Discussion in 'Recording' started by cotenyc, Nov 10, 2008.
What are you guys using to widen??
Thanks a lot for your recommendations
I think that about covers it.
If its already stereo I will use MS processing.
If I'm faking stereo from a mono signal I usually use the free mda stereo plug, or a short delay for Haas effects.
There are numerous ways to widen a good stereo signal. As IIRs points out, he'll utilize the "MS" technique.
Let me elaborate on that a little further.
A good stereo signal generally has a lot of random phase content. Random phase content is frequently heard as reverb, echoes, delays, instruments & vocals that spread across the stereo spectral image. Solo instruments, vocals, bass drums & bass guitars are frequently centered within the stereo image. The centered information is common to both the left & right channels. So here is how you would go about widening a stereo signal on a standard recording console of either analog or digital type. Your stereo signal has to be fed into 4 inputs on your console. One set, is your left & your right. The other two are channel inverted. That is the left is fed to the right. And the right, is fed to the left. If you bring all 4 faders up, you'll have a mono, all centered recording. But, if you invert the phase of the inverted channel pair, it will cancel out everything that is common to the center. If you remove the center image, the stereo will appear wider, since you remove the center. Too much and all you have is the difference channel or what we would call the "side" channel of the MS middle/side technique. Now because it eliminates the center, you don't necessarily want your inverted channels to be turned up as loud as your primary channels. But you will hear your signal go from stereo, to Mono, to so wide, it appears to be coming from behind you. That's too wide. So a little goes along way.
If the recording is Mono, as IIRs, suggested, you'd have to create some time delay to create a sense of spatial distance. That can be accomplished with just a couple of milliseconds. The Haas effect is basically a stationary version of Doppler shift. Which is derived from a time delay of short duration. So short that it doesn't sound like a secondary performer. So it's more glued to your primary creating a sense of left & right imagery.
As the Green guy suggested the use of your Pan knobs will be necessary to accomplish my above technical recommendation. So by listening to all three of us giving you recommendations, you already have a wider spread.
I like real butter for my spread
Ms. Remy Ann David
Now THAT is some good old fashioned knowledge. Simple, effective. I've played with phase before but never thought of doing something like this. Not that It's exactly what I want or need but it sure sounds like it would be fun as hell to play with. Maybe phase manipulation will be the new AutoTuning. They'll come out with plug-ins for it; Phaz-o-laterz, Phat Phaze (with analog warmth) and the Phantom Phaze Phive-Thousand.
I am going to turn on my gear at 2:21 am and play with this...when I really should go to bed.
...and to the OP. You can't widen stereo. Its width is finite but the points in between are infinite.
"its width is finite but the points in between are infinite."
you just blew my mind... thanks!
Tripple P T.
Phantom Phaze Phive-Thousand.
Apparently there is more than Pan knobs.
Just get it re-coned...it'll be ok :lol:
thanks for the great explanation-
is there any plugins that are better at this than others?
"is there any plugins that are better at this than others?"
IMHO, none compare to the Phantom Phaze Phive-Thousand: NONE!
I've used Waves S1 - Stereo Imager. Works well on some things. I don't use it too often. But it has some nice features re: depth and width of stereo
It came with the Renaissance Bundle. Waves also has a MS plug-in with a built in matrix to do "in the box" what Remy described.
Remy often appears to be "out of the box" not just "out of the ordinary"
But seriously... Before you get into any phase manipulation, you should work with your soundstage ("The area between two speakers that appears to the listener to be occupied by sonic images") and some basic effects.
Panning, as mentioned by Greener, is the place to start. You don't have to pan things hard left or hard right. Just pan them enough to give them their own place.
Work with some simple effects like reverb or delay. Play with the way they are panned. For example, if you have a guitar panned slightly to the right, apply a delay to it and pan the delay slightly to the left.
Start with those basics to get a good understanding of how things sound and where they fit when played back in a mix.
I love using stereo widening to bring out dual distorted guitar tracks and making overheads on a drum kit sound more spacious. I'll usually do that stuff during mixing because it allows me the ability compensate for the volume increase (of the tracks being widened).
There are a lot of plugs out there for this, Steinberg has a quick easy one that sounds great. But the real money for me is in frequency selective stereo expansion, which works like a multiband compressor, but with stereo expansion instead of compression. Izotope Ozone does this, and I love it. Can the same thing be done by using the above MS method on multiple channel groups and applying band pass filtering to each set as well? Maybe someone out there has the answer.
Anyway, just more audio geekiness. I've been using/abusing stereo expansion for years (discovered it on one of my outboard EQ's when I was a kid) and I really think it adds a nice polish to the mix when used sparingly... especially for drums and distorted guitars. Just don't use so much that you lose the bass punch, that's the main thing to pay attention to.
Using it after a nice reverb in the chain sounds pretty nice as well.
I have used Waves and the Steinberg plugin. I prefer the Steinberg plug.
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