My gear for mono voice over now serves this world

Long Post Sorry!
First I need to shout out to @Notter for giving me one of several needed breakthroughs to get where I wanted to go for at least now. I’m a Justin Song Apps guy and I want to record my guitar, the backing track, and my vocal. I’ve been a voice talent for the last couple of years and created the room and gear to do audio books and one off voice gigs. I’m pretty well versed in Audacity and the whole audio chain of mastering, etc. I’ve never had an instrument until now and no need for stereo until now and I have the Songs app coming out of my Spark amp via Bluetooth, the guitar out of the amp, and voice out of my mic. Trying to get all three of those sources on two tracks was not obvious. When @Notter posted a AVOYP of 3 Little Birds he described his gear similar to mine Audacity and a Focusrite 2i2. I DMd him about getting my vocal in stereo into Audacity which was not something he needed yet but he described his video set up (my next challenge) . While figured out how to make the vocal stereo from a You Tube guy at the same time @Notter realized his amp had a 3.5mm headphone jack and told me he could get his amp tone into Audacity. I told him about my mono to stereo discovery. I told him he and I were two mono channels separately but together we are stereo!

For @Notter ’s idea All you need was an adapter from 1/4” instrument cable and stick that in the headphone mini port and the other end in 2i2. Guitar goes in the amp as normal via separate instrument cable. Mic goes in other port on the 2i2. In Audacity, now I get a mono vocal on 1 track, a mono guitar (with all the Spark tones) and the backing track out of my amp on the other track. I split each track into stereo tracks, duplicate each of them, then turn each of them into stereo. I now have a stereo vocal track and a stereo guitar/Justin’s song app backing track! Ready to master each individually as I need to and play them all together fully synced and in stereo!

I ran all that tonight using the Vincent track working on the vocal and playing to and with very few audio volume tweaks on the headphone source I got a pretty decent result.

I’m sure all this old news to you folk but it’s all new to me and now I can hear just how bad I sound in stereo! To sum it up all I needed was another instrument cable! I even had that 1/4” to mini jack adapter!

If anybody needs the Audacity mono to stereo magic reach out or maybe I should put that in another post. I don’t know how many Audacity folk are here.

If there is a higher quality way to get all three sources recorded I’m all ears.

Anyway, next step is getting video of all these shenanigans in my sound room. I’ve already figured out how to use my iPhone as a OBS camera and get that into OBS now I need to feed Audacity into OBS to record it all. I don’t know if that’s the right play as that coming straight from Audacity would seem to be all mono but that’s for another learning.

@Notter probably has got that working :grin:. As you were….Rod

Are you tracking vocals and guitar separately?

If you are tracking both together, one option, if you are on Windows, is to use ASIO4ALL which can let you use multiple audio devices at once.

This may let you connect your Spark via USB and the 2i2 and record them at the same time into separate tracks; mic into 2i2, guitar into Spark.

For the backing, I would be tempted to record it into a track in Audacity in advance, and then you can play along and record to the other tracks and the backing track should play back via either the Spark or the 2i2 ( I believe you can select which). Obviously the method you have of recording the app output into the second track on the 2i2 works too.

It’s normal to record most instruments, including vocals, as mono tracks and then build a stereo track from them at the mixing stage, either with stereo panning or using plugins (which it sounds like you have done).

Obviously, any sources that are, inately, stereo (such as the output from some guitar effects processors) can be recorded in stereo if they have stereo effects you want to capture.

Cheers,

Keith

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Rod, no apologies needed for long posting (some may say this is self-serving as I contend for the title of ‘longest postings in the Community’ award :rofl:)

Glad to here you and @Notter collaborated and you’ve moved forward to have a working solution.

Explore the drivers as suggested by @Majik and then you may find that you don’t need Audacity to produce a simple single-take video in OBS. With OBS and the appropriate plugins you will be able to setup a scene that can receive audio input from both channels of your 2i2 individually. If you’ve not yet read this Topic then take a look for more on that: Using OBS with an Audio Interface on Windows for streaming to send to Zoom

That aside, you may also find that in the long run you want more from your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) than Audacity can offer. Given your background in producing the voice-overs and the recordings you’ve already shared, I expect you’ll be wanting to do more with mixing and music production in due course. There are a number of free DAWs and then, not free but at $60 incredible value, is Reaper that many here (including myself) use, apart from anything else it has the plus of a top drawer catalog of tutorial videos on their webpage.

