Cloning tracks

If you haven’t tried it…

This may be an old revelation; I don’t know. But, I was mixing a song last night and being disgusted with the lack of overall fullness of the sound, I started looking for some way to get this fullness of sound that I have been missing all this time.

So, I decided to clone the drum track. And, to my surprise, the drums became much fuller! So, I cloned the bass track; same thing! So, I thought, why stop there? I cloned all the tracks, and there it was! The sound is so much fuller, and broader sounding; I was amazed! !!!

Anybody else out there using this technique for their recording? Tell me what you think.


Sure… You can make a “fake” stereo image from a mono track by cloning the track, offsetting the clone by a few milliseconds, and then panning both of the tracks away from eachother.
Also applying different EQ and/or FX, etc… can lead to interesting results.


Here’s a question: does it sound fuller simply because it is louder? the thing to do is to render and normalize a single track, and then render and normalize an original plus a clone, so that the levels are the same, then do an A/B.

Or: might it be the case that the cloned track is just slightly out of time with the original? If so, then some comb filtering might be occuring.

What else might explain the effect?


Keep cloning everything so that everything is fuller and then nothing will sound bigger. It’s about context.

My guess is it’s just been made louder, especially if the new tracks haven’t been panned…

Cloning tracks with no offset just makes them louder… you’re fooling your self. Had you just turned up the master volume you would have had the same effect. I encourage you to look into compresion a bit as I suspect that is one tool you may be missing in making your tracks a little more kaboomified.

It actually increases the fullness and the volume without actually driving the master volume any higher. I kind of liken it to the difference between recording on an 8 track 1/4" reel as compared to a 24 track 2" reel. You know that if you record on a 2" reel, you’re going to get a much bigger sound.

I believe what I’m seeing is more head room. And, there are no offset problems; everything is in perfect sync.

I tried this last night:

1. Remixed a song with just the effects I needed for the individual tracks, and with pans set like I needed them. Compressed them with Classic compressor “Premastering” setting.

2. Took that mix, and brought it into a new screen, and cloned it. I did 3 clones, found that to be a bit too much, so I took out 1.

3. Then I used Classic Master compression, set it on 2, and turned up the Master fader, adjusted some EQ, and now I’m getting a much bigger sounding mix.

I play hard rock which I know is harder to mix than acoustic music. Plus, my music is like a wall of sound. If anybody has any other suggestions, I would like to read them.



3. Then I used Classic Master compression, set it on 2, and turned up the Master fader, adjusted some EQ, and now I’m getting a much bigger sounding mix.

Sure you get a bigger mix this way. But it’s the compressor. Not the extra clone.
As Bubba said: you would have got exactly the same result by setting the track fader at +6dB.

The sound was already bigger before I sent it through Classic Master. If it’s useless to clone tracks, then why has Flavio even bothered to add it into the software?

Maybe we should ask him why he gave us track cloning.


here’s the deal. cloning the track is an EXACT copy of the original. If you take a mono track and clone it, then pan each track to the hard left/hard right, you’ll find that your sound isn’t stereo, it’s still mono. Why? because when you play a track in the center, the exact same signal is sent to both speakers. now, if you copy the track exactly, and send each one to each side of the mix, you’re STILL getting the exact same signal in each speaker.

Keeping that in mind, if you pan two signals that were left and right together you end up with a +6dB boost…

Literally all you are doing is turning up the volume on each cloned track 6dB and the brain likes louder things. So sorry, you’re fooling yourself. If you add a compressor and other such devices to the mix then it’ll be changing it. Your post merely shows your lack of knowledge about how audio works, at least in the digital domain. I don’t mean this to sound rude at all, so please take it as constructive criticism.

The reason Flavio added cloning is for a number of operations where you say, want three guitar tracks, each with a different effect. You can clone and then do that. There are other uses for cloning as well such as taking a mono track and creating a fake stereo image by cloning/panning offsetting and eq’ing them differently. Other uses are more creative. I’ve found that using the groups, and auxillary offer the same options though and rarely use cloning any longer.

