are on the stage, and overheads panned hard?

And what about the ambience? Should I always try to use
two channels, panned hard?

Are there any techniques I can use during mixdown (I'm
using Audition) to get a better stereo image? I've thought
of taking a single ambience channel and adding it to a
delayed version of itself to create a "second" channel, or
maybe using different reverb on two copies of the original
track, or whatever. But I quickly run out of ideas when it
comes to making a drum kit sound like it's in stereo when
all the mics are running into the same aux line. With this
type of a recording setup (having to combine instruments
because of a channels shortage), is it better to try to
improve the stereo image on the entire mix, rather than on
individual channels?

Thanks in advance for any tips.

Fred

More about : stereo image

May 5, 2005 2:47:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Fred,

You should try everything you mentioned. Always experiment.

Record drums in stereo. Record ambience in stereo. After all, if you are
playing back a mono source, you won't get stereo imaging.

For guitars, though it's up to the artists, I think it would be better to
record left and right guitars on one pass, and record the solo on another
pass, provided you have track space to do so. This way you won't hear any
panning funkiness before and after the guitar solo.

You can try panning two lead vocalists left and right, but I would tend to
leave them either center, or very slightly off-center. Personal preference
here.

If you want larger-than-life stereo, you can put some reverb on stuff such
as vocals and/or guitars. I just recorded some bluegrass with rhythm
acoustic guitar, some overlayed acoustic guitar in the chorus, and a female
vocalist. (There is more yet to track.) The microphones and preamps are
good enough that it sounds good without reverb; however, I added a touch to
add a little air to the vocals and rhythm guitar. I found that a short
decay reverb (about 1 second in this case) works well for adding space
without sounding obnoxious. I also apply a high-cut filter at about 3kHz or
so to cut down on sibiliance 'verb. This makes the reverb less of a noticed
sound and more of "that glow". To my ears, anyway.

Play around. See what works. But get the drums in stereo!

Good luck!

"Fredbob Jackson" <audiowannabe@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1115258427.586410.42560@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> I've made a few recordings of local bands with a Fostex
> VF-160 hard disk recorder. I don't have ADAT capability,
> so I'm limited to the 8 non-ADAT channel inputs. I always
> use one ambience mic, and then combine things like drums
> and backround vocals onto unused aux and subgroup lines,
> and get lead vocals and individual instruments (bass, keys)
> from direct outs if they're available. (And, just out of
> curiosity, what good is a post-fader direct out?) When I
> mix down later, the recordings usually sound decent, but
> they don't have that big stereo image.
>
> When there are two guitars I can pan them fairly hard.
> When one is solo-ing, I move it closer to center and then
> back when the solo's done. I pan lead vocals some too (one
> of the bands I record has two lead vocals, I always pan
> those out). But I'm beginning to think it's the drums
> combined onto a single line like that (and then centered in
> mixdown) which most needs to be addressed. Kick and snare
> centered, with rack and floor toms spread out just like
> they are on the stage, and overheads panned hard?
>
> And what about the ambience? Should I always try to use
> two channels, panned hard?
>
> Are there any techniques I can use during mixdown (I'm
> using Audition) to get a better stereo image? I've thought
> of taking a single ambience channel and adding it to a
> delayed version of itself to create a "second" channel, or
> maybe using different reverb on two copies of the original
> track, or whatever. But I quickly run out of ideas when it
> comes to making a drum kit sound like it's in stereo when
> all the mics are running into the same aux line. With this
> type of a recording setup (having to combine instruments
> because of a channels shortage), is it better to try to
> improve the stereo image on the entire mix, rather than on
> individual channels?
>
> Thanks in advance for any tips.
>
> Fred
>
Anonymous
May 6, 2005 12:44:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Fredbob Jackson wrote:

> I've made a few recordings of local bands with a Fostex
> VF-160 hard disk recorder. I don't have ADAT capability,
> so I'm limited to the 8 non-ADAT channel inputs. I always
> use one ambience mic, and then combine things like drums
> and backround vocals onto unused aux and subgroup lines,
> and get lead vocals and individual instruments (bass, keys)
> from direct outs if they're available. (And, just out of
> curiosity, what good is a post-fader direct out?) When I
> mix down later, the recordings usually sound decent, but
> they don't have that big stereo image.

I had this problem too. Firstly, you can fake out stereo using
reverb on a single channel. (A trick I picked up from Paul White's
book 'Basic mixing techniques')

Secondly, if throwing gear at the problem isn't an issue, try
to get hold of an SPL Vitalizer. I use the 'Jack' edition which
is cheap and cheerful.. the other versions have more control but
are more expensive. I think the higher versions are still made,
the Jack was apparently dropped but can be found on ebay.
I paid 80 pounds sterling for mine and have no regrets whatsoever.

