Hi y’all, -I only have a one mic setup/I’m recording acoustic guitar/vocals for fun, w/a cheap usb mic into my notebook computer – so I’m wondering when I want to turn a mono track into stereo what ways are there to do this other than simply duplicating then selecting to make it stereo? Or I should say, I would appreciate anyone sharing any additional techniques they use/know (i.e., what the professionals do in this situation).
And/or are there any Audacity plugins for this?
Another method I experimented with was off setting one track from the other but it only seemed to create a difference if I really off set them and mostly just echo which seemed kind of wrong/muddy. If this is an acceptable alternative technique I would like to know how far apart they should be or what is recommended, if there is such a recommendation? i.e. -what the professionals do in this situation.
There’s really no good way to do it… Most “simulated stereo” effects (including the one’s I’m going to suggest) don’t sound natural and have poor mono compatibility… If you play the “fake” stereo on a mono system it won’t sound right (due to phase shifts).
Simply duplicating the channel gains you nothing… It does exactly the same thing as when you play a mono file and it comes-out both speakers. (When you make a mono CD, the channels have to be duplicated because ALL audio CDs are 2-channel stereo.)
…I’m recording acoustic guitar/vocals for fun, w/a cheap usb mic into my notebook computer
I’d recommend you record your guitar and vocals separately. Then, create TRUE STEREO! Put vocals in the center (identical in both channels). Record the guitar twice (double-tracked). Put one guitar left and the other right. (Or “blend” the them at about 75%/25% left & right if that sounds better to you.)
It’s important that you actually perform & record twice to get slight-random timing/phase differences. You can get “automatic double tracking” effect plug-ins, but these are never as good as true double-tracking.
Note that mixing is done by summation. After mixing your levels may exceed 0dB and clip (distort) when exported. After mixing, run the Amplify effect to make sure your levels are OK.
OK - For “simulated stereo”… I’ve used different/complimentary equalization on each channel. This is a little tricky because a +3dB boost in one channel is not complimented by a -3dB reduction in the other channel. A +3db change represents a doubling of power, which is complimented by a -infinity change in the other channel (or with the slider as far negative as the EQ will go).
I try to keep the main-mid frequencies unaltered so the vocal/instruments sound centered. The low-bass should also be “centered”.
Another method is to delay one channel by 10 milliseconds or so. You’ll have to experiment. If the delay is too long, the sound will appear to come from the undelayed channel. And if the delay gets to 50ms or so, you’ll start to hear the echo. (Note that “delay effect” usually means “echo”, but it’s fairly easy to time-shift one channel or insert a few milliseconds of silence in front of one channel.
You can also find stereo simulation VST plug-ins.
Quick note. What do you want it to sound like? “I’m sitting in a room facing the performer across from me?” “I’m sitting in a theater front-row center?” Each case sounds little different. You might try duplicating the guitar track (I’m with the overdubbing people here), reducing the volume and injecting that back into the show with that delay added to it — maybe slightly different delay left and right.
Or run that separate guitar through the reverb or echo effects.