Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by øøøøøøø » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:35 am

Bass is almost always dead center for me (and most everyone else), for a few practical reasons based on physics.

I'm not sure what you mean by two mono bass tracks... having two basses seems like an unusual circumstance, and there's no "general rule" for what I'd do with two basses.

Briefly: Two speakers behaving as mono, in-phase (i.e. "center panned") will generally be able to produce more low-end extension than one equivalent speaker alone. Think of how many bass cabinets are 4x10, and how much low end that reproduces, versus a 1x10 cabinet. By panning bass center, you take advantage of this property.

Additionally, "in real life" acoustic spaces bass tends to behave progressively more-omnidirectionally as frequency decreases. So having it in the center tends to sound "more natural" (if "natural" is what you're going for).

Finally, if you ever intend to release music on vinyl, then stereo/out-of-phase bass information causes some serious physical problems with actually cutting the disk. The cutting engineer will almost always have to either reduce low end and/or use something called an "elliptical EQ" to move the bass toward the center, anyway.

With a vinyl record, the lateral (horizontal) movement is "everything that's alike in both channels" and the vertical movement is "everything that's different between the two" (sometimes called "mid" and "side" respectively). This M/S signal is decoded into L/R later, and the reason it's done this way is so mono records will still play well on stereo turntables (backward compatibility). But it has the net result that "stereo bass may create big vertical ramps that could cause the stylus to mistrack."

That's not to say stereo bass information is entirely off-limits. I did a mix for a client just last month where I used a stereo chorus on the bass guitar, and it was wide and super nice. The dry signal was center, of course, and the return of the chorus effect (Eventide H3000 in this case) was hard L/R.

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by RocknRollShakeUp » Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:56 am

øøøøøøø wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:35 am
Bass is almost always dead center for me (and most everyone else), for a few practical reasons based on physics.

I'm not sure what you mean by two mono bass tracks... having two basses seems like an unusual circumstance, and there's no "general rule" for what I'd do with two basses.

Briefly: Two speakers behaving as mono, in-phase (i.e. "center panned") will generally be able to produce more low-end extension than one equivalent speaker alone. Think of how many bass cabinets are 4x10, and how much low end that reproduces, versus a 1x10 cabinet. By panning bass center, you take advantage of this property.

Additionally, "in real life" acoustic spaces bass tends to behave progressively more-omnidirectionally as frequency decreases. So having it in the center tends to sound "more natural" (if "natural" is what you're going for).

Finally, if you ever intend to release music on vinyl, then stereo/out-of-phase bass information causes some serious physical problems with actually cutting the disk. The cutting engineer will almost always have to either reduce low end and/or use something called an "elliptical EQ" to move the bass toward the center, anyway.

With a vinyl record, the lateral (horizontal) movement is "everything that's alike in both channels" and the vertical movement is "everything that's different between the two" (sometimes called "mid" and "side" respectively). This M/S signal is decoded into L/R later, and the reason it's done this way is so mono records will still play well on stereo turntables (backward compatibility). But it has the net result that "stereo bass may create big vertical ramps that could cause the stylus to mistrack."

That's not to say stereo bass information is entirely off-limits. I did a mix for a client just last month where I used a stereo chorus on the bass guitar, and it was wide and super nice. The dry signal was center, of course, and the return of the chorus effect (Eventide H3000 in this case) was hard L/R.
Thanks for the wealth of information once again.

Yeah, I guess I was wanting to do a "monster" bass effect by recording two mono bass tracks and then panning them to R and L, but that may be getting too experimental in light of the issues you so nicely outlined. Interesting about using the chorus return effect panned stereo (with the dry dead center)!

Then, do you ever double a bass track to increase its "mass" as it were, and mix both the tracks dead center?

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by øøøøøøø » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:43 am

Don't ever assume anything "won't work" based on reason (or received knowledge) alone. There are no rules, and sometimes the thing that "shouldn't work" does.

And there's no such thing as "too experimental," (but I do value the perspective to be honest and willing to pivot when the interesting idea didn't really pan out).

But no, I seldom double-track bass.

It's difficult to articulate exactly why, but very often "adding more tracks" seems to make things feel smaller rather than more-massive, and this seems especially true for things with a low-end focus. Ultimately, it all has to come out of the same two speakers. The more we're squeezing in there, the smaller everything has to be.

I wish this was easier to clearly quantify, but I find that very often it's what I take away that makes the low end feel massive. And in many monitoring environments, it can be a bit more of a guessing game than we'd care to admit.