Look forward to your next production (maybe I will still find it as I check in this morning)

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Hey @Rod58 thanks for the shout out but above all I’m really happy you’ve had success! I’ve started to get my head around OBS on Friday evening and I’m starting to figure it out, having an audacity made track as a source file is fine, but I don’t think that’s what you were trying to do if I remember.
Great to hear of the progress! :+1:

@Rod58 Good to see some mutual collaboration solving your recording challenges. Makes me wonder if I can use my Mustang’s facility to play “backing tracks” and some how send them separately to my audio interface. Sounds like a Sunday challenge.

:sunglasses:

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If you mean to load a backing track into your DAW and play back through the Mustang, I don’t see why not. I’ve done this a fair bit with my THR, my Spark, and others, using Ardour.

You can then play along with it and record the result into other tracks in the DAW.

If you mean to play the backing track from a phone through the Mustang with Bluetooth then, no, you won’t be able to do this and record it at the same time. The only way to do this is to output from the phone using an audio cable into the audio interface.

You could use something to split the audio interface output so you could plug one output to the audio interface and one into the Mustang aux input for monitoring.

Cheers,

Keith

Another DAW that one can consider when looking for a free DAW: https://ardour.org/

I would tend to agree. Audacity in is pretty good and has most of the base facilities of a DAW, but IMO it’s not as good as a fully fledged DAW like Reaper or Ardour.

Cheers,

Keith

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Keith

Its actually the opposite direction. The Mustang has a facility to add audio files and manage via Fender Fuse but I suspect the tracks are not actually loaded to the amp. Rather Fuse acts and an “mp3 player”. Not explored it much. And yeah DAW playback via the Mustang would work but not something I am looking to do.

Cheers

Toby
:sunglasses:

Thanks for all the replies let’s see if I can do this quote thing:

No they are at the same time, in Audacity audio track 1 has the mic audio from the 2i2, below it and in synch is the guitar and the backing track from the Songs app in a track from the instrument cable connected to the 2i2 and the other end into the adapter of the headset jack of the Spark Amp. I’m doing all of it in 1 take.

I get that I can lay on tracks separately I just wanted a way to do it once like a phone video with just better audio.

Now your ASIO4ALL may be the solution because the only way I knew to record was to use Audacity as the DAW and the 2i2 to get audio and the Spark connection via USB leaves out the mic audio in Audacity. ASIO4ALL may be way! I’ll have to dig on that idea more. Although my Vincent song came out reasonably well allowing me to adjust volume between guitar/backing and the vocals separately between the two tracks.

Yep, work to do there and it may well be exactly what I will use long term. I have looked at the the link you suggested but I was working the chain one link at a time so getting the recording part with my 3 sources was what I was trying to solve first. Unless I’m wrong if I do connect Audacity to OBS that audio will be in mono. How do I get stereo to OBS? Trust me my voice and guitar work needs stereo! :sunglasses:

I’m also aware that Audacity has its own shortcomings and another DAW may be better for vocal and instrument recording. This old brain has only so much hard drive space! If I go with another DAW in order to make brain space I’ll have to be careful not to delete remembering how to get home.

Have not posted anything with this discovery as its only audio. I don’t have the video figured out yet. :smiley:

You should be able to connect the audio interface directly into OBS without using audacity. You may need to make sure that the input is configured as stereo as in this short video:

If you have more than one track then you will need to add each track to OBS, and then you can control the relative volumes with the mixers.

If you are looking to add stereo effects, then you can do this per track by adding plugins directly against the source track, as I describe in the link @DavidP posted above.

Note that if you are considering a setup for live Open Mic performances over Zoom, although Zoom does support stereo, a lot of people will be listening on the mobile app, and won’t hear the effect. Also, any recording of the Zoom meeting will be mono. So, personally, I wouldn’t spend too much time on this aspect.

Cheers,

Keith

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Helps a TON sir thanks much!..Rod

Rod, unless I am missing something (not unusual) you can balance the vocal against instruments in Audacity. Then it would be fairly straight forward to render out a mixed audio and use that in your video. I did this at one stage in my evolution using MS Movie Maker. Depending on how/when you stop and start the audio and video recording it can be a little finicky to get the audio synced but not too bad. And I found the end result was worth the effort.

That said, I would suggest taking the time to get OBS setup to take input from the Scarlett as two separate sources, input 1 and input 2, that you can balance the levels in OBS during a sound check, and then make the recording, one and done.

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To my mind, the main issue with his setup is that the guitar and backing are already mixed into a track in Audacity, which limits the options for mixing and post-processing. It also means the backing track will always be mono, regardless of the original source. Yes, it’s possible to use plugins to convert it to a stereo track (and to make it sound more stereo) but the original stereo information will have been lost and it won’t really sound the same.

