Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

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Stromkraft
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Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:45 pm

There are a number of ways of collapsing just the bass (or sub) frequencies to mono. Some are better than others. I feel however, the knee-jerk suggestion of utilizing m/s for this is being a bit misguiding as this otherwise useful technique has side-effects that I feel are unacceptable on busses and especially the master as m/s isn't mono-compatible at all. Therefore I choose to use m/s only on tracks where I can live with the stereo information becoming absent in mono playback situations (as the left and right will cancel by design).

Because of this I started looking for alternative methods for making all bass mono while not relying on m/s. You can already do this effectively with stock effects in Live. Splitting the signal into discreet bands in a two or three-pronged audio effects rack with a multiband compressor in each, only filtering out the other bands in order to let Low, Mid and/or High trough will give you the opportunity to make only the bass mono with Utility for instance, while retaining your original stereo image.

The quality of the filters when splitting the signal is very important and some filters may add distortion around the splitting point (as you probably know). If you for some reason aren't confident with the MBC effect, you can use any other good filter products, like for instance bx-cleansweep V2 or Waves C4 or any high quality filter that can do steep filter cuts with acceptable side-effects according to you.

Waves Center

Any more suggestions for ways to collapse bass in a full signal to mono without relying on m/s processing?

(Please, if you want to discuss the merits of m/s start another discussion. Let's stay on subject.)
Last edited by Stromkraft on Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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garyboozy
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by garyboozy » Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:41 pm

EQ8 in M/S mode. use a low cut on the side (S) only.
afaik, all mono'ng of select freqs relies on M/S, whether the vsts call it that or not.

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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by mholloway » Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:27 pm

I'm confused, why can't you just stick a Utility on the channel or bus and drop the width to 0%. I guess that's not literally converting to Mono, or... ?
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Angstrom
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by Angstrom » Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:43 pm

there is a way to make the forbidden technique completely mono safe, but I don't feel like starting another thread to explain it. in essence you flip the phase of only the sides. not the bass. collapses to mono completely safe. 100% every time

Stromkraft
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:07 pm

Angstrom wrote:there is a way to make the forbidden technique completely mono safe, but I don't feel like starting another thread to explain it. in essence you flip the phase of only the sides. not the bass. collapses to mono completely safe. 100% every time
OK, but which m/s encoders does this? How come they don't do that explicitly? Odd that no articles address this quite striking issue.

Please elaborate so we can learn. As long as it's not phase inverted sides I'm all for it.
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Stromkraft
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:08 pm

garyboozy wrote:EQ8 in M/S mode. use a low cut on the side (S) only.
afaik, all mono'ng of select freqs relies on M/S, whether the vsts call it that or not.
Is my described filter technique m/s? If not, why couldn't a plug-in do that?

This is what I mean with Mid/Side: What is Mid/Side Processing? (Izotope article)
Last edited by Stromkraft on Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Stromkraft
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:36 pm

mholloway wrote:I'm confused, why can't you just stick a Utility on the channel or bus and drop the width to 0%. I guess that's not literally converting to Mono, or... ?
Because only the bass region, not the stereo image above the crossover frequency, should collapse to mono and when you listen in mono the sides should not cancel each other out. Effectively, in the introductory filter example, I am indeed suggesting using Utility:mono on the low end channel only. The mono making part isn't the difficult part here, though it can be under certain circumstances.

An example may help:
  • 3 tracks with 3 very different sounds in mono
  • Grouped or sent to a buss
  • Track 1 hard panned left
  • Track 2 with a bass signal as Mid
  • Track 3 hard panned right
  • Processing on the Group/Buss, see the alternatives and its results below
  • Utility with mono on master channel, set inactive
With EQ8 in m/s mode on the Group/Buss
Result: The hard pans disappear also in stereo and both sides are heard at similar volumes in both channels. When you activate mono on the master the sides will cancel out completely and only the Mid channel and whatever mid information in the Left and Right channels will be heard.

With the described filter rack or with Waves Center used on the Group/Buss
Result: The hard pans remains though in Waves Center the opposite channel is present at a much lower volume than with proper m/s. When you activate mono on the master the sides are still heard together with the Mid channel, so these do not cancel out.

That's a striking difference and losing my stereo image content when in mono is too high a price to pay for collapsing bass to mono. I save m/s for when I want that effect. I'm very eager to hear about Angstrom's mono-compatible mid/side technique.

Update: The technique is shared by Angstrom in this other discussion: Fully Mono compatible Mid/Side techniques?
Last edited by Stromkraft on Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:20 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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paulmaddox
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by paulmaddox » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:00 am

For sampled stuff (where there is some, but not a huge amount of difference between left and right), I tend to just use utility and select either the left or right channel. Quick, simple, and no phase cancellation issues!

Stromkraft
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by Stromkraft » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:42 pm

paulmaddox wrote:For sampled stuff (where there is some, but not a huge amount of difference between left and right), I tend to just use utility and select either the left or right channel. Quick, simple, and no phase cancellation issues!
Yeah, that's an alternative for making something that is a stereo signal mono, using just one signal instead of adding them together, but where does the stereo information go if you want to keep your stereo image above a crossover frequency?

As I understand this suggestion it's an alternative when you already are below the crossover frequency, like in my filter solution above. For that it's a valid and useful suggestion. What about the rest of the full range signal?
Last edited by Stromkraft on Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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mr.adl
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by mr.adl » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:53 pm

There is also this plugin:
Image

Called Gstereo and can be found here:
http://www.gvst.co.uk/beta.htm

This is what i use on my Masterbuss to have bass mono, mids "normal" and highs a bit wider.

Stromkraft
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Re: Collapse bass to mono alternatives (non m/s)

Post by Stromkraft » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:34 pm

mr.adl wrote:There is also this plugin:
Called Gstereo and can be found here:
http://www.gvst.co.uk/beta.
Thanks for suggesting this Windows-only (?) m/s plug-in. I didn't hear about it before. However, this discussion concerns non mid/side solutions for collapsing only bass while retaining a mono-compatible stereo image for the rest of the signal.

If you are indicating that this plug-in makes for an excellent choice for achieving bass in mono and an m/s signal that is fully mono-compatible, may I suggest you add it to the discussion Fully Mono compatible Mid/Side techniques? and also describe your results? Angstrom have already made a contribution and shared a link to an article there.

The significant difference between a mono-compatible stereo image and an incompatible one is simply that stereo information doesn't cancel out when the stereo signal is put back to mono.

Another plus with non m/s techniques is that panned signals stay panned. That's important for at least my stereo image.
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