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Stereo/Mono Ambiguity

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by lowregister, Sep 26, 2009.


  1. lowregister

    lowregister

    Feb 26, 2009
    Madison, WI
    I just got this in the mail:

    http://www.tascam.com/products/us-144.html

    So each side has it's left and right. Our plan to record ourselves is to use two microphones, one XLR into the R and one into the L (i'm going to be super thorough)

    Once we have our audio tracks, then we are going to play over top of them with our instruments, deleting the main track that we first started.

    So with this usb interface, are we going to have to (for example) record over our initial track twice? One in the left and then the right?

    In two of the recording softwares I messed around with it would appear that way, the software would only pick up the bass/guitar in the right signal. Fair.

    However, when I was recording in Audacity, the playback was in stereo, it took my single right signal and then played back in both headphones.

    Can you guys elaborate some of the implications of Mono/Stereo?

    Many thanks:)
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Essentially, there is no such thing as stereo, from the perspective of the recording device. Stereo only exists in our ears. All recorded tracks are mono. Even if you have made a stereo recording, where you used two microphones pointed in different directions, and where you intend for the listener to hear that "space" in their headphones, the actual recording is just two mono channels, each with different amounts of (almost) the same input.

    If you have a recording device where it plays a mono track "in stereo", all that means is it sent the one channel out to two identical outputs. Those two outputs were routed to the left and right sides of your headphones.

    So if you record a "stereo" track and then want to overdub onto it, you have two main choices: you can set up the same two mics in the same room, and use two new tracks for a "stereo" recording of every new overdub; or you can record each new track as one mono channel, and then "pan" it into the stereo placement you like. Panning just means different amounts of the one channel are fed into two "left and right" outputs. It doesn't change the number of tracks or the mono nature of the track, it just creates a "fake" stereo effect by having the signal be louder in one output than the other.
     

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