Why double track rhythm guitars?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Willyjacksonjs22-7, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. Willyjacksonjs22-7

    Willyjacksonjs22-7 Banned

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    When playing everything sounds full and rich but why when recording it sounds small, thin, etc that we have to double track guitar parts. Why can’t microphones capture one single recording and sound the same as when we are playing? Just curiosity, what’s the science behind this?
     
  2. Alexa run my life

    Alexa run my life SS.org Regular

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    Isnt the purpose of double tracking to pan the guitars coming out of both the left and right speaker? Are you asking why people dont record one guitar and leave it panned in the center?
     
  3. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    You double track guitars to GET IT to sound the way it does in the room....you're recording a mono signal, when you're playing you're hearing how it interacts with the room, multiple speakers etc so it sounds a lot bigger. Same for using plugins/headphones, you're hearing that signal split into both ears, so it sounds huge.
    You're not recording that, you're recording a guitar signal, which in and of itself is usually pretty small and weak.

    Double tracking allows you to pan it to the left and right to fill a bigger sonic space. amd make it more like what you hear playing live or into headphones.

    You can use two mics to record two different amps at the same time, but it's still the same performance, meaning it's only going to be that one thing that you've heard.

    If TWO people on opposite sides of the room using two guitars/amps/cabs/mics record the same thing, it sounds huge.....which is what you hear at concerts etc.....double tracking simulates that, plus the little mistakes/timing changes etc make it sound bigger than it really is.
     
  4. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Personally I wouldn't draw much of a connection between room sound, and double tracking on a recording.
    Indeed you are hearing reflections of the room and reverb etc. It's not that double tracking is necessary to make it sound like that though - You can record with a room mic and it will sound like that, but that isn't the tight up close sound we have come to want from a recording. And it's not so much that the tight up close sound of a close mic isn't good - just that multiple layered takes has become the standard we are used to listening to (just the same as pop vocals and various things - over time recordings have been made to sound bigger and better than past norms - and double tracking is a good way to do this). If room sound was the solution, we would just record a single guitar with a room mic
     
  5. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Hm, I find this an interesting topic.

    What if, though, we did record with room mics instead? I mean I've always thought close mics do sound pretty weak really, and room mics by themselves sound much better. So what if you were to actually do a proper recording but double track/layer room mics in a great sounding room instead of close micing? Surely it must be possible to make something pretty sweet out of that? Why doesn't anybody do that?
     
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  6. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    In my limited experiences, room mics may sound "better" when that's all you're hearing, but get absolutely *lost* in any sort of mix.

    but you can *add* room mics.

     
  7. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I think this is a good question: why can’t we record a guitar and gave it sound like it does live? In theory we should be able to mix it and have it sound the same, but it doesn’t.
     
  8. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Yep. I often blend in a little bit, but that sound just doesn't cut it. After all, when was the last time you heard a metal live show that was truly as clear as the record? The fatness and reverb can be enjoyable, but it's generally not what we're after in the mix.
     
  9. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    Older albums used room mics (like Zep etc.) and they sounded big but either way just experiement and if you like it then you can't go wrong. If you want something like you hear using modern methods though then modern methods is likely what you want. Just experiment.
     
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  10. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    That certainly is one of the early lessons when recording: the microphone 'hears' things differently than our ears, and consequently there is much to do to get the recording to match.
     
  11. StevenC

    StevenC SS.org Regular

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    Meshuggah in 2017 and Vektor in 2016, but I don't think I've been to any metal shows since then.
     
  12. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Double tracking guitar is done specifically for the effect of multiple instruments played in unison, just like an classical orchestra. The slightly variations in timing and pitch create spaciousness, delays and chorus. When the tracks are panned differently it becomes even more spacious.
    Nothing to do with 'getting a live sound', recorded double-tracked guitars do not sound like a single live guitar.
     
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  13. FILTHnFEAR

    FILTHnFEAR Dread it, run from it....

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    Gojira on the Magma tour. The live mix sounded perfectly clear. It was pretty impressive.

    Russian Circles a year or so ago was rather notable as well.

    But yeah, it's kind of a rare thing.
     
  14. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    Saw Russian Circles back in ...December, maybe November, time's a blur with everything that's gone on; but yeah, they also sounded clear as hell when they were here.
     
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  15. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    Oh god yes, I also saw Meshuggah in 2017. I didn't think it was possible for their type of music to sound better live. Just as mechanically precise as the album, but suffused with so much energy. Incredible.
     
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  16. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    I figured the thread might go there - I did mutter "Meshuggah" under my own breath when I asked the question :lol: Fantastic indeed! But hopefully my point made sense
     
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  17. USMarine75

    USMarine75 The man who is tired of the anus is tired of life Contributor

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    Came in to post that exact vid lol.
     

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