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MONO or STEREO for Backing Tracks live?

I'm sure this has been answered at some point, but cannot find where.

We use backing tracks in our band but only for FX and Guitar II. My question is should we make the guitar II in the BT Big MONO or STEREO double tracked? My live guitar is in MONO w/Enhancer block widened all the way, on the classic setting and Delays and Reverb still in Stereo.

Should entire BT be MONO or STEREO? I assumed it was ok to leave the FX stuff in stereo, but could be wrong.
 

shadoe

Experienced
A lot of house sound guys I've used run a 2 guitar band panned about 70% each way. I would rather have each panned in stereo. It depeneds on style/gain/tone. It basically depends on what you're going for.
 
Well, we are a Djenty/Prog metal band with a lot of groovy riffs. In the studio and on our album we have a BIG sound, Guitars panned hard, double tracked etc. (periphery, Animals as Leaders, tesseract etc.) I would love to emulate that same sound in our live stuff, but I understand that live is different and not really conducive towards STEREO imaging (don't want someone on one side of venue to hear something different than other side etc) The Backing track guitar is used as Rhythm, some Leads and I play live the opposite (basically alternating between parts so I play every part at least once live...)

Ideally I want my rhythm guitars wider and my leads down the center in mono w/o running into STEREO imagine issues etc. Which is why I wonder if i need to bounce the backing tracks out in BIG MONO instead of Stereo Double tracked. Adding the Enhancer block for my live guitar seemed to help significantly in matching BT and Live sound. Im just curious what success/failures other guys have had using backing track guitars.
 

mwd

Power User
I think it depends on your venue size. We run totally in stereo and it sounds kick butt. The general consensus I believe would lean to mono due to the 'hole in the middle' syndrome. You can always setup for stereo and narrow the field all the way to mono if desired.
 
to further clarify, BT guitar acts as Rhythm most of the time while i'm playing leads or Rhythm 2 etc. So BT guitar is ALWAYS coming out of both PA speakers equally, as is my live guitar. I use pre-panned BT's and axe-fx Scenes to differentiate the image (wide, centered etc.)
 
I think it depends on your venue size. We run totally in stereo and it sounds kick butt. The general consensus I believe would lean to mono due to the 'hole in the middle' syndrome. You can always setup for stereo and narrow the field all the way to mono if desired.
I agree, venue size is important. When you say you guys run everything in stereo, are you using double tracked guitars panned hard 100 L&R?
 

AndyOrr

Experienced
Safest bet is to place BT's in mono, especially if it's the same source material on both sides. Stereo is only perceived by the listener if they're in the sweet spot between L-R. Stereo is great for a fixed listening environment but even then, the mix engineer is only trying to place instruments in the proper place within the soundstage image between L-R. Very rarely is that hard -panned L-R. That's really all it is. It's kind of pointless for outdoor venues, festivals, etc., where venue operators want as many people crammed in to the space - which usually includes directly in front of either L or R columns and even outside of them. Those folks may perceive stereo as "I can't hear the musician panned to the other side" - a bummer for those who want to hear something akin to the songs they've purchased or streamed and expect to hear something similar when they see you live. Mono will only require one input at FOH, be easier to mix for FOH engineer and will help avoid dreaded phase issues.

If it's any help, many of the best sounding recordings ever made were done in mono and they stand up favorably to their stereo re-mixed counterparts that were done later. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a tight mono mix. Besides, because you have two FOH speakers, you can always add stereo effects such as rotary, trem, auto-pan, short delays to voices and instruments to create a very convincing stereo image ala Chet Atkins. With that said, there are some sources, keyboards, or a Gretsch 6120 with the stereo pickups that sent the top and bottom strings to different outputs that are intended to have both L-R outputs and should be input with two channels - but, that doesn't necessarily mean they absolutely should, or have to be, panned hard L-R.

I agree that stereo effects can sound amazing and be very inspiring when you hear the sound coming back to you on stage. Standing between two guitar amps running wet / dry or dual delays is pretty cool. But, in the audience, especially in larger listening areas, it can be a completely different animal.

Just my two cents. There are no rules.
Good luck!
 

mwd

Power User
... When you say you guys run everything in stereo, are you using double tracked guitars panned hard 100 L&R?

No. We have a hybrid 2 piece. Our BT provides bass, drums, Organ or Piano and usually a rhythm or acoustic guitar. I play secondary guitar, leads, backing vocals with a harmonizer and have a female lead singer. I record most of the instruments in the studio and we bring in guest musicians (steel guitar, complex piano, drums) so we are pretty much balanced and EQ'd at the point of our BT.

But most of my pre-recorded guitar is either fill or something that is a PITA to amplify (acoustic). I never want the pre-recorded guitar to be very dominant as for someone to say 'he didn't really play that guitar part'.

You are welcome to check out our basic sound we pretty much sound like this without the dominant guitar and vocals.
 
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