Mono and Stereo Tracks


Fundamentals of Mixing Rock and EDM


Lesson Info

Mono and Stereo Tracks

I'd love to talk to you about how you're not thinking about stereotype racks properly as well as stereo, so, um, one of the first things I want to talk about is how you test if the track is really stereo and then we're going to get into some more advanced how you think about stereo, what a mix and how you make sure it's not, um, destroying your mix in stereo. So in this pro tools session, I have a synthesizer, so if you're as bright as I think you are, um, you'll notice this tracks is mono, so this is a synthesizer in a mix that I have that happen to be able to be made in either a mano where stereo version so let's, listen to this track so I should also do something because it looks like I left my example let's, listen, so if you was that you you notice that's pretty mano it's going straight down the center, but if you look in my panning, it says left and right, so some of you may be confused about that because you're going hey, you know, if it's pan left, right and center left or righ...

t, but if it's just the same signal two times it's always good sound the same because there's nothing to spread it apart in stereo spectrum on so but the one thing that happens a lot is a lot of time if you're mixing other people's stuff but bouncy stems and even though there mano, they'll send them to stereo and this could be pretty annoying, obviously. So one of the things I have to do whatever I get stereo tracks, is I have a test if there actually stereo, this is particularly important with kind of everything, but since especially because you're going to want to know how you pan them and as well, if you want to maintain your dsp processing a stereo, tries to track so you could just be processing one, you could save yourself so important power. So how do we know if the plug in is motto or stereo? If you're not hearing it through the speakers and you're a little confused, like all kind of sounds a little stereo, but not really is we put one side out of face, so what I've done here, I should put this back on because this is how it normally would be is normally when you open up almost any cuban pro tools, that's, multiple mano there's, this little link thing that kind of looks like an infinity symbol. This said link button means that whatever you do, the left also gets done with, right? I want to turn that off because I want to do something just to the left channel, and what I'm gonna do is I'm going to click this face buttons now, you've probably if you've what been good and watching other creative life classes? Yeah went over this in his last one, and kurt went over and this one, I'm going to give you a little bit more specific of the example of how you deal with this on a mix, as opposed to some of the drumming stuff, but basically if I hit play on this like this and they're pans left and right right now, if you're was sitting in hysteria, specter, where you have headphones on, you're going to feel a tug in one of your ears on one side that's very unpleasant, so I'm sorry for doing that to you, but there's a point for doing that that you feel that unpleasant tug I hate nothing more than that feeling when I hear it. So if I put this mono and I put them both in the same speaker, going to notice something very funny happens, I'm playing, but there's no sound yet if I pan it out again. This is because if something's in mono and the one side's out of phase, it will disappear once it goes into mono. Because the two waves air canceling each other out, one wave is going up while the others going down. That makes a no point. Kurt really did a great explanation. Probably best explanation by five. See in the class in his class last week. So I highly suggest you watch that if you really want to get into the nerdy part of this. But for our sake, what we care about is okay. So that track is mono. So what should you do? You have a nice function. Side pro tools that says split into mono right here. And you could make that track and amano and you can delete either one of the two mano trucks, just one no and the stereo truck. And then you could just process one track, and then you can also penned that wherever you'd want. So to make this illustration nice and clear, though, let me show you what happens when we get her stereo tracked version of that sound. Well, I do this. Actually, I'm violating too many of those, uh well, I do this I should mention that this seance that we're using is from that example we're going to be using on the third day a whole bunch it's a band called streets on fire that are least really awesome producers out of virginia beach that do really great work um so here's that patch when it's actually in stereo let me fully pan this out where at the same volume is before you just don't want to go all the way over there we go um anyway, so here's so if I put the one side out of phase on this one and pull it over, it doesn't go away because it actually is a true stereo track, so because that is a true stereo track, we would leave that stick version of its stereo. So now what do you want in the mix that often is determined on where you're thinking about panning apart a lot of time? If that's the main riff of a song