Stereo-widening tactics

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dafeda
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Stereo-widening tactics

Post by dafeda » Tue May 24, 2016 6:32 am

Hi,

I'm working on a mix-down of one of my tracks, but when comparing to reference tracks, mine almost sounds mono. Mainly, my lead synth line sounds very "narrow" and I wonder what kind of things I could to do make it feel wider without cluttering things too much. I've added a bit of delay to it but if I add more, it messes with the rythm.

I hope this does not come off as some silly self-promotion.

https://soundcloud.com/notourdates/mast ... 16/s-KxDwx

Also, if some of you have time, there's a tracks by Sohn (https://soundcloud.com/sohn/bloodflows) in which the vocals feel really wide. I've tried recreating that sound with no success. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

jestermgee
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by jestermgee » Tue May 24, 2016 7:45 am

- Reverb
Probably one of the quickest and easiest ways to get stereo from mono and works well with leads, strings, piano etc.

- Filtered delays
Experiment with ping-pong delays but filter the lows. Add some reverb to make it sound less "ping pongy" and it should help to make a wide sound.

You can also use a stereo delay plugin and add just a few ms of delay to one channel which will almost be unnoticeable but creates quite an impact. Simple but effective.

- Chorus
Add chorus and pan it out.

- Track doubling
Back in my tracker days I would create a double of a track and increase one of the tracks by 1 cent in pitch then hard pan each left and right. As long as the sample of the instrument wasnt too long it created one of the best wide stereo effects.

You can achieve the same results by doing the same and slightly adjusting some parameters such as the pitch, keytrack offset, slight change in reverb. Something that adds just the slightest difference will make a big impact.

- Proper mono to stereo processors
Waves has some good ones but there are loads of processors that use a number of tricks to make a stereo field from mono material.

When I create Piano pieces and acoustic guitar pieces I will often use several layers (3 or 5 typically) with a centre main track then different panned copies but lower volume and filtered. I then have a Mono button for monitoring and what I listen for is a nice tight and clear sounding mono sound but it should almost "explode" open and fill with space when I switch it off but you really cannot hear big stereo effects, it's all subtle but very noticeable when removed.

Just play around with a track and test a heap of ideas until it starts to click.

dafeda
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by dafeda » Tue May 24, 2016 7:57 am

I will try all those things, thanks a lot. The synth in the track I posted is actually stereo. I've layered a few sounds and panned some hard left and right. Will the trick you propse work on stereo tracks as well?

Tarekith
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by Tarekith » Tue May 24, 2016 8:35 am

Yeah, the only thing that strikes me as being too mono in the song is the lead synth like you say. Try Voxengo's free MSED plug in, turn the sides up 1dB and turn the mid down by the same amount. See if that helps at all.
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dafeda
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by dafeda » Tue May 24, 2016 9:14 am

Tarekith wrote:Yeah, the only thing that strikes me as being too mono in the song is the lead synth like you say. Try Voxengo's free MSED plug in, turn the sides up 1dB and turn the mid down by the same amount. See if that helps at all.
Thanks, I will try that. When I think about it though, it might be best to just go back to my layering of synths and pad things properly there..

Tarekith
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by Tarekith » Tue May 24, 2016 11:59 am

Fixing it at the source is always good, no doubt.
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Funkin8
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by Funkin8 » Tue May 24, 2016 12:10 pm

Just another thing to try:

Try EQ-ing the left and right differently but my faves have already been mentioned above.

If your sound becomes too diluted after adding loads of stereo chorus/delay/revebs etc:

Best bet is to duplicate your mono part, shift it up an octave then apply the stereo effects to that, leaving your dominant mono sound as it is. Your octave shifted/heavily stereo effected part can then be used as the widener without affecting the focus of the riff. I'd say that's a pretty safe approach for lead riffs.

beats me
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by beats me » Tue May 24, 2016 5:43 pm


dafeda
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by dafeda » Tue May 24, 2016 6:06 pm

Hehe, I went back to the source and fixed it to a degree. Appreciate all the tips and will give them a spin.

contortrix
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by contortrix » Tue May 24, 2016 6:20 pm

Slightly different delay on left and right channels.

Precedence effect (sometimes conflated with Haas effect): delay one channel by about 20ms (give or take, depends on material) until you perceive a stereo widening effect.

Generally making two channels for left and right (or making a channel-splitting effect rack) and applying slightly different effects, pitch, etc. to each channel will give a sense of width.
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Shift Gorden
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by Shift Gorden » Tue May 24, 2016 7:51 pm

dafeda wrote:Hehe, I went back to the source and fixed it to a degree. Appreciate all the tips and will give them a spin.
Going back to the mix is definitely the way to go!

I know some folk have mentioned stereo wideners - here's a really good and free one - A1 Stereo Control. Allows you to mono the bass frequencies, too.

http://www.alexhilton.net/A1AUDIO/index ... reocontrol

gallagherf
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by gallagherf » Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:05 pm

dafeda wrote:
Tue May 24, 2016 6:32 am
Hi,

I'm working on a mix-down of one of my tracks, but when comparing to reference tracks, mine almost sounds mono. Mainly, my lead synth line sounds very "narrow" and I wonder what kind of things I could to do make it feel wider without cluttering things too much. I've added a bit of delay to it but if I add more, it messes with the rythm.

I hope this does not come off as some silly self-promotion.

https://soundcloud.com/notourdates/mast ... 16/s-KxDwx

Also, if some of you have time, there's a tracks by Sohn (https://soundcloud.com/sohn/bloodflows) in which the vocals feel really wide. I've tried recreating that sound with no success. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
do you know the plug in "wider"? its for free maybe helpful?

sambaji
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Re: Stereo-widening tactics

Post by sambaji » Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:24 pm

Check out Polyverse Infected Mushroom's free stereo enhance Vst, "Wider". If I use it directly on a mono track, I tend to use subtler settings (e.g., 25%). Try it at higher levels on your reverb return.

https://polyversemusic.com/products/wider/
'Wider is a unique stereo plugin in the sense that it is completely “mono-compatible”, meaning that any signal that has been extended will always remain in phase with itself, even if summed to mono.'

As mentioned at https://www.ableton.com/en/manual/using-grooves/, you can use a groove’s "Random" parameter to create realistic doublings and then pan them left and right, respectively. "To do this, first duplicate the track containing the clip that you want to “thicken.“ Then apply a groove to one of the clips and turn up its Random parameter. When you play the two clips together, each note will be slightly (and randomly) out of sync with its counterpart on the other track." If you don't want to apply the groove itself, just turn down "Timing" to zero%. I would be hesitant to apply this approach to audio files as it would likely degrade them due to warping--better for midi tracks.


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