Stereo widening and when to use it?
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Old 26-03-2017, 02:50 AM   #1
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Stereo widening and when to use it?

Hey guys,

I've been struggling with this lately, and i'm not really sure how much of "stereorizing" stuff and the slight delay technique thing in milliseconds of the signal in one of the L/R sides is necessary/appropiate, and for what group of instruments in particular is more important. I've been told that normally low frequencies (or at least for kick drums) isn't really necessary to apply this sort of techniques, although I've seen people applying it to bass lines, so i really don't know when is it commonly used and if there's another technique besides this one to achieve a wide stereo sounding mix.

I hope i made myself clear, thanks for the help!

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Old 26-03-2017, 07:30 AM   #2
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

I find that mid/side eq is a good way to "widen" the sound by making certain frequencies you want to accentuate louder on the sides than in the mids without adding delay.

As far as widening a bass goes, that's again a place where I'd use mid/side eq. By taking the mid info that conflicts with a mid-heavy bassdrum and boosting some of that out to the side, you can avoid a lot of conflict between the two. If you have a heavily mono sound, then you may need to consider widening before hand so that you have side information to work with. In general, I only use a little bit of widening if I use any at all, and I try not to do it with delays unless I'm after that particular sound. A1 stereo is a good plug that doesn't use delay to widen (or narrow, which I do almost as often) sound.

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Old 26-03-2017, 08:23 PM   #3
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

i mostly create width in the sound design stages by detuning oscillators (or making them different in other subtle ways) and spreading them across the stereo field.
i also like to make left and right copies of tracks and apply effects to each with slight differences. if you play live you can go a step further and play the same thing twice and pan each one left and right.

stereo widening tools can work great, but they vary quite a lot and some do a much better job than others. some use opposite comb filtering on each channel so when summed back to mono the problems are minimal.


in general it is good to keep the low end mono. i usually roll off below around 200Hz and the higher up the spectrum i get, the wider the sounds get, but never completely out of phase.
a wide bass region can cause lots of different problems and its usually unnecessary as low frequencies tend to be omni-directional anyway.

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Old 30-03-2017, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Hi V-Axis aka YoSoyPincho,

Do you use Ableton Live for your tracks?

I've been told by various mix engineers that I'd generally want to narrow my drum tracks into mono, I typically do this by using the Utility plugin in Ableton and setting the Width to 0%.

This generally frees up space for me to widen my synth leads or basses depending on what type of soundscape I'm aiming to create. Again I use the 'Utility' plugin to widen the signal to 120%.
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Old 31-03-2017, 09:59 AM   #5
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by camusny View Post
Hi V-Axis aka YoSoyPincho,

Do you use Ableton Live for your tracks?

I've been told by various mix engineers that I'd generally want to narrow my drum tracks into mono, I typically do this by using the Utility plugin in Ableton and setting the Width to 0%.

This generally frees up space for me to widen my synth leads or basses depending on what type of soundscape I'm aiming to create. Again I use the 'Utility' plugin to widen the signal to 120%.
i have to disagree with this.
it is a matter of taste, of course, and if it works for you then keep doing it, but personally i like to have at least a little width in most (but not all) of the sounds in a composition.

for example, a snare sounds much nicer when the bright end of things has some width to it.

that said, if everything else in the track is super wide then you would probably benefit from keeping your drums in the mid, and you will get some width from them when you send them to any reverb, delay e.t.c. that you are using.

its important to keep in mind that mixing is about balancing all aspects of a track, whether it be frequencies, dynamics, panning or width (to name a few), so you will usually want something in the mid, but you will also want something quite wide and everything in between.
if you keep your bass area in mono (which is usually recommended), then that is probably about your limit for mono elements if you want to keep a nice range in width.

but everything i just said is personal taste and there are no definite rules. mixing is an art, after all.

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Old 31-03-2017, 01:45 PM   #6
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoSoyPincho View Post
I've been struggling with this lately, and i'm not really sure how much of "stereorizing" stuff and the slight delay technique thing in milliseconds of the signal in one of the L/R sides is necessary/appropiate, and for what group of instruments in particular is more important. I've been told that normally low frequencies (or at least for kick drums) isn't really necessary to apply this sort of techniques, although I've seen people applying it to bass lines, so i really don't know when is it commonly used and if there's another technique besides this one to achieve a wide stereo sounding mix.
It's one practice to refrain from stereoizing bass frequencies and the reasons are:
-Frequencies below 80Hz or so don't have directivity, thus widening or even panning them makes no audible difference, but if you stereoize them using some widener effect then you will lose energy because of phase cancellations.
-However, low frequencies above this area can be widened, if it's for an effect (sometimes having bass drums or low frequency effects or parts of sounds bouncing on the sides is cool). However "losing energy" can apply here as well, because if you have the "power frequencies" <150Hz in mono, then you are gaining most energy by not creating phase issues.

The principles are just guidelines, but you should trust your ears. If something sounds good, then it sounds good.
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:18 PM   #7
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Stereo width should be used pretty sparingly with any mid range frequencies and almost never with lower frequencies. It sounds best with higher frequencies because it makes them sound "airier"like with bells and some pads, etc.
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Old 29-07-2017, 09:22 PM   #8
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

I find that MidSide processing is useful on the FX return busses for reverbs and delays and other effects, separate from the dry mix. Also, it can be helpful for some synth sounds, but you will want to supplement or EQ or bolster the less-stereophonic parts so that you don't end up with a wide and weak sound. Mixing with a different additional synth sound can help with this.

