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How do you deal with many tracks?


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Hi guys,

 

My mixer has 32 tracks and using 2 tracks for each instrument to have stereo, this reduces to 16 instruments, which is very limited when you include many effects, new sounds here and there. Also, I have only one echo effect from Alesis. I can put echo to only one instrument, for the rest, if I have integrated effects, great, otherwise the instrument will be pure with no effect at all...

I'd like to know how you deal with these limits. Do you use mono instead of stereo? Do you record one instrument after the other and put them together later, with a sound editor on your computer? How do you solve this problem? :rolleyes:

Thanks.

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I have a small, 4-channel mixer for monitoring. When I'm writing, I have two channels coming from my audio interface to hear the softsynths, and my two outboard synths go into other channels (one synth is mono, the other stereo).

 

When I'm done and it's time to mix, I record everything into the DAW, more or less one instrument at a time. Then I mix. This enables me to take a load off my computer's elderly processor by not having the softsynths running, and allowing me to increase the buffer.

 

How do you record? Hardware? Is that what you mean by 32 tracks? Because mixers have channels, not tracks. If you run out of tracks, you should be able to bounce multiple tracks to one stereo track, freeing up some of your tracks. This could be a good idea with some of those little sounds that aren't dominant.

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I read somewhere not too long ago that it's better for the ultimate product of music to record everything in mono. The general theory, if I recall, is that it reduces the amount of space in the soundstage each sound occupies, therefore decreasing any muddiness caused by competing sounds. Apparently this is a classic technique, used for many decades, but I'm not an expert in this area so it would be wise not to take my word for it. I'm sure Colin has some good input.

 

If this is indeed a common technique, then you'll effectively double the tracks at your disposal.

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But then how would you deal with building the stereo image of the sound - if you just duplicate the right channel into the left it'll still sound mono, or what I mean is it'll have no dynamics or width to the sound - unless I'm sure they process this in somehow but that I don't know

 

Colin to the rescue? ;)

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I read somewhere not too long ago that it's better for the ultimate product of music to record everything in mono.

If you go analog all the way, this is true. But since mixing is now done digitally, you don't ruin anything by recording stereo - asuming your system is sample-accurate within channels. If it isn't, you may get some cancelation artifacts when recording a mono sound in stereo.

 

But then how would you deal with building the stereo image of the sound - if you just duplicate the right channel into the left it'll still sound mono, or what I mean is it'll have no dynamics or width to the sound.

Exactly! If you have, say, detuned oscilators panned differently in the same sound, recording this mono doesn't make any sense. You loose the nice broad effect, and get cancelations and what not. Unless there is something I have overlooked, and if your system is sample accurate - record in stereo ;)

 

-A

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I read somewhere not too long ago that it's better for the ultimate product of music to record everything in mono. The general theory, if I recall, is that it reduces the amount of space in the soundstage each sound occupies, therefore decreasing any muddiness caused by competing sounds. Apparently this is a classic technique, used for many decades, but I'm not an expert in this area so it would be wise not to take my word for it. I'm sure Colin has some good input.

 

If this is indeed a common technique, then you'll effectively double the tracks at your disposal.

 

I sometimes work for television producers and we have to record everything in double mono while capturing live from a studio. There is always a stereo input on the patch to the SX recorders but we never use it, it's weird cause when there are 4 SX recorders for approx. 5-10 camera's we have 16 audio tracks to write & read and 4 to broadcast. SX 1 is broadcasted so we patch the output of the mixer, which is all recorded mono, to L & R input SX1, so it happens often we have to change the patch in the middle of a live broadcast when we need a prerecorded audiosample, it's really tricky cause when we make mistake we can still hear it on our monitors but if the patch to SX1 is wrong it is not broadcasted, so we need several audiosignals and several monitors if we don't want to mess up. :unsure:

I'm not sure why we only use double mono though... but my guess is that it's because it are all microphones and have to sound as close & clear as possible. Stereo has a more natural sound but it can sound distant & muddy, mono is raw and unnatural but you'll always understand what they are saying, so we record it mono and double it before broadcasting, the best way to get a clear voice. hey, i think i just figured out one of the greatest mysteries in my life after reading your post.... now the other 50 mysteries....but thanks anyway

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I use all VST so I guess recording instruments is irrelevant to me.

 

BUT

 

I do plan on recording vocals and guitars once I finish constructing the studio, and I do sometimes record my own CS1x. I will not use mono! I will record all in stereo, to keep the possibility of adding stereo effects.

I try to use as much stereo as possible, everywhere I can. This is one of the secrets of making a "big" and "full" sound. Take any pro track you know, make it mono and then suddenly it becomes very boring.

 

Something you can try is to record the exact thing twice in mono channels. For example a singer singing the same thing, or you playing the exact same riff on the guitar. It will not be a 1:1 copy obviously, which can cause preety cool effects when panning each track to the extreme right and left. Just remember to use a stereo imager to make it 40% tp 60% of the original width because it can get preety annoying after 3 seconds. :P

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I sometimes work for television producers and we have to record everything in double mono while capturing live from a studio.

I'm not sure why we only use double mono though... but my guess is that it's because it are all microphones and have to sound as close & clear as possible. Stereo has a more natural sound but it can sound distant & muddy, mono is raw and unnatural but you'll always understand what they are saying, so we record it mono and double it before broadcasting, the best way to get a clear voice. hey, i think i just figured out one of the greatest mysteries in my life after reading your post.... now the other 50 mysteries....but thanks anyway

My guess is that they use double mono or technically speaking pseudo stereo so both stereo tvs and mono can hear the signal appropriately.. Cause there are still many televisions with only one speaker.. And of course recording with two mics is great, more mics-even better

 

 

 

Something you can try is to record the exact thing twice in mono channels. For example a singer singing the same thing, or you playing the exact same riff on the guitar. It will not be a 1:1 copy obviously, which can cause preety cool effects when panning each track to the extreme right and left. Just remember to use a stereo imager to make it 40% tp 60% of the original width because it can get preety annoying after 3 seconds. :P

Yeah thats a great tip for expanding the sound, you can do it with bass too :rolleyes:
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Yeah thats a great tip for expanding the sound, you can do it with bass too :rolleyes:

I use different techniques for a stereo bass sound. Check out the pattens thread for a sample ;)

 

I can explain how to do it if anyone is interested.

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