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Author Topic: What's with all the fuss about M/S?  (Read 16562 times)

Viitalahde

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What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« on: April 27, 2010, 09:32:15 am »

Maybe I haven't done enough M/S processing to fall in love with it, but right now it feels like it mostly does more harm than good.

I've used digital M/S EQ with good success to effectively fix a few things that needed to be fixed, and in my new console I'm going to include a selectable active matrix that wraps around one of the inserts.

With future analog domain M/S processing in mind, I've been testing things, running digitally encoded signal through various pieces (with no processing applied, just in-line), including a pair of WE 111C transformers, and decoding back in digital. Just about in every case I've preferred the the L/R process to the M/S. It seems like the more coloured you go, the more you loose coherency and things get just increasingly left-center-right.

I can see the creative uses for the process, but all the fuss makes me feel like it's hip in mastering to alter the S beyond recognition. If it's "stereo enhancement" we want, I think I'll stick with plain, skilled L/R EQ.

End of rant. The M/S codec will be implemented in my new console, but I don't think I'll be running in M/S all the time. De-essing in M/S might be interesting.

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Jaakko Viitalähde
Virtalähde Mastering, Kuhmoinen/Finland
http://www.virtalahde.com
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masterhse

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 10:02:37 am »

I look at M/S processing as a way around some of the compromises that might have to be made with strictly stereo processing. For example addressing an issue with a kick or vocal (assuming that they are centered). It's also a way of remixing to a small degree.

If the mix is consistent in its internal balance, and not congested in the middle, I see very few other reasons to use it.

OTOH when you do have those issues it can be indispensible unless a remix is possible.
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Tom Volpicelli
The Mastering House Inc.
CD Mastering and Media Production Services

Waltz Mastering

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 10:04:54 am »

Viitalahde wrote on Tue, 27 April 2010 09:32


I can see the creative uses for the process, but all the fuss makes me feel like it's hip in mastering to alter the S beyond recognition. If it's "stereo enhancement" we want, I think I'll stick with plain, skilled L/R EQ.

To me M/S processing is just another tool to have in the arsenal when needed, but like you, I find that for the large majority of work, L/R processing works perfectly.

I think the internet  contributes to a lot of the hype associated with m/s, parallel or  other forms of un-convential processing....  In reality, although m/s might be used on the regular by some successful ME's, to me it's just anther option to consider  rather than a default method to work.

lowland

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2010, 10:29:24 am »

Viitalahde wrote on Tue, 27 April 2010 14:32

De-essing in M/S might be interesting.


That's how I work most of the time, in my case with the TC 6000 - it's the one M/S  technique I'd be reluctant to part with.
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Nigel Palmer
Lowland Masters
Essex, UK
www.lowlandmasters.com

mastertone

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2010, 11:19:03 am »

Viitalahde wrote on Tue, 27 April 2010 15:32


De-essing in M/S might be interesting.



Yes! Works great when used right, I´m still on spitfish, but the sonnox supresser looks so nice i think i "have" to get it.
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Jonas Ekstrom
Mastertone Mastering
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TotalSonic

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2010, 11:38:37 am »

M/S is never a go to for me - but depending on the mix it can be a great problem solver.  

I have my Sontec MEP250EX and my DerrEsser's both switchable to working as M/S via a single button push via my Manley Backbone - and this has helped work flow immensely (especially versus my old analog M/S matrix which I would have to patch in when I wanted to use it).

Using M/S with these processors worked great recently for an album of singer/songwriter material I did where the mixes for the most part had vox straight up the center and guitars panned hard left/right.  I needed to pull each element in slightly different directions to get the requested sparkle on the guitar, while dealing with large amounts of sibilance on the vox.

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Darius van H

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2010, 01:31:18 pm »

I use M/S all the time, both in the analog domain and ITB.

It's one of the most powerful tools we have. IMO it's not only for fixing problems (problem fixing is overrated in mastering IMO), it's also for sprinkling on some extra fairy dust.

Whether gear passes audio more transparently via normal stereo or M/S is really irrelevent for me. If you approach everything from that point of view, you might as well just stay in bed in the morning.

Viitalahde

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2010, 04:03:10 pm »

Darius, I suppose it's about what your customers want. I go creative myself from time to time, throwing in everything I got, and I can see myself using more M/S in the analog domain for this purpose, too. The point of my rant is that just like any radical process, I do not think M/S should be the default.

I believe knowing your chain throughout is vital. This is why I explore and run things in L/R and M/S modes and listen what comes out. If the process adds unwanted width (even if the rest/other aspects of the process sounds good) and need to be tamed with more processing which leads to more processing.. Doesn