Have you ever wondered how the professionals manage to produce such impressive rhythm guitar recordings? In this tutorial I will teach you how to record these rich, full, and professional-sounding rhythm guitars by "Double-Tracking" and creating an auditory illusion ("Haas Effect") that we, as sound engineers, can use to trick the human brain into experiencing that sought-after width and thickness.
Record your riff into an audio track.
As you can see, I record in Ableton, but this can be done in any recording program.
Duplicate this track. Doing so allows you to copy over any EQ or other settings you may have already applied to your rhythm guitar.
Delete the audio on the duplicated track. Why?
Because you should never double-track and/or apply the Haas Effect with an exact copy & pasted clone of your audio.
It will sound very strange, robotic, and metallic.
Record the riff again, this time on the duplicated track.
Get it as close to the original as you possibly can.
Using the pan controls, pan one track all the way to the left and the other all the way to the right, like so:
As you can now see, track 1 is panned 50L and track 2 is panned 50R (making up the whole stereo spectrum of 100):
Apply a track delay to one of the tracks. I chose the second track, although it doesn't matter which one you choose.
I typically set a track delay of -7.00ms.
I have found that this is the sweet spot for me.
If you set it much closer to zero there will be too little delay. Conversely, set it too high and the tracks will be too much out of sync.
Listen to that sound! So thick and full; so much presence.
Well done, you have successfully double-tracked and applied the Haas Effect to your rhythm guitar recording.
The effect explained:
So, how does this all work?
We have two (near) identical riff takes.
One is playing through the left ear/channel.
The other through the right ear/channel.
But... one of the tracks is delayed by a miniscule -7.00ms.
This is where the auditory illusion and brain manipulation takes place!
Because one ear hears the riff a fraction of a second after the other ear, the brain interprets it as echoing off a distant surface,
meaning that the sound must be very wide and vast. Our brain has evolved to make assumptions like this, and so this is how we hack it.
It's through this auditory illusion that we create full, professional rhythm guitars.