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NO double tracking
Old 20th September 2012
  #1
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
NO double tracking

What do you guys think about not double tracking guitars for heavy stuff? I really like having the stereo image being able to pick out each instrument somewhere, and have always enjoyed listening to jazz, folk, and some rock that is panned "simply" like this.

I'm trying to decide what to do with my progressive metal stuff. I have gone through my music collection try to see if anyone else is doing this but for modern heavy music its pretty much always double tracked OR the two guitars are playing unison riffs. For my music I often have one ambient guitar and one heavy riff guitar, so panning them hard opposite sides is definitely unusual sounding. The only band I can think of that does something like this is early Van Halen.

I guess Im just trying to figure out if i should do something radically different like this or not. Does anybody know of any bands who do something like this? Yes it give an unbalanced stereo image but I dont think a perfectly balanced one is necessary.
Old 20th September 2012
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
dfahb44's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The reason heavy music uses double tracking is because it makes it sound heavier. Hell, some bands do quad tracking. I think it would be really difficult to sound huge without a wall of guitars.
Old 20th September 2012
  #3
Gear Nut
 
thisismyusername's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
i play guitar (i'm the only guitarist) in a progressive metal band as well, and i recorded a practice once where we had the guitar and keys panned opposite. it sounded fine to me, though when we start tracking our album i'll most likely be doubling or quading them. I like HUGE guitars. try it, if doesn't float your boat, add the double haha.
Old 20th September 2012
  #4
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frans's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Does the band want to sound like anybody else? Then it would be double/triple/quadruple/billionth/whatever-tracking.
That said a single track can sound heavy on its own, or it can be split to two amps with two different sounds (no hard panning, please) to fill the sound. It helps if these guitars aren't mixed 50/50 but one a good deal louder and the other less.
Which brings us back to the question if how the band sounds, how they THINK they sound and how they think their RECORDING should sound. The more these three things are different, the more effort you have to put in. I do a lot of stuff without double tracking, but I mostly refuse "heavy" music because A) other people do it way better then me B)if the band isn't up to the requirements of what they want their end product to sound like it's likely going to end in tears, depression and violence.
Old 20th September 2012
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Double tracking is probably the way to go, but you CAN get big sounding guitars without doubles. Play around with multiple mics and mic placement and try using two amps, as already suggested.
Old 20th September 2012
  #6
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WinnyP's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
An an example listen to QOTSA's "no one knows" , yeah yeah yeah's first album and Van Halen of course for single tracking. Multitracking helps if you have a less than stellar guitarist but it can kill the energy or focus of the individual parts.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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kennybro's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winny Pooh ➑️
An an example listen to QOTSA's "no one knows" , yeah yeah yeah's first album and Van Halen of course for single tracking. Multitracking helps if you have a less than stellar guitarist but it can kill the energy or focus of the individual parts.
EVH was the first one to come to mind for focused and defined heavy pop guitar sounds. There's some judicious doubling in there too, but the sound that made him great is his clear guitar voice being communicated across the recording process to the end listener.

Doubling creates a bigger, more generic noise, but it blurrs that communication. Of course, as you say, you need a guitarist with something substancial to say for this to happen in a positive way.
Old 20th September 2012
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
HI,What about sticking your guitar track through a harmonizer with the right channel +4 and the left channel -3.Phil collins used to get his drums in the recordings really fat by using such dynamics and i have got fat results with single tracked heavily compressed guitar tracks.To thicken the tracks further add pre and post delay to the returns of the harmoniser track.Hope this works for you.
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Old 20th September 2012
  #9
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The Elf's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I use the minimum number of parts I can. I typically find that the 'wall of guitars' shrinks the more parts you add. I'd rather have two guitars panned L/R than four, and some of the biggest-sounding mixes I've made are based on a single guitar part.
Old 20th September 2012
  #10
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Speaking of double tracking, I'll let you in on a little trick of mine... It requires some real skill on the performer's part when doubling; you need two takes as close to the same as possible.