The Vitalizer has a stereo enhancement feature which is
fantastic at widening the stereo image. Obviously it won't work
from a mono source, so you'll have to have some stereo panning
in the mix. Using the reverb trick is a good way to 'feed' it
mono signals, as well.

If you're interested, I'll see if I can put together a short
demonstration of the effect.

>
> Thanks in advance for any tips.
>
> Fred

--
JP Morris - aka DOUG the Eagle (Dragon) -=UDIC=- jpm@it-he.org
Fun things to do with the Ultima games http://www.it-he.org
Reign of the Just - An Ultima clone http://rotj.it-he.org
d+++ e+ N+ T++ Om U1234!56!7'!S'!8!9!KAW u++ uC+++ uF+++ uG---- uLB----
uA--- nC+ nR---- nH+++ nP++ nI nPT nS nT wM- wC- y a(YEAR - 1976)
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Anonymous
May 6, 2005 3:49:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

You won't get a real stereo image by pan-potting lots of mono sources.
You get it by putting a stereo pair in front of the whole performance,
in a good-sounding room.

But I guess this isn't what you want. You want close-up micing, but
an interesting degree of separation in a 2-dimensional field between
the L and R speakers.

For a start, a mono ambiance mic is only going to diminish any
separation.

Do you want the drum kit located in one position (for reality) or
spread across the entire width (for effect)?
Anonymous
May 7, 2005 7:07:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Fredbob Jackson" <audiowannabe@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> With this
> type of a recording setup (having to combine instruments
> because of a channels shortage), is it better to try to
> improve the stereo image on the entire mix, rather than on
> individual channels?



I have only one tip with respect to making single-channel sources sound
like stereo:

DON'T.

Seriously. I mean it. If nothing else, most of them will bite you on
the ass big-time when your mix is played back in mono.

With limited channels, I *strongly* recommend going for an excellent
MONO mix. One in a thousand listeners will notice that it's mono,
whereas four out of five will notice cheesiness (or worse, swishing,
washing phasiness).

Balance between elements is WAY more important than spreading them
around an artificial sound stage. Embrace the singularity. Be bold, be
balanced, be mono.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
Anonymous
May 7, 2005 8:22:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Lorin David Schultz" <Lorin@DAMNSPAM!v5v.ca> wrote in message news:o Q4fe.39382$vN2.14133@clgrps13...
> "Fredbob Jackson" <audiowannabe@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > With this
> > type of a recording setup (having to combine instruments
> > because of a channels shortage), is it better to try to
> > improve the stereo image on the entire mix, rather than on
> > individual channels?
>
>
>
> I have only one tip with respect to making single-channel sources sound
> like stereo:
>
> DON'T.
>
> Seriously. I mean it. If nothing else, most of them will bite you on
> the ass big-time when your mix is played back in mono.
>
> With limited channels, I *strongly* recommend going for an excellent
> MONO mix. One in a thousand listeners will notice that it's mono,
> whereas four out of five will notice cheesiness (or worse, swishing,
> washing phasiness).
>
> Balance between elements is WAY more important than spreading them
> around an artificial sound stage. Embrace the singularity. Be bold, be
> balanced, be mono.

Spoken like a true broadcast guy.... ;-)

DM


>
> --
> "It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
> - Lorin David Schultz
> in the control room
> making even bad news sound good
>
> (Remove spamblock to reply)
>
>
Anonymous
May 8, 2005 11:49:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"David Morgan (MAMS)" <mams@NOSPAm-a-m-s.com> wrote:
>
> Spoken like a true broadcast guy.... ;-)



LOL! Of course, I recommend the OP stick with a mono mix not because I
prefer mono per se, but because I so often witness what happens when
pseudo-stereo gets forced into mono in editing. Ick. Usually pretty
nasty results.

You know, it just pains me to deal with the realities of a typical TV
station. There's no reason anything HAS to go to air in mono anymore,
but it still happens anyway. Digital VTRs have four channels, but
nobody uses the second pair because (a)we've been using two channel mono
for as long as there have been video tape recorders and no one sees any
reason to change now, (b)only the first two channels show up on the
router in the control room (I can demux the second pair of any
particular machine on an as-needed basis, but not all of them all the
time) and (c)the edit suites still use stereo mixers with no convenient
way for the editors to access the extra pair of channels.

So, even with the tools to do better already in place, we don't. Mono
compatibility is gonna be an issue for some time yet.

--
"It CAN'T be too loud... some of the red lights aren't even on yet!"
- Lorin David Schultz
in the control room
making even bad news sound good

(Remove spamblock to reply)
!