I didn't start to consistently feel good about the bottom end of my mixes until I built my current mix room (a Northward Acoustics FTB room with ATC SCM110ASLs flush-mounted in wall). Now when something isn't 100% working it's very apparent.

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by jorri » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:24 pm

RocknRollShakeUp wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:07 am
jorri wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:33 am
I'd never hard pan mics on same speakeror bother with bi-amping stereo. For me is all about "teh shoegaze" stereo verbs.

There is however a trick Albini does which is dual miccing i use, and when doing so leaving 5-10% nudge of the pan to give them separation.

And like room sounds. In stereo. On bass often. I feel its usage is almost as "mix glue" or warmth, as in it gives what many try and get from their vintage compression and saturator modules. Of course, I more recently find the compression/saturation etc sounds better. I find the former easier...or authentic?
Even with the direct recording I'm doing now I have noticed how panning the R and L sides of a Stereo recording with a 5-10% separation sounds very cool. But when you mention Albini's dual mic'ing do you mean using two amps or two different mics on the same speaker?
Yes, on the same speaker. This is for a 'mono source', but the result is just a slight depth in the field- say your guitar is at L35, then one mic goes L30, the other is L40. Quite likely he will have used room mics on EVERYTHING and some of those might be a true 'stereo source'.
To make a hard L/R stereo sound from one speaker, seems unnecessary to me, which is why i mention this effect as perhaps as far as i'd go from 'one sound'....its either an effect, or doubling, or maybe in a pinch using two different amp sounds. if its just one dry speaker then just delay one channel for minimum effect/maximum width as needed. I contrast this with recording acoustic instruments which are not uniform (piano the least uniform of all maybe!)- but rather the guitar speaker IS one dimensional, except for basically just losing high end the more side placement (or even behind) so might sound odd to pan that, though pretty useful to have that for frequency support.

For a 'stereo recording' maybe you mean at 90%-95%? sometimes that can work for me, it just dials in things a touch, such as if you don't want the track to be leaking out the sides being too prominent it buries it down. Frequently for drum overheads i would think (because i prefer guitars more prominent than cymbals). So the hard pans have a certain prominence relative to things not-so-hard-panned especially in headphones to my ears.

Of course there are always exceptions to these general trends...

Basics of stereo, from a human ear perspective comes in 3 forms btw:
-volume differences. Pan knob. XY mic pair. no chance of anything to do with phase.
-timing differences (a signal from one side reaches one ear first...BUT we can perceive really short delays so we may not notice a delay, its more like a 'phasing'. Its simply short enough to be perceived as sound property not an 'echo', much like we can't hear the individual peaks on a waveform instead we hear musical pitch)--- the majority of effects seem to do this, at least in delay/verb. Some modulation might vary the timing of LFO, pitch, or more complex delay computations.
-spectral differences: your head absorbs sound, but of course in the real non-headphone world sound from one side is getting to the opposite ear, just with high end loss. There are more complex variances too, like with up/down some claim to perceive, or with distance. but hence engineers using 'dummy head' to get true binaural recording as it uses all three methods, thus most accurate but least phase coherent.
-Bonus: pitch: i'm not sure how it affects a stereo field. Probably to do with doppler effect or sounding like a 'chorus' of sounds from different directions. It can also make binaural beats and all that, but this is like a way to trick our ears, rather than a way we evolved to use stereophony to locate sounds.

***and that satisfied my scientific rambling but not so useful, or maybe a little useful- i guess you can apply '3 techniques' in a DAW or tracking situation sometimes.

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by andy_tchp » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:13 pm

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:03 am

True stereophony (as would be defined in a textbook) makes use of ONLY:

- Time-of-arrival differences between two channels, OR
- Intensity differences between the two channels, OR
- A mixture of the above two.

No other concerns apply.

However, the word "stereo" has informally come to mean "any two-channel recording where the two sides are different in some way." This is technically wrong, but is often applicable to non-classical workflows, so it's kind of taken over. This is fine, as language evolves of course.

There's really no risk to the audience or musician when using the word "stereo" this way. However, for the recordist it can be risky if we fail to recognize the distinction (and inadvertently conflate the two). They have different principles.

The physics of microphone sensitivity are wild and non-intuitive. Two microphones interacting will multiply the non-intuitive physics to mind-boggling levels. It takes a lot of study to truly understand what's going on.

