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Thread Home Recordings "Clean Up"

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1 Home Recordings "Clean Up"
I've been recording at home for some time now... simply connecting my guitar/bass/mic directly to my SB Audigy 2 ZS card... Also doing some sampling, computer drumming, etc... The thing is, I get a great sound when I am listening to my music on good quality speakers, also I get good sound when listening to it on my car, or even on good headphones.
BUT, I have a friend that listened to my music on his computer speakers (those average little speaker boxes that come with the computer) and he said that the sound of my mp3 song would get all mixed up, saturated, if he increased the volume almost at its max. He said that with other mp3 he could turn the whole volume up at its maximum and there would be no problem, but if he did that with my mp3, the sound would get all saturated and noisy. I haven't had the opportunnity to test my mp3 with little speaker boxes myself, because I only have big good quality speakers and amplifiers... So I don't know what could be the problem. I could say to my friend: "f**k it, the problem are your lame speakers", hehe... But what got me worried was that he said that he had no problem with any other mp3, other than mine.
ALSO, since I am learning everything on my own, there are some things that remain obscure to me. For example, I put all the audio tracks of a mix on "stereo". If I record 2 guitar tracks, both of them would be stereo, if I record 3 vocal tracks, the three would be stereo... I don't record mono tracks. I have been told that it is wrong to do that. May that be the problem of the over-saturation that my music is experiencing on smaller speakers? Should I record mono tracks and divide them putting some to the left, and some to the right?
What tracks would you recommend me to record as MONO? what stereo?
And what's the real advantage on doing so?
By the way, the software that I use to record/mix is Cakewalk Home Studio 2002.



P/S: Man, I really LOVE this website!!!!
You're right, recording everything in full panned left/right stereo is a bad idea. Stereo has it's uses, but that's not one of them!!

Why don't you find a free host site where you can post your mix and let us give it a listen? I use Nowhere radio:

The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
most tracks= mono
guitar= pan left or right and the fx the opposite
vocal= mono or stereo depending on the overall sound
Hey, Thanks Axeman and Pax for the help!

I posted the mp3 on Nowhere Radio as you suggested, the address is:

or the main page:

Don't get scared with the style, hehehe... Is a mixture between Metal (mostly Industrial Metal) and Electronic/Synth music.

Give it a listen and I would really appreciate ANY help, any critics, anyTHING that you can give me, hehe. I need a light on that matter. I know that the Kick Drum sounds kind of popping a little bit sometimes, but that I know how to correct.
Also another question that I have is: to pan something 100% to the left (or to the right) is to automatically make it "mono"?


example: guitar recorded mono pan left and the fx too add right.

as if it were stereo. try it out and find the balance.
as for the lower frequency range , below 250hz, when it it comes to mixing, corner bass traps are needed corcerning eliminating standing waves and not to hear the walls and the room instead of your speakers.

I listened to your track, and there is a LOT of distortion there (not the good guitar kind, either!!!). It sounds to me like your individual levels are all WAY too hot rather than the overall levels of the whole mix, since the overall mix didn't seem to be particularly loud.

So my guess is that either you individual track levels are too hot (you should be able to check this with the metering function of whatever software you're using), OR, whatever program you used to do the mp3 conversion hosed it up.
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate all the help.
AXEMAN: I THINK I know what you mean, but I am not sure, could you explain better what do you mean with "individual track levels being too hot"?
And could you give me some insight about Stereo/mono recording? Pax told me about recording guitar and pan them to the left, and effects to the right. Do you agree? What should be stereo and what mono? Panning something 100% to the left, or to the right, does automaticaly makt it mono?
Thanx in advance.
By the way, I heard some of your songs, and dude, you are GOOD!!! hehehe... Please spread some of that talent among us the untalented ones, hehe...


What I was trying to point out was that the overall level of the final mix wasn't all that loud, which leads me to believe that the problem is NOT the levels of the final mix, but rather the levels that the individual tracks were recorded at. if I record a guitar track that is way hot and distorted, and then add a bass track that is also to hot and overloading the preamp, the end mix will sound distorted even though I may have watched the overall level of the final mix to keep it within norms.

