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Recording acoustic guitar, 1 stereo or 2 mono tracks?
Old 4th September 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Recording acoustic guitar, 1 stereo or 2 mono tracks?

1 guitar, 2 microphones in XY position.

Would you recommend doing 2 mono tracks and then panning them hard left and right or one stereo track?


Any tips or additional advice is greatly appreciated.
Old 4th September 2011
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Eiko's Avatar
I'd do 2 mono tracks. This way you can blend them to taste.
Old 4th September 2011
  #3
Registered User
Two takes requires a very tight, consistent player otherwise it can sound really ragged and the stereo image can jiggle about. Depends on the genre of music - sometimes ragged is good.

A single stereo take can sound excellent - especially on a sparse arrangement.

There are plenty of other options - running a mag soundhole pickup into an amp is a favorite.

These are all aesthetic choices - no right or wrong.
Old 5th September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
gainstages's Avatar
yeah, don't overthink it, there is no one right answer. depends on the mix - how much space is available for the guitar, etc.

i sometimes use the M/S technique to record acoustic guitars, getting a good sound and a ridiculous amount of flexibility at mixdown. check out this link to an article on my blog from a few years back:

Music, Recording, and More...: M/S Recording: Creating Options at Mixdown

it includes some audio samples, and the examples i give are just scratching the surface. if nothing else, its fun to play with.
Old 5th September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Thanks guys. There is a lot of space available for this mix.

It's just the guitar and singer.
Old 5th September 2011
  #6
RiF
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RiF's Avatar
I'd do 2 stereo tracks (or 4 mono, which is the same). If the performances are tight enough, I'd play with the panning, like in:
a) Take1-Mic1 100% left, Take1-Mic2 80% left
Take2-Mic1 100% left, Take2-Mic2 80% right
or
b) Take1-Mic1 100% left, Take1-Mic2 80% right,
Take2-Mic1 100% right, Take2-Mic2 80% left
Old 5th September 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Thanks

any tips on mixing?

If I just want to do 2 tracks, should I just send both to a bus with a compressor or compress each track individually?

Any tips on what type of reverb to use? Hall, room, etc...?
I'm just going for guidelines, I'll make my own decisions on the mixing process.
Old 5th September 2011
  #8
Gear Head
 

If you're talking about one take on two tracks, bus them to a group and compress the group. The reason is that is you compress them separately you will get an unstable stereo image.

If you're talking about two takes to stereo tracks, I would compress them individually. The reason I say this is because depending on the tightness of the performance, any dynamic variations would interfere with each other on a bus with compression. Compressing separately would make them sound much tighter and part of the same space.
Old 5th September 2011
  #9
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Old Goat's Avatar
 

Guitar and singer recorded at the same time? Singer playing the guitar?

If the guitar is tracked alone, my vote goes for M/S also, especially if it's fingerstyle.
Old 5th September 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 

1 take, two tracks

guitar recorded first, then singer (not simultaneously)


cool, I will look into the M/S!

hmm, it seems like you need an omnidirectional mic for M/S.
I'm recording with two SM-81s this time. When I get the chance I'll try it.
Old 5th September 2011
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I kinda HATE 2 mono strummy acoustic tracks. It's rarely tight enough to NOT distract me. If the parts are different, that's find, but 'doubled acoustic' just bugs me. Stereo mics acoustic, however, I love.

My$.02
Old 5th September 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I kinda HATE 2 mono strummy acoustic tracks. It's rarely tight enough to NOT distract me. If the parts are different, that's find, but 'doubled acoustic' just bugs me. Stereo mics acoustic, however, I love.