Any non-coincident microphone array will produce out-of-phase information, and some effects devices (particularly time-based effects) will also.

This is what makes it sound "wide." But it's very easy to "fly too close to the sun" with this, and it's one of the number one ways that less-experienced recordists sabotage themselves.

This out-of-phase (time-of-arrival) information is what doesn't collapse well to mono (it can cause comb filtering and other issues). And as you progress toward mono (by narrowing the image), you progress away from "wide" and toward "comb-filtered."

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:17 am

practical example:

Check out this recording of what sounds like two microphones on two speakers of a suitcase Rhodes.

A very famous record that did very well! (the following is not a criticism... it's just for informational purposes).

Hear how wide the Rhodes is in headphones? Now... if you have a "mono" button on your monitor controller, take the headphones off and listen on speakers, in mono.

What happens to the Rhodes? Pay particular attention to the balance with the other instruments.

Now listen to this recording of the same Rhodes on a different track on the same album and perform the same experiment.

Very different result, right?

The phenomenon you may have noticed results because on the first recording only, (probably due to an error) the two Rhodes channels are out of phase.

In "stereo," it's unnaturally wide-sounding. In mono, it virtually disappears altogether. And if you were to try and narrow the image with pan-pots, it wouldn't so much get narrower as progress rapidly toward the "comb-filtered, distant and invisible" characteristic you hear in mono.

This is an extreme example contrived for clarity, but in practice this exact thing is subtly going on all time time, any time there is time-of-arrival or phase discrepancy between two channels.

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by jorri » Fri Aug 28, 2020 5:35 am

Id agree with that.

There is a third way which is spectrally, however i would avoid it in music, except for ASMR or super-accurate classical recordings with discs and baffles. The effect is a natural dampening of high frquency, not just any timbral change. Two omni mics under a foot apart BUT baffle in between. The result? Comb filtering and a lot more 'mud-low end in the signal, requires headphones,but perfect binaural. High frequencies are more directional in a sense.

Flipping phase represents something that timing differences do to our ears. So does pitch. They are all related to the timing difference producing phasing or comb filtering.

There is a split in our hearing so we hear pitch and rhythm. Both phenomena are TIME frequency.
Yet there is an area where things start being perceived as separate sounds.
So the lowest pitch 20hz is around 50ms. You could set a tremolo pedal to 1hz but you dont hear a 1hz pitch, its rhythm. If uou set it very fast it starts making a pitch drone.

Coinciding with perceiving separate delays as delays not phase changes.
Anything below is this directional information but anything above is slapback or echo reflections.
Called the Haas Effect.

I.E. if you delay, just 'nudge' item in one channel in the DAW from 1-50ms to wherever you need to, and that will pan the signal in an alternative way.

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:09 am

Another distinction worth making: binaural recording versus stereophonic recording.

Binaural recording is not stereophony in the narrow academic sense, as it operates on different principles.

For clarity: Jecklin disks and dummy heads (like the KU-100) are more-generally used for binaural recording. ASMR does not leverage stereophony. And the classical definition of stereophony doesn't include any timbral ("spectral") parameters. Timbral concerns (largely related to the impact of the pinnae) do play a part in binaural recording, but again, these are different things.

True stereophony relies on something that happens when two speakers, appropriately placed, play back a recording of two* appropriately-placed microphones.

As you likely know, when done properly, a panorama appears in front of the listener, creating the illusion of an image that curves away at the center (some refer to this as the "soundstage.")

When done really well, it's spooky and holographic. It does not occur in headphones, and is a separate phenomenon from things like binaural recording and ASMR.

Regrettably, almost no consumer "stereo systems" are configured with the level of care that enables this to work completely well--and even if they are, the effect only really fully materializes at one listening position (equilateral between the two speakers), and can be weakened considerably by uncontrolled room reflection.

*(almost always two)

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by RocknRollShakeUp » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:22 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:43 am
Don't ever assume anything "won't work" based on reason (or received knowledge) alone. There are no rules, and sometimes the thing that "shouldn't work" does.

And there's no such thing as "too experimental," (but I do value the perspective to be honest and willing to pivot when the interesting idea didn't really pan out).

But no, I seldom double-track bass.

It's difficult to articulate exactly why, but very often "adding more tracks" seems to make things feel smaller rather than more-massive, and this seems especially true for things with a low-end focus. Ultimately, it all has to come out of the same two speakers. The more we're squeezing in there, the smaller everything has to be.

