Quad tracking for a very wide sound

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Depraved, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. Depraved

    Depraved SS.org Regular

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    Hello forum, my band is looking to quad track our guitars as to get a very wide sound. Similar to Deftones ( notably diamond eyes and tracks similar in tone/wideness ), Sworn In ( The Lovers/The Devil ), Meshuggah, etc.

    Idk about Deftones or Meshuggah but I know for SI's new album, Will Putney had them quad track the guitars do to them playing some heavy sounding .... on one string. We've incorporated similar one string techniques, and we are huge fans of Deftones and I just wanted some pointers as to how to get this extremely wide, heavy as .... sound!

    Tips as to quad tracking and tone building to have really wide feeling chugs and bendy heavy s... ?

    ( also on a side note, we play in Drop G and Drop F on what we're writing )
     
  2. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Just make sure your playing is incredibly tight. Experiment with different amp models, try panning two of the same to the left side vs. one of each amp on each side. Your ears will tell you what's best. Also I believe it is common to have one track panned 100% left and another 100% right, with the other two tracks panned between 60-80% right and left.
    Again, experiment. Two amps that compliment each other are a Recto and a Marshall for example. If you can't use two amp models experiment with the EQ of each panned track, maybe have less low end on the hard panned tracks and a scooped midrange on the tracks aligned more center.
     
  3. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Quad tracking won;t give you a wider sound, it will make things thicker. The wideness is probably from monoizing the low end and applying stereo widening plugs (that are not mono compatible).
     
  4. drgamble

    drgamble SS.org Regular

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    One way to achieve a wider sound is to use a technique like the Haas technique. Basically, you would hard pan 2 guitars, 1 Left, 1 Right and then send each signal to a delay set at 10-25 ms and hard pan the delay opposite of the channel that you sent it from. So for example, you send the Left guitar to a delay and pan the delay sound to the right. You then mix the delay in typically at least 10 db lower. You have to play around with the delay times and gain to get the best effect. Mixing Audio: The Haas Trick By Roey Izhaki | Audio Undone
     
  5. steelyad

    steelyad Hop Pole Studios

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    I agree with everyone so far except for the Haas technique.
    Tightness is key, different amps/settings/mic choices for one pair and another pair helps make it sound bigger and fill an EQ spectrum, butt quad tracking in and of itself does NOT make things wider stereo-wise.
    Haas will result terrible problems with picking out detail and sitting in a mix for something as crucial as rhythm guitars - it's something I reserve for less mix-critical elements, like background synths and textures, since losing them in a mono/near-mono environment is not the end of the world.
    I believe joey sturgis has made a guitar widening plugin which he claims doesn't affect mono/stereo issues....

    One trick I use to make guitars sound a little wider is send them to a very short room reverb (like 0.1-0.2s)....
     
  6. Lokasenna

    Lokasenna SS.org Regular

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    Like tedtan, I'd also recommend against using the Haas effect or fancy stereo wideners unless you need them. There are better ways to do it, like Mid/Side processing, that won't screw with your mix as much.


    The easiest way to think about stereo width is this: Difference = Width. The more different your two sides, the wider it will sound. Different amps on each side, different guitars, different cabs, different EQ, etc. Eventually you'll hit a point where the mix sounds lopsided; for instance, if your left side has a mid-heavy Marshall tone and the right is a scooped Recto. At that point, you could remove some of those differences by, say, using two different amps but the same cabinet on both, and you can also correct the difference a little with EQ applied to one side or the other; scoop out the Marshall a little, or bump the mids on the Boogie.

    As a starting point, I'd suggest finding two tones you like and double-tracking each of them:

    Marshall L
    Mesa L
    Mesa R
    Marshall R

    Personally I'd pan the more-scooped of the two all the way to 100 and the other to 80, but panning is a matter of taste.

    If that's not enough, try the same thing but with two guitars, one for each side:

    Marshall L w/ Gibson
    Mesa L w/ Gibson
    Mesa R w/ Fender
    Marshall R w/ Fender

    If that's STILL not enough width, consider complementary EQ - a small notch on the left at whatever frequency you like, and a matching boost on the right. Then the same thing at a different frequency but with the boosts/cuts swapped. Nothing big, just a db or two to make the two sides a little more different.

    For heaviness, there's always the trick Metallica used on Master and the Black Album - apparently they quad-tracked everything and then did another pair of takes just on the low strings, panned at like 40 or 50 to either side, just to make the chuggy parts heavier.
     
  7. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    I agree with this as well. Haas effect and stereo wideners also bring about phasing issues that, unless your ears suck, are completely noticeable and unnatural sounding.

    That said, I'll say the best thing you can do is quad track and pan two guitars fully left and two fully right if wideness is what you're going for. It will also add heaviness/fullness. If you start panning them less than 100% full L/R you can increase the apparent heaviness if panned in *small* amounts away from full on L/R, but you will definitely lose width. Some may disagree, but try it yourself. I've personally always found the stereo width to feel less wide with even a 20% towards center pan on two of the guitars. The suggestions of using different guitars or amps is a great one, I personally would not just EQ them slightly differently as it just doesn't really cut it IMO.

    With all that said, may I also suggest not doing more than quad tracking? This is my solely my personal opinion, but I feel when going more than four guitars the mix starts to noticeably lose from the effect. Again, this can be argued and I don't doubt many have done it successfully, but I've personally found it becomes too much and starts to detract from the overall affect trying to be achieved.

    Rev.
     
  8. DavidTheGoliath

    DavidTheGoliath SS.org Regular

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    learning new stuff itt, thanks for the insight fellas
     
  9. Depraved

    Depraved SS.org Regular

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    Honestly I already knew about the amp blending/using two separate amps, EQ tricks you guys mentioned, and the panning tricks

    I guess I was already ready to start quad tracking after all haha

    I didn't know about the Metallica trick though, definitely gonna try that out

    Thanks for all the help anyways guys! Was mostly trying to see if there was anything I didn't already know anyway :)
     
  10. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, not much to add here as most of the advice is good - really NAIL your performances, pan one set 100% and another set a little tighter than that... I'd also suggest having at least one pair of tracks quite a bit cleaner than you'd think you'd need, to get a really clear, defined, pronounced attack. Layer that against an equally tight gainier track, and you'll get something that's really thick but also present and punchy, which IMO will help create more perceived width.
     
  11. noUser01

    noUser01 Still can't play.

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    Quad tracking doesn't make things wider, it just beefs things up.

    If you want wide sounding guitars, there are no "tricks", really. EQ first and foremost, if you don't get rid of and nasally, boxy, cardboardy frequencies it's going to narrow the sound. Any ugly, sharp resonances can be sucked out to give a lot more clarity and width. You can also pull in your overheads a little to make the guitars seem wider (pan OH's 90 and guitars 100, for example). Whatever you want to be the widest, pan the widest, then pan everything else just shy of that. I don't like stereo widening on guitars as a whole, but a slight bit of multi-band frequency widening on the high end of your master bus can give just that little bit extra width to the entire mix, just by widening, say, 11kHz and up. Be subtle though, a little goes a long way. Make sure your quad tracks are SUPER tight, and use less gain than you think you need to, trust me. You'll get way more out of them.

    As a side note, from what I know of Putney's work, quad tracking is mostly just on really heavy parts like the breakdowns on Thy Art Is Murder's last couple records, and not the whole thing. You want to use quad tracking to create CONTRAST, not to make EVERYTHING heavier, because then there's no point.
     

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