M-S Imaging questions for ME

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by 0db, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. 0db

    0db Active Member

    Situation: Having all the tracks mixed, i made some "preview" files, trying to figure it out if there´s any problems with panning, mono listening, and i really don´t know wich way is better to mix. There´s always "something" happening about the imaging.

    Tracks were sequenced using Propellerheads Reason 2.5. conected via rewire to protools since some of the tracks needed compression that reason gear can´t deliver. I rendered some tracks and then, analyzed in the phase-scope of Wavelab.

    My main concern is, what should i care for when it comes to panning instruments and phase cancellation, i have read, and listened to several tracks that appears to be ok, but then, listening in mono you get another history.

    So i was reading about this and i saw M-S encoding process...what is this? is some kind of plugin? Can the ME do this, or is a process that have to be applied on the mixing stage?

    I have always mixed in the regular manner, trying to have all the details covered at the mix stage, prior to send it to some ME. I always have good results, but i want to know the whole thing about improving stereo imaging and how is the best method to achieve nice mixes in this aspect.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    If you are going to use 0db as your name please note that the proper way to spell it is 0dB as the B refers to a person's last name (Alexander Graham Bell ) and should be capitalized.

    Not a flame but a simple statement of fact.

    To answer your question.

    Mid-side processing modes.

    In MS mode the plugin or hardware encodes L/R stereo signal into mid and side (in phase and out of phase signals) channels which can be then compressed or expanded as needed. After processing is performed, the M/S signal is converted into L/R signal. This allows the ME to work on one aspect of the signal (the mid or side signal) independently and then combine them back together for the stereo mix.

    Hope this helps
  3. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    At the mixing stage I wouldn't get into MS stuff. It's all about placement. If you have 2 guitars one paned hard left one hard right it sounds very wide in stereo. In mono they will be on top of each other. Not as cool. This is not wrong. You may want to bring the guitars in a little so there is some in each track to help the mono listening.

    Check your mixes in mono while you go. But mix for stereo. Do what sounds best to you. If the music is for video, tv or any "musac" you need to be mono compatible.
    If your mixing for the best quality then do what sounds best. Don't look for a plug in. Use your ears and don't pan everything hard left or right.
  4. 0db

    0db Active Member

    Thomas, thanks for your comments. I don´t like to use capital letters at all, that´s why i use 0db....no big deal, i know that a decibel is a logarithmic relationship of loudness 1/10 BEL, blah, blah, blah......ok

    "In MS mode the plugin or hardware encodes L/R stereo signal into mid and side (in phase and out of phase signals) channels which can be then compressed or expanded as needed"

    If this is an encoding process, it should be decoded sometime right? where or when would be the next question, and thanks in advance!
  5. 0db

    0db Active Member

    "don't pan everything hard left or right."

    This one is good, i like to "open" the mix by panning too much hard left or right.....

    ok, strike two, thanks, joe!

    any more comments, please?
  6. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    when you collapse a stereo mix to mono, the sides or wide panned stuff is going to come down in volume. this is normal. what you want to check for is if these completely disappear. M/S is not really an answer. Like what is posted above, it's a technique for manipulation. What should concern you is if elements of your mix disappear if you listen in mono. Mono panned tracks will not be a problem, only stereo elements like synths or multi mic'd stuff like overheads.

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