I wish this was easier to clearly quantify, but I find that very often it's what I take away that makes the low end feel massive. And in many monitoring environments, it can be a bit more of a guessing game than we'd care to admit.

I didn't start to consistently feel good about the bottom end of my mixes until I built my current mix room (a Northward Acoustics FTB room with ATC SCM110ASLs flush-mounted in wall). Now when something isn't 100% working it's very apparent.
I can dig it...yeah apropos adding more tracks to make it sound bigger, only to sound smaller, especially vis a vis mix room quality: part of my problem is that I have an untreated room, that due to the constraints of home decor, I won't be able to apply treatment too, so I track and mix via headphones...very sub-optimal I totally understand.

I do have to say that I got a Waves Abbey Road studio 3 plug in for mixing via headphones and I think that has helped for sure.

But, I think I may get some monitors and use them as well even with an untreated room!

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by RocknRollShakeUp » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:48 pm

jorri wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:24 pm
RocknRollShakeUp wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:07 am
jorri wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:33 am
I'd never hard pan mics on same speakeror bother with bi-amping stereo. For me is all about "teh shoegaze" stereo verbs.

There is however a trick Albini does which is dual miccing i use, and when doing so leaving 5-10% nudge of the pan to give them separation.

And like room sounds. In stereo. On bass often. I feel its usage is almost as "mix glue" or warmth, as in it gives what many try and get from their vintage compression and saturator modules. Of course, I more recently find the compression/saturation etc sounds better. I find the former easier...or authentic?
Even with the direct recording I'm doing now I have noticed how panning the R and L sides of a Stereo recording with a 5-10% separation sounds very cool. But when you mention Albini's dual mic'ing do you mean using two amps or two different mics on the same speaker?
Yes, on the same speaker. This is for a 'mono source', but the result is just a slight depth in the field- say your guitar is at L35, then one mic goes L30, the other is L40. Quite likely he will have used room mics on EVERYTHING and some of those might be a true 'stereo source'.
To make a hard L/R stereo sound from one speaker, seems unnecessary to me, which is why i mention this effect as perhaps as far as i'd go from 'one sound'....its either an effect, or doubling, or maybe in a pinch using two different amp sounds. if its just one dry speaker then just delay one channel for minimum effect/maximum width as needed. I contrast this with recording acoustic instruments which are not uniform (piano the least uniform of all maybe!)- but rather the guitar speaker IS one dimensional, except for basically just losing high end the more side placement (or even behind) so might sound odd to pan that, though pretty useful to have that for frequency support.

For a 'stereo recording' maybe you mean at 90%-95%? sometimes that can work for me, it just dials in things a touch, such as if you don't want the track to be leaking out the sides being too prominent it buries it down. Frequently for drum overheads i would think (because i prefer guitars more prominent than cymbals). So the hard pans have a certain prominence relative to things not-so-hard-panned especially in headphones to my ears.

Of course there are always exceptions to these general trends...

Basics of stereo, from a human ear perspective comes in 3 forms btw:
-volume differences. Pan knob. XY mic pair. no chance of anything to do with phase.
-timing differences (a signal from one side reaches one ear first...BUT we can perceive really short delays so we may not notice a delay, its more like a 'phasing'. Its simply short enough to be perceived as sound property not an 'echo', much like we can't hear the individual peaks on a waveform instead we hear musical pitch)--- the majority of effects seem to do this, at least in delay/verb. Some modulation might vary the timing of LFO, pitch, or more complex delay computations.
-spectral differences: your head absorbs sound, but of course in the real non-headphone world sound from one side is getting to the opposite ear, just with high end loss. There are more complex variances too, like with up/down some claim to perceive, or with distance. but hence engineers using 'dummy head' to get true binaural recording as it uses all three methods, thus most accurate but least phase coherent.
-Bonus: pitch: i'm not sure how it affects a stereo field. Probably to do with doppler effect or sounding like a 'chorus' of sounds from different directions. It can also make binaural beats and all that, but this is like a way to trick our ears, rather than a way we evolved to use stereophony to locate sounds.

***and that satisfied my scientific rambling but not so useful, or maybe a little useful- i guess you can apply '3 techniques' in a DAW or tracking situation sometimes.
Holy Smokes of the Baby Buddha..that is deep. Grasshoper needs to contemplate that for a spell! But I love it and thank you for taking the time. It is like peeling back the curtain and seeing a crazy world that I wasn't aware existed! Conceptually very much needed for me at this very early point in my home recording "career"!

