Double tracking vs quad vs more? Is it only for sloppy players?

  • This is actually exactly what I've been doing...not really happy with my results (there could be many reasons). I am going to switch to Will's method until I hear or read something credible disproving LCR...I've been reading a lot of articles/blogs last few days and I am so far convinced. But I'm a noob and don't really know much.
    Not trying to bash your approach at all, I just thought it was cool that it was the same thing I came up with. When you say "t takes some effort to get the stereo balance correct though.", what seems to affect that? Does it change from amp to amp for you, or from song/song type? I always never had any indication that I was getting it "right", just seemed like I was fumbling in the dark when panning. I did use the 75-90 range though.


    I've been experimenting of late and seems like panning in different ways helps on different tracks. I'd be wary of any hard and fast rule or formula. The LCR rule is a good approach, but I've also seen metal guys often pan away from the extremes with good results, so it's by no means gospel.

  • That panning at “75%” stuff is just the mixer imagining it’s making a difference.
    In 99% of listener circumstances it’s either not making any difference at all or it’s just making it narrower and blurrier.


    And it doesn’t matter what marketing genre it is.

  • Also worth noting that that the common (in my experience) suggestion of using the pan knob to help with tracks that disappear in the mix, in fact, does nothing. At all. Zero. Guitars that have phase issues (too tight and too similar, usually) at 100L/R will still have phase issues at 80L/R. Panning them toward the center isn't going to give your mix a stronger mono image - in fact, it won't affect the mono image at all aside from a slight volume change because of your pan law. There's no "magic spot" where if you pan an instrument it'll suddenly pop out, because the stereo spectrum we hear is an auditory illusion to start with.

  • This is actually exactly what I've been doing...not really happy with my results (there could be many reasons). I am going to switch to Will's method until I hear or read something credible disproving LCR...I've been reading a lot of articles/blogs last few days and I am so far convinced. But I'm a noob and don't really know much.
    Not trying to bash your approach at all, I just thought it was cool that it was the same thing I came up with. When you say "t takes some effort to get the stereo balance correct though.", what seems to affect that? Does it change from amp to amp for you, or from song/song type? I always never had any indication that I was getting it "right", just seemed like I was fumbling in the dark when panning. I did use the 75-90 range though

    By stereo image, I mean the tone difference between the two sides. Eg. if you have a very bright and midrangey amp on the left, and then a really thick and dark sounding amp on the right, you need to do some extra work to make the mix more balanced so that one side does not dominate completely. Volume, channel EQ, etc.

  • It's a common practice to do mono summing during mixing to check how it sounds in mono. In fact, many (including me) start the mix in mono and adjust the balance based on that. Then later check it in stereo too. You'll be happily surprised most of the time :) Another trick is to play the stereo mix and walk into another room, preferrably behind a corner. It effectively sums the mix to mono and you can have a second opinion of the mix balance :)

  • Even with just double tracking, I find than in my recordings the guitars just disappear in mono (well, not disappear - but definitely move way back in the mix).


    I'm wondering - wouldn't "more similar" tones fold down to mono better than very different tones (all things being equal)? My thinking here is that the greater the difference, the greater the potential for phase cancellation between the two ("phase" is probably the wrong term).


    I know this goes against a lot of explanations I've seen :-)

  • Unless you’re recording them differently somehow then individually recorded guitar tracks shouldn’t ‘phase cancel’.
    The main reason why spread tracks read as too low in mono is you have too many centre elements.

    Yeah, but I don't have many centre elements - just vocals, bass, snare, kick...


    It may just be a matter of the EQ'ing not being suitable - ie. guitars clashing a bit with vocals and/or bass, leading me to turn down the guitars too much when trying to get the volume balances right. Rank amateur here :-).

  • Recording the same high-gain tone on both sides can get mushy pretty quickly. One approach that gets occasional use is to add a guitar straight down the middle - Metallica's "Sad But True", was actually 5 guitars if memory serves.