you know it could be really help apple tio have a stereo version so that's in both speakers, but if it's a little lead part, you might want to just pan it off to the left or parents of right if it's a base you may want your base just straight up the center instead of going out the left and right and being really wide it all depends on your creative vision of the mix, but once we know whether something is left to right there's also tons of other things that have to do with stereo so to get into a little bit more of a rock example of this in fact, I think even for that I'm gonna bounce over to a different file just because this will be easier as a whole on expensive this so let's say you have two microphones on twos totally separate guitar cubs so the way I record guitar is I split the signal of one guitar usually into two amps for almost every track so I might say have my v h t deliverance and my arm rocker verb and I'm putting two fifty seven's on them in two different places in the room they're distant they're getting good separation but no matter what they're still gonna be some sounds they share so one of the big things that a lot of people often think is like oh well instead of doubling the guitar doubling the vocals can I just create two of them and know you can and what if I just might get twice that's still not the same as the fatness you get of a doubled sound or true stereo sound so to illustrate that I want to show you something with a guitar so this mix is exactly like what I just talked about um where this is two amps but it's on one stereo track so if you listen in my mix as you can see, I have two different performances the guitar left is one guitar with two amps guitar right is another guitar with two amps to separate forms has played super separate times so in the mix that's like this big meaning medal, right? So if we get rid of this s one and we just found this out it's just not as strong but so the other thing that gets really weird about this is if you do this you're also cluttering in your stereo mix so one of the plug ins that I am just the hugest fan of is wave center so what wave center allows you to dio is it allows you to control both some of the frequency stuff and the volume of what's happening in the center and what's happening on the left and right so let's remember this guitar is to mike's one fifty seven on one cab one fifty seven other cabot one performance so what you get from this is a famous relationship because it is the same performance with same notes being played and this can manipulate it so watch what I do here is this is the center knob these guitars have panned out all the way let's take a listen again so now if I take down the center you have a totally different sound because what we're basically doing is that any of the frequency that that has in common is getting taken out. So as you could hear, though, that wasn't the biggest difference in the world. So what if we take away the sides, which is just what's happening on the left and right, and making it really stereo there's, very little of it left in that sound that's because there's not that much in common in that sound as there is in diff prince. So why is this helpful when you have a seance sound like what? We just played the stereo's thing? If you pan that wide left and right, you can often times have the thing of that even know it's a wide sound, it could still be having some frequencies that get in the way of the vocal in the center or your base or whatever. What you can do with this plug in is you can alter that, but the one problem is, is it does alter the tone, so a less dressed example is uphold it down this center on this guitar. So as you can hear, you get some tonal sacrifices, but if you're finding that your stereo images and wide because your parents about your stereo signal may not be as wide as it should be, and you have some of your stereo sent that spanned hard left and hard, right is getting in the way of your frequencies. This is one of those things I don't see talked a lot about it mixes, but especially in electronic music or if you want a pen, a guitar far left and wide. This is one of those things that you have to consider so let's say you don't want to lose that, um, center frequency as much there's another way of playing with it. So with stereo, we also have ways of making stereo wider, so one of the stock proportions and pro tools is air stereo with so it has three ways that it can manipulate stereo and make it sound wider, and then some adjustments could be made. All three of these sound different, and the one problem with them is, though, that they can really do weird things to your mano signal. So if you listen a lot on really mano systems, you could sometimes notice, you know, particular out of an older iphone or ipad that was mono, you notice some elements in the mix disappear a lot of the time, that is because somebody was playing with the stereo with hooligans. Because what you also think of those once you hear something manipulated stereo with wise, you sometimes like that's so cool I should do that to everything in my mix. The one problem is your sacrifice when things go down the mono now the biggest problem these days is we are in a trend of going back to mono, and