For my stereo recording woodshedding clip, I'm actually not sure of the spread ..that's because I recored it with stereo coming out of my rig into two inputs on my interface, and I recorded both inputs to one track, and to compound the confusion my DSM Simplifier (analog stereo guitar amp) that I used to record DI with has a Stereo Spread Switch (does some phasing trick that seems to take the stereo from sounding hard panned L/R, to sounding a bit more at the 10 and 2 o'clock, and seems to give the sound a bit more "depth"). But I think the clip I recorded was done so with the Stereo Spread Switch off...so in the one track, the R and L seem hard panned to either side.

On a different occasion I did also record R and L to two separate tracks as well (stereo delay with a ping pong bouncing between R & L), and played around with panning: hard R&L pan, and everywhere in the middle. Surprisingly as I panned both tracks toward the middle, high end noticeably increased, and both tracks panned to 0 gave me too much high end.

My ultimate dilemma, other than just going for it trial and error style, is this: if I do record a stereo track: should I record it to one track, or should I record the R & L to two separate tracks and then mix them more toward the middle at some point, and where then should I fit additional mono guitar tracks in the mix (stack them in front of the L & R stereo sounds, or fit them behind (harder panned to the L & R than the stereo tracks)? Are there any good guidelines, especially when also dealing with a stereo track(s)?

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by RocknRollShakeUp » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:55 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:03 am
True stereophony (as would be defined in a textbook) makes use of ONLY:

- Time-of-arrival differences between two channels, OR
- Intensity differences between the two channels, OR
- A mixture of the above two.

No other concerns apply.

However, the word "stereo" has informally come to mean "any two-channel recording where the two sides are different in some way." This is technically wrong, but is often applicable to non-classical workflows, so it's kind of taken over. This is fine, as language evolves of course.

There's really no risk to the audience or musician when using the word "stereo" this way. However, for the recordist it can be risky if we fail to recognize the distinction (and inadvertently conflate the two). They have different principles.

The physics of microphone sensitivity are wild and non-intuitive. Two microphones interacting will multiply the non-intuitive physics to mind-boggling levels. It takes a lot of study to truly understand what's going on.

Any non-coincident microphone array will produce out-of-phase information, and some effects devices (particularly time-based effects) will also.

This is what makes it sound "wide." But it's very easy to "fly too close to the sun" with this, and it's one of the number one ways that less-experienced recordists sabotage themselves.

This out-of-phase (time-of-arrival) information is what doesn't collapse well to mono (it can cause comb filtering and other issues). And as you progress toward mono (by narrowing the image), you progress away from "wide" and toward "comb-filtered."
I see.. would that explain why as I narrowed the R & L mix, toward center, I started getting too much high end?

My H9 which is what I'm using for my stereo effects supposedly is real stereo according to Eventide, but all I care about is bouncing (between the R & L) time based or modulation type effects, mostly! Which may be a very troglodyte way of approaching things! But sometimes I think that I should forget about chasing some shiny bouncing effects and just re-wire my rig as mono for a more sculpted approach, as most of the time I can't really appreciate a "stereo" "bouncing" effect in a busy mix anyway! That's another thing...I think I may be making my mixes way too busy, with too many guitar tracks!

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:50 pm

RocknRollShakeUp wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:55 pm

I see.. would that explain why as I narrowed the R & L mix, toward center, I started getting too much high end?
It could certainly explain a loss of low-end, which could easily be perceived as "too much high end."

As for the rest--there's absolutely nothing wrong with using stereo effects if artistically appropriate. I do it all the time (usually in the form of "send this mono source to a stereo effect and return it to a pair").

It just requires a bit of care and understanding. It also just so happens to be a place where headphone-only mixing can cause you to really miss very big and very obvious problems.

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Re: Woodshedding stereo recording tones with Jazzmaster

Post by RocknRollShakeUp » Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:50 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:50 pm
RocknRollShakeUp wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:55 pm

I see.. would that explain why as I narrowed the R & L mix, toward center, I started getting too much high end?
It could certainly explain a loss of low-end, which could easily be perceived as "too much high end."

As for the rest--there's absolutely nothing wrong with using stereo effects if artistically appropriate. I do it all the time (usually in the form of "send this mono source to a stereo effect and return it to a pair").

It just requires a bit of care and understanding. It also just so happens to be a place where headphone-only mixing can cause you to really miss very big and very obvious problems.
10-4 good buddy!

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