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  #1  
Old 04-09-2010, 12:30 AM
dfvxc dfvxc is offline
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Default recording in stereo vs mono

Hi,

I record my guitar using one Samson C01U, and I'm very satisfied with the sound I get, for the cost. I play a lot of Don Ross and Andy McKee covers.

I'm thinking about getting another C01U to record in stereo.

So my questions are:
How much of a difference does recording in stereo make?
Is it generally better to record in stereo using the same mic?

Inputs much appreciated!
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:13 AM
Ivob Ivob is offline
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Hi, I record my guitar mono too and am guite happy with the result. Of course generally stereo recording is always considered better. as i see, your samson is a large-diaphragm mic so you could think about some small-diaphragm mic as a second mic for stereo recording, because two large diaphragms would probably sound too dense or fat or i don't know how to characterize it...as far as i know the combination of one small and one large diaphragm is an usual standard in studios and it does have sense because thus you have two different signals with different sound characteristics and you can distribute them into R and L channels as you like, you get a more complex sound. with two same large diaphragms you can't do much with the character of the sound, you are limited, while with the former combination you have wider possibilities 'to play' with the output.
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:41 AM
Ty Ford Ty Ford is offline
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Certainly, more is not always better. First, a lot has to do with the acoustics of the space. If you have crummy acoustics, opening another mic may do more harm than good. Unless you have a really, really good sounding space, one good mic is better than two not so good.

Next there's the arrangement to consider. Is there enough space in the arrangement for a stereo guitar? Maybe. But you can fill up the stereo spectrum with stereo reverb and/or delay effects. They can be preferable because you can dial in as much as you need.

How do you do it? There are SO many ways. Here are some:
-matched XY
-unmatched XY
-M/S
-Blumlein
-A/B (spaced pair)

and don't forget, you can mic vertically as well as horizontally.

Cardioids, hypercardioids, omnis?

Cardioids and hypercardioids ignore the room more, but you have to be careful about when you put them. They are more sensitive to low frequencies, the closer you get them to the sound source. As a result, you usually can't get them near the sound hole. If you need to get close, try where the neck joins the body and angle as needed to the sound hole to fill in the low frequencies.

Omnis, OTOH, usually can be pushed right up to the sound hole, if needed. You can get stereo with two omnis because, even though omnis are "omni", they are directional at high frequencies.

Some say you can't get the true sound of the guitar unless the mic is at least a guitar length away from the instrument. I have not found that to be true. In addition, at that distance, the mics are picking up a LOT of room.

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Ty Ford
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:07 AM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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I've made nice recordings by copying a mono track to a new track, then panning each one slightly off center. Not true stereo, but it works pretty good.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:24 AM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Using unmatched microphones for stereo recordings can result in a ping-pong effect where notes seem to bounce left and right. Using microphones whose frequency responses are closely matched avoids that problem.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:47 AM
ronmac ronmac is offline
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Have you checked to see if it is possible to use two USB mics at the same time?
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:06 AM
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I much prefer a using a pair of microphones for stereo recording. The sound is fuller, more spacious, and there is more variety of sounds you can get. For solo guitar most every recording artist records with two mikes, sometimes more.

I have used mixed (e.g. LD and SD) mikes or matched mikes and there is no right or wrong with this when the mikes are spaced apart (which is the sound I usually like). When the mikes are close together (e.g. XY or ORTF) two of the same type of mikes is a better idea for frequency response matching and maintaining mono compatibility (the biggest advantage of coincident miking in the first place IMO).

Therefore if you are going own just two mikes you probably want two of the same for more mike placement flexibility. LD or SD mikes both will work as that is a matter of taste however SD mikes are used by most people.

If you are going to mike with the mikes spaced apart a good starting point is to set up your first mike position for the best sound (what you are doing now most likely) and then move the second mike around to a position to add the most improvement to that. Monitor with headphones while doing this.

There is a ton of stuff about this on the internet (google "recording an acoustic guitar"). The above is a short sketch of how I have approached it. Keep experimenting.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:30 AM
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In the context of a solo instrument, the psycho-acoustic effect of a good stereo mic'ing job is to basically take command of the space between the speakers, and a little of the space outside. A mono signal panned to the center appears less "present," and appears to be less in your face.

Bob
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyAxe View Post
I've made nice recordings by copying a mono track to a new track, then panning each one slightly off center. Not true stereo, but it works pretty good.
Another way to make a mono track sound bigger is to duplicate the track as you said, then slip one track slightly in time . then pan one hard left and the other hard right. What that will give you is the effect of stereo mic's delayed with no phase issues. Also by panning all the way left and right you will have the stereo field at maximum width.
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Old 04-09-2010, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Another way to make a mono track sound bigger is to duplicate the track as you said, then slip one track slightly in time . then pan one hard left and the other hard right. What that will give you is the effect of stereo mic's delayed with no phase issues. Also by panning all the way left and right you will have the stereo field at maximum width.
If you delay one track you will have phase issues between the right and left tracks, but then again that mostly matters if it is played back mono.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:47 AM
dfvxc dfvxc is offline
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Thanks guys! Lots of useful tips here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
I much prefer a using a pair of microphones for stereo recording. The sound is fuller, more spacious, and there is more variety of sounds you can get. For solo guitar most every recording artist records with two mikes, sometimes more.

I have used mixed (e.g. LD and SD) mikes or matched mikes and there is no right or wrong with this when the mikes are spaced apart (which is the sound I usually like). When the mikes are close together (e.g. XY or ORTF) two of the same type of mikes is a better idea for frequency response matching and maintaining mono compatibility (the biggest advantage of coincident miking in the first place IMO).