I clone tracks all the time, but usually so I can process them differently (say I am doing a M/S and I clone the S track to put it out of phase.) Seriously, all you have done is added 6db to the volume. Sorry man, but the laws of math and physics apply to us all.

I record all my tracks in stereo. I’m not so naive to think that I could get stereo out of 2 mono signals. That wasn’t the point I was making.

I’ve recorded all my tracks, mixed them compressed them, and still have not gotten the fullness of sound that you would hear on a commercially produced CD.

I understand that they get this fullness from the MASTERING process. It is this fullness that I am attempting to duplicate.

You say that all I’m doing is boosting the volume up 6 db, but the total volume out on the n-track MASTER VOLUME VU meter never goes up. It stays the same.

Sorry I brought it up.

Then something else is going on. You may have other effects that are being cloned with the tracks and are not just doubling the wav files perhaps? The basic operation of clong a raw track just increases the wave’s amplitude which is simply a volume increase. I don’t doubt you are hearing a change, but I question what is really causing the difference. As I said, two identical waves played back at the same time just create an amplitude increase which is simply an increase in volume. The cloning process can clone effects, panning, all sorts of things. I would encourage you to take a raw track… no effects, EQ, or anything else, and clone it. Then, compare it to what happens when you increase the gain. It should (should being the key word) sound identical. If it doesn’t do the same thing, something else is in this equation behind the scenes.

Jeff, cloning a track and making no changes to settings on the track is absolutely positively identical to pushing the fader up 6dB. Period. It’s not at all like doubling tracks on tape, which is a completely different thing and does increase S/N ratio (by 3dB), or using more tape width per track.

A 1/4" 8-track is 8 tracks per inch. A 2" 24-track is 6 tracks per inch. More tape, ergo, higher S/N ratio, and more dynamic range. In the digital realm, the only way to get more dynamic range is to add bits. Your recorded tracks are either 16-bit or 24-bit, and inside n-Track during mixing/playback they’re converted to 32-bit floating point. There is NO increase in dynamic range by duplicating a track because you’re not adding more bits to the 32-bit floating point “mix bus”.

The reason Flavio implemented “clone track” is because it’s useful for making a copy and then making changes to the copy. A common (overused) practice is to clone a track and drag it a tiny bit to the right, and then pan the two tracks apart.

Importantly, never underestimate our power to fool ourselves. If we thing A sounds better than B, we will HEAR a difference – even if it’s not there. It’s not crazy, it’s the power of suggestion, which is very strong. I’ve fallen prey to it many times myself. Sometimes I have to set up a blind study to really learn whether something makes a difference. Another approach is to make several “blind” adjustments, e.g., using the mouse wheel to adjust a parameter, dropping it all the way down and bringing it back up with eyes shut. Each time, note the setting. If I adjust to about the same amount each time for three tries, I know I’m actually hearing and judging the effect. Of course, that doesn’t really apply in this case.

The reason the master volume isn’t going up is you probably have “adjust master volume for number of tracks” turned on. Turn that off and try again.

Everyone here is telling you the same thing, and based on a good understanding of the underlying math and psychoacoustics, trust me, they’re telling you the truth. Now, what you have to do is to figure out how that truth fits with your observations, which is often difficult because the observations seem to contradict it. But it’s REALLY TRUE and mathmatically provable. Few facts in reality are as cut-and-dried true as this kind of thing. This one’s a 100% dead-on no doubt about it, even Descartes wouldn’t doubt it kind of thing.

And again, never underestimate the power of suggestion. It’s remarkably strong. I bet I can get an “Amen” to that from the choir here. :wink:

I realize that this is an old thread, but I’ve been up all night so I can claim that my judgement is impaired :)

I just wanted to suggest a way to definitely tell if cloning a track is or is not any different than turning the volume up 6 dB. Ready?

