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I need a mixing tip: when I try to mix distorted guitars (dual guitars, but in fact, I just recorded once, created 2 tracks, copypasted onto them and hard panned them), I want to have a sound of attack (you might not get it, but I mean, like the initial attack of an unprocessed track comes out from the center and I want that attack to come out of both left and right ears) in both ears. The problem is: when I enable only hard panned left (or right) channel, I hear that attack in the right or left channel, as follows. But when I enable them both, attack again comes out from the center as if I did not pan them at all (sounds like 1 center track with slightly boosted volume).

So, to say easily: I want those tracks to sound only in ears, while having center free for other instruments (like kick and bass). Would appreciate any suggestions. I use Waves plugins, so if you know how to achieve that and you use Waves too, you could write a more precise suggestion – would be greatly appreciated!

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    I strongly suggest always getting at least two good takes of every track when recording. One reason is so you can split pan the two takes like this and get a good sound, and the other is so you have a safety in case you notice a problem with a take that you originally thought was perfect. Doesn’t help you today, but next time you record it’s something to consider. – Todd Wilcox May 23 at 11:56
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    @ToddWilcox - good point. Also, one recording is always going to sound like one recording, no matter where it gets panned. Another with it will sound slightly different - 'cos it is - and will provide the desired effect. – Tim May 23 at 17:03
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By copy/pasting the exact same sound to two tracks then panning them hard left & right, you have in fact created a mono sound that just takes up two tracks.

In stereo recording, the very definition of centre-panning is that the same sound comes at the same volume from both sides of the stereo field.

The only way to perceive the attack as not centre-panned would be to do something with the time-alignment - if you delay one side by somewhere between 10 & 50ms, the ear will then perceive it as two separate sources from left & right.
This will, however, change the frequency spectrum of the overall sound, as you will get comb-filtering - a kind of slightly 'out of phase' sound.

Using Waves Mondo-Mod or some similar time manipulation plugin, you could make the time-delay vary between the two sources, which might get away with it. You could achieve similar with a panned delay on one of the guitars, varying the delay time. Original signal one side, variable-delay the other. This would only need one source track.

The ideal way to record two guitars hard-panned left & right is actually to record two guitars.

  • Thanks, that helped. Apparently if you set the track delay (I used Sample Delay) to a decent value (variable, for me it it was around 770 samples) you can get the desired attack and keep these two tracks in phase. Because out of phase it sounds like crap. – Eugen Eray May 23 at 11:15
  • If my arithmetic is good [it usually isn't] That's approx 17ms, which is outside what would be considered 'phase' but would still be in the realm of 'chorus'. I would definitely test summing the entire mix to mono & see what it sounds like. – Tetsujin May 23 at 11:58
  • Right. The solution was to set the delay for the first track, don't set the the delay for second, create the third and pan it slightly towards the first to compensate the attack loss, lower the volume for second track (without delay) until you're in phase and finally lower the volume on third track until the stereo response from each channel is even. Something like that. – Eugen Eray May 23 at 16:29
  • That sounds a bit like fixing a full glass by adding more water... though, tbh, you lost me completely as to what you actually did & why it might work. Did you check in mono - that's your final decider. – Tetsujin May 23 at 16:33

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