Of course, that may not be an issue if the backing track wasn’t in stereo in the first place. I’m not sure if the music from the Songs app is or not.

The ideal, of course, would be to have a stereo backing recorded onto a stereo track, and then two mono tracks containing, respectively, the guitar and vocals. This may or may not be achievable, but separating the backing from the guitar would be something to aim for IMO.

I will add that Rod’s workflow seems a little strange: bouncing vocal tracks from mono to stereo is not something one would normally do. However, I appreciate the non-standard approach may be due to using Audacity which can be quirky and has some limitations.

I agree that OBS is probably worth getting to know for this use case.

Cheers,

Keith

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I know what you mean with brain space, but I would encourage you to check out Reaper, Ardour, or other “proper” DAWs.

Audacity is a great tool, but it’s roots are in being a sound sample editor, rather than a DAW, and some of it’s limitations and (ahem) quirkiness when it comes to how you do things come from that background.

If you are serious about doing multi-track production work, personally I think Audacity will hold you back. Tools like Reaper and Ardour (and Pro tools, Cubase, Ableton, etc.) were built as DAWs from the start and have a workflow and toolsets designed to support that.

Note that the workflow in one of these DAWs will work very well for VO work too, and there’s some nice plugins available.

The problem for you is that there are going to be significant differences between how you do something in Audacity and how you do it in a DAW like Reaper or Ardour and, hence a learning curve.

Note that most DAWs have a similar toolset and workflow (with good reason) and the skills you learn on one DAW will usually transfer quite well to another tool; it’s primarily differences in navigation and user interface. The skills you develop to drive Audacity don’t translate nearly as well IMO. For that reason alone I would suggest you don’t invest too much into learning to drive Audacity.

IMO, once you move on from Audacity to something more mature and complete, you won’t look back.

Cheers,

Keith

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And if I am not mistaken, with the right combo of devices, it should be possible to route the app visual and audio, into OBS, which would separate the guitar from the backing, enabling mixing the levels of all three audios in OBS prior to recording. But all depends on what Rod has at his disposal and the time, energy and inclination to figure this out, as it can take some figuring.

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Yes, with a 2i2 and taking the audio from the Spark in separately using ASIO4ALL then it should be possible.

Cheers,

Keith

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Thanks to @Majik ’s mono to stereo post above, BREAKTHROUGH. Today I took and old usb webcam plugged it into the pc made that a video capture device in OBS, plugged in the Focusrite 2i2made that a audio capture device, used the mono to stereo instructions @Majik gave me above to turn to stereo both inputs coming from the 2i2. Into the 2i2 are my mic in input 1 and my headset audio (Justin Songs App track) via Bluetooth from the iPad to the spark amp as well as the guitar from the Spark amp. To be clear, the songs track and the guitar are both coming in on the headset feed to the 2i2 into input 2.

Now in OBS check balance between vocal mic and guitar/ track. Hit Start Recording in OBS, start the Song App track, belt the vocal, bring in the guitar go a few bars hit Stop Record. OBS tells me the location it’s saved the recording. Go find that file, open it and there it is video, decent audio in stereo of vocal, track and my guitar! A new way to post AVOYP!

One pesky bit , got to replace my large diaphragm condenser mic (that was great for voice over work) with a dynamic mic. The condenser works ok because I’m recording in my sound room but I could see in the waveform when I used audacity to record that test I posted over on Transported in Time AVOYP that mic was picking up pick strokes. They were buried by everything else but you could clearly see them precede the strum pattern throughout the recording :astonished:

Anyway, getting “Vincent” ready for this process. So appreciative of the tech info here. Brain so full of new stuff, I just hope I don’t forget how to get home!….Rod

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:champagne: :champagne: :champagne:

The beauty of the Community right there! For the majority of us learning, I think it is fair to say that there is always somebody who has ‘been there, done that, got the T-shirt’

Now in various posts you’ve mentioned PC, iPhone, iPad, and a webcam. If all these devices are conveniently located in your sound room, then I think you may have all you need to run the backing on the PC as an audio source into OBS and have the guitar and vocal separate from the 2i2.

People embed the running app as an inset in the video, which is also pretty cool. So I assume you could do that as well if you wanted to.

Yup. I made the same move as did @TheMadman_tobyjenner. In time you may want to overdub the vocals, rather than recording guitar and vocal concurrently then the condensor comes into its own, But for play and sing, the dynamic sure does help to reduce the bleed from the guitar onto the vocal track.

Hat’s off, great progress, Rod, and look forward to the next AVOYP share, the music and the story.

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I’ve not done it myself, but my Google-Fu found this:

Although this looks like it only works on Mac.

Cheers,

Keith

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