Sunday, January 11, 2009

How to Step Up Stereo For Your Guitar System

by Matthew Kepnes*

Playing your guitar in stereo gives your music a much larger and 'wider' sound. It makes your sound feel like it is taking up the room and coming from every direction. Pretty much all recorded guitar sounds are produced in stereo to give it a full "presence" in the room and a bigger sound. You can hear this effect when you listen to music on your headphones. Here are a few tips for running your guitar in stereo First,use a stereo amplifier such as a fender Princeton chorus or another digital modeling amp in which line 6 is stereo.
Secondly, use a modern digital guitar processor. Use any modern digital guitar processor. These devices usually have two outputs (left/right). Run the two leads to the two channels of a mixing desk or mixer/amp unit as long as the PA system is running in stereo. It's very important that the PA is in stereo. When you are finished, hard pan each channel to each of the left and right outputs.
Some mixing boards have both stereo channels where you can attach both outputs of your processor into one channel. If you wish to hear your guitar separately from the other instruments, you will still need to "monitor" your sound through some type of amp that is not part of the PA system. Most bands these days choose to run everything into a PA system and have no stage amps at all.
Furthermore, you should use two amplifiers and use an effect processor or any effect, chorus, or delay unit that has two outputs. One output goes to one amp and the other leads to the second amp. You can produce stereo sound using this method without having a PA system.
However, this method takes up a lot of time, requires double rigging, and lots of equipment. It is a lot of work, however, the result is remarkably different from playing through a single mono amplifier. The stereo sound quality is amazing.
Most "intelligent" harmony machines or pitch shifters will only sound good in a stereo configuration when you do complex harmonies. To make sure you are getting the best sound, you need to set up one of these systems.
Do not be under the false impression that running two speaker cabinets out of two outputs of one amp is stereo, this is not stereo. It is just adding another speaker to give extra spread of sound. It does not add any actual power or create a stereo signal.
Stereo ensures your guitar sound better and helps fill the room. It gives the listener more complete music experience and should be used all the time.

* Matt knows a lot about sound and stereo and has been mixing music for over a decade. For more information about stereo and sound, visit his site about used guitars and check out the guitar articles.