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mid/side and the low end
Old 21st October 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 

mid/side and the low end

Hey guys

Wanted to discuss a simple process which I have been continually using on every mix as I master it. It is almost the only process I use uniformly on every mix, so I thought it was worth bringing up as I haven't seen this specifically mentioned anywhere. It may be really obvious to most of you, or maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree, but my ears tell me it's a good one.

Using a mid/side multi band comp (I'm using Ozone), simply isolate the lowest band (mine is usually set as 20-120 or 130), reduce gain by the max amount (-30 i think it is) and compress it to the fullest extent.

Annoyingly with Ozone if you want to use stereo comp on the other bands, its necessary to use another instance of Ozone as M/S is set for the whole module.

Obviously having any stereo information in your sub is a bad idea as its either going to phase while being summed to mono in a PA (or phase in the air if the sub is being reproduced in stereo). Despite the fact that I'm careful not to let much stereo processing in my mid/low mid leak into the sub region, cutoff filters aren't perfect and I'm always amazed when I apply this process to a whole mix how it subtly tightens and centres the bottom.

Cool to hear anyone's thoughts on any aspect of this even if its just 'well durr....'
Old 21st October 2013
  #2
Gear Addict
 

You don't actually need a m/s processor to run m/s effects, but you have to get a little bussy.

Bus whatever to a new bus, then run a m/s encoder on it. This will change the output of the bus to have m on the left and s on the right. Using panning, split out the m and the s to new busses, and apply whatever you'd like on the s. Then merge them back to a new bus and use the m/s encoder again, which will change the mix back to stereo. So, four busses in total.

One trick I picked up was to add a low shelf boost around +4dB around 400 Hz on the side to widen the stereo field. Really warms everything up and turns the stereo "wall" into more of surrounding space.
Old 21st October 2013
  #3
Good topic.

curious, how does all this sound in mono?
Old 21st October 2013
  #4
In ableton I just use the multiband compressor on the bass track. I create a rack and put three of them in the rack and solo the low mid and high respectively. Then on the low chain I stick a mono utility and bobs your uncle.

It's also a nice technique for applying effects to certain frequencies. It's probably the only plug in I really miss now that I am not using a computer.
Old 21st October 2013
  #5
Gear Nut
 

I don't have a very in depth knowledge of mastering.

I do have an EQ with m/s, could I use that and then multiband compression after? Or am I being ridiculous?
Old 21st October 2013
  #6
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graphs's Avatar
I've never tried using M/S processing because I don't fully understand what the purpose is or what the benefit is. Like, what would be a problem with your mix that you would apply this to remedy? Or like in the example Phil Rodent mentioned, wouldn't just boosting the EQ 4dB at 400Hz in stereo have the same effect?
Old 21st October 2013
  #7
I create a submix of everything besides my percussion, and use FabFilter Pro-C in mid-side mode, then sidechain compress the mid portion of the submix. Maybe a tiny bit of the sides, but a lot more on the mid. This gives my mono kick all the room in the middle while allowing everything else its space in the sides. Creates a more subtle pumping and to my ears leaves a more rich stereo image.

They just release FabFilter Pro-MB which will now allow insane options of various levels of sidechain compression at all different frequencies of individual channels and the entire mix.

I use Vengeance Multiband Sidechain which can subtly remove the lower freq content of things on, and then use the above process to really clear the way for my kick to punch through the mix without needing to be too loud and eat up my headroom.

I also do the reverse of what I mentioned above for things that live wider in the stereo field. Maybe a little effect or vocal snippet that I'm having trouble making space for, so I just input the audio from it into the sidechain input of a compressor and turn up the side mode.

Pro-C is a very clean compressor and IMO, was designed for these very reasons we are discussing.
Old 21st October 2013
  #8
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by graphs View Post
I've never tried using M/S processing because I don't fully understand what the purpose is or what the benefit is. Like, what would be a problem with your mix that you would apply this to remedy? Or like in the example Phil Rodent mentioned, wouldn't just boosting the EQ 4dB at 400Hz in stereo have the same effect?
It actually doesn't. Splitting off the stereo information into M/S is letting you adjust the information that is NOT shared between the channels (or, alternatively, ONLY the information that is shared). Using busses doesn't *exactly* work that way, but close enough.

