Should I record in stereo? How do I know if certain profiles are meant to be recorded in stereo?

  • I will state straight away that I have very little recording knowledge...so totally bow to others knowledge here!!


    I was always told to record as dry as possible so that you have good control after ( hence why plugins are great). This isn't about playback which most people would want some stereo in there ( dual or quad racks panned) but the initial recording.


    With that logic, I assume record in mono, with no effects. You can always copy and paste a track to create the same track and add stereo effects across them.


    Am I being daft here?

  • I was always told to record as dry as possible so that you have good control after

    This is true IF you need "good control after". But the magic happens where you commit to a sound right from the beginning, stop messing around after the fact and keep the performance as it has been intended and performed by the artist. :)

    Just imagine you're in a studio with an awesome sounding live room. You actually pay quite a bit for the luxury to record in a spectacular sounding room and you really want to capture that sound ... and not record a signal that is as dry as a fart and then construct a "room" in the box.

    Or as yet another example: Would The Edge rather record a dry signal and then sit down on the computer to create the delays and room? Or would he prefer to capture the sound and effects he's meticulously setup and uses while he performs?


    As always, it depends. But it's not a mistake to record stereo ... recording mono might work for many and in most cases but it CAN be a mistake as well.

  • This is true IF you need "good control after". But the magic happens where you commit to a sound right from the beginning, stop messing around after the fact and keep the performance as it has been intended and performed by the artist. :)

    Just imagine you're in a studio with an awesome sounding live room. You actually pay quite a bit for the luxury to record in a spectacular sounding room and you really want to capture that sound ... and not record a signal that is as dry as a fart and then construct a "room" in the box.

    Or as yet another example: Would The Edge rather record a dry signal and then sit down on the computer to create the delays and room? Or would he prefer to capture the sound and effects he's meticulously setup and uses while he performs?


    As always, it depends. But it's not a mistake to record stereo ... recording mono might work for many and in most cases but it CAN be a mistake as well.

    As I said I bow to your expertise, and your logic is impeccable sir :)


    Having said that, I struggle a bit with the "magic" of the Edge...I'm sure he does prefer to play with his boss digital delay pedals to come up with his highly complex ( please detect the sarcasm) guitar parts. Sorry, does nothing for me :)...but your point about someone who's parts are made up from a particular sound, makes total sense.

  • This is true IF you need "good control after". But the magic happens where you commit to a sound right from the beginning, stop messing around after the fact and keep the performance as it has been intended and performed by the artist. :)

    Just imagine you're in a studio with an awesome sounding live room. You actually pay quite a bit for the luxury to record in a spectacular sounding room and you really want to capture that sound ... and not record a signal that is as dry as a fart and then construct a "room" in the box.

    Or as yet another example: Would The Edge rather record a dry signal and then sit down on the computer to create the delays and room? Or would he prefer to capture the sound and effects he's meticulously setup and uses while he performs?


    As always, it depends. But it's not a mistake to record stereo ... recording mono might work for many and in most cases but it CAN be a mistake as well.

    Depends. Sometimes you only get the “signature sound” by recording with the guitarists effects. Other times dry is better.

    And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

  • Very interesting takes here. I love stereo sounds. I usually just play and record the mono guitar part twice and pan it hard left and right. I thought that was the only real way to make a truly stereo sound? I've been doing that on acoustic guitar and rhythm tracks. Agreed with all above, if it sounds like you want it to sound, it's right.

  • Very interesting takes here. I love stereo sounds. I usually just play and record the mono guitar part twice and pan it hard left and right. I thought that was the only real way to make a truly stereo sound? I've been doing that on acoustic guitar and rhythm tracks. Agreed with all above, if it sounds like you want it to sound, it's right.

    As you allude to here, the guitar is a mono source anyway. To make it stereo, you either use stereo effects or have 2 parts panned left and right but with some differences.


    If you just copy a track and pan one left and one right hard, you don't really get any depth added because its the same sound coming out of both ears - same as if you just had it in mono out of both ears. Common trick is to put a slight track delay for pseudo chorus.

  • Yes slight delay and detune, which I don't care for. I want the only pitchy thing in my recording to be my voice, not my guitars! lol I find playing the parts not exactly the same but very close sounds fuller and better to me than taking the same signal out of L/R with an effect. Obviously if you have Steve Lukather delays crossing over and you have a swell choir reverb going, I get that.

