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Stereo width for house/techno music? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 15th July 2017
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Stereo width for house/techno music?

I'm curious as to your practises for stereo width. Which tracks do you recommend widening and how do you do it?
Old 15th July 2017
  #2
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Jamie munro's Avatar
 

Via mixer pan and send control plus delay and reverb, I don't use specific spatial processing very much if ever, I also only heavily pan hits that reside in the mid-high frequency range.
Old 15th July 2017
  #3
I see EDM tuts where they put stereo widening plugins on the output or master, and to me thats just crazy, but WTF do I know?

I record everything in mono, always. Mixing is easier when all recordings are mono. The only time I don't is if I'm using HW insert FX, or double-tracking. Okay, maybe the occasional stereo filters on Blofeld pads or strings.

I pan hats and/or shakers. All stereo-ness is mostly reserved for send/return delays, reverb, or chorus/ensemble.
Old 16th July 2017
  #4
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ScottBrio's Avatar
I place percussion around the stereo field to create width. Sometimes claps hard left and right- it brings them to the front and adds a feeling of variety (especially with different velocity amounts). I'll frequently automate specific sounds, usually in intros/outros/breakdowns to move from left to right. You also automate the EQ and reverb, you can really get things moving in 3D. This is what makes music feel alive
Old 16th July 2017
  #5
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I won't bother with that too much. When your songs get played on the dance floor a lot of the stereo imaging is lost.
Old 16th July 2017
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
I won't bother with that too much. When your songs get played on the dance floor a lot of the stereo imaging is lost.
Checking mono compaatability for club soundsyatems in mono is crucial but don't tell the person to not bother with width techniques!

First thing I would suggest is not get to downbeat when comparing your music with polished loud/wide tracks. I did this when I started out and I ended up focussing on making things really wide and not learning about issues it can bring!
I now focus on width in a natural way and choosing the right methods for the right frequencies/instruments!
Nothing wrong with a nice warm chorus on a pad, or a double take clap hard panned left and right. Or two shaker patterns that are different panned around to create an illusion of width. I also enjoy Waves' True Verb for creating a nice subtle live room on drums!
I'm happy to help with more ideas!
Old 16th July 2017
  #7
I don't buy into the stereo BS, but that's because I'm narrow minded => I just make music for the dance floor.
Old 16th July 2017
  #8
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 

It is possible to make wide sounding music which sums well to mono. Keep the important bits mono, and make relatively a small amount really wide sounding. If you only use wide stereo effects on a small amount of material, it doesn't get masked, so sounds wide. Plus, if you sum to mono, you don't lose much.
Old 16th July 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis View Post
It is possible to make wide sounding music which sums well to mono. Keep the important bits mono, and make relatively a small amount really wide sounding. If you only use wide stereo effects on a small amount of material, it doesn't get masked, so sounds wide. Plus, if you sum to mono, you don't lose much.
Old 16th July 2017
  #10
Deleted User
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In general centered mixes gives more punch and spread out mixes gives width. A good role is to place sources with bass frequencies, lead lines etc to the center. Spread out other sources to a musical tasteful panorama. Reverb - hard pan L/R. Delay in mono (if you like that), but not applicable if ping pong of course.

In the settings of your DAW, use a pan law of -3dB (the same pan law as an SSL console). A higher rate such -4.5 (the same pan law as a Neve console) gives a broader sound more suitable for less beat oriented music such ambient electronic music.

Stereo wide the mix in the final mastering process. Don't overdo it (a rate between 1.2-1.6 is a good start point). Check the mono compatibility (listen in mono) and the phase (with a correlation meter).

Most important: Refference listen and compare to other mixes that sounds great to you to set things such stereo width etc.

Last edited by Deleted User; 16th July 2017 at 11:25 AM..
Old 16th July 2017
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Sunspotgrooves's Avatar
Here's just a few things I do
Like others said use the stereo field to place instruments in so they all have room to breathe. also panning a few percussion elements for example hard left/right will give a wider sound

then experiment with the right reverb
Old 16th July 2017
  #12
Here for the gear
 

I start with everything in mono and just pan stuff around until it sounds like it has it's own space. Experiment with panning in lots of positions, not just hard left/right. I usually pan hats/shakers hard left/right.
Old 16th July 2017
  #13
Gear Head
 
sinemotor's Avatar
Above 100 Hz, think of the width of you mix as a triangle △
You want your low-mid/mid frequencies (the center of your mix) to be wider than your higher frequencies. So for that you can use different wide stereo layers at certain specific key freq ranges. First it's crucial to start with great sounds. Omnisphere 2, Serum, Hive, Sylenth1, Diva... all come with great patches so it's my starting point. So roughly,

- stereo bass layer : it sits on top of your sub, hi pass at around 100 to 300 Hz. It's the bass layer that you'll hear, especially on tiny speakers. It's also a great way to close the gap between you low end and the lead melody sound. For that layer, I like to start with a sawtooth type of sound in Serum, use the Unison set to 2 voices, a bit of detuning. Distort it to get a gritty sound that pops out more.

