Panning stereo mix

I’m recording my band on a behringer MX3242 mixer, with the main outputs of the board going into the line in of my trusty soundblaster 16 PCI sound card. I’d like to record so that I have a nice stereo field of all instruments. I’ve got acoustic guitar and left drum overhead panned 8 o’clock left, and electric guitar and right drum overhead 4 o’clock right. Bass guitar and bass drum are right up the middle.

I’ve got it set to record in stereo with two separate mono tracks. After recording, I do have two tracks, but my left track is MUCH more lively than the right. If I solo the right track, I do hear predominantly electric guitar, which is what I would think is correct. When I play it back though, it sounds like everything is up the middle, which isn’t what I want …

Any ideas on how to record a stereo mix properly given my setup so it plays back panned like I have it on the external mixer?

have you tried recording it as a single stereo track as well? then use the pan feature to hear the different sides?

by “MUCH more lively” do you mean your left side is louder? or looks louder in the waveform?

as far as playback do you possibly have the mono/stereo button turned to mono in the master output section? There’s a little button that looks like two ovals. that switches it back and forth.

You have two mono tracks which by definition mean they come out of both sides equally. To hear a more stereo sound, you need to PAN the mono tracks. Pan what you call the LEFT Track to the LEFT and pan what you call the RIGHT track to the RIGHT.

Dave T2

Yes, the much more lively refers to the left waveform being a lot bigger than the right.

For playback I do have the mono/stereo button switched to stereo.

I have not recorded it as a single stereo track. If I did that though, how would I properly set the panning? Sounds like to get what I need I’ll need to do some n-track panning to these tracks?

For a stereo track, the left channel goes to the left side, and the right channel goes to the right side.

For mono tracks, use the track’s mixer to adjust the PAN control to far left or far right. By default, tracks are panned center.

BTW, if guitar is mostly on one side or the other, you probably won’t end up with a “nice stereo field of all the instruments”. You’ll end up with an unbalanced mix. But no doubt this is just for learning anyway. If you’re serious about recording a band, you need to record more than two channels.

For 2-channel live recordings, here’s an old trick. Record one track mono from the house mix, and the other from a mike in front of the stage (where it’ll get all the instruments but not too much from the house mains or floor monitors). When you play it back on your stereo, adjust the balance to taste. The result sounds a lot better than you might think (though not suitable for distribution). Best of all, you can hear what the instruments are doing, what the vocals are doing, and what the sound guy is doing!

You could use the same trick in rehearsal, using the vocal mix for one track and a room mike for the other.