My$.02
what do you mean by stereo mic acoustic?

parts will be the same
Old 5th September 2011
  #13
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KevWind's Avatar
seems to be some confusion
I believe the op is talking about one pass on the guitar (not about doubling the guitar part) One pass with two mics. The question is, feed into 1 stereo track or two mono tracks ? yes ? MYself for a sparse arrangement I would go into two mono tracks, especially if the two mics are different. That way you can eq one or each one separately if necessary . If Its a matched pair then I would still do two mono tracks because depending on what serves the song you have the option of something like a slight delay on one . Yet you can still always run the sends into a stereo Aux for things like reverb etc. IMO it gives you more flexibility
Old 5th September 2011
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Pop? Mono, record everything twice [match takes perfectly and/or vocalign type transient alignment], hard pan, group compress.

Real music? Record in stereo with blumlein, not XY, and get a perfect take and don't compress.


I do pop, I have no pretentions about its significance.
Old 5th September 2011
  #15
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TurboJets's Avatar
Both technique's have a different effect so it's a matter of taste.

Did you not try it out for yourself before you posted the thread?
Old 5th September 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Thanks guys, you've cleared things up a bunch and even learned about the M/S technique!

@recorder2: why would recording two separate mono takes (as identical as possible) be better for pop? I'm curious, would you please explain?

would you be going for the same tone on both takes or lets say 1 take mic pointing at 12th fret and 2nd take more towards the body?


In what situation or genre is XY a good idea?


@TurboJets

I will when I get to my guitars on Wednesday.


Thanks guys!
Old 5th September 2011
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Because two takes are never identical (obviously) if you pan them quite hard L+R (not necessarily to the max) then you can get some very nice movement between the speakers. Of course, depending on how slack the takes are it can make some people seasick... Also Double Tracking can thicken up the sound nicely.

One technique that you should have a go at is a two mic thing - one SDC pointing down to the bass string and one SDC pointing up to the top string. Between soundhole and bridge - to bassy - move 'em backwards, too thin move towards soundhole. ( I usually compliment these with another SDC to at the 12 fret pointing to the neck/body joint, so a two mic thing with, er, three mics )

Many different techniques, many different sounds. Which best fits the song? Thats the one to go with.
Old 5th September 2011
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Eiko's Avatar
as KevWind mentioned, it seems that the original question was not double tracking versus single tracking. The way I understood it is, whether one should patch the two mics needed for a stereo recording into one stereo track in the DAW or if two mono tracks (that would obviously be treated as one stereo track) would be the better choice. We are not talking bout two individual takes blended into each other but about one take captured with two mics in a stereo configuration.
Isn't that right bchamorro?
Old 5th September 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 

If that's the actual question, record onto two mono tracks, not one stereo track.
Old 5th September 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eiko View Post
as KevWind mentioned, it seems that the original question was not double tracking versus single tracking. The way I understood it is, whether one should patch the two mics needed for a stereo recording into one stereo track in the DAW or if two mono tracks (that would obviously be treated as one stereo track) would be the better choice. We are not talking bout two individual takes blended into each other but about one take captured with two mics in a stereo configuration.
Isn't that right bchamorro?
yes, that is right.


Thanks!
Old 5th September 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
 

2 things I'm gonna try when I get to my guitars.

Double tracking (2 nearly identical takes)

S/M technique. Figure 8 + Cardioid



Any tips on mixing the 3 tracks of a M/S mic guitar recording?

What do you say... group compress the two Figure 8 tracks or individually?
group compress all 3 tracks?
Old 5th September 2011
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bchamorro View Post
2 things I'm gonna try when I get to my guitars.

Double tracking (2 nearly identical takes)

S/M technique. Figure 8 + Cardioid



Any tips on mixing the 3 tracks of a M/S mic guitar recording?

What do you say... group compress the two Figure 8 tracks or individually?
group compress all 3 tracks?
double tracking acoustic guitar is great when you want a big slightly blurred, but big sound, since no matter how tight you double there will ALWAYS be some differences. Sometimes that's kind of cool when hard panned the differences sometime will feel like they're moving around in the speakers. But if what you want is an intimate recording then double is not the best way to achieve that, Doing a stereo recording will work better. BTW Recording your guitar in stereo, regardless as to whether you print it on a stereo daw track or 2 mono daw tracks, it still stereo. It's just how your daw sees it.
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