- chords layer : it's important to start with a good sound here, so look for a preset that is already wide enough without reverb/delays on. For my chords, I like supersaw type of sound with 7 unison voices. low cut below 120 Hz, notch down around 3,5 kHz where the lead is. Again Serum is really great for that. If you lack width on your chords, you can use something like waves S1 imager or A1 Stereo Control (which is free and as good :A1StereoControl - A1AUDIO - VST, AU, AAX & RTAS Plugins for MAC & PC by ALEX HILTON)

- lead melody stereo layer : it sits at 1k - 3,5 kHz, I like to have one main stereo lead layer that is wider than the rest of the mix and for this I'd use A1 and push it wider than the chords. To make that layer shine, you need other lead supports that are more narrow or center-mono and quieter than this stereo layer. They are here to thicken the lead melody.

I've got a bus for my chords+leads layers where I'd throw a Multiband stereo imager (Ozone is great for that) and widen just a little bit more between 500 Hz and 10 kHz.

Though it's important to check mono/stereo compatibility but also a/b your chords-lead bus stereo, sometimes I can go a bit too hard with the width so I have to go back to the individual channels and turn down the width knob. Also, when you choose to use stereo sounds, you don't really need that much reverb anymore so you'll need to find the good balance between stereo width and reverb.

A nice plugin I like to use to make mono sounds stereo is Little MicroShift by Soundtoys. I'd recommend that as well.
Old 16th July 2017
  #14
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I'm not saying I mix in mono, the track needs to sound interesting in stereo. Just be aware that that even if a dance club is running stereo, half the people on one side can't hear what's going on on the other side.
Old 17th July 2017
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Some good info here, thanks for taking the time guys.

I notice nobody mentioned the Haas effect or polar inversion.
Old 17th July 2017
  #16
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesghost View Post
Some good info here, thanks for taking the time guys.

I notice nobody mentioned the Haas effect or polar inversion.
It's just one of a variety of what you'd call "stereo effects". That is, effects creating a sense of spaciousness by having the same or similar signals arrive at different times in each speaker. This is as opposed to "panning" which is different.

Echo, delay, reverb and chorus may fall into this overall category (if they utilise two speakers or more). These all work because of the way that humans assess an environment (its size, in particular), or the location of a sounding body in an environment - the brain automatically assesses time differences between a sound arriving in each ear (plus other variables too of course, for instance, the way a single ear can assess the direction of an incoming sound). Using a stereo pair of mics, these effects can easily be captured acoustically.

As I said, panning is very different from this. Rather than a delay between the signals, in the case of panning the signals are simultaneous but are played at different amplitudes in the speakers. We all know that's what panning means, but beginners often don't understand the difference between that and a "stereo effect" (above), one is a difference in timing, the other is a difference in amplitude.

I find that a small amount of stereo effects is enough to make any recording sound "wide." If it's kept to non-crucial elements (ie not the thumpy part of a kick, not the main energy in the snare, not the low end of a bass line, etc), the recording reliably sums to mono without noticeable loss.

I've found it's not uncommon to get a wide-sounding tune with a ratio of, say 70% mono to 30% stereo, or even less. And I've often worked on tunes without using any panning at all.
Old 18th July 2017
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
I'm talking about the Haas effect as a manual thing. I used to go a terrible lot of effort to make stereo delays - two sends panned hard left and hard right, with different delay times and then I'd bus them and put an auto filter on and so on. A lot of effort for a simple trick really because the DAW I use has no stereo delay. Lately I bought Fabfilter stuff and Volcano and Timeless are going to be my go to for most stereo effects in future. It makes it really fast to design Haas type effects.

I was reading lately about the use of polar inversion to make certain things extremely wide, but deliberately making them disappear (due to the phase cancellation) when collapsed to mono. You've kind of got the best of both worlds there although you're limited in terms of different processing because the tracks have to remain exactly opposite eachother, but if I could find one element to use it on per track it would more than serve it's purpose.

The jist of this topic seems to be that if you are making something really wide, have a mono layer, and naturally, if everything is wide, nothing is wide, so less is more in that respect.
Old 18th July 2017
  #18
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mutilatedlip's Avatar
Has anyone heard of the Dolby ATMOS club experiences cropping up everywhere at the moment?

A friend of mine remastered a whole set worth of tunes in this format in their custom studio for a Ministry of Sound Club Night. He's just played in Chicago as well, and the effect is absolutely incredible.

Definitely had some movement in the percussion area, but one thing they really pushed forward was the whole swirling pads. Wow. Hearing a pad whizz around your ears in 3D is unlike anything I've ever heard.

And I wasn't even on drugs.
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