Any tips on getting a wider stereo image ITB?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by farside, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. farside

    farside Active Member

    I'm recording on Pro-Tools LE and I'm pretty happy with the results I get despite my sub par monitors.

    The only thing I haven't been able to do is get a really nice wide stereo image. At this point I'm limited to mixing ITB with plug-in's only.

    Any tips I should try?
  2. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    WY / CA
    Home Page:
    Assuming you are using reasonable equipment, mixing ITB should not be a serious hindrance to producing a good stereophonic image. The road to a good sound stage lies in the basics of recording and mixing technique itself. Microphone placement, panning choice, use of delays and verb to create depth; these and more contribute to achieving the final presentation between the speakers.

    The last thing to turn to for wide imaging would be those bogus processor plug-ins like spacializers and stereo spreaders. If you are not getting the width and depth you expect, than re-evaluate your mixing decisions for that is probably where the impediment lies.

    I know this is a somewhat generic answer. If there where more specific details of a particular project, this forum may be able to provide more specific suggestions to try.
  3. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Just record some nicely panned stereo drums, lay some hard panned guitar tracks, maybe a couple tracks of panned vox harmonies. If that doesn't give a wide stereo image, maybe only one of your ears is working to begin with.
  4. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    I'm not sure how the rumor about mixing in the box causing these types of problems got started. Personally I think people get distracted looking at the screen instead of listening to the music and they don't notice issues until they are listening to a mix in their car or something and are actually listening clearly. If a mix ain't happening it isn't because you are mixing in the box.
  5. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Tampa Bay, FL
    Home Page:
    The rumor probably got started because it's true, at least for many engineers, especially ones who have worked both ways. I refuse to do only ITB mixes, if my clients can't afford to mix all analog in our A room, for B room clients at a minimum I mix on analog console out of the DAW, through 24 multiple D/As.

    There are just some things your DAW can't do. It will never sound the same as printing your mix to tape, some of the width that you are looking for is obtained by analog outboard processing, analog tape, high quality reverbs, tubes and or transformers in the path. But I digress.
  6. kelly644

    kelly644 Guest

    There was a huge difference in sound between the MCI and Protools rooms when I went to REC.

    I dont really remember specifics about the left to right stereo imaging, but I do remember this - The ProTools stuff sounded like you were looking at a painting, the MCI rooms sounded like you could reach into the mix. Hard to describe, but the front to back depth of the recordings were clearly different on both the systems.
  7. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    To state the incredibly obvious, digital is not analog. How are you comparing identical mix settings to make that determination? Since you can't duplicate it I would submit its more because the the mix parameters are not the same. No two brands of analog desks sound the same and would require different approaches to optimize the mix of the same tune. Why would it be any different for ITB vs a desk?
  8. farside

    farside Active Member

    I've worked both ways, and I tend to agree with you ...or at least it's easier to get that sound working on a big console with lots of analog gear. Unfortunatally at present I dont have that option so I have to make the best out of what I have ...Again, any tips are appreicated.
  9. Groff

    Groff Active Member


    Try with IR reverb. Free impulses download at:

    EMT, Kurzweil, Eventide are my favorites. I was in :shock: when I first try with EMT. Make anything 20% wider. Far better than any of calculation/synthesis/regular reverb pluggin I tried.

    hope that helps a bit

  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    My best advice is to focus on the monitoring chain and not various plug-ins.

    For the longest time, I had wierd issues where I wanted the sound to be more wide (to me, I just wanted it to sound like other commercially released/viable CDs). I would push the panning and the plug-ins for "width" too far. The problem was, I couldn't adequately hear the real width in my monitors and instead of fixing problems by trying to make it "wider," I actually broke up the mix and it would collapse.

    Very rarely do I ever touch a "widener" plug-in, and if I do, it's usually for other reasons than widening the whole mix.

    So, my advice would be, instead of dropping the $$ on the Waves Stereo Shuffler, buy (or enhance) new monitors, amplification and acoustical treatment. None of this has to be expensive - something like the Wharfdale Diamonds and a cheap package of Auralex will get you going in the right direction. Then, don't be afraid to get those monitors away from the rear wall. Screw aesthetics, move your stuff into the middle of the room if you can. (Not the literal "middle" - around 1/3 is a good starting point. Many people will tell you that you need to be at the 38% point in the room.)

    So, I don't know if I helped at all, but I think you'll be surprised just how good stuff sounds when it's monitored correctly.


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