Hi. This can be in-general questions about all stock ableton audio effects. Feel it may be more beneficial for a “mega” thread than random one offs. Could be wrong. Anyway…

So, this is something that’s sort of bothered me for some time. With Utility, I find actually stretching the width past 100% is helping my stereo items shine when doing at a grouped stage or even from the master. I would use draw the width under 100% in later stages to pull things in but I definitely like the width as long as I’m not pulling too much in the lower frequencies wider. I have been running the mono frequencies up to 500.

I know in a club, or vinyl setting this may be bad, but I don’t have any idea how that goes, or even plan to put things there, or even have been over thinking everything.

So, what are some of your techniques, ableton guys, using this plug in the stereo widening route?

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Perfectly acceptable to widen groups or whole mixes, and you’re already in the know about bass (really, sub bass) needing to be mono. Listen to some of your favorite tracks on headphones, the low mids down to 150-200 can be really wide actually. Definitely a good idea to use Utility on individual elements too, more control over each part is always helpful in putting things where they need to be.
I recently did a mix for school where I used two instances of Utility on the master channel, one on the width setting and one on the mid/side setting, since width doesn’t actually turn down the mid component like mid/side does.

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Hi bbb,
I mainly use the utility tool to mono the audio.
The width control over 100% is not accurate at all ( to my ears ).
Of course, we all know that the width control over 100% create some phase issues.
Also, i find that the “out of phase” signal, from this utility tool, compared with other stereo wideners ( like izotope imager ) , is way more " blurry " than any other tool.
That’s why i only use it to mono my audio.

An other solution if you really want to use this Utility tool, is to engage [ Bass Mono ] so the low end is more focused, doesn’t blur the all image.
The [ Width ] control will then open the stereo image above the [ Bass Mono ] chosen frequency.

If i had to work with the Utility tool only, to control the image of my signal, this is how i’ll do it :

I’m with @ACRE, Utility stereo expansion doesn’t sound too precise or well-implemented to my ears, though I have used it for small adjustments. I mostly use it primarily for Mono and gain adjustments.

I usually use Waves S1 for stereo wide/narrowing and FabFilter Pro Q in Mid/Side mode for stereo tweaking and EQ. Both perform admirably to my ears.


That’s the secret for a great work on the stereo field.
A good & accurate Mid-Side processor.
My favourite Mid-Side tools :

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Maybe one of these days I’ll actually snag something like this. I usually go for the sound making things when i buy but I’m sure this would be just as good, at least helping to finish things out a bit cleaner.

Thanks for the replies. I’ve mainly used Utility only for shrinking my widths and gaining. Hoping to get some width out of it though. =/

I will say, something I just thought about doing with Utility…

So I make my tracks, yadda yadda, send them by group or tracks to my verb/delay etc. Then I create a sub channel, I then send all of those tracks to that channel and have it feed the master, while all of the stereo-ised effect channels go to the master. I then take that added audio track that the drums and everything are being routed through, do whatever flatly but plop a utility on there and mono bass/shrink width. Brings the majority of my elements in with my ears, meanwhile the verb and stuff is still doing it’s thing.

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That’s actually something I use Pro Q for - reducing width on bass. I like that I can easily target a specific range (with visuals) and pull the gain or EQ down in those regions. There’s times when I don’t want to straight up mono the low end (or at least all of it) because of good stereo effects happening, and that lets me sculpt it to my liking. Works well on both the master and groups. I’m sure you could achieve similar results with some creative routing and use of Utility, but Pro Q makes it dead easy.

EQ8 has mid/side mode, just use that.

Utility is definitely one of the most used devices, especially when it comes to gain staging (I never touch track volume sliders), never bothered with width settings too much but it also works as a great M/S splitter (right click on width dial for M/S mode). Bass mono feature is another great addition. If you’re into 3d audio you can recreate binaural panning with factory devices and utility makes it even easier.

I used to abuse M/S mode in EQ8 quite a lot then realized it’s not a greatest idea to apply it everywhere. In general the only EQ I use is EQ8. I really don’t care if there are some better ones in some way or another, I just like the workflow because it gets docked like any other Live device so it’s easy to keep an eye on it and do quick fixes on each track.

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exactly … i totally agree … some album plays with this phase " issue " on the low end … to give this huge width on the low end & it really works actually … it can give some amazing results on the stereo field …
Listen to this example : Amon Tobin - Goto 10 … the bass is totally out of phase but the result is pretty stunning … this sensation of space … the kick & the snare bring things in the center but the rest is far spread on the stereo field.
I might be wrong on this one, but it seams that this track & the whole album was mixed with this technique on the phase & then, brought back to a decent correlation … this album in particular Amon Tobin - Isam , the overall sound seams to be a mastered work on the phase correlation.

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I used to use utility for widening but now I mainly use it to mono shit in the low end.

My go tos now are waves S1, track delay, and hass effect using Ableton’s Delay.

I’ve found that my newer method plays nice w mono compatibility, which if I’m frank I didn’t really give too many thoughts about until I started focusing on live sound a ton.

I also am a huge believer in “if it sounds good, it is good” so, dowhatchalike

I did use Waves plugin a lot, i don’t know, there is something with the " glued " overall sound of their plugins that i really like … the only CONS with waves plugins : their bloody update policy which is a true rip-off, i sent so many mails about it to the HQ … their plugins are nearly free ( black friday etc etc ) but then, to keep them compatible over time, the price of the updates are just non-sense.

I was trained & taught, when i passed my diploma, to work on this mono compatibility, teachers were off their minds with this mono bla bla, when it’s mono compatible, you then do whatever you like with the stereo field, not the opposite.
It does takes time, but once you’ve built your mix templates, you just drag & drop plugins & it saves a huge amount of time.

That’s the key :metal:

The trick w Waves is that yes they’d like you to update, it’s part of their business model, but it’s not necessary. I’ve got both v9 and V10 plugs in my system. One just needs to have both the current and “legacy” versions of Waves Central.

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They sort of bury the legacy installer in their site, but it can be found. I also refuse to pay more than $30 USD for their stuff out of principle.

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