Go back and solo your bass track. Does it sound distorted at all by itself? If not, then check the guitars. If none of the tracks sound distorted individually, and none of them are clipping into the red on the meters, then play the final mix. Does it sound distorted? Is it clipping the meters into the red?

If none of the individual tracks are distorted, and the final mix isn't either, then I would look real hard at the software you are using to perform the mp3 conversion. Sometimes weird things happen when you convert to mp3.

So far as stereo vs mono goes, it works like this:

A stereo signal is nothing more than two mono signals. Forget about the pan pots for a minute. Electronically, a stereo system has two speakers, and a separate channel going to each speaker, left and right. A stereo signal is comprised of two channels, left and right. If I run the exact same sound wave at the exact same levels into each channel, your ears will percieve the sound as coming in equal volume from both the left and right speakers. Therefore, if your head is between and equidistant from the speakers, your brain will percieve the sound as coming from in between the two speakers, or "up the middle". If I put the waveform in the left speakers signal path, but not in the right, your ear wil percieve the sound as coming from the left side. The concept of a stereo field, then, is realized by varying the amounts of a given signal in the left and right channel, therefore "moving" the relative "position" of the sound source as percieved by your ear. It's all a trick, really.

So let's tallk about the pan pot. All that sucker really is is a differential variable resistor that varies the amount of signal between the left and right output busses of the mixer. I put a signal into channel 1, which is a single channel (mono, not stereo- 1 line, not two). If the pan pot is in the middle, the signal is equally divided between the left and right output busses of the mixer. If I move the pot all the way counterclockwise, all of the signal is routed to the left output buss. Same but opposite effect with moving it all the way clockwise.

The part that is interesting, though, is the spots in between. If I move the pot halfway between the straight up setting where the signal was equal and the full CCW position where the signal was all on the left, what I get is a condition where there is twice as much of the signal on the left speaker as there is on the right. My ears still hear the signal on the right, but they percieve that the signal on the left is twice as loud. My brain has just been fooled into thinking that the sound source has been "moved" to the left and is no longer directly in front of me (pan knob straight up, signals equal in both L/R channels), but is now off to my left somewhere.

The location of signals as percieved between the left and right speakers is called the stereo "soundstage".

Ok- so what does thast mean to mixing? The object of mixing is to create a virtual soundstage across the stereo field. The best way to do this is to picture your "band" onstage in front of you. Drums front and center, bass more or less right next to the kick, a guitar on either side, lead vocals in the middle, too. Boring. Wait a minute- if you look at the drum kit, you see that only the smare and kick are really in the middle. The toms, cymbals and hihat are offset. Not by much, but exaggerate it a little bit. Put the hi tom to the right about 10 oclock, the mid at about 11, the low and floor off to the other side. Find a nice little spot just offset from the middle for the hihat. Cymbals, too, offset to the left and right. And the, maybe one guitar is further off the othe left than the other is to the right. You get the idea.

In dong this, it is easiest to work with recording mono (single line) signals and using the pan pots to create the final stereo soundstage between the let and right output busses of the mixer (regardless of whether your mixer is hardware or software). If you record your guitar in stereo from, say, a POD, you will get a premade stereo signal that should be panned either hard left/right (if you use two single or mono mixer channels for the recording), or up the middle (if you used a single stereo mixer channel for the recording. You will have lost the capability to put the signal exactly where you want it within the final stereo field.

To keep mono signals from sounding too flat or one dimensional, you can use reverb or delay to bring the perceived sound source "forward" (closer to you) or "back" (further away) on the virtual sound stage. You can also get creative and put the dry guitar signal on one side of the mix and the delay output for it on the other side. I described how to do this in the "Wall of Guitars" thread down in the Mixing forum earlier today. You might want to check that thread out as well.

Good luck. 8)
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
Wow! :shock:
Thank you for taking your time to help me out, Axeman... I really appreciate it. I see I gave you a lot of work to explain things to me... that was a big text you wrote, hehe :oops: ... Sorry for that, man... But I am truly thankful.
I will follow your advices, for sure.
Thank you very much!!!
Also, thanks to pax, who also helped me out with this, you guys rule! hehe...
Keep up the good work, this site is amazing!