I don't mean like the mono that cool beetles and bob dylan records were made it I mean, mano like this jawbone jam box or your laptop barely has any stereo spread. Your ipad barely has any stereo spread, and we're not getting this like full stereo sound where you hear a left and right and you could get lots of weird cancellations when you start messing with stereo wide nurse so what I want to illustrate with this is one of the ways we can get stuff out of the center is this weidner will do some manipulation toe what it thinks the frequencies will do and it will make it wire. So I wanna play this with this on and off. So this is also, I should say, is a preset called wider, which I find is one that really gets things out of the center and also, though, makes things a little weird amano so it's also they illustrate my point here how that sounds in mono it almost sounds like the difference of like when something actually is true stereo and there's some bad phasing problem because as you could see on the switch there's a knob set to phase it's manipulating the phase in order to get you that stereo with that happens but this can be great, especially on since I don't particularly always above it unlike material but it's a fantastic, fantastic tool toe, haven't you a puzzle for things like background vocals that are different performances and since that are in the background, little subtle things that aren't the biggest thing to your mix and the strongest detail little stereo with enhancements can often get things out of the way that you want to shine through a little bit that are getting covered up by how cluttered you're panning is another fund thing to look at and this is a fun song to do it with because so this song, as I said before this is ascending from ashes we didn't use any live drums, but we didn't track drums on this and then just replace them fully. So if you listen to just the symbols which work truck are in the mix, you can hear that the drummer played a full performance by the way before some wise ass points it out? Yes, my plug ins are clipping in my levels way too out on this thing because we added a new program to this this morning, and I didn't check itself just gonna put that note out there anyway, the point I want illustrates so because we're using all triggers of the sound oftentimes if you're using drums and you like the triggered sound better than the snare would say that drummer wouldn't change his head and his snare ahead hasn't been changed in years, and you're hearing that in the overheads a little too much. You can use that center plug in to get rid of a little bit of it, so in the mix you can go to sound field if you're playing the song as you could hear, if I saw these overheads out pulling down the center will get rid of a little bit of what's in the center with the snare, where is pulling on the sides? Gets rid of all the symbols and leaves you just with the kick it stare that are the center of where your two overheads are placed. But this is a fantastic tool that have when you get poorly recorded material and you don't like what you're getting the stereo or you're getting a little too much bleed of something in your overheads and you want to either accentuated or d accentuated, so for example, if I wasn't getting enough sneer of my overheads, I might turn up the center if I'm getting too much of, I could do it so we had a mix that sounds something like this, so a really, really I don't know how subtle you could hear it in such a dead spics, but like it really is like what we heard it sold you could hear you could do tons of manipulation to stereo files with us it's something have to be very conscious of as you bix is when you're dealing with stereo is it as stereo as you wanted to? Because stereo is not an absolute thing as we saw if you have a very mano filed just because it's pan left and right does not mean it really is left and right just, you know, kurt ballu yet again to throw it back to him did a great demonstration, his class of different overhead techniques and how different stereo miking techniques could give you different mount of stereo with as well as different amount of center image. Knowing how to manipulate this stuff is really, really, really crucial and it's especially crucial when you're getting badly recorded tracks on how you fix all this it's already questions on this because I imagine this is pretty not this supposed to start with you guys, you guys are following everything I'm pretty in love with the wave centers well, it makes things so clear and clean, I I just need upgrade my bundle? Yeah, I have at the waves bundle I need to upgrade it. It's you know the other thing I think we showed in the master cost two is that's great likas if you are like one of the I guess, tips we'll get into later is like with listening is depending on how far your speakers of our part is going to depend on how much you hear the center of the mixed compared to you know, if they're really distant, you're going to get less center if you're really compressed, you get more center channel if you messed up and you hear it in your master that you turned everything in the center up too high, you can pull it down with this plug in even on your mix and save the day for yourself