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Stereo imbalance

In the mastering stage of an album created in Logic Pro X I'm finding (listening in cans) that my mixes are slightly tilted over to the right channel. Tracks like vocal and bass appear to be shifted right when in the mix itself they are definitely panned to the center.

This is pretty inexplicable to me and at this stage I am experimenting putting Logic's Direction Mixer plug on the stereo master out and dialling in a 13-15% swing to the left channel to compensate.

A master made with this setting is far-more balanced sounding and 'solves' the imaging problem.

But is this a bad idea in principle?

What could be the underlying cause of this anomaly?

Comments

pcrecord Tue, 05/30/2017 - 06:29
This might sound overly basic, but are you sure your headphones and amp is balanced ? Even on studio monitors, it could happen that one is louder than the other or that the room is modifying the stereo perseption...
Also, you could have ear damage or fatigue that let's you think one side is quieter.
Then in the mix, did you use stereo enhancement plugins, doublers or things like that ? They can produce phase problems and change the perception as well.
How did you export the audio ? A mixdown, export fonction ? I always put care on choosing how I export and the options.
For exemple if I choose entier mix, it includes my headphone sends and I will get weird results.
Try doing the process with only the vocal with no effect no buss and panned to the center in the mix...
You shouldn't have to compensate...

sunbambino Tue, 05/30/2017 - 08:59
When I reverse the h'phones the difference transfers to the other side so it's not my hearing, my first thought.

Monitors are carefully placed.

No st enhancement plugs used as a rule.

For mixdown I just bounced offline.

I'll try a vocal bounce and report back.

Just found this, but my machine prefs were normal

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/sound-balance-on-osx-10-9-going-off-occasionally.1649024/

audiokid Tue, 05/30/2017 - 09:38
pcrecord, post: 450627, member: 46460 wrote: Also, you could have ear damage or fatigue that let's you think one side is quieter.
I'm not suggesting this for the OP BUT! this is a very wise comment so I can't help but share something I think is worth mentioning.

I'm a firm believer many of us can overcome personal setback by knowing, understanding our hearing deficiencies are and adjusting to compensate.
A great example are buying speakers that fit us. not what fit someone else's glowing review. Whats good for you is not whats good for me because...
As we age, we all loose our ability to hear high freq, but we don't loose the thirst to want to hear those freq in a mix so what often happens as we age then... older engineers mix with too much high end. To them, boosting high end sounds just right but to the younger ears.. wow! those mixes are super top end heavy.

Older ears will likely have better translated mixes with speakers having more "tweeter". or simply... don't add top end on your mixes and get used to the sound of mud because it likely is just right.

Or... if you have an ear that is damaged, you could always be adding too much volume to that side.

pcrecord Tue, 05/30/2017 - 10:13
sunbambino, post: 450631, member: 50321 wrote: I'll try a vocal bounce and report back.
My idea is to do the same moves but with a mono source and see if the final registered levels in the software and how the ears percive it.
Also if you have a db meter (there is some free ones for cellphones) you could also make measurements...
I'm sure it is a routing or setting problem somehow..

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