Mid side process the two tracks. Put them both on a single stereo track and insert a MS plugin. Choose your favorite of the two takes as the mid channel. When you flip to mono, you'll lose the stereo info, but everything they have in common will remain. Back to stereo, you'll have a neat ambient delay that changes dynamically depending on the performance.
Old 20th September 2012
  #11
Gear Nut
 
mattseidel's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
A great way to expand a single guitar part is to pan it one way and then create an echo using delay or mono reverb somewhere in the other channel. It creates a lot of depth and in some cases would probably sound better than double tracking.
Old 20th September 2012
  #12
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Right now I'm in the middle of a black metal project that's only using two guitars in unison, panned 80% L/R. It's sounding pretty big, actually. The keys probably fill up a lot of spectrum, though.
Old 20th September 2012
  #13
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Sotsirc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins ➑️
Speaking of double tracking, I'll let you in on a little trick of mine... It requires some real skill on the performer's part when doubling; you need two takes as close to the same as possible.

Mid side process the two tracks. Put them both on a single stereo track and insert a MS plugin. Choose your favorite of the two takes as the mid channel. When you flip to mono, you'll lose the stereo info, but everything they have in common will remain. Back to stereo, you'll have a neat ambient delay that changes dynamically depending on the performance.
Ever tried this on vocals?
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sotsirc ➑️
Ever tried this on vocals?
I've done it on BGV's, but never lead. That might be cool in the right context.
Someone suggested to me that I try this trick on stereo verb returns for out-of-speaker localization cues. I'm looking forward to that.
Old 20th September 2012
  #15
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
It would be helpfull to you to listen to G. Page`s gtrs he was playing for Led Zeppelin...
Old 20th September 2012
  #16
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jordanvoth's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Two tracks, two different rigs, each track played or voiced differently usually gets me where I want to be.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #17
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godotzilla's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth ➑️
Two tracks, two different rigs, each track played or voiced differently usually gets me where I want to be.
Yep.

Especially when it comes to guitars, I opt for using the stereo image to create variety, interesting subtleties in individual parts that, when called for, can still sound huge.
Old 20th September 2012
  #18
Deleted User
Guest
i hate the double track trend. it's so tired and overused; every song ends up sounding the same. here's a great track without it:

Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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kerouac's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins ➑️
Speaking of double tracking, I'll let you in on a little trick of mine... It requires some real skill on the performer's part when doubling; you need two takes as close to the same as possible.

Mid side process the two tracks. Put them both on a single stereo track and insert a MS plugin. Choose your favorite of the two takes as the mid channel. When you flip to mono, you'll lose the stereo info, but everything they have in common will remain. Back to stereo, you'll have a neat ambient delay that changes dynamically depending on the performance.
Ooh, I'll have to try that this weekend.
Old 21st September 2012
  #20
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vernier's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Layering often gets mushy, and nuances go away. That said, it can sound cool, such as on the "Never Mind the Bollocks" album.
Old 21st September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerouac ➑️
Ooh, I'll have to try that this weekend.
Here's a preview.
This cut isn't heavy guitars. It's one layer of bridge guitars in a fairly heavy tune though.

Note that the doubled part disappears when the MS matrix is summed to mono. This process duplicates the double and hard pans both with one inverted polarity. So when you go to mono, you're left with single tracked guitar.

You can compensate for losing the second part when the track is played back in mono with a little creative panning. The image isn't quite as wide, but it's a nice compromise when LR guitars seems too cliche but you don't want to loose mono compatibility with mid side.

The first file (LR) is just that. Hard panned LR doubled guitar.
The second (MS) is the result of mid side processing on file 1.

