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How do you guys get good stereo guitar from a mono source?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by svart, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. svart

    svart Active Member

    As the subject reads, I'm trying to get a good stereo sound out of a mono guitar source. I do intend to bypass the amp completely and use only direct audio from the processors. splitting into two mono L&R tracks and panning only sounds like just what it is, two of the same track panned to the sides. how do you get it to sound more like true stereo? any insite will be greatly appreciated!

  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Have you thought about doing doubles and panning them opposite ways? This is a very popular technique and has given me nice results in the past.
  3. ShellTones

    ShellTones Guest

    Offset one track 10-20ms. Also you can eq it a little differently. It isn't as good as true stereo, but it can sound very good.
  4. noit

    noit Guest

    Since the guitar source is mono, the "true" stereo image of the guitar would be to have the guitar only come out of one speaker. I know that doesn't help, but it's the right answer.
  5. djui5

    djui5 Guest

    That don't make sense...a stereo image comes from both speakers. Hence the name stereo.

    If you only have a mono recording of a guitar and have no other means to double the recording with a second recording you can, as said before, copy the track and delay the copy by 10-50ms, then EQ it slightly different than the original version and pan them untill you're happy with the stereo spread. You could also send the track through a chorus.
    Then if you have the facilities you could send the track out to a guitar amp and re-mic it for a second track.....
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    For a signal to be stereo you have to have what is known as "difference" signal.. this is the phase, eq and timing differences that make a signal stereo. Mono panned left and right is still mono...

    When I want to change something mono, into stereo, I will send it through a very short room stereo reverb. A little chorus or other modulation effect works well in addition to the reverb.

    Many efx box's have a "stereoizer" program.

    Kurt Foster
  7. noit

    noit Guest

    Understand that my emphasis was on "true". Anything you do to the sound to make it sound "stereo" will degrade the sound. Even playing the track through both speakers changes the result a little. So the true stereo image is one speaker plays the guitar and the other plays silence. Forgive me, I'm a purist.
  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Ask Jeff Beck.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Mmmm-Kay, re amp the guitar track and re record it with two or more mics on the playback speaker.
  10. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    As said before, the best way to make a stereo guitar track is to record it twice. There is no substitute.

    That said, if you have to try and "Fake" a stereo track, duplicate the track as said before. Those who advocate offsetting one track must remember this. It may sound OK when the song is played in stereo, but invariable someone somewhere will be playing the song in mono in which case this method can sound really really bad. I would try Kurt's suggestions. Maybe a little reverb in one side and a little "mono" chorus in the other. Something to simulate movement between the tracks. I have also used chorus on each side with different settings on each. Or chorus on one side and flange on the other. Just go very light on the FX. Kurt's "reamp" method works as well. Play the track back and re-record it with a pair of mics or stereo mic.
  11. omegaarts

    omegaarts Member

    I have a box that is called "Reamp" if you need where to buy I can look it up.
    It changes the impedance of the line out signal from you recorder back to the proper impedance to plug in to a guitar amp.
    Then you can "Reamp" the original with out changing the sound and mic it in stereo or any way you want.
    If you don't want to use an amp then use the "Reamp" to go into the guitar input on some kind of box, like a Pod XT or something.
    Kurt if you haven't reveiwed this box you might want to it really works well. It's a boutique piece and they sell direct. I've never seen it on any retail add.
    Happy stereo reamping,
    PS If I have any question about the guitar sound I always record one guitar track direct to use for a clean input to the Reamp later this way you have a pure signal instead of the messed up one you are trying to fix.
  12. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Listen to Kurt. Play the track through a mono speaker and re-record it to two tracks with two mics spaced apart. You can even use the original mono track with the two stereo tracks.
  13. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    The simple thing to do, and what is done most often to a single mono gtr is to pan where you want it and apply a delay (single repeat) opposite of it. 200-300 milliseconds is one range; 87-122 is another, etc,etc,etc...experiment. This simulates the reflection of a space...and hence to give the impression of space [NOT a doubler]. A verb can also be used in place of a delay.
    Doubling gtr parts (playing the same or close to the same again and panning opposite of each other) is a special case and doesn't really answer the question of what to do with a single mono gtr. Which by the way may work better as a single gtr part, etc.
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    But that isn't a "stereo" guitar track, it's a doubled track ... and it's not stereo it's a mono guitar track panned left and a second mono guitar track, panned left.

    As I said before, true stereo is a left/right signal that contains phase and timeing differences, also known as "difference signal". True stereo is all about phase relationships..
  15. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    I would argue that you need to have real stereo, but to have two similar, distinct and yet different mono sounds. I have in the past often used reverb like Kurt mentions as well as the same kind of thing as RecorderMan suggests. For the last several years, I've mostly used a custom algorthim I designed for my Eventide that is my own version of a stereo simulator, Finalizer and a BBE like processor in one. It has a pre 3-band para eq, 3-way crossover, 3-band compressor/limiter into two small/short reverbs with on/off/adjustable modulation, combined with micro delays for each band through a random generator within a fixed range and then into a 3-band post para eq. It has an interface and control for all parameters. While it can take some time to adjust all this, the results have been very pleasing and rather natural when blended well with the original source. The same could be done with several outboard units or chain of plugs.
  16. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    You might try a double mic technique by tracking the amp with two mic's in two different planes at two different distances... say 1-2 inches from the grill and midway through the cone dia, and the second mic 12-16 inches out and dead-on center with the cone. The phase and time differences between the two signals will now exist to a point that when the signals are panned L-R viola! STEREO!

    To be mono compatable, flip the mono stwitch and adjust the mic's to taste. (Just remember to flip back!)

    You may also need to flip the phase of one of the mics to overcome unwanted phase cancellations.


  17. nugget

    nugget Guest

    A subtle delay like 20ms-35ms may work.
    Split the main track into two and then apply the delay to one side.
    Panning left and right of course.There shouldn't be any phase issues here.

    Sometimes overdubbing guitars can loosen a great rock track a bit too much.
    Have a listen to Van Halen's 1984 album. :)
  18. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Let's take a look at the basic basic's. The whole idea of stereo playback, and the reason we (people, not me personally)invented it, is because we have two ears.
    What kurt is saying about a "difference" is correct in that a difference is required to change perception of depth. Perception of depth is what makes stereo effective.
    If you are standing in an auditorium 20 feet from a guitar am with your eyes closed, you can tell where the sound is coming from because the direct signal hits one of your ears harder, and quicker. After that the sound that bounced off the walls, roof and floor all come screaming at you, all mildly distorted and at differen times. Then you say"geeze I'm in an auditorium." :?

    The basic basic's??? Use panning, reverb, eq, and time delay all together in moderation to create and artificial perception of depth. No right answer. No given formula. I like to imagine the space I'm trying to imitate visually. How big, concrete or steel? 8)

    One of you mentioned simply copying the track and delaying it a few milliseconds? This is a very short DELAY otherwise known as a flange. It can create the desired effect, but why not just use a delay machine? Then you wouldn't have to copy tracks?

    Just a thought.
  19. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    20-35 milliseconds is chorus material.

    Phase and time are directly related.

    1 hz is obviously 1 cycle in one second. 360* of phase. 10 hz 3600* of phase in one second. By copying a signal and delaying it in any amount of time you are creating phase differences. cancellation, partial cancellation, and all at different frequencies.

    I'm not trying to start an argument here, I just want to make it more clear as to what's going on.

    If you shift the time in varying amounts, you shift the phase in varying degrees and will create anomolies at different frequencies.

    just do what suits the tune. :wink:
  20. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    over "their" heads I'm afraid. Somethings will go o the grave.LOL

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