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Parallel widening: clone track > change stereo width > re-sum w original = Good idea? Analog Processors (HW)
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Parallel widening: clone track > change stereo width > re-sum w original = Good idea?

Imagine you finish a mix where you add a clone of itself with a different stereo width. Some kind of "parallel widening" so to say.

What happens technically if I clone the a stereo audio signal to a 2nd track, change it's width (wider or narrower) and re-sum it together with the original signal?

Would I harm the overall stereo field or introduce any other technical problems?

As a further thought, on the cloned track, maybe there could be a different EQ setting and/or compression, too.

What are your thoughts?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Imagine you finish a mix where you add a clone of itself with a different stereo width. Some kind of "parallel widening" so to say.
You can run into phasing issues and can maybe muddy the mix as things will be placed in the mix ware they were not intended

Quote:
As a further thought, on the cloned track, maybe there could be a different EQ setting and/or compression, too.
So this is basically Parallel Compression, basically. but you are doing it in the mix. Having one dry and and one compressed signal is used and done all the time

CJ
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for getting back! So generally you're saying "parallel widening/altering the stereo field" on the wet-signal does introduce phase problems but "p-EQing/p-compression" does not and can be summed with the dry signal without any problems, is that correct?
Old 1 week ago
  #4
dzb
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I have found that no matter what you do once you start to touch EQ on a parallel stereo mix next to the original mix you will get phase issues. Just as CJ pointed out - you'll muddy something up (granted in some cases might sound more pleasing to the ear for some parts of a song) - you'll notice snare drum start to lose beef, guitars and higher keyboards might sound more sparkly, but you will smear other aspects. And, then, there is the impact on the bottom end- Exceptionally tricky.

There are some decent plug-ins that might help (one of the fancy Brainworx EQ's has some widening ability and will keep the bottom end mono'd and tight, and there is Ozone, of course, but that can get way overused quickly. (And even ruin a mix). No matter what you do going the parallel route on a mix, once you start artificially (post-mix) 'widening' you risk doing things to the mix that you may find yourself chasing something else. It really is delicate work and can quickly become a rabbit hole and turn to mush. It's fun ear candy at first. A little goes a long way.

I have an SPL MixDream with a widening function- and never use it on the stereo mix. Future Retro DB (it's a hardware piece) has a widening function in the mastering switching chain, it can be handy, but minimal light use.

You might try the Kush Clariphonic in mid-side mode- just a touch can be sweet.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for the answers so far! Do you guys think the phase issue would be minimized with the usage of a linear phase EQ? What about linear phase compression or linear phase stereo widening/narrowing?
Old 5 days ago
  #6
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stinkyfingers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by branscobe View Post

What happens technically if I clone the a stereo audio signal to a 2nd track, change it's width (wider or narrower) and re-sum it together with the original signal?
It would be the same as just narrowing/widening one track, only the amount differs.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
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Your question is based on action vs reaction with no regards to understanding what you are actually doing to the music.

That is what I'd classify as foolish and lazy way of learning.

What you should do is learn exactly what stereo widening is first, then think through the actions you're taking so you can predict what the results should be. Then you should try it and see if the predicted results match your actual results.

First off, I'll disagree there will be phase issues, at least by the method you described. To me it sounds like you'd be mixing a dry signal with a wet signal which simply diminishes the results, even with widening. If the original track wasn't very wide and its mixed with a wide signal it should wind up some place half way in between, that's all. I'd first need to know exactly what kind of widening tool you'd be using first.

There are several tools that can be used to widen the sound. You can use a mono in stereo out reverb or delay.

Another way is to take a little of the left channel, reverse the polarity and mix it into the right channel, and vice versa. Like I said, adding un-widened sound to this would simply diminish the results.

Another way to widen is to EQ each side differently. It may be simply removing certain frequencies that dominate the center or by using comb filtering with is typically mirror images of each side.

Another way of doing this involves either changing the amount of mid/side information or by EQing the two differently. When the mid information is removed the side information makes the image appear wider. This is typically done with a matrix. The stereo signal is fed into a M/S (Mid/Side) format, which lets you EQ the sides or 'difference' channel separately from the center or 'sum' signal, before then decoding the signal back to conventional left and right stereo. Here's a tool that does it. Download Free Stereo tool / VU meter plug-in: StereoChannel by Sleepy-Time DSP

There is yet another tool which is probably new to many here. I came across it a few years ago and it works similar to a Bass Mono tool used to mono bass frequencies while leaving all others alone. The difference is this tool widens or narrows 6 different frequency bands. You can for example widen high frequencies and narrow bass frequencies which can make a mono signal or a stereo mix sound much wider then it actually is. Download Free Stereo widener plug-in: Six Band Spreader by CIS DSP Factory
Old 3 days ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
To me it sounds like you'd be mixing a dry signal with a wet signal which simply diminishes the results, even with widening.
I agree, it strikes me the less wide track will "pull" the image back towards the center as it recombines.


Quote:
Originally Posted by branscobe
a further thought, on the cloned track, maybe there could be a different EQ setting and/or compression, too.
This is so common that many companies make plugs that have a blend control. IOW you don't need to create a cloned track, just adjust your EQ, compressor or whatever, and then play with the wet/dry percentages. In some DAWs with some plugs, Delay Compensation is not always 100% flawless, and then you will get some flanging from the clone.


I learned a "trick" a while back from a friend of mine. He says "if it takes less time to try it than to argue about it, we try it".

How long would it take to just try your idea?
Old 1 day ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 

It always seems to me that if you widen everything, you are not widening anything. Width comes from contrasting something narrow with something wide.
Old 1 day ago
  #10
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke View Post
It always seems to me that if you widen everything, you are not widening anything. Width comes from contrasting something narrow with something wide.
Width also comes with having different things panned L & R...

But yeah when everything's "in stereo", the mix itself is unlikely to sound "wide" so much as "a mess".
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