The picture shows what I did to preserve some of the second take when it folds down to mono. (compensated)
Attached Thumbnails
NO double tracking-panning.jpg  
Attached Files

mid side guitars LR.wav (5.66 MB, 5597 views)

mid side guitars MS.wav (5.66 MB, 5587 views)

mid side guitars mono.wav (2.83 MB, 5433 views)

mid side guitars compensated MS.wav (5.66 MB, 5495 views)

mid side guitars compensated mono.wav (2.83 MB, 5492 views)

Old 21st September 2012
  #22
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K. Osborne's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
The wall of sound with guitars gets old, in any genre. It's so much more interesting to have each guitar playing a different part. I really like having totally different pickups too, like neck on one and bridge on the other, or one humbucking and the other single or p90. Really seems to create a lot more separation in the parts, you can pick out what each is playing, and of they go to similar parts in the chorus or something (ie they're sort of doubling themselves) it's still easy to pick out the parts.

Doubling can sound good if you're looking for a specific "pad like" quality to the guitars. Almost like for a bridge or something. Through the whole song it's just awful in most cases. I will say, going to big doubled guitars in the chorus is something I'm trying to stay away from because it's just soo expected.
Old 21st September 2012
  #23
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Do whatever you think is cool or sounds good.

No, double tracking is not the best. Quad (4) tracking is the way to go, Metallica's Black Album sounds pretty good.

Just kidding, single/double/quad tracking... I don't think it matters so much. It probably depends more on what you play, what equipment you use, and how you mix it, and of course - how you want it.
Old 21st September 2012
  #24
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K. Osborne's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Another point to consider - a lot of times n00b engineers insist on doubling / tripling / quad tracking once they hear how it sounds. It becomes as addictive as compression or plugins..haha.

The problem is, it's sort of a crutch. The mix isn't sounding good enough on its own, not harmonically rich enough, so adding another source adds a richness that's hard to explain. In reality, it would have been better to just get the right tone for a single guitar that sounded rich and full (even via close mics + room mics, amp combinations, whatever) and then build from that.
Old 21st September 2012
  #25
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Silent Sound's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I've been getting away from double tracking recently. I'm sure I'll come back to it at some point, but lately I've been into recording everything DI. From there I reamp out to at least two different guitar amps, sometimes more, and then come mix time, reuse the DI with an amp sim plug. This gives me three or more tracks of guitar to work with. One thing to watch out for is phase relationships. Some amps will play 180ΒΊ out of phase of others. Also the DI will usually lag a bit, but these are easy fixes. The result is a thick and heavy, yet very tightly controlled sound.

This is probably just another fad I'm currently going through. It seems like every few months I get hung up on some "new" way to record something and that takes over for a while, until the next "new" way comes along.
Old 21st September 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
It is way overused. Sometimes it is way overused by me.
Old 26th September 2012
  #27
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I am curious what they did on No One Knows by QOTSA with the guitars. It definitely sounds single tracked however it sounds rather wide to me. Does anybody know exactly what they did here?

OLDENGLISH, I can't see the track that you posted for some reason its just a white box.
Old 26th September 2012
  #28
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jtienhaara's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
At least nobody is using flangers to widen guitars any more. *Shudder*

All the talk of interlocking guitar harmonies makes me nostalgic for Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime.

Love the M/S trick recordinghopkins. I want to try it out on everything, even drums!
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #29
Vogon
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by K. Osborne ➑️
Another point to consider - a lot of times n00b engineers insist on doubling / tripling / quad tracking once they hear how it sounds. It becomes as addictive as compression or plugins..haha.

The problem is, it's sort of a crutch. The mix isn't sounding good enough on its own, not harmonically rich enough, so adding another source adds a richness that's hard to explain.
Don't you really think that single and double tracking (any instruments) are just two different techniques that may bear subjective advantages depending on context?
Compression and plugins are addictions? Used by "n00bs"?
Old 26th September 2012 | Show parent
  #30
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recordinghopkins's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Be sure to share your results!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtienhaara ➑️
<snip>

Love the M/S trick recordinghopkins. I want to try it out on everything, even drums!
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