0) First, make sure that the option to “automatically decrease volume as tracks are added” is NOT checked. Just for simplicity’s sake.

1) Record something, anything, or grab a wave file you already have. Make it short and mono just for simplicity’s sake. Make sure there’s no clipping! We’ll call this “A”.

2) Take that mono wave file (“A”) into a new n-Track session. Turn the fader on the track to -6.

3) Clone that track. Now you have two identical tracks each at -6 (which should theoretically be the same volume as one at 0). Mix this down to a mono wave file, we’ll call it “B”. Now, theoretically, “B” will be identical to “A”.

4) New session. Import A and B; flip the phase on one. Make sure your volumes, panning, and EQ are the same! What do you hear?

If jsmeyers is correct, we should hear something. Why? Because if A and B are not identical, then they won’t completely cancel each other out when they are at opposing phases.

If everybody else is correct, we will hear nothing because they will be identical and will completely cancel out when their phases are opposite.

And that’s how you tell if your ears are tricking you or not!

(And please let me know if I’ve got this wrong somehow! Remember, judgement impaired.)


Much easier than that.

1. Turn off "automatically decrease volume as tracks are added"
2. Clone your track.
3. Do a mix down with both tracks at 0 db.
4. Mute one of the tracks and then turn the remaining track up 6 db and mix down.
5. Do your phase flip comparison.

Right, if you need to convince yourself, that’s the way. Except for one thing: it’s really closer to 6.02dB, or really, 20 log(2). So, expect there to be a tiny signal left.

Here are the facts: A signal added to itself is the same signal with twice the amplitude. That’s true based on the definition of ADDITION. (I.e., 1 + 1 = 2, 2 + 2 = 4). Now, due to the definition of the Decibel (dB), twice the amplitude is 20 * log(2), which is roughly 6.0205999.

There are lots of things in audio that are subjective. This one ain’t one of them: it’s a matter of simple calculations and there are no two ways about it. Either n-Track works this way or it’s broken. Period. You can ask anyone who knows the first thing about audio from a technical perspective (because this pretty much IS the first thing about audio from a technical perspective: the defintion of the unit used to measure it, the dB).

BTW, this is also true for analog, except that noise and other factors enter in, so for analog, while the dB part is correct, the noise added by the recording medium adds differently (being uncorrelated, you get only a 3dB increase), so you get a higher S/N ratio. With digital, the noise added by the recording medium is quantization noise and is identical in both tracks, and thus is 100% correlated, and thus adds the same as the signal.

OK, I’ll get off my high horse now! :p

Man! Good things here.

Bubba: my first thought was to go up, but I wanted to allow for the possibility of clipping if you turned a wave up 6 db. (I guess I tend to record pretty hot :wink: ).

Learjeff: Ohhh! I actually tried a short version of this experiment (imported wave, turned it down, cloned it, and then imported a 3rd copy and flipped the phase) and was baffled to find that there was still signal, at around -60db. Thanks for the math lesson!


With Bubba’s method, you have to mix down to 32 bit format if the track peaks over -6.02 dB. 32-bit floating point format doesn’t actually clip the signal unless the signal goes over roughly 700dB, which I think would be about the SPL of a nuclear bomb. (10 dB is twice as loud, 60dB SPL is conversational level, so 700dB SPL would be 2^64 times as loud as conversational level, or roughly 10^19 – ten billion billion – times as loud. Pretty darn loud! Maybe an H-bomb would be quiet in comparison.)

Hello everyone,

I’m glad to see my can-o-worms is still open, hehehe!

I’m beginning to see that there are some among us who have maybe gone to sound recording school?

(and I wasted my money on getting an electronics degree :p )

I’m just sort of flying this thing by the seat of my pants (well, ears actually).

So, maybe some of you smarty-pants sound recording school types would be willing to share everything you can in one forum with those of us who are otherwise engineering nitwits; maybe, perhaps?

Don’t be hatin’

Jeff :cool: