Another stereo out vs.... thread

I try to be as minimal as possible, if I have too much my brain can’t focus and my set up reflects this. I play live as well as produce tracks. I have had a few releases on labels, even some HATE premieres. My aim is to have a minimal set up that serves me in the studio as well as for live performance. The way I route my machines (which I intend to keep) makes it impossible to record into a bigger interface with separate outs.

my setup: Modular with one out from my DFAM and one out from my Beads goes into my Octatrack for live looping. Machinedrum (used only as drum machine) goes into my Octatrack via thru for effects. My Octatrack also has some tracks for samples (vocals, breaks, long atmospheres). My Octatrack goes into my Digitone which I use as an alternative synth voice / chords / atmospheric type things and I heavily use the input effects from the Digitone.

The only options I am left with is record stereo out, which gives me some satisfaction performance wise, but not the polished feel I feel I “need” to be able to continue the quality of my releases (maybe only in my head?) which have also sometimes in the past been mixed by more qualified engineers. The other option would be to record everything individually, which is how I have worked in the past but the MIDI jitter / drift (whatever it’s called) really bothers me because the groove just gets lost. Trying to recreate the same groove feels impossible and just plain turns me off of the whole experience. Then I could just work entirely in a DAW but I don’t want that because I like being able to press buttons and turn knobs without having to program what they are for. I could also get an expensive ER-M multiclock, but I have had the expert sleeper USAMO but sold it because it too frustrated me having to fidget around to much beforehand.

Should I just say screw it, and record stereo outs like it feels like I should? I feel like I would get so much more done if I did, even if it wouldn’t be the same quality it would be greater in quantity and maybe the numbers game works too and some things actually work for releases? This dilemma has plagued me for a long time and takes up a lot of space in my brain, thinking about it. Some days I don’t even do music because the whole situation just frustrates me so much.

Is it me? I would greatly appreciate any tips, tricks, advice, wise words, insight, whatever…

Cheers :slight_smile:


if your signal chain is already mixing things together adequately i think recording to stereo is fine; i prefer it myself because it pushes you to make the sound sources sound polished instead of compensating in the mixdown. you could add some stereo processing to the signal to reach a more polished sound… stuff like compression/limiting and eq


If I got your question correctly, you have 2 options:

  1. Connect your gear (separate channels) into a mixer

  2. Connect your gear (separate channels) into an audio interface

Mix it properly. I’m not aware of any other solution In order to have a decent master

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…and the answer is another time…it’s not only in ur head…
if all what u end up with is one stereo stem, then all flaws u simply can’t recognize on the realtime fun ride go (at least if ur not superminmal, super experienced, super equipped and always do what u do in a treated room with proper monitoring u know inside out) will stay forever within that one recording u end up with…that’s much satisfaction along the way and for the moment, but can’t contain any real and final satisfaction on the long run…

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also wanted to put the idea out there that perhaps a dj mixer with some sends/returns would be a good fit for the setup

vs (it’s basically these two opposing inner views trying to figure out which is best)

you can make either way work, i think it comes down to your personal workflow and whats convenient. i feel like if you are like focusing on making a single track then it makes sense to multitrack record, but if you are more jam/improv orient id say stereo recording with nice master bus is good option.

Are you happy with that stereo recording? If yes, please stop reading and keep on doing music! :slight_smile:

If not here are my two cents, please take them with a grain of salt.
When talking about quality in my humble opinion there are two solutions:
A) Become a better engineer
B) Become a better studio performer/musician

A) Means you have to reach the point where while producing, performing and recording that recording matches your expectations. You have to be able to make the right decisions (balance, eq, comp, sat & co) while writing / making music. Which boils down to knowing your room & monitors (or headphones) so well that the end product will only need a couple of tweaks from either you or a helping hand (engineer).

B) Learn how to recreate your jams. Just like most bands record their music. You rehearse until satisfied, you analyse the recordings, maybe even rearrange them and then you record everything individually or in groups.
Don’t get the MIDI problem tho. If your current setup has no problem the only thing you need, would be an interface (8 mono inputs) that lets you record each machine separately.


Autechre record straight to stereo, no multitracking. If it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for you.


do dou have any more detailed info on this subject? like maybe an article where they touch on this subject or something equivalent?

Has been touched on a few times in various Q&As, for eg: Ask Autechre Anything (02-07/11/2013) - Google Kalkylark



Yes! Join the stereo crew. We live with our mistakes and have excuses for our bad mixes haha.

Interesting to see that quote from Autechre, pretty much exactly what I say! If there’s a mistake it’s something to learn from next time.

I run my stuff through the OT and then back into my Eurorack for end-of-chain and output. I used to capture multitrack but all it really did was increase the storage requirements of my recordings.


Don´t know the USAMO, but the Multiclock is dead simple to configure and you do it only once. My most important device. Eliminates any latency and jitter problems. From my view and workflow it’s a must.
Like somebody already mentioned. You have some different options.

  1. Add a GOOD mixer like a Dynasonics H1020 with a good EQ + some good outboard, use separate outs and record the Stereo Master channel. This still needs to learn the new workflow and costs a lot of money.

  2. You get or have a fast Computer like a M1 based Mac and a very fast Audiointerface. Nice solution is a RME Digiface + one or two Ferrorfish Pulse. This way you have 16 or 32 inputs (with 2 Ferrorfishs) and you can use a very small buffer with a round trip lantecy <5ms. NO OVERBRIGDE! It adds too much latency. Than your daw is your mixer + master clock and you can perform on your machines in one take but record all your separate outs in real time. Even use VSTs effect in realtime. The Multiclock holds everything tight. The good thing about it. You can record separate tracks and your master. You retain your live feel, but you have the possibility to edit and mix. Maybe a day later, when you feel that you can put the work into.

  3. You record just loops from your machines and arrange and build your tracks on the ideas that you had with your jam.

  4. You keep your setup, but just work on each sound so long that it fits into your mix and than record your performance.

At the end : if you want to sound polished/professional than you need to put the work into it. There is no easy and instant solution. Just different ways that suits some people more or less.


not autechre but surgeon has mentioned the subject before here

I’ve always been a 2 track guy.

Recently bought Ableton…still a 2 track guy.

I’m still pretty shit though, takes constant practice.



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Surgeon also recorded stereo, he said that he usually spents quite some time getting the levels right before recording.

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Exactly. Whatever way you choose to go there is no right or wrong just better suited for your taste and/or workflow.
I’m basically saying there is no shortcut for great. Art shouldn’t be and excuse for laziness & bad sounding mixes.

It takes years and years of binned tracks :sweat_smile:


I‘ve spent quite some time trying to get better at recording the 2 bus pretty much the whole last year. Not really sure how successful that has been, but let me point out a few things that helped me. I mixed in mono for the whole year. Starting with a mono mix is quite a popular recommendation for people that try to get better at mixing in general, but there really is a point imho.
So all my sources going into my mixer came in mono. I have two stereo effects as sends - one modulated short stereo delay (chorus-y/flanger sound) and a stereo reverb. The modulated stereo delay and stereo reverb bring the mix to life in a way not possible with a stereo mix, because the those effects are the only things that live on the sides.

Making sure the levels are really well balanced is really important. If the levels are right, the whole mix will sound smooth and „balanced“. If they aren‘t all kinds of things will stick out, together with the potential to basically ruin the mix.
That‘s why I mentioned Surgeon.

Recently I started to use one stereo track (Octatrack main out), the others still coming in mono. But mixing in mono for a whole year I think has helped me to mix better.


So you’re using only left output and pan everything left, then set the OT thru track to center or how do you connect your synths to OT?