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Old 22nd March 2006
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SLy_drums's Avatar

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Wide stereo on electric guitars

How do you achieve a wide stereo image on guitars ?

I'd say using guitar busses helps out, but how would you pan each mic in the mix ? How do you choose them for panning there and there ?

I have an example of what I did a while ago :

The music was heavy metal with big loud guitars.

2 mics on each guitar : 57 and R121 ribbon (tracked through API).

I cut a lot of meds around 600 Hz - 1 Khz on the mics, high passed at 150 Hz, and low passed at 12 Khz on each mics (4 tracks, 2 on each side).
Then I listened in solo the two 57 tracks panned to death, and did the same with the Royers, to hear which of those mics would get me the best low end and the widest pan. It appeared to be the SM57s.
In Logic Audio, I panned the 57s to -60 and +60, and decided to pan the R121s to -17 and +17. It was the best balance, and phase adjustement to my ears.

Then I created two stereo busses, one for the left side guitar and the other for the right side one, and sent the individual tracks into the busses.
Panning each bus to -40 and +40 and doing some EQ boosts brought me a quite wide stereo, even if it was great, the stereo image wasn't perfect at the moment.

Do you have tricks and hints to achieve a big stereo ? Do you listen, as me, to the mics which have the widest stereo when panned hard, and put then into the mix regarding this ? Do you wait for the mastering engineer to widen the stereo ( not afraid of phase issues ?) ? ...