MS Mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by invisibl, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. invisibl

    invisibl Guest

    Hey Folks...
    Presently I am experimenting with A MidSide Technique applied to Stereo Material.

    Processing wise (i guess I default to a load out guy coz I am all in the Box) I use whatever i need on both the SIDE, MID and Summed decoded signal.

    My question is this:

    Aside from using my ears.....

    Is there a rule of thumb I should follow when recombining signals.

    I see a huge potential for abuse here.

    I have a time aligned normal stereo copy of the track I am working on so I can listen to the original at any given time to check on timbral & Image diffrences against the original.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Using your ears is the best approach. If you don't process to drastically, there won't be many problems. I only use this approach if i'm really in a rut. I also find that using linear phase processing has better resuts. Is there a reason why you are using MS or are you just experimenting?

    [ September 05, 2003, 08:12 AM: Message edited by: Michael Fossenkemper ]
  3. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    MS is a powerful tool. Your ears are your best judge but I would check it's mono compatability to see how it translates.

    I also would like to know your reason for using it on the particular track.
  4. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    I didn't start the thread, but I just recently used it on a track tailor made for it- hard panned guitars that were a bit gooey in the bottom and a little dark on the top, coupled with the rest of the mix (especially vocals and snare) sounding a bit thin. I got to trim off a little bit of bottom on the sides, and put in maybe a dB of high mids, and tone down the top in the middle while adding a little low mid to solidify the center.

    Worked great.

  5. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    good use for MS.
  6. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    I can read at BOB Owsinski and Bob Katz books, but could someone give me more tips about this technique?
  7. invisibl

    invisibl Guest

    Thanks for the replies
    I'm using it mainly to experiment Michael.

    Altho used the technique the other day to slam some punk type music & managed to seperate the snare & vocal and gat fight ( well a little)

    Alecio. i used the technique Brad Blackwood posted at PSW. WIth a refinement for realtime application.

    FWIW. In ProTools. If anyone has questions, Or can see a reason that this interpretation of Brad's technique has been followed incorrectly then please speak up. Cheers.

    Place Audio On Track 1&2 and a Sample accurate time aligned copy on Audio3&4

    Set AudioTrack 1 & 2 to output Bus 1 and 2.
    Set up 4 Mono Aux's to be inputs Bus 1 and 2, also set up the outputs to be Ouput Bus 3 & 4.
    Group the 4 Aux tracks into 2 groups of 2.
    Setup the first two aux's as unity gained and pan them left & right
    Setup the second Aux Pair as Grouped and mono, Pull the volume slider down to -3Db and Phase invert.

    Now Create a Stereo Aux Track, With the input as Bus 3 & 4 and the Output as Bus 5 & 6. Swap the Polarity on this track. This Will be your SIDE info.

    Now Go to Audio Track 3 & 4, pan to Mono, Phase Invert & reduce Volume slider to -3Db.
    Set output Of Audio Track 3&4 to Bus 7&8
    Create 2 stereo or 4 mono aux Tracks. The First Stereo Aux ( or pair of Grouped mono Auxes) is set to input Bus 7&8. Output set to Bus 9&10. Set the next Aux to be Bus input 9& 10 and the Output to Bus 5&6. Set both of these Paired or stereo Aux's to mono and set the Volumes to be -3Db.
    This will be your MID info.

    Next, Create a Stereo Aux. Set the input to Bus 5&6 and the output to whatever you monitor from.

    You should now hear the stereo info recombined.

    Now you can process the side & Mid info discretely.

  8. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Though Brad is using buses, could not discrete "New" sets of inverted and recombined tracks get there too?

    Just wondering,

  9. invisibl

    invisibl Guest

    Rick, To be accurate Brads suggestion was to use what you suggested above " Inverted Tracks"

    I thought to use the Buses coz i didnt want to have to invert Duplicate tracks if I had an album to Master ( A time saving measure).

    I'm guessing what i have written above seems like a whole bunch of pi$$ing around. But do it once and make it into a template and all is good.

    I will dig around and see if I can find the Advice Brad posted or at least a link to it.


  10. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :d: . When you mastering folks save time, it saves us money!


  11. invisibl

    invisibl Guest

    One thing I havent said. Is: Make sure you are EXTREMELY aware of any latency introduced by instantiating plug ins

    My workaround is to use identical plugs on both the MID & SIDE info chains ( even if one is "unused")
  12. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    If you are using plugins in protools you can use the ms encode plugin at the top of your chain, then use your plugins in multi mono then at the end of the chain use the ms decode. Much easier and faster.
  13. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    thanks Michael. But whicgplug-insare these? the Waves tdm/gold series?
  14. invisibl

    invisibl Guest

    Because I am unusually dense Michael, Please explain How i Might do this method in a step by step process.

    Including how I apply a Stereo widener to the side info only.
    How I might Parallel process the MID info.
    How I might sidechain compress the SIDE info using the MID info.

    Also are you referring to the Waves Products?

