Stereo widening and when to use it?
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Old 03-26-2017, 03:50 AM   #1
YoSoyPincho
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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 03-26-2017, 08:30 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 03-26-2017, 09:23 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 03-30-2017, 05:26 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 03-31-2017, 10:59 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 03-31-2017, 02:45 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 05-07-2017, 10:18 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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