In the 4dB @ 400 trick (I think it was a Dolby trick) only touches the sides, so it has a direct effect on the feeling of spaciousness of the mix rather than just a casual frequency boost across the board.

Think about it this way: a regular 4dB shelf boost at 400 is going to boost up your bass and your kick by 4dB (duh), but if you don't touch the middle of the mix, where the kick and bass live (usually in mono), then you don't touch them at all (unless you have some stereo verb or chorus or something on them).

Give it a try. You surely have all the tools you need in your DAW.
Old 21st October 2013
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by graphs View Post
I've never tried using M/S processing because I don't fully understand what the purpose is or what the benefit is.
Imagine a rectangular box.

Length = frequency spectrum.
Height = amplitude
Width = panning

The rule is that you can't go through the top of the box because then you get clipping.

If you want to use two sounds that overlap in a frequency range, you have a few choices:

- turn the volume down of one or both so that they fit in the same space (fader or compressor)
- cut away the parts that overlap (EQ)
- pan one left and the other right

M/S allows you to cut away the center of one of the sounds and the sidebands of the other without panning one left and the other right.
Old 21st October 2013
  #10
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graphs's Avatar
Thanks dudes, that sheds some light on it. I have the fabfilter comp so I'll give it a try.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
walker1's Avatar
 

Does this work if you do it across the whole mix?
Old 22nd October 2013
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by walker1 View Post
Does this work if you do it across the whole mix?
You only want to be doing what I am specifying on the low low stuff. Otherwise any panned stuff you have in your mid/hi will disappear

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiokid View Post
Good topic.

curious, how does all this sound in mono?
This sounds fine in mono. All I am doing is cutting the side info for the sub, which essentially leaves only mono sub info (as it should be.)
- You are right to bring up the effects of M/S when mono summing though, it can wreak havoc if done without understanding.

For those of you expressing confusion with M/S... It took me awhile to get my head around it too
Basically the MID channel processes everything which is identical between left and right. The SIDE channel processes everything which is DIFFERENT.

You generally dont want any differences between L/R with your sub, especially when it comes to electronic/dance music, a nice tight mono image is ideal. Sometimes I use a phaser on the mid of my bass, with a filter cutting at around 150 - 200. However filters always leak a little bit and that would leave me with phase differences between L/R in the sub region = phase
Old 22nd October 2013
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by walker1 View Post
Does this work if you do it across the whole mix?
This is what Daft Punk does. If you listen to "One More Time" there is very obvious heavy sidechain ducking across the whole mix. The mid-side option, to me, sounds a lot better, and just clarifies the location of your kick and bass up front and in the center. All the while allowing your leads, air, and arps or whatever to live off to the sides.

You can get really deep with this stuff. Using something like the new Pro-MB or Waves C6, you can duck up to six bands in different ways. And who's to say you only duck things under a kick? What about ducking some synths a little under some vox? Or ducking a pad under a little arp playing quietly, that suddenly springs to life when you do things like this.

I started playing with this stuff a while back after a discussion in another forum with Darude of all people. I don't know if GS is okay with this, but whatever.

Logic Pro Help • View topic - Why Sidechain to Ghost Drum Instead of Acutal Kick
Old 22nd October 2013
  #14
Gear Nut
 
br11san's Avatar
 

Stereo imaging in multiband mode

Is it the Ozone Stereo imaging in multiband mode what should be use for this? Width of the low-end band set to -100% and leave the rest at 0.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #15
Gear Nut
 

I use the multi band compressor in mid/side mode (you could do it with the EQ im sure)
Select you sub region's SIDE and reduce the gain by the maximum amount, i also reduce dynamics (compress) by the maximum amount just to be pedantic.

Then if you want to use Ozone in stereo on the rest of the mix, open another instance of it (im using 4 i dont know if you can separate band into MS or stereo using 5)
Old 22nd October 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Ben F's Avatar
Why not just use an M/S EQ? Much less intrusive on the mix.
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