  • Very interesting takes here. I love stereo sounds. I usually just play and record the mono guitar part twice and pan it hard left and right. I thought that was the only real way to make a truly stereo sound? I've been doing that on acoustic guitar and rhythm tracks. Agreed with all above, if it sounds like you want it to sound, it's right.

    what you described is double tracking rather than stereo. The only way to create true double tracking is to record two individual parts. However, this doesn’t make stereo track. Stereo is about the position of a sound source is space which is usually achieved by panning a mono source between two speakers but could also be achieved at source eg. with two mics.

  • Definition of stereo by Oxford - 'sound that is directed through two or more speakers so that it seems to surround the listener and to come from more than one source; stereophonic sound." Recording a single stereo track with one performance sounds like a big mono signal to me, whether you have delays or reverb or nothing. Everyone can and should do what sounds good to them, and I like separation. So I "double track" two mono tracks to create a true stereo image.

  • Definition of stereo by Oxford - 'sound that is directed through two or more speakers so that it seems to surround the listener and to come from more than one source; stereophonic sound." Recording a single stereo track with one performance sounds like a big mono signal to me, whether you have delays or reverb or nothing. Everyone can and should do what sounds good to them, and I like separation. So I "double track" two mono tracks to create a true stereo image.

    Totally agree that double tracking creates a big sound and it sounds great. No argument with that or with doing it. But it doesn't creat a "true stereo track it creates double tracking which is a whole different issue.

  • Bert says he is recording two mono tracks and then merges them into a single stereo track but his description can be confusing.


    First, He is recording in "stereo" to a separate Left track from Kemper's Left output and to a separate Right Track from Kemper's Right output. Both are panned hard respectively. Then he will delete the Left track (doesn't matter if Left or Right) and re-records over it. Then he merges those two tracks into a single stereo track (I don't know what purpose this serves unless to easily add post-effects afterwards).


    You can just as easily record one mono track from Kemper's single mono output panned Left. Then record a second mono track panned Right. You can then merge the two mono tracks into a stereo track. I believe this is what Bert described in the video but used the the method above. I don't think it makes a difference either way. I'm curious if others believe there is a difference.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

    Edited once, last by BayouTexan ().

  • I think I read in the comments or in another thread he does it this way because he’s printing the effects as well. So the first pass gets printed with effects. The he deletes and re-records one track and is printing that new track with one side of the effects. So the slight variations in his playing will also include the effects that line up with the variations and not the effects from the original recording. I haven’t tried it to see if it makes a noticeable difference. Interesting idea to try.

  • I think I read in the comments or in another thread he does it this way because he’s printing the effects as well. So the first pass gets printed with effects. The he deletes and re-records one track and is printing that new track with one side of the effects. So the slight variations in his playing will also include the effects that line up with the variations and not the effects from the original recording. I haven’t tried it to see if it makes a noticeable difference. Interesting idea to try.

    I understand recording with the included effects and then doubling that guitar with another track that includes the effects giving it a complimentary offset to the first track. I do that myself sometimes (sounds great with chorus). I still don't understand why he is merging the two tracks afterwards? They are already stereo and will render the same way. All I can think of is that he merged them into one single stereo track to save an additional step of routing one channel over two, or to free up a track in the DAW. :/

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • Depends for what purpose the recording is, what style and even the particular client/team (because they have different workflow) but in general when I record to provide tracks for someone else, I 95% of the time record in mono and let them deal with the effects/delay/reverb for the most part (except for compression). However, I sometimes add the effect I have in mind in post (with plugins or by reamping with pedals or kemper effects added in) and provide that as a reference but otherwise most engineers I've dealt with like to have the flexibility to manipulate this stuff themselves. For example, a delay might sound great in isolation but in a whole mix, the guitar might be lower and that delay will get lost - if you've baked it in, you can't make it come through. You can also record the stereo wet only and blend it, but then you double track and it becomes a bit much to handle depending on the project. Committing to a sound is great in principle and I see people say that all the time with great confidence but it takes serious experience before you can assume that the sound you've committed to is the ideal one and even that, a lot of the times you have no idea what you are supposed to even commit to because one instrument still hasn't played his real/final part, or something else will be added down the line (for christ sake, I even sometimes hear a different harmony in the final recording because the producer decided halfway through the recording process to change a chord or something.) In recording, I spend the bulk of my focus on the creativity/delivery/precision of the part, the tuning/intonation, and getting the best possible core (mono) sound.

  • lightbox I had gotten away from dual amps since trying to make Kemper do everything, but your video reminds me that I should not. I have GR5 and Helix plugins to use for dual amp options, and I should be trying some double tracking with one of those and the Kemper. I never thought those plugins had enough "meat" to their tone but I can use them as "sauce" and Kemper as the "meat". 8)

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.