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Calling all sound guys - 2 guitars stereo mix down to FOH?

GaryB

Inspired
The stereo or mono debate will never fall short of differing opinions. I've run stereo guitar for decades with a good measure of success, however I'm the only guitar in the band and my stereo sounds are not dramatic left and right type stuff. I'm using stereo as more of a "thickening agent" than anything else. Multiple stereo guitar signals is more of a challenge to mix and balance while keeping a reasonably consistent sound throughout the venue, but certainly not impossible by any stretch. At the very least, from a sound tech perspective, I would NEVER want a pre-mixed signal coming to me at FOH. I'd rather deal with 4 guitars, all running in stereo, where I have control over all 8 channels, then to have two of anything sent to me pre-mixed. What sounds good in your monitors or IEM's is likely not going to translate to a good mix out front. As a sound tech, I'd say you worry about the stage, let me worry about FOH.
 
Seems like MONO is prob the best option for two guitarists, and yes I completely agree that STEREO does not translate well in LIVE, at least not for anyone outside that ZONE. SoO...if I wanna switch to mono is it as easy as just setting my output to COPY L to R on the axe-fx or should i do a SUM L& R?
 

BrickGlass

Inspired
Seems like MONO is prob the best option for two guitarists, and yes I completely agree that STEREO does not translate well in LIVE, at least not for anyone outside that ZONE. SoO...if I wanna switch to mono is it as easy as just setting my output to COPY L to R on the axe-fx or should i do a SUM L& R?
This is the same question I have. Do you just do sum L/R and give the sound guy one cable?
 

chris

Legend!
it depends exactly what's going on in your tone. i've shared this countless times:

i personally leave my Axe set to Stereo Output and just give 1 cable to the mixer. i don't have anything hard-panned, and my presets sound good with just that single cable, one side "missing." yes, my choruses pan, but it is just a different sound with the missing side, nothing is really missing, and it still sounds like a chorus. i use stereo delays, but with one side missing, perhaps i just have 1 delay - that's fine for what i do and what i've set.

if i DO go stereo, it's ready to go and i just use 2 cables and bam, done.

if you hard pan things for tone purposes, yes you will miss "data" with this method. if you use a Summing method like L+R, you risk phase cancellation where things can sound really bad depending on specific settings. so as with anything you need to audition your presets the way you'll use them to see if it's acceptable.
 

Doostain

Member
As a sound guy at a large brewery/eatery, if you showed up with a Helix, I would laugh and say you get 1 channel...you ain't David Gilmore. It would be a cluster fuck trying to mix 4 guitar signals, changing sides all the time. What if your both only coming out the left speaker for half a song or even 20 seconds? Who do people look and yell at...the sound guy, nobody in the crowd of drunken fools cares that your delay block bounced back and forth for a solo...just like I tell tube amp guys...nobody cares how warm your tubes are, save it for the studio. I need the stage volume low as possible, let the monitors do work, because your bass player thinks his shins have ears and is way too loud (no mains for you buddy) it's eating up the monitors so your vocalist can't hear himself, your other guitar player keeps touching knobs after sound check and has no clue what gain staging is with his garbage pedal board and his signal is all over the place, and Mr hot tubes won't let me do my job. But, if you run your own IEMs, definitely do it in stereo for your own listening pleasure
 

chris

Legend!
I find it amusing the amount that think running stereo guitar means everything is obviously hard panned lol.
the first post mentioned it specifically, so people are addressing what was asked, specifically.

so my theory was two channels DI to FOH and have sound guy treat them like TWO guitarists each channel panned hard or on stereo pair....

FOH would recieve two channels and plug into individual MONO channels like normal and could literally treat the L as Guitar 1 and R as Guitar 2 panning each to one side of course at the board....

All rhythms would be kept panned hard to each side and all leads, solos, cleans would be panned Center, using the pedal.
 

chris

Legend!
And there he is again... every time I comment....
i'm not singling you out at all, ever. if anyone said what you said, i would answer the exact same way because what you said doesn't fit the thread. the OP asked about hard panning, so people answered about hard panning. that's all. i could have easily said something different.
 

biskitboy

Power User
Meh, I just set all effects to mono and sum L+R. Am I wrong?
If it sounds right, there is nothing wrong. I basically do the same thing that @chris mentions earlier. I make sure both L and R can stand on there own. I then make sure that if I SUM L+R it still sounds correct and there are no cancellations, etc. That particular test is done because that's what would happen on the board if the FOH guy decides to not hard pan my L/R signal. The rest of the stereo field is just gravy.