Therefore if you are going own just two mikes you probably want two of the same for more mike placement flexibility. LD or SD mikes both will work as that is a matter of taste however SD mikes are used by most people.

If you are going to mike with the mikes spaced apart a good starting point is to set up your first mike position for the best sound (what you are doing now most likely) and then move the second mike around to a position to add the most improvement to that. Monitor with headphones while doing this.

There is a ton of stuff about this on the internet (google "recording an acoustic guitar"). The above is a short sketch of how I have approached it. Keep experimenting.

I have been researching this stuff, and recording for quite sometime now. I find most stuff on the internet's either way too simple, or way too advanced. So I really appreciate informative responses on this forum!

My C01U is a large diaphragm condenser, it gives a nice warm sound that I like. I recently heard my friend's recording on a Rode NT4, and while it's lacking in the warmth that I like, it does have very nice and clear highs. Also with it being stereo, it has a great full sound.

I recently met a friend with another C01U and I'm gonna try to get a test going!
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:06 AM
Pokiehat Pokiehat is offline
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Theres a bunch of things you can do with 2 mics that you can't do with 1. For instance, you can setup a cardiod condensor around the 16th fret and about 7 or 8 inches out angled towards the nut and that sort of area and angle will pick up alot of fretting noise. With the another mic, it can be a cardiod angled XY just off the soundhole or an omni further out in the room and this way you can capture and exaggerate different aspects of the guitar and/or the room. The downside is that anything to do with recording and mixing multiple simultaneous sources is that you need to be more aware of the phase relationship between sources or things get messy when you have to mixdown.

XY won't have too many phase related problems since the point source of both mics is roughly the same place so the sound and reflection hits both mics at around the same time. Both mics are kind of in the other's null region too so you won't get so much spill either.

close/ambient mic will probably have more serious phasing issues partly due to the distance between the mics. Its just a fact of life when you do any kind of stereo recording and mixing - you are going to run into phase related problems. You will never really eliminate them but you can keep it controlled. Best way to do it is to listen to both feeds via direct monitoring in headphones and sum the headphone output to mono. Now, go get a buddy to move around the omni mic whilst you play guitar (yeah I know - terrible job for him). As you vary the distance of the ambient mic in relation to the close mic you will hear the sound change and at certain distances and orientations you will hear the guitar almost disappear. You just want to avoid those nether regions since you want to keep as much stereo integrity as you can without it completely falling apart when you collapse the mix to mono.
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfvxc View Post
...So my questions are:
How much of a difference does recording in stereo make?
Is it generally better to record in stereo using the same mic?
Hi dfvxc…
Wow, even after running a small production studio focused on acoustic instruments for 8 years, my answer is sometimes it makes a big difference and sometimes it's an interference.

I guess my rule of thumb is record it in stereo (dual mono tracks panned later) and you can always exercise options to reduce it to mono later, either by eliminating either track, or by selectively panning both tracks to a similar location in the stereo field.

I also tended to record solo guitars or guitar duos in stereo and larger ensemble recordings mid/side for live acoustic groups.

The effect to me is a good binaural recording sounds more realistic when heard through a good system or under good headphones. When recording my own stuff, I don't tend to go wild with placement within the stereo field.

I pan hard left/right on both mid/side and dual-mono recordings, and try to match the stereo field of the reverb to that. It's fun to experiment, because I never want the recording to be the show...just the music.

My favorite stereo solo guitar recordings are made with a Jecklin disc (homemade) and a pair of matched Peluso CEMC6 mics. Secondarily to that, I’ve captured some great stuff with a mid-side array with a small diaphragm holding down the ''front'' position and a AKG 414 doing the ''side'' stuff. I’ve also used an AKG 414 Figure 8 in the ''mid'' and another doing side (figure 8 as well) in the middle of a bluegrass group seated in a circle.

It came out amazingly detailed with less side-effects than I’d hoped for. Very nice actually...cannot share it with you (they won't release me to share it because of copyright issues) but it sure turned out wonderful. And mid-side is either an artificially created stereo process or a restored stereo process...it could be argued either way. It is definitely binaural in natural and sounds incredible under the headphones, or on a highly detailed play back system. It creates a ''like you are there in the middle of the group'' feel...

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Last edited by ljguitar; 04-10-2010 at 09:39 AM. Reason: amended my first sentence to be a bit more informative
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  #14  
Old 04-10-2010, 12:56 PM
Cue Zephyr Cue Zephyr is offline
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I also record in mono. If I wanted stereo I'd rather go three mics, one on the guitar and two in the room.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
If you delay one track you will have phase issues between the right and left tracks, but then again that mostly matters if it is played back mono.
Sorry not quite sure what you are getting at here.
To clarify : If you record one source into one mic and lay that on one track, what you will not have, is any phase issues recorded into that track.

If you copy that track , what you will have is two tracks with no phase issues recorded into them.

However If you record one source into two mics what you will have is phase issues recorded into the mix weather one track or two .

Not that someone might not want a particular sound( stereo effect etc.) with the phase issues being less important to them that the desired effect .

So with that in mind

I believe that the phase issues from delaying one track in milliseconds (if any ) are far more negligible, then the inherent phase issues from recording one source into two mics.
So the only possible phase issue that theoretically could be present would be those while listening, having the sound reach one ear from one speaker slightly delayed from the sound from the other speaker reaching the other ear . IMO this results in achieving the wide stereo effect while have a cleaner mix .
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