    Thank you in advance

  15. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) I can't help but say it, and I will... I :D

  16. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    There is a digi plugin that is called MS encode and MS decode. It might only work on TDM, not sure. Once you insert the encode on a stereo track it seperates the mid from the sides on the same track, the left being the sides and the right being the mid. You can then insert whatever plugins you want in multi mono to be able to process the left seperate from the right (sides and mid) at the end of your chain you insert the MS decode and it recombines the mid and the sides. Because you have seperate control of the left and right (sides and mid) you can do whatever you need. But you have to be careful with phase shift on anything you do which is why I like linear phase or minimal phase processing. I don't use this much because My weiss eq has this feature built into it and it works much better. You have to be really careful when using this technique as it can cause lots of problems.
  17. invisibl

    invisibl Guest

    Respectfully Michael,
    These are the specific questions I asked in regards to your earlier suggestion.

    how do I apply a Stereo widener to the side info only.
    How I might Parallel process the MID info.
    How I might sidechain compress the SIDE info using the MID info.

    From memory your last suggestion seemed based around the Waves MSMatrix encoder Decoder. I am unaware of Digi making these type substances.
    This plugin works on Both TDM & RTAS environments.
    However it doesnt allow discrete processing of both Streams in the way I have described above.

    Please enlighten me.

    And despite my inherent ability to come across like a smug prick in print. Please be aware I am most earnest in asking these questions.

    Thanks in advance. :c:
  18. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Invisible, you are not the only one who posted. And you are coming accross as a SP.

    It could be the waves MS, I haven't used it in awhile because I use other means. If you process the side information with any kind of phasey processing, it's not going to work well. If you parallel process the mid, you can try it, but what I've found is that it collapses the stereo image. It's a delicate balance of processing in MS to correct a problem while doing as little harm as possible. If you want to try to widen the sides then you would bus the side to 2 channels, flip the phase on one and widen it. but the way most wideners work, you will have the same results as if you just applied it on the stereo track. Same goes for paralleling the mid but not flipping the phase on the second channel and making sure that you have compensated for any delays. In general the way I process MS is I lock the side and mid and tweek until I get it to sound as good as I can, then I unlock them and fine tune. There is usually a lot of information in the grey areas, and if you change the sides drastically from the mid then this change is going to have adverse effects on things that are not hard panned or up the middle.
  19. invisibl

    invisibl Guest

    Hi Michael.

    OK . First up thank you for pointing out I am coming across as a SP.I have this ability in real life too, I work hard to be aware of it, But in my excitement I can slip up.

    I would ask you to suggest , either here in print or in a PM , How I might avoid this. i certainly have no interest in alienating you or any of the other contributors here, MOds or otherwise.

    To add perspective to why i ask these specific questions?
    : I end up with a lot of poorly recorded/mixed material to work on. The material ranges from punk thru to Hip hop thru to Electronic ( usually no vox)
    As a result I need to work hard to do my best by these people.
    We live in a small place, Possibly fewer people live in my country than in your suburb!
    As a result of this, The amount of knowledge ( and MUCH more noticeably experience) is sorely lacking.
    The option of sending this material back & saying "Please mix it better" is usually an impossible task.

    Hence my desperation in forming questions & asking people like yourself & others.

    I am pushing $*^t uphill with a stick, mate.
    I need help, I ask.

    For any offence, I offer my sincere apologies.

    Back to my questions.

    I asked you some specific questions that you didnt answer. No bother there.
    You gave me some non specific answers that didnt answer the questions i asked. A small bother.
    I re asked them specifically as well as putting forward info ( re the MS products) that i was reasonably confident was correct.

    I see by your credit list that you are a busy man. i also see in myself the ability we ALL share of reading this BBS & skipping over text that for no real reason we can miss.

    This was why I reposted my specific questions.

    Michael. Please, if I have strayed into SP territory, I apologise.

    ( i so know I will submit this post, Re-read it and cringe in horror.)
  20. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    No offense taken, living in NY has given me the ability to dish it out as well as take it. It's very hard to tell you something as a given when I have nothing to reference. Mastering is a fluid craft that you have to flow with and not against. If your finding something is really busting you balls, zero out your gear and try a new and simpler approach. I usually find that when something is really difficult that we tend to over think it and over process it. MS is a very powerful tool when used very sparingly. The simpler, the better result. For instance if you are using MS and you want the sides to come out more, then inch up the side level little by little until you hear a difference and then back it off a notch because we all tend to like the newest thing in a mix. (the last guitar overdub is usually the loudest)You don't want to bring attention to your processing. I find this to be more affective then screwing with the phase. you want to bring more focus to the kick, then bring down the eq in that range on the sides little by little until it pops out in the center. Work in little steps and the mix will keep together. if you use broad strokes then everything will disconnect and fall apart. If you need broad strokes then do it outside of the MS chain. If you use a multi band in MS then you have to be very careful and listen to image shifts as a band compresses. You have to spend time and play around to get good results.

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