or bring out the vocal and bring out the kicking snare in base if you want, if that's all pan center the question now, you mentioned that when you mix almost exclusively with your reference monitors, do you ever take a minute to put headphones on? We're going home and compares after the next break. I'm going to talk so much about that it's crazy, but I was and I have a pair of these general looks and ennis ten and olive on tone a pair of releases is a pair of really hyped up high end and ht pro laptop speakers that are about this big that air four computers I use this jawbone jam box a lot to understand what the kids are listening to these days, we're going to talk all about how this could be poison and pleasure all at once, and I will have beats headphones, I have regular sennheiser headphones also, I can know what my clients are hearing and because I want to understand what they hear because I want to understand the problems they here with the mix because I don't believe people are always hallucinating. I think oftentimes the way they're wising to something is the problem is that, you know, beats headphones and things like these jam box is really overhype certain frequencies. So maybe I'm not hearing that the vocal has some history because I haven't turned up the troubled ninety b on everything like the beats, head phones up and have you have you ever had tio gesture mix because of something there was fixed by people here think that question with you had to do it this week about twice? Yeah, I want my mixes to translate properly, and I want them to be right for when my clients listen, you know, the fact of the matter is, is my client thinks most people are losing on beat, so we want to make decisions around a jam box and a beats pill on beats headphone let's make that decision around because we think that most people are listening to it. I'm not here to just say that the only people who could appreciate music people buy high end stereo stuff because almost no one who listens to the type of stuff I work on gets the listen on that stuff. We have questions on the internet, we do have a question, which basically comes well, so feel from cleveland, says plug ins are awesome, it'll do you ever use hardware mixing or mastering? Personally, I can't live without my are on r and l a is nestled g syriza master bus to talk a little bit about, you know, do you need analog? Sure, you don't need analog. Well, actually, I would say that you need analog to get into the computer if you want to track things from the outside world, but for mixing, I hear great people doing work in the box every day. We used to have a neo take elite at the studio mics off of, and we started just using two favors on in just the monitors and and I had a dangerous to bus, I got rid of that, and I mostly mixed in the box now, and I know some people say it, but I made a choice for my sound. You can make your own choice and to be asked for some records. I do miss that neo tech elite, but not for most of the ones I make, and yeah, I have mixed on s s sells, I've mixed on nieves, I've mixed on everything, and if I could mix on ssl g every day, I would mix on nss algae every day. I don't have a thousand dollars for the cooling fees a month to mix on nss algae, so I'm not doing that, but yes, sure, hardware could be gingrich is great, and hardware is also a lot of the time away. Easier way to get great sounds, I think it's way easier to get them, but can if you get good, get way better than a lot of people we were using hardware? Absolutely. And can you get great results? You're using the stuff? Absolutely if you know what you're doing and you practice and you get good at listening and, you know, like we said earlier, hardware isn't going to make you good, yes, and that's that I mean, you know, one of the stories I often tell is on I worked with this band called dot james debt on their from belgium and their record before was made it a multi million dollar studio and it's on worse than most of my interns, starting out in their basements and it's. Just that thing. It's, like, you know, the s s l in the beautiful room in the big window, did not make a good sounding record. It's, somebody who's, talented at using that stuff, makes a good sounding record.

Class Description

While it’s easy to get distracted by the latest and greatest gear, plugins, and flashy tricks, the real key to a great mix is mastering the fundamentals. In this online class, veteran producer/engineer/mixer Jesse Cannon (The Cure, Animal Collective, Senses Fail) shows you all the essentials of mixing rock and electronic music.

In this 3-day class, you’ll learn how to set up a session the RIGHT way — including routing, gain structure, listening techniques, and other best practices. He’ll show you how to mix vocals, bass, drums, guitars, and synths. You’ll also learn how to use compression, reverb and EQ to make your mix come together, while achieving the punch and separation that takes it from good to great. The class is taught with Pro Tools, but the concepts easily translate to any DAW.

Whether you’re new to mixing, or are a seasoned pro looking for a refresher on the basics, this class will teach you how to seamlessly merge individual sounds into polished, cohesive tracks.