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Recording Synths in Stereo using 2 mixer inputs vs. 1 input mono
Old 21st May 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Recording Synths in Stereo using 2 mixer inputs vs. 1 input mono

So I am trying to understand what I thought was a pretty basic question....

In our setup we use a lot of hardware synthesizers and effect pedals, some of which have mono inputs/outputs, some have stereo ins/outs.

I got a new pedal (Oceans Reverb by Electro Harmonix) and playing around with it I LOVE it, sounds amazing. So rich and creamy and adds a really nice texture in shimmer and poly modes. I am using this on lead synths like plucks, stabs, etc.

Anyway, the pedal only has a mono input and output, so without thinking I just took my synths stereo output, and used the one side which acts as a mono out. This is how i was using the effect and sending the audio into the mixer and then into daw for recording.

Now my quandary is this... how much depth, width, whatever you want to call it can you get from a mono signal?

I am really confused, the sound sounds huge and cavernous and spacious, but its in mono... Is the sound actually very narrow and playing tricks on my ear?

We are currently using 2 mixer inputs for all of our synths (hence why we have a gigantic mixing console) and I am wondering if some of our lead sounds (especially lead synths) could or should be recorded in mono or stereo? I see a ton of information on this topic for drums, vocals, and some guitars but all of the articles are mostly about microphone techniques and double track recording vs. single mic recording. We arent using mics, we are just using or not using multiple mixer inputs and synth outputs.

Also, with a signal like this, mono in/out, does that mean that no matter what effects (reverb/delay) or detuning there are in the oscillators that the signal will always be dead center and have no stereo information?
Old 21st May 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

Except for stereo patches that need both side for their effect to work, I have almost always recorded my synths from the left-(mono) output only.
I like that forward sound for lack of a better term.
Old 21st May 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Space1999's Avatar
 

Actually in the 70s a lot of keys were run through amps and recorded with a microphone.

I still think that is a great option.

Pat
Old 21st May 2019
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
Except for stereo patches that need both side for their effect to work, I have almost always recorded my synths from the left-(mono) output only.
I like that forward sound for lack of a better term.
Thanks cavern, so im not crazy...

I guess im still trying to wrap my head around the idea of a lead sound playing a detuned chord going out in "mono" sound with reverb and delay on it, both in mono... the sound will technically be in the middle, and have zero left/right information, but to my ears it sounds huge and deep. What is happening?

Also, for lead synth sounds in synthwave genres or genres with a lot of heavy synths, is it uncommon to record in mono? I am wondering if we are doing ourselves a disservice by trying to record every instrument in stereo... what gets me is lead guitars I now realize must almost exclusively recorded in mono, given their outputs and common effect boxes being one-in-one-out, and if lead guitars are mostly recorded in mono, why are we striving to get all our synths in stereo?
Old 22nd May 2019
  #5
You are getting spatial information - the same information in each ear, from the reverb/delay - it's putting you in a symmetrical acoustic space.
Old 22nd May 2019
  #6
Gear Addict
 
Murky Waters's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalvare1 View Post
...why are we striving to get all our synths in stereo?
Some synth patches have nice stereo chorus/detuned effects, etc. that work well in stereo. Other synth sounds sit nicely in mono with stereo effects applied. There are no hard & fast rules.
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