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Stereo image in mastering Multi-Ef­fects Plugins
Old 9th November 2009
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Stereo image in mastering

What do you use or do in mastering if you need to improve and help the stereo image of a mix?

I have some outboards (analog comp and eq) that can help it but not always enough.

Thank you
Old 9th November 2009
  #2
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Usually properly set eq - particularly with good analog tools that can impart a nice sounding "phase distortion" - can really help define each instrument's place in the stereo image.

If that's not enough and further manipulation is required Mid/Side gain changes can work well - just increase Side channel gain or decrease Mid channel gain to make things sound "wider" - and boost Mid channel or decrease Side channel gain if you need to strengthen what are usually the important elements straight up the center.

Sometimes eq'ing the Mid and Side channels differently will also help to open up the image as well.

For further manipulation - which doesn't happen all that often - I have an original version of the SPL Vitalizer (the SX2) that has been custom modded that can further help to open up the stereo image if desired.

The freeware Flux Stereo Tool plugin is really nice for dealing with things where L&R channels need to be shifted separately for chores like recentering off center recordings.
And I also on very very rare occasion will use a few other plugins, for creating artificial width out of fairly mono sources where other tools haven't worked.

Important to note that most of the time I don't do any kind of stereo image manipulation though - as usually what is desired has already been decided and set at the mix down - and when manipulating the stereo image if you're not careful it's possible to change the balance of the instruments in the mix.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 9th November 2009
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
Important to note that most of the time I don't do any kind of stereo image manipulation though - as usually what is desired has already been decided and set at the mix down - and when manipulating the stereo image if you're not careful it's possible to change the balance of the instruments in the mix.
But I read on the Internets that 40% of recordings get stereo "enhancement" in mastering.

I think I'm in the 0.4% category as far as stereoization is concerned, and it's really something best left to the mixer.


DC
Old 9th November 2009
  #4
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tomasrangel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
But I read on the Internets that 40% of recordings get stereo "enhancement" in mastering.

I think I'm in the 0.4% category as far as stereoization is concerned, and it's really something best left to the mixer.


DC
thumbsup

Anyway K-Stereo is a great tool for stereo enhancement. Input a nice presence. And u can even make louder masters with it.
Old 9th November 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomasrangel View Post

Anyway K-Stereo is a great tool for stereo enhancement. Input a nice presence. And u can even make louder masters with it.
We tried it years ago and could not find an application for it. If I want ambiance added, the result was far more convincing with the tc reverb.

How on earth would the K make a louder master? IIrc, I was only adding a few percent and it just sounded washy on anything with a rhythm section.

But horses for courses.


DC
Old 9th November 2009
  #6
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IIIrd's Avatar
 

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make sure your centering is correct. also....when you put the thing into mono you don't lose half of it.
beware also, radio staions will put some stereo enhancement on the track....makes it sound bigger in cars....most radio is heard in cars.

the other thing i've found with stereo width shenanegans is you can, if you're not careful...make the vocals, and alot of lf content sound like iits retreated to the back of the sound stage...

so, be careful...wide can be nice, but not necessarily a good thing
Old 9th November 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
How on earth would the K make a louder master?
Makes me wonder as well.
ime generally dryer sources with strong centers have a good bit more "loudness potential" than more ambient "wider" ones.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 9th November 2009
  #8
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tomasrangel's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollins View Post
We tried it years ago and could not find an application for it. If I want ambiance added, the result was far more convincing with the tc reverb.

How on earth would the K make a louder master? IIrc, I was only adding a few percent and it just sounded washy on anything with a rhythm section.

But horses for courses.


DC
Well, presence use to sound loud in my years. And this presence comes from a diferent way than from my eq. Of course it change the balance of the track. Sometimes this is useful in my chain. Anyway i prefer to keep how it came from the mix for less dynamics loose.
Old 10th November 2009
  #9
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+6/185's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal View Post
What do you use or do in mastering if you need to improve and help the stereo image of a mix?

I have some outboards (analog comp and eq) that can help it but not always enough.

