Mix (Mono/Stereo) Techniques?


#1

Ok, so one thing I’ve always really kept in my brain is to bring things outward from center. However, trying to keep the idea of vinyl skipping around in my brain, if it were to be too wide.

However, my main issue with my own mixes is doing all of these steps(or incorrectly doing so) and lacking to pull it all together. I’ll explain my process and hopefully people can chime in, explain, link certain stuffs, etc. As for the DAW I use, it’s Live(if that helps).

Ok, this may get long but I’m hoping someone chimes in, with better mixing history than myself.

Ok when I write, I typically do so via midi. I play a lot of keyboard stuffs out and mouse in timings(if not just square up to 0). Not always, I will say it depends more so on if it is more complex than I can play.

I know from there, I have 3 methods to play with timing. Groove pool, delay track, effects. The quick and easy method to make sure a kick and bass don’t peak at 0 ms is to pull to “x” ms beyond the other element. However, groove is what we’re after. Static, no. Even basically. So I do use the groove pool, sometimes, where exacting some points of reference. I keep 30 ms as a reference and typically go nowhere near it as the haas effect is in my brain. I want stuff to sound intentionally done. Which if I focus on it, it should. Even if everyone note is plugged via midi.

My initial problem is probably what I linked above. Does that sound like a conducive process for us EDM/IDM folk?

My actual problem, my mix stuffs…This is more related to doing the above. Which all of our processes change. We play, we plug, we track…Keeping in mind I use attempt stereo-ing my stuff, besides left and right, but more front and back(I use utility in live), should I be using Utility to bring my width back in, before MASTER?

I feel like 99% of the time it makes them better but I don’t, at least iDMF sub want to.

So, is this normal mix stuffs? I struggle leaving my mixes wide-open.

I’ve tried to BOLD the TL;DR stuffs.

I’m very curious. I know mono mixes are important for those people, but someone that hasn’t experienced it, maybe a different line of correction is cool? I always pull width on Utility in Live down and it does sound better but is that normal? A step skipped?


#2

Other DAW or generic techniques are cool. Very interested. Think it is a step hidden for me, myself, mix-wise.

Also, anyone with experience using the Frequency-Shifter effect to kind of fine-tune a section into a spot of the song that fits a bit better?

Seems it works on groups that aren’t specific to the front. So plucks could use it but may need some wet/dry to balance out?

EDIT AGAIN - Seemingly, it’s helping with additive mixing.


#3

Hm, I don’t understand everything you’re talking about. The way I do it, I write my track and do the sound design for it first. So, if I want a wide sound, I do all the dirty stuff (haas delays, stereo wideners) and panning there. Then, I go into mixing, and during the mix I set my master output to mono. Then, I bring my sounds in one at a time and get the balance to sound right in mono. Then I do my EQ, still in mono, to get everything as clear as I can. Then I pull my master channel back into stereo and tweak things a bit so that it sounds good in stereo. Then I go back and check it in mono as I work on it to make sure it still translates.

The one “technique” I’ve picked up in the last year that helps is for when you have a wide sound in stereo that falls away in the mono mix. If you want that sound to stay when your mix is mono, send it to an aux with a distortion on it, and force the output of that aux to mono. Then set the level you need with your mix in mono. Basically gives you a separate mono compatible out for your stereo sound.


#4

Mono compatibility is solvable if you basically mono low-end even up to 200hz in mastering phase. In general width works in high-mids/high end and there are techniques like M/S processing or imaging tools where you can keep your eye on a vectroscope to actually see L/R difference and if you’re really pushed too far with stereo processing.

For sound design, so on, you can mess with delays, reverbs, auto-panning stuff and White Noise mentioned Haas which is a 5-20ms delay of one channel. It’s a psychoacoustic trick for brains that turns mono into stereo. But really, don’t overuse this. Any of them. It’s often a rookie mistake to apply widening and crazy panning early on because wide mix is somewhat cooler I guess? It’s achievable but it’s all about that balancing. Messing with too much stereo effects early brings lots of problems like phasing issues and it’s a terrible task for mixing.

But here’s my suggestion - just go for it. The best learning comes from your own mistakes and everyone should learn how destructive the overuse of stereo audio effects can be.


#5

I usually pan a sound both hard left and hard right and apply effects like reverb and stereo imaging and eq afterwards… was able to get heavy wall of stereo post rock distortion by applying the same effect on both the right and left channel but with each channel having different settings…I also use this method in applying beat repeat and gates on drum breaks…


#6

My method is very similar to how White_Noise described. I use the control room function in Cubase and have a dedicated Mono speaker in the middle of my listening position that I can A/B in and out of at a push of a button. I also use the visual aids and correlation meters in my referencing plugins to make sure my phase alignment is looking healthy. I don’t usually run into much issues there as I don’t obsess too much with widening, maybe some subtle stuff, and subtle panning. I usually find that when I have completed the whole mixing and mastering my stuff sounds comparably as wide as some of my favorite tracks or indeed my references.


#7

Why do you care about skipping vinyl if you aren’t pressing your tunes?


#8

I’ll never forget the ozone presets I used to use on my rocktronica tracks when I was like 19 (maybe ozone 4?). It made everything wider, including the low-end, and I was convinced this was a good thing.

Mistakes are essential. I will stand by this forever