Developing wide stereo ambiance sound in your recording

b. Track doubling + Delay

This technique is the artificial version of “Double recording”. But this artificial doubling creates reality like double recording. This is applicable if it is not possible to do double recording due to constraint in time and budget at the studio for example.

To do this, is to record only one track then put it in the left first (example panned to your desired settings). After that, duplicate that same track using your software (most recording software can do this), and move that duplicated track to the right (panned using the same settings as the other channel).

It now creates stereo (combinations of two mono tracks panned in the left and right of the stereo field). The most popular example is the guitar double tracking.

To further improve the ambiance, you can add delay to one mono track. The delay should be short enough just to add some space, not to create some obvious timing problems when heard by any listener.

c. Reverb mono sources

This is also a great effect to use. This simulates real listening, in which two mono sources are of different distances to the listener. By some Doppler principle, it will create some delays in the ear creating ambiance and wide stereo sound.

To do is to have one completely dry track (no effects of reverb), then put it in the left (for example panned -50). Then on the right, place the duplicated track with some reverb to it. The reverb must be natural and around 500ms to 1500ms is enough.

Adobe audition screenshot

Adobe audition screenshot

If you are looking for more information about implementing reverb, you can read the following great tutorials:

1.) Introductory guide on reverb implementation – for beginners.

2.) Best practices on vocal reverb – learn the professional way of using this effect in your mix.

d. Chorus and Flanger on mono tracks

This is similar to reverb mono sources, but put some chorus or flanger effect instead of the reverb effect.

Important: Since putting some reverb, chorus or flanger will cause the track to decrease in volume, it is important to have both tracks at highly similar volume for this effect to realistically work or else it will sound mono (one source is stronger than the other).

Finally one of the most important technique is learning the front and back concept of audio mixing. As you already know panning is a method you can implement to move tracks from other left to right side of your stereo field.

However, an equally important aspect is the front/back mixing. Setting this correctly, you can make a dull mix into a realistic live sounding performance. For example, if you would like to make the vocals in front while the rest of the instrumentation at the back.

Reverb are just one of the effects you can use to push the instruments either in front or back in the mix. There are other effects you can rely to improve the ambiance and feel of your mix. You can read that post for more details.

Content last updated on October 21, 2012