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Placing stereo recordings into a stereo field / mix
Old 23rd July 2006
Placing stereo recordings into a stereo field / mix

Sometimes when I record an instrument in stereo (e.g. guitar), I am using the left mic to capture the neck and the right to get the finger picks and body.

Then when I come to mixing the song and placing the recording into a stereo field, I'm left with a dilema.

Do I, a) decrease the level of one side of the recording? (which means I loose lots of the detail of that side).

Or, b) pan one side of the recording over / ontop of the other? (which could create phasing).
Old 23rd July 2006
Gear Maniac
Renaud Charlier's Avatar
Why not dare to pan the 2 tracks full left and full right? Just did it with an M149 on body and KM184 on player's left hand and it's the biggest sound i ever had...
Old 23rd July 2006
Lives for gear
AlexLakis's Avatar

Why would you feel the need to do either? Why wouldn't you?

It all depends on the mix! What does the song call for?

There are no correct answer to your questions. Only after hearing the song can you make a judgement call as to where to pan and what levels you need to operate at.

When using two mics like you are with acoustic guitar, sometimes I'll hard pan the tracks. Other times, I'll pan them both to the same position, and raise/lower volumes of each till I like what I hear tone-wise (this is basically in place of using EQ...more high end = string mic, more low end = sound hole mic.) It alllllll depeeeeends...
Old 23rd July 2006
Cheers for the insight.

Do you ever get any phasing issues when layering the two sides over the top of each other?

I would've thought I would in some situations, (e.g. with a group of backing singers recorded in stereo) if the two sides were quite similar. But I guess if there are similar then there's no harm in using option 'a' instead of 'b' to place them into a stereo field.

Thanks again.
Old 23rd July 2006
Lives for gear
AlexLakis's Avatar

I haven't been getting too many phasing issues recently. If you're close micing seperate parts of the guitar, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. I try to visualize what the mic will be picking up, and try to give each particular mic "it's own space." If there are phasing problems, I try to fix them when I'm setting up the mics, not in the mix. Before you hit record, pan them both center and see if anything dissapears. Sometimes, a little phasing can be cool! If it sounds good, then it sounds good! If you found you've painted yourself into a corner with some bad phasing while recording group vocals or whatever using multiple mics, try adding a little delay to one of the tracks to clear things up. I sometimes do this anyway to get a "bigger" (wider) sound and more of a stereo spread. Or, you could try running each individual track through a different processor to change the sonics a little.
Old 23rd July 2006
Lives for gear
gwailoh's Avatar

I seem to have trouble fairly often with phase with spaced pairs on acoustic guitar. Must be that my technique stinks, but after a good deal of experimentation I still struggle to get a tolerable mono sound with spaced pairs. Having better results with M/S, but I must say that after hearing the source in stereo, mono is so generally uninspiring that it's difficult to evaluate the mono result objectively.
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