Top 5 Most Overlooked Ways to Record In Stereo


For those of you not entirely sure of what the difference between stereo and mono is, I'll briefly explain.

Top 5 Most Overlooked Ways to Record In Stereo
When it comes to recording - stereo beats mono. It's obvious, right? I mean, why wouldn't you want to have two different sound sources when you record an audio track?

Well, you'd be surprised at how many opportunities to add that extra dimension of stereo imaging are missed by the average amateur recording engineer. In fact, after you read my list of "top five overlooked ways to record in stereo," you'll be kicking yourself for not utilizing them from the beginning.

For those of you not entirely sure of what the difference between stereo and mono is, I'll briefly explain: Mono refers to the method of recording in which only a single audio signal is processed. This means there is only one audio track playing out of the left and right speakers when you play it. Stereo refers to the method of recording in which two audio signals are processed. This means that when you record an audio track, you have two different mic's that capture the same sound source from different angles.

 Now, once you have panned each track to the appropriate side, two different audio recordings of the same instrument will play out of each speaker, respectively. Basically, this creates a miniature version of surround sound, which makes your recordings sound more animated and full. 

Now that we've got that covered, let's get to the countdown:

5. Piano

Recording piano in stereo is perhaps one of the easiest things to do, yet it is, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked. I've seen countless sound engineers record their piano or keyboard tracks in a mono format without realizing how much of a difference stereo imaging makes with this instrument. It makes a world of difference having the left half of the keys slightly panned to the left and the right half of the keys slightly panned to the right. It really makes the recording come alive by creating a stereo effect that emulates a live performance. The piano becomes dynamic, rather than statically remaining in the same spot throughout your song.

And The best part about recording keyboard in stereo is that it's usually only a matter of plugging in an extra cable! If you're recording with an electronic keyboard, make sure you find the section labeled "stereo output" and plug a couple of instrument cables into the left and right outputs.
If you are making an acoustic piano, however, you will need to use at least two different mic's to record in stereo. Position the mic's on either side of the piano and pan them accordingly in your mix. Next time, pay attention to the difference that recording in stereo makes - you'll be surprised!

4. Snare Drum

"Recording a snare drum in stereo? What? This must be a joke, right...?"

Nope, not one bit! Well, okay, this actually doesn't technically count as stereo recording in the sense that you use two mic's and pan them left and right, but it's close enough so I included it in this post!
The technique is called "over-under snare miking." What happens, essentially, is you position one mic pointing at the head of the snare as usual, but then you place the second mic under the snare drum pointing at the snares themselves. When the average human hears a snare drum, it is actually not the head of the drum creating most of the sound, but rather the snares on the bottom. By miking both sides, you can fully capture the true tone of the snare drum, and this will make a world of difference in your mixes.

There is one VERY IMPORTANT DETAIL, however.

When you use this technique, you will inevitably run into phasing issues. Without going into too much detail as to what this means, basically, each microphone is hearing the same thing from exactly opposite angles. This results in phase cancellation, which simply means that one mic will end up canceling the other out, resulting in a sound that has most of its necessary frequencies completely eliminated. In order to avoid this, simply find the option in your audio editing toolbar on your DAW that is labeled "phase reverse." Apply this effect to one of the mic's used on the snare and your phase issues will be gone.

3. Lead Guitar 

Mixing lead guitar is one of the most fun things there is to do, simply because there are no real rules and it's very acceptable to mess with the tone in any way you want in order to get the sound that you are looking for. A cool trick that I like to use when mixing a guitar solo, or other lead guitar riff, is to use stereo panning. Have the guitarist record the same exact piece twice, keeping everything the same both times.

Now you have two different tracks to work with - the possibilities are endless! You can try panning each track in different directions, or you could add different effects to each one and experiment with the sound. Not only does this technique offer bigger sounding solos, but it can be very amusing to see what fun or new sounds you can come up with!

2. Tom Drums

When it comes to big sounding tom drums, nothing beats having them stereo panned. Think of the classic example - "In The Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. The drum intro halfway through the song is probably the most recognizable drum fill of all time. Part of the reason that it is so memorable is that it feels like a live performance. The tom drums are panned in a way that makes you feel as if you are surrounded by them.

If you are fortunate enough to have access to a full set of drum mic's and the ability to record them, then make sure you go for the same effect! Pan the tom drums to create that big, surround-sound feel that captures so many people.

1. Acoustic Guitar

Last on the list is an acoustic guitar. The reason is very simple - the acoustic guitar is one of the hardest, if not hardest, instruments to master recording.
There are so many different options and so many different variables that it's so hard to write down specific rules for getting that crystal clear sound that everyone is envious of. One of the ways that you can achieve this is by using a stereo pairing technique known as "X-Y Coincident Miking."

For this, you will need two unidirectional mic's, preferably pencil condensers. Position the mic's exactly how you see them in the very first picture of this article - so that they are perpendicular to each other with one pointing at the twelve fret and the other at the sound hole. Make sure the mics are 6 - 12 inches away from the guitar and pan them left and right accordingly.

Recording in this way will allow you to capture the entire range of the guitar - the area near the sound hole has a "bassier" sound while the area near the twelve fret as a more "hollow" sound with a more treble response. Experiment to see if this is the sound you are looking for! it is a common technique used by many professionals.




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Chrisville Beats: Top 5 Most Overlooked Ways to Record In Stereo
Top 5 Most Overlooked Ways to Record In Stereo
For those of you not entirely sure of what the difference between stereo and mono is, I'll briefly explain.
Chrisville Beats
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