I load a backing track into Audacity. I run a mic to my amplifier. I listen to the backing track with headphones while playing guitar through the amp and recording it on a new track.
When I listen to the backing track and recorded track there is 100% separation between the two tracks. One plays in the left headphone while the other plays in the right headphone.
I like having the 100% separation for purposes of editing and balancing the level of the recorded track to the backing track. However, this 100% separation sounds odd when listening through a set of headphones. If my ears are not lying, what I hear from a commercial stereo track (through a headset) is than even when the left/right slider is fully to the left a very small amount of the right track can still be heard. The same thing when the slider is pushed fully to the right. That is the sound I’m trying to produce, but so far have been less than successful. The “Make Stereo” option on the drop down menu of a track I get a stereo track, but the left and right tracks are still 100% of there original track.
I’ve considered making a copy of the backing track with amplification at -20 db. that would give a very quiet, but present, backing track. If I merged that with the recorded track, then do the the reverse for the recorded track I would have two tracks that each have a very faint trace of the other track even with the slider fully to one side of the other. However, that seems a pretty tedious way to get where I want to go.
Is there a simpler technique to get the two channels of a stereo track to have a small amount of the other track?
Thanks for listening to this…
If you Split Stereo Track you’ll get a left-right pan slider for each track so you can “position” it anywhere in the “soundstage”.
I’ve considered making a copy of the backing track with amplification at -20 db
-20dB is too low to notice in the opposite channel. Maybe try -3 or -6dB.
Another approach is to add a delayed copy in the opposite channel (usually just a few milliseconds so you don’t hear an echo), but you’ll perceive the sound coming from the non-delayed side.
If you mix a delayed signal with the original you get comb filtering (“phasing”) so it can sound weird when played-back in mono. The comb filtering will be reduced if the delayed and non-delayed copies are at different volumes.
Note that when you mix you are summing so you may have to reduce the levels or re-normalize to prevent clipping (distortion).
I hear from a commercial stereo track (through a headset) is than even when the left/right slider is fully to the left a very small amount of the right track can still be heard.
Usually the various instruments are positioned “realistically” left-to-right across the virtual soundstage with vocals, and bass in the center so the bass can use both woofers. Or, some mixing engineers will position everything hard-left, hard-right, and center.
With one voice and one instrument you might be better off with mono (both the voice and guitar centered). Or, you can double-track the guitar (play and record twice) with one guitar panned toward the right and the other toward the left.
Also, check the mix with headphones and with speakers.
I appreciate all the detailed suggestions. That will give me plenty to work on and will likely take a few days to do.
you might be better off with mono (both the voice and guitar centered).
That’s my vote. You can make each single track be mono with the drop-down menu on the left. Then when you play them, they will both appear in both headphone muffs. That should give you a much better idea what the mix is going to sound like and still let you apply corrections to each one individually as needed.
When you export, Audacity will mix both tracks together forever.
mix both tracks together forever.
Not kidding. You can’t change your mind. Save the original performances.
Koz, thanks for the suggestion of two mono tracks. You are right (obviously) that both will be heard in both sides of the headphones. That helps a great deal in getting the balance between the two tracks worked out.
I understand that the export is mixed and mono, but I would try to preserve the original tracks before losing them.
Anyway, thanks for the help. I think I can work it out now.