Multitracking Guitars - A Short Guide

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Multitracking Guitars - A Short Guide

Postby danieluber1337 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:00 am

Hey! I see a lot of questions regarding whether or not one should double-track or quad-track. I see it so often that I'm simply going to start this thread and pile all of my thoughts, advice, and information into it. Cheers!

First off, please double track guitars. If you're doing modern rock/metal/alternative or something similar, double-tracking is the bare minimum for a good sounding mix. Before you even THINK it: "A great song and a bad mix is better than a bad song and a great mix" is about 100% obvious. The whole purpose of recording advice is to give recording advice, not opinion on whether or not a song sucks, whether or not the tone is in your fingers (wtf?), or whether or not <insert highly subjective argument here>. Granted, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, you may want a warm, overdriven guitar on the left and a driving keyboard on the right - there is no one-size-fits-all for this. If your song wants to go out of the norm, do it, but most songs SHOULD stick to the multitracked guitar scheme. Double-tracking will make your mixes sound 99% better and fuller. In addition, it makes you a much tighter player.

However, there is the question of whether or not one should double-track or quad-track. Quad-tracking is harder to do. Much harder. Just as double-tracking makes you a tighter player, quad-tracking makes you an even tighter player. Quad-tracking is also credited with giving fuller-sounding guitars and mixes. While these are usually true, it is not always worth the time and trouble. It could be worth it to practice quad-tracking when you aren't feeling creative (write a simple riff, re-record an older song), but I recommend sticking to double-tracking for when you are just wanting to lay down some tracks.

Here is a guide regarding whether or not you should double-track or quad-track.
Originally posted at:
Original thread: Should I quad the guitars or not ? (Amon Amarth impersonation)
Original post: Should I quad the guitars or not ? (Amon Amarth impersonation) - POST 2

  • If you can play the part four times with 95% tightness, go for it!
    • Lower the gain on all tracks. You'll still get a full sound, and it'll be more dynamic.
    • Try to make each track slightly different
      • EQ differently
      • Use different tones on amp sims
        • I'm referring to tonestack. Turn the knobs around a bit...
        • However, use the same amp sim. Or, at least, similar amp sims (multiple Marshall, or ENGL sims). The tones should sound similar, or else it will sound unbalanced.
      • Use different impulses or filters for cabinet simulation
        • Different cabinet
        • Different mic
        • Mic position
        • Mic angle
  • Pan the four tracks at 100L, 80L, 80R, 100R or something similar
  • If you cannot play the part tight enough, stick to double-tracking.
    • Pan these at 100L and 100R. I wouldn't really go much narrower.

If I remember, I'll update this with any new thoughts, advice, or information. If you post below, I WILL integrate it into this post. I will also credit you for your help.

Kenneth R. @ Cockos Confederated Forums

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