Thank you
What do you mean by "stereo image"? And what are you trying to improve?
Old 10th November 2009
  #10
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal View Post
What do you use or do in mastering if you need to improve and help the stereo image of a mix?
The telephone.


GR
Old 10th November 2009
  #11
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Cellotron's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
The telephone.


GR
To ask for a remix?

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 10th November 2009
  #12
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
To ask for a remix?
Roger.


GR
Old 10th November 2009
  #13
ORC
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I use K Stereo on projects that are recorded in less than ideal spaces, and on less than ideal equippment ie. poor a/d d/a converters, the cheaper protools interfaces and such. I only use a little bit, so that one only notices when its turned off. Too much K Stereo sounds terrible, as it should. It helps some, but is not a replacement for a great mix done by a competent engineer, in a nice space or spaces, on nice equippment. The K stereo stuff is a wee bit louder, but i usually back the gain off so that the K S level matches the unprocessed level.

When I get great mixes in, I might widen a tiny bit. Too much gets so phazey sounding, so i'll widen a bit and always check the mix in mono. If you widen too liberally and check in mono bits of a good mix will start to dissapear.

I sometimes get mixes in that are too wide to begin with. I hit the mono button and the song just loses so much. This for me is harder to correct.
I can narrow things down a bit, but this usually doesn't take care of phase problems. Once in a while I'll call the mix engineer and ask what was used to widen the mix, and how wide did he go. Was it used on the whole mix, or just the guitars etc.? My hope is that he widened the entire mix with a processor that i have at my disposal then i can narrow it back down using the same processor the Mixer used. Again, this isn't a cure all, but it helps.

I've found that if and when i use K Stereo, I like it best last in the chain, right before my final limiter. Other guys use it first in the chain.

Before I ever reach for an imaging processor, i always try to use my EQ's to correct a mix that sounds small. I've found that properly applied subtractive eq can really open a mix up nicely. I've also found that mixes that sound small are usually congested, and a good eq or two can really help. If I can get the mix to open up with some EQ this is my preferred method. Then i can sweeten to taste with my final eq. If after this things are a bit narrow, I may widen a bit, but not much. Again, you wouldn't notice it was there unless i bypassed it, and the difference would be subtle.

My last resort is to ask for a remix, letting the mix engineer know exactly what needs correction.
Old 10th November 2009
  #14
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
The telephone.


GR
Love this answer.

- c
Old 12th November 2009
  #15
Running dynamic processors unlinked is as far as i'll go (if at all)
Old 13th November 2009
  #16
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SPL stereo tools can work sometimes ....
Old 13th November 2009
  #17
Gear Nut
 

I use for stereo widening OZONE 4, but only for this function, all other processors are off. I found that it do great fob with stereo image.
Old 13th November 2009
  #18
Deleted User
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal View Post
What do you use or do in mastering if you need to improve and help the stereo image of a mix?

I have some outboards (analog comp and eq) that can help it but not always enough.

Thank you
Have you by any chance seen one of my recent posts:

Weird M/S experiment - who likes it?

Although this is very specific, you might find it interesting and a potential solution to your problem...?

Old 17th November 2009
  #19
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tomasrangel's Avatar
 

I use to like the result of highs widening using the PSP Treble2. Sounds very transparent to me.
Old 18th November 2009
  #20
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Adam Dempsey's Avatar
 

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As I've mentioned before, if most of the stereo content of a mix is coming from frequency areas that also tend to be lacking or needing evening out then EQ alone can musically widen a mix a bit. Very rare that I need to turn to width enhancing. A good sense of foreground-background depth is important too, and can help bring a listener "into" a song, even in some magical subconscious way.

"I'm not afraid of heights, I'm afraid of widths"
- Steven Wright.
Old 18th November 2009
  #21
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I like using dual mono compression and something like the PSP StereoEnhancer plugin.
Old 18th November 2009
  #22
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beanface's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPeters86 View Post
I like using dual mono compression

thumbsup. Can really do wonders sometimes.
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