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Stereo widening - question for pros Spatial Processor Plugins
Old 25th March 2010
  #1
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Stereo widening - question for pros

hey guys,

how often do you find yourself using stereo widening and in which amount ?

...stereo widening is very pleasure for the ears, but, how to know when is enough?...are you using stereo analyzer or use your ears approach...

thnx
Old 25th March 2010
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazbina View Post
hey guys,

how often do you find yourself using stereo widening and in which amount ?

...stereo widening is very pleasure for the ears, but, how to know when is enough?...are you using stereo analyzer or use your ears approach...

thnx
Well for me it depends on my studio furniture and how far apart I can get my speakers to be
Old 25th March 2010
  #3
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Tubefreak's Avatar
 

90% of the time I use an EQ in M/S mode, which can affect the width as well. All done by taste and what the track asks for.
Old 25th March 2010
  #4
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When needed I'll use M/S to boost the side channels .5 to 1.5dB. Do not think I ever have boosted more than that.

It's a great thing to do when you get mixes in and the vocals are a bit too loud in the center channel or if the track is just very mono sounding in general.
Old 25th March 2010
  #5
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I am usually mixing a lot, and can assure you, any widening required, if possible, should be done within the mix, on the tracks itself.

If required in mastering, Yes M/S is a go, or pure stereo [a bit iffy though], but doable, with a good elliptical EQ cut, leaving the mid low and lows alone. Without that, it’s a complete disaster and turns into a pseudo master at best, and not a worthy master for print. IMO.

KAyo
Old 25th March 2010
  #6
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Stereo widening is for pussies.

It takes a real man to make the image narrower.
Old 25th March 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius van H View Post
Stereo widening is for pussies.

It takes a real man to make the image narrower.

hahahahaha
Darius


On the topic of narrowing..
Most of my favourite Records on Vinyl, are pretty narrow and with bursts of wide cutting through the comp threshold.
Awesome, sounding stuff. Big fan of Vinyl narrow my man..

KAyo
Old 25th March 2010
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius van H View Post
Stereo widening is for pussies.

It takes a real man to make the image narrower.
heh
Old 25th March 2010
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius van H View Post
Stereo widening is for pussies.

It takes a real man to make the image narrower.
You meen like, make your mix to go on a diet.

heh
Old 26th March 2010
  #10
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IIIrd's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I don't use it at all except narrowing extreme width when cutting vinyl.
Old 26th March 2010
  #11
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Stereo widening is something I rarely use - the tools are there, but I've only needed them a handful of times in recent years. It's one of those techniques like multiband compression that are commonly thought to be used all the time in mastering but in fact are not. That said, as with other non-mainstream methods, very occasionally it can be just the thing but knowing when not to use it is at least as important as knowing when to.

So, like the adage about playing the saxophone, is the definition of a gentleman ME one who knows how to do stereo widening but doesn't?

Saxophone Jokes
Old 26th March 2010
  #12
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I don't use M/S EQ all that often. Only for tiny touch-ups. Why should the ME rearrange the stereo width each and every time?

However, if the stereo image is obviously closed-in, something can be always done with M/S EQ, unlinked compression. Pentode control on the HEDD192.. Little this & that in tiny amounts.

But I really don't do it all the time. A basic mastering job IS maybe 2-3 bands of L/R EQ, perhaps a touch of compression & limiting and off we go.
Old 26th March 2010
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazbina View Post
hey guys,

how often do you find yourself using stereo widening and in which amount ?

...stereo widening is very pleasure for the ears, but, how to know when is enough?...are you using stereo analyzer or use your ears approach...

thnx
The greatest widener there is: Don't crush it to death! That way it is at least is close to as wide as when you started! Down with limiting, up with width!!!!!! Respect my authorityyyyyyyyye!!!

OK, I sometimes use an M/S compressor, it is pretty effective.
Old 26th March 2010
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius van H View Post
Stereo widening is for pussies.

It takes a real man to make the image narrower.
hehhehhehheh
Darius, I really dig your sense of humor mate...
shame, London ain't Amsterdam
Old 26th March 2010
  #15
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Very rarely.

Sometimes just a touch if one track really needs it and doesn't fit spatially with the others.

After hearing the Beatles Boxed set in Mono, I'm tempted follow Darius' idea and put a mono sum at the end of my chain

Cheers,
Thor
Old 26th March 2010
  #16
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I'm actually thinking I should get just one huge speaker for home listening, playing mono sum and filling the whole room with sound..

Remember, when things get really wide, it might sound cool but you're always losing something from the middle where the information really is usually.
Old 26th March 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazbina View Post
how often do you find yourself using stereo widening and in which amount ?
I only use a M/S configuration on maybe 2% of tracks. If somethings out of whack I'll give it a shot and even then make sure the center channel has plenty of impact.
Old 26th March 2010
  #18
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narrowing for vinyl yes...widening very rarely...as to stay in darius mode: we like em tight heh
Old 26th March 2010
  #19
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whazzup with you guys ms eq is a like a crazy powerful tool i use it like all the time you're like a bunch of priests who never oh never mind
Old 26th March 2010
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius van H View Post
you're like a bunch of priests who never oh never mind
heh Never what? And if it's what I think it is, don't be so sure...