If your effects or tone really can't stand on it's own in each channel, then IMO you should think about changing that. I'm sure there might be use cases for it, but in general I'd avoid it. When I run FOH, I have no issues getting stereo feeds from the guitarists. Each feed is panned hard L/R. I already know the guys playing aren't trying to have different tones or effects that only work if every audience member had a set of headphones on.

I guess I'm lazy. I just want my presets to sound proper in either stereo or mono fields. I don't want to have 2 versions of a preset. I have definitely screwed up many years ago by doing ping-pong delays and the like. Once I realized some of those truly hard-panned effects get lost, I ditched them.

I can definitely understand the simplicity of just going the Mono only route. Nothing wrong with that. I just like gravy on my biskits and go stereo always. ;)
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
As a sound guy at a large brewery/eatery, if you showed up with a Helix, I would laugh and say you get 1 channel...you ain't David Gilmore. It would be a cluster fuck trying to mix 4 guitar signals, changing sides all the time. What if your both only coming out the left speaker for half a song or even 20 seconds? Who do people look and yell at...the sound guy, nobody in the crowd of drunken fools cares that your delay block bounced back and forth for a solo...just like I tell tube amp guys...nobody cares how warm your tubes are, save it for the studio. I need the stage volume low as possible, let the monitors do work, because your bass player thinks his shins have ears and is way too loud (no mains for you buddy) it's eating up the monitors so your vocalist can't hear himself, your other guitar player keeps touching knobs after sound check and has no clue what gain staging is with his garbage pedal board and his signal is all over the place, and Mr hot tubes won't let me do my job. But, if you run your own IEMs, definitely do it in stereo for your own listening pleasure
Lol! This guy has definitely mixed some bands!

As someone who has also mixed bands, I know who the crowd looks at when one side of a signal disappears, or a solo volume is suddenly thunderous (in a bad way) because the guitarist "tweaked" his settings without letting you know. Some bad onstage habits can't even be overcome FOH because the stage volume is actually overriding the mains.

If you have something really special you want to attempt, talk to the sound man and see if it'll translate. Normally, he'll be straight with you about it, and return the respect of your asking. Face it, if he's a dick about it, you can imagine what he's going to do to your channel(s) if you just send him surprises... mute buttons are made for that. But sometimes you'll find a good soundman will be more pumped than you to pull off something genuinely creative.

To the OP, though... mono is the way if you are doing short sound checks with a sound guy you don't work with regularly. Make his job easier and he's more likely to make you sound good.
 

Techboy57

Inspired
wow, so you are filling up a lot more space with this panning technique vs. going hard left and right. Interesting.
Being the sound guy and a guitarist in a band has its advantages, I've tried to create a wide sonic soundscape. And since we are all using in ears and going direct including the drums I can place things where I want. I know this is self-indulgent, but that's how we wanted it, we are in total control.

Both guitarists have fractals and our lead vocalist plays acoustic guitar, so we try to cover different sonic palettes. I go for more cutting tones and my other guitarists for darker tones. The fact that I use my own digital Mixer (Mackie DL32R) affords me the luxury of presetting and tweaking the sound without the band. I can use the multitrack from rehearsals or shows to fine tune the mix for FOH and IEM mixes. and each musician can control their mixes via an Ipad app.
 

s0c9

Moderator
Moderator
As a sound guy at a large brewery/eatery, if you showed up with a Helix, I would laugh and say you get 1 channel...you ain't David Gilmore. It would be a cluster fuck trying to mix 4 guitar signals, changing sides all the time. What if your both only coming out the left speaker for half a song or even 20 seconds? Who do people look and yell at...the sound guy, nobody in the crowd of drunken fools cares that your delay block bounced back and forth for a solo...just like I tell tube amp guys...nobody cares how warm your tubes are, save it for the studio. I need the stage volume low as possible, let the monitors do work, because your bass player thinks his shins have ears and is way too loud (no mains for you buddy) it's eating up the monitors so your vocalist can't hear himself, your other guitar player keeps touching knobs after sound check and has no clue what gain staging is with his garbage pedal board and his signal is all over the place, and Mr hot tubes won't let me do my job. But, if you run your own IEMs, definitely do it in stereo for your own listening pleasure
That made me laugh HEARTILY !!! SO TRUE !!!
Been there, done that, go the ENTIRE T-Shirt collection!!
 
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