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2 mic stereo or 1 mic mono ?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sirchick, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Hello,

    I'm wondering which is generally the better method of the two. But what do most people use when recording in bands?

    I was thinking of getting a second microphone to get a stereophonic sound but of course i will have the issues of phase and mic placements - but when done correctly would the end result be alot better than the mono recordings.... or is it just a "different" sound rather than a "better quality" sound ?
     
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    This question is too vague. What are you micing and what is the goal? I would always stereo mic a string quartet for instance but and electric guitar might be a different choice.
     
  3. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Well I'm recording guitar through my amp - with this set-up:

    guitar > effects > amp > microphone > sound card 1010Lt !

    I am always trying to make the sound as big as possible and so often wondered if using a stereo set-up with my microphones as a way to do that. I don't know the science behind weather it would work or not - or if it would just be the same sound just through two channels thus meaning just a louder volume, or if it will create a larger and more quality sound (similar to how double track recording works). I find with a mono recording I can't achieve a punchy sound from the amp that you normally hear.
     
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You should try both. Most heavy guitars would be recorded in multiple takes. Those takes are never identical and then they are panned and processed individually. This is generally how a "big" guitar sound is achieved. Perhaps one of those multiple takes could be a stereo track but most would be mono.
     
  5. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    So how come you would use stereo for some things like you mentioned string quartet over guitarists who usually would be mono..doesn't stereo complicate things with chorus effects/phase effects?
     
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    When I'm recording a string quartet I am looking for as natural a representation of both the performers and the performance space. I am looking to replicate what the patron 13 rows back is experiencing. For a rock band whether grunge, classic, metal, or whatever; the sound is much more driven and "unnatural" if you will. That might just include a version of the guitar chorus in stereo along with several mono tracks. Ogres are like onions. They have layers. I mean.....guitars are like onions....errr....guitars are like ogres......

    You get the idea.

    Now, if I record a Turtle Island String Quartet type of chamber group, I might incorporate more of what one could term "pop music" techniques. The cellist can do some bad a$$ things with that stick of wood in his hands. (just waiting for Remy's comments on THAT one!)
     
  7. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Thing is this quote I am looking for as natural a representation of both the performers and the performance space.

    I too am seeking similar in my metal sound, so should i try the stereo approach to get that - i always find live recordings on DVDs they sound so human, where as the song on an album equivalent is dry and lifeless (in comparison)..
     
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    When you hear a metal band on stage you aren't hearing stereo guitar tracks unless there is canned tracks augmenting the live band.
     
  9. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Wouldn't it be stereo because theres often two guitarists either side of the stage?
     
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    No. Most rock shows are actually treated as dual mono. Even if a musician is panned one way or the other that does not make a stereo image.
     
  11. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Guess im not understanding what stereo is - thought panned mono would = stereo :p
     
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Stereo audio is a technique that interleaves directional sound information to create a particular aural image. Each sound source would need two coincident or near coincident mic pairs to create a true stereo image. Or conversely one stereo mic pair in front of the stage gathering all the sound waves (like classical recording). Dual mono is how nearly every rock concert you've heard was produced. Mono tracks are brought into the FOH mixer and panned L-C-R in order to give the audience more or less equal aural input of all the sound sources. If a typical concert were produced in stereo only about 20 people in the stadium would hear it as intended-the ones in the speaker arrays' sweet spot.
     
  13. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Oh i see - but then wouldn't the issue of sweet spots occur if dealing with string quartets as mentioned in your first reply?
     
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Yes. But the sweet spot is at home in your living room. A string quartet is not amplified during concert.
     
  15. Studiomedia

    Studiomedia Member

    This question seems a little broad and vague. Depending on what you are recording will determine what type of set up you use and whether it is necessary to record stereo or mono.
     
  16. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I think TheJackAttack's definition of stereo is arbitrarily narrow. You don't need to stereo-mic everything to get a stereo effect. A mix composed of panned mono sources is stereo. You can hear meaningful directional information from well off center of a stereo playback system, though you won't hear a precise image. But that is a discussion for another time.

    The more important issue is what you can do to record a more interesting and spacious electric guitar track. Using two mics is a great way to do it. I like to use a standard close mic combined with a distant mic 5-12' from the amp. The critical thing is that the far mic will pick up a lot of room tone, and if your room doesn't sound good then your recording won't sound good. And it can really help to slip the distant mic's track to line up with the close mic. I wouldn't call that a stereo mic technique, but I would call a mix using them panned apart stereo.
     
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Boulder, I concede your point about "arbitrarily narrow." ;-) That was as much because of the vagueness of the original question and lack of understanding of stereo generally.
     

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