Mychal
Old 26th March 2010
  #21
Gear Addict
 

wow - I'm surprised to see the pro consensus is so down on it.

But if you're a curious newb like me, you should be checking out a great plug from Brainworx to experiment with, "bx_digitial v2". Brainworx | bx_digital V2 . It pulls together some commonly used mastering functions making it easy to separately EQ the M and S components. There's a fully functioning 14 demo (but it's ~ $500USD in case you fall in love). You can also get the TT Dynamics Meter for free.

Since I'm only "mastering" my own demos, M/S widening gives me another place to be creative. Widening doesn't have to be "set and forget" you know. Right now I'm automating it on some tracks so, for example , Verses have none, Choruses could have a bit more and the pedal-to-the-metal break/bridge a lot. No reason collapsing to mono for some sections couldn't be effective too. I suppose some would make a not unreasonable argument that I should put this on the 2 bus of my MIX instead. But i didn't for the same reason I didn't put a compressor there - flexibility (especially if I let the plug demo expire

Its also a great tool for analyzing commercial CDs . For example, when soloing the M/S components of an Alicia Keys track, it was clear the Side had a big low-cut below 200Hz (I guess this is pretty standard). But I was also surprised to see a gradual rolloff (or at least lack of boost) above 7 kHz. Of course I have no idea if they actually used MS and did this intentionally.

What I'm finding sounds nice is to reserve the presence boost for the Mono center which is of course the lead vocals and instruments and snare, etc. So when you widen, the sides are very slightly muted and not so forward in the mix, especially if you are afraid to compress for loudness a bit. I guess a point towards doing it in the mix instead is that this could cause you to rethink your panning.
Old 26th March 2010
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
...After hearing the Beatles Boxed set in Mono, I'm tempted follow Darius' idea and put a mono sum at the end of my chain ...
The mono is better because the mono mixes are better. The mixes are better because the production decisions were based on monitoring in mono and they had more time and effort put into them than the stereo. They represent the intent of the artists and producer.

Stereo mixes at that time were done after the fact much like today's 5.1 music releases. The same is true of Motown's mono mixes before the early '70s.

They are not better because they are mono.
Old 26th March 2010
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_free69 View Post
Its also a great tool for analyzing commercial CDs . For example, when soloing the M/S components of an Alicia Keys track, it was clear the Side had a big low-cut below 200Hz (I guess this is pretty standard). But I was also surprised to see a gradual rolloff (or at least lack of boost) above 7 kHz. Of course I have no idea if they actually used MS and did this intentionally.
Might be down to the decreased directionality of sound outside those frequencies -- little point in making treble or sub wider if you can't place it anyway; you'd probably simply notice a reduction in clarity.

I had to severely drop the side portion of a track recently, as it was the only track on the album that really set the phase meter bouncing into the -ve. Lacked central punch.

Widening tends to sound pretty 2D when overdone, reducing the depth and distance of the instruments. Heard plenty of tracks which really do sound like only two pan positions -- mono or extreme L/R.

It's like viewing a video with some sort of inverse fisheye lens strapped over it.
Old 26th March 2010
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csl View Post
Heard plenty of tracks which really do sound like only two pan positions -- mono or extreme L/R.

What's wrong with L-C-R mixing?
Old 26th March 2010
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
I only use a M/S configuration on maybe 2% of tracks. If somethings out of whack I'll give it a shoot and even then make sure the center channel has plenty of impact.
Same here--more important to thump up the middle than thin it out in the sides.
Old 26th March 2010
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Enginerd View Post
What's wrong with L-C-R mixing?
Nothing, assuming that's how you've mixed it. But when you've clearly not been LCR mixing, but just wacked 6dB of side boost over the 2-bus, so that everything inbetween LCR sounds smeared, then I'd say you've overdone the side boosts.
Old 26th March 2010
  #27
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Guided by ear only I have not considered to alter the stereo field in any manner on the last 156 tunes and my intention is to keep things that way.

Regards
Patrik
Old 26th March 2010
  #28
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I generally don't manipulate the stereo imagery. It often causes more problems than it solves. Though I remember one time getting a solo guitar piece recorded with one mic and the guy asked if I could make the stereo image wider.
Old 26th March 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius van H View Post
Stereo widening is for pussies.

It takes a real man to make the image narrower.
Quote:
whazzup with you guys ms eq is a like a crazy powerful tool i use it like all the time you're like a bunch of priests who never oh never mind
Widening / Narrowing / MS EQ is for pussies.

Real men EQ L and R differently!
Old 26th March 2010
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darius van H View Post
whazzup with you guys ms eq is a like a crazy powerful tool i use it like all the time you're like a bunch of priests who never oh never mind
i like your attitude! heh
i remember you wrote you have 10 plugins in a chain sometimes!!!

thumbsup

do what's gotta be done - it's 2010 baby!
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