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Old 30-07-2017, 01:41 AM   #9
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

my drums are always in mono... and so is my bassline. i will use stereo on mid bass, mid, mid high, high ranges. the stereo splitter in reasons extension is nice. i do use the mclass imager as well... which can help some. but mostly, i dont use this technique.

I use the eq and pan to a T, or at least try to sort any issues there before i consider adding more effects...

i notice on reasons ssl mixer we have the pan, but also the width for each channel... here i noticed my basslines and bassy synths, like to be MORE mono or narrow... and my highs and mids, sound better, a little wider, but not too wide... its somewhere around 2/3 ratio max... from 1/3 to 2/3 i find it appeasing to the ear, but beyond that can sound weird... at least in my studio, in my head.

always go back and forth, both ways, to compare the opposites, and each time to bounce back to the other side, come up a lil short on where you last were, each time getting closer and closer to 0, the middle... this is how i compare things, to find what is too much, not enough, and just right, if at all...

if you dont need it though, why add it? ive had some cool sounding effects from adding that stereo splitter on a bassline or a mid bass synth.... but you can add some tubed preamp... adds warmth, and helps widen the feel... other processes can be done to achieve similar effects. i looked, but i have bad internet atm... there is a video i was going to link you, which had more to do with perspective of the wave... coming from the stage, from the FOH booth, where one listens and makes changes to live performances... etc... but how music freq, sound close, or far, up or down, left or right, and how you can control this to get a balance... they too mentioned widening too much has negative consequences which can really be displeasing to the ear, and same for keeping everything in the center... muddy and loud, no depth or width...

experiment... and see what you can HEAR as the difference, try a bassline, try a mid synth, a vocal, and a drum pattern of higher ranges and see what it does... not sure on your room or monitoring position but you get the idea.

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Old 26-08-2017, 05:38 PM   #10
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoSoyPincho View Post
Hey guys,

I've been struggling with this lately, and i'm not really sure how much of "stereorizing" stuff and the slight delay technique thing in milliseconds of the signal in one of the L/R sides is necessary/appropiate, and for what group of instruments in particular is more important. I've been told that normally low frequencies (or at least for kick drums) isn't really necessary to apply this sort of techniques, although I've seen people applying it to bass lines, so i really don't know when is it commonly used and if there's another technique besides this one to achieve a wide stereo sounding mix.

I hope i made myself clear, thanks for the help!
speaking of milliseconds: for pseudo-stereo (Haas effect) mostly works 0-30ms. depends on taste and particular task.
and yeah - the lower sound's tone the narrower it should be in the mix. cz humans hearing can't distinguish exactly bass sounds position in space. thus making really low sounds stereo isn't good idea.
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Old 26-08-2017, 06:33 PM   #11
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Just listen to the music you're making and don't worry too much about the "DOs and DON'Ts" others will tell you. No two producers are exactly the same, nor do they make the same music under the same conditions, using the same setup..so what works for them might not work for you, even though they may be more experienced than you.

It's your music and only you should know what will make it sound how you want it to..and that means doing whatever the hell you like to get that sound in a project.

Yea..there are certain "rules" that everyone and their aunt will tell you..but all of these..and I mean ALL of them..are only guidelines, when it comes to mixing and if you do something that strays into the areas these guidelines refer to, then you'll hear it and be able to correct anything you don't like or that sound wrong. Mastering is a totally different matter and a topic all of it's own, where it's the reverse most of time..where everything you're doing depends of following a certain process, but even then you have some artistic license and can try a few things outside for the accepted engineering norm.

So, basically just listen to you music and let your ears guide you..if you do something, in this case stereo widening, and you think it sounds cool, then go with it..if not, then don't. Have fun and don't over-complicate it for yourself.


Last edited by A.M; 26-08-2017 at 06:39 PM..

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Old 26-08-2017, 10:14 PM   #12
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Icon7 Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Masquarade xtra and easyq are nice freewares for this.

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Old 26-08-2017, 11:08 PM   #13
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

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Originally Posted by Daggit View Post
Masquarade xtra and easyq are nice freewares for this.
It's worth mentioning while you can download for free from VST4Free and other places, it's really worth visiting [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
and making a donation of 10 minimum..for which you get not only Masquarade xtra, but also another 22 of his VSTs..really well worth the drop, as he really makes top-class plugins of a pro standard.

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Old 27-08-2017, 09:58 PM   #14
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

protip:

multiband compression and/or saturation after widening a signal
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:41 PM   #15
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Some usefull tips!

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Old 07-11-2017, 06:47 PM   #16
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Re: Stereo widening and when to use it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by camusny View Post
Hi V-Axis aka YoSoyPincho,

Do you use Ableton Live for your tracks?

I've been told by various mix engineers that I'd generally want to narrow my drum tracks into mono, I typically do this by using the Utility plugin in Ableton and setting the Width to 0%.

This generally frees up space for me to widen my synth leads or basses depending on what type of soundscape I'm aiming to create. Again I use the 'Utility' plugin to widen the signal to 120%.
I'm not sure if this has been said already, but if you want to turn your drum sound into a mono sound, instead of tuning the width to 0% you should change the channel mode to "Right" or "Left". Tuning the width to 0% combines the left and right channel and blasts this signal from both speakers. By choosing either "Left" or "Right" you avoid all sorts of phasing issues.

EDIT: Didn't have time to respond last time. I'm not sure what is the name of this technique, but basically splitting different frequency zones to either L or R. This can be done quite easily with Ableton (group multiple multiband compressors and pan how you like). There's also a VST plugin that does something similar to this, I think it's Waves PS22. Take instrument that has large frequency area (piano, pad, maybe a looped sample) and it can sound really cool.

Last edited by Johnson Academy; 07-11-2017 at 07:38 PM..

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