    If you take a lot of otherwise-great metal mixes and sum them to mono, it's often a little surprising how much the guitars suffer. In normal situations you'd probably never notice because the bass is doing so much of the heavy lifting.

  • @wwittman - sorry but gotta show some respect...i knew you played with Cyndi and were a producer but I didn't know you produced true colours! My daughter loves that song and its the first song she really sang on her own ( she's only 11)..


    She'll be so stoked when I tell her!!


    I'll let you all get back on topic :)

  • interesting thread indeed, here is my approach :


    I make natural double takes on all my tracks, even if I don't use double tracking, but usage really depends on the song. Most mid & hi gain really benefit from double tracking, while low gain and crunch must be carefully panned. Sometimes a subtle right panned might just had a great effect on a strong left one. I never quad track , but I don't do metal , only hard rock.


    I also really like panning hard for background fills , as it seems to enhance the stereo & space fill , while using some power chord around 9 and 3 o clock, while most of my basses are around 11 and lead around 2. Everybody has it own space in the stereo field :)


    here is a typical example of this : two mid gain AC15 , hard panned cleans , strong PM a bit more centered gainy tracks ( like 9 and 3), stereo delay leads. Bass is around 11.


    It's also great to have two same hi gain part with slight difference either in gain setting or a different guitar or amp.


    On leads , we have these fantastic delays that ping from left to right , so they have their own life.



    On this one , All fills where double tracked to enhance the stereo and make this great space feel, wahs and chorused clean parts . The vocals ( from 1:50 ) used 6 tracks panned all across the stereo , even if they are mixed in the background I think this really makes my track much more 'thick'.



    On some track like blues and jazz I think it's counterproductive to double track , it's best to have a rhythm guitar and and lead one that do not play the same parts but make a counterpoint of each other. On early ACDC like stuff, it's the same approach Malcom & Angus, no double tracking except verses, this is what I tried to do on this one .




    My references in mix are Alan Parsons and the incredible work done on Electric Lady-land ( Jimi & Kramer )

  • Most basses around 11, Renaud? I find this interesting.


    To me it makes sense to go 12 o'clock for bass. It has the highest energy level (besides kick) of all instruments, so in order to maximise the headroom available for all the other instruments, it makes sense to distribute it evenly between the two channels.

  • Most basses around 11, Renaud? I find this interesting.


    To me it makes sense to go 12 o'clock for bass

    Well I keep 12 for drums , I don't want kick snare and bass to overlap in the same frequencies. I really like clear mixes.


    I often don't put any take @12 , except some leads sometimes , but I prefer having my leads panning from 9 to 3 and on all this range , like 9 first 4 bars, 11 , 1 and 3 for the 3 others parts.

  • Well I keep 12 for drums , I don't want kick snare and bass to overlap in the same frequencies. I really like clear mixes.

    That's what EQ and ducking are for, mate.


    Look at it this way:
    Your kick and snare are distributed evenly in the left and right channels, and the high-energy bass is more-heavily represented in the left channel through the 11 o'clock position, albeit only-slightly.


    See what's happening here? Contrary to your efforts to "move it out of the way" a little, you're in fact squeezing the available dynamic range and frequency spread of the left channel more and not using that extra headroom in the right one. IOW, you're shooting yourself in the foot... gently. A shotgun to the foot might be to pan the bass to 7 o'clock, a rifle at 9 o'clock... see what I mean? It might only be a pellet gun, but it's a shot fired at your person nevertheless IMHO.

  • thx for the explanation Nicky, never felt like this anyway and Yes I'm also EQinq all this to get best results


    I also don't really care about maximizing the bass , as I think I use bass mainly to support a groove or a melody , not especially for impact ( Drums and guitars are my infantry & artillery troops ) .


    I guess it's just like cooking , I fount my own approach and solutions that work for me and make my style personal. That don't necessarily means everybody will like my french cuisine ;)