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Alternative to double tracking and multiple microphones

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by GeckoMusic, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    There are several ways to get a thicker sound. I was hoping to discus one that I heard about recently.

    So there is double tracking: recording the same part with multiple takes possibly changing guitars, amps, EQ.

    And there are multiple microphone techniques: some stereo: XY, AB, MS. Some mainly to add depth: LDC and SDC pair, near and room microphones, microphones on different parts of the instrument etc.

    Of interest to me is one I heard recently. The suggestion was to record the same source onto multiple tracks. One microphone, one take, one A to D converter being recorded onto multiple tracks on the hard drive.

    I'm not saying I think this is a good idea, but wondering what others think of it.
  2. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    Recording the same source multiple times seems to me that it would only take up hard drive space. You should be able to achieve the same result by duplicating the track, referencing the same audio file, no?

    I've tried doubler plugs before, that although don't take the place of an actual doubled track, do serve a purpose. I found that on vocals especially it seems to add a bit of depth - kind of, but not exactly like using chorus. If nothing else it's just for something different.

    I'd be interested in some other ways to accomplish such, other than what you've mentioned, though.
  3. zemlin

    zemlin Distinguished Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    Shortcuts end up sounding like shortcuts.
    Recording the same mic to multiple tracks will sound like one mic, only louder.
  4. Groff

    Groff Active Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Depends of the song and style. Recording multiple takes is common recording trick, mostly for el. guitars and vox. Nothing special new here.

    Sometimes I record double take of the vox at chorus time if the singer is good and song calls for it.

    For the bigger wall of guitar sound, I'm using four takes. Two (L+D) takes with higher amp gain setting as a texture layer and two more with less gain but more punch and definition. The trick is to play tight as possible. If not, it will probably end in the mud. If the player is not at the level, I record only two takes and do reamping later. This is not the same as four different takes but works well.

    Different guitars, amps, mics, preamps, chord inversion ... everything could be in the game.

    Copy/paste and nudging of just one track is not the same thing. Never works for me.
  5. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest


    I agree with you 100%. Double tracking is a tried and true method for thickening up tracks. Especially guitars. I had forgotten about using different chord inversions.

    The question was: Is there any merit to recording the same input to multiple tracks? Or is it just wasted hard drive space?
  6. Groff

    Groff Active Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Ahhh that ... sorry

    I think it's nonsense to the bone.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Depending upon your workflow and your tonnage of equipment loading, there could be need for recording the same vocal track on to "multiple tracks". Playing this back as recorded is nothing more than a single point sound source. Track two adds an additional six DB. Track three adds an additional six DB. Track four adds an additional six DB. What you have now is 4 tracks of total distortion. That's not thickening. That's not double tracking. That's a mess.

    Where this technique would come in handy would be to take each one of those tracks and add some small time delay such as 15 ms to one, along with some light variable pitch shifting or chorusing effect. This could be repeated multiple times with different length time delays & pitch shifts. Then you have something that sounds like you did some serious double tracking, triple tracking, Quadra tracking! Holy multiple cow's Batman!

    Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason, to record multiple tracks of the same thing if you're not going to do the real thing. Sure, you heard this from somebody that doesn't know anything about what they're doing. You'll know just by listening. IT'S WRONG.

    Stackem' up! Flipem' down. Rolling around.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Thanks everyone for your replies. As fourone3 said, the same effect with less hard drive usage (streaming improvement) could be obtained by duplicating the track. Zemlin, spot on one sentence summary of my thoughts. Groff, thanks for all the double tracking alternatives. Remmy, I'm right with you. Mathematically it doesn't do anything more than add 6dB.
  9. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I really agree with this. When I was first recording guitar I just took multiple copies of the same track and used delay, chorus, reverb, etc... to get a fake doubled (tripled, octupled) guitar sound. I eventually realized that this wasn't a replacement for actually recording the same thing multiple times, but if you or the guitarist isn't the next Batio you've gotta do what works :D . I eventually gave up on the whole wall-of-guitars sound in lieu of getting a more improvised, raw sound with a single take. But then again I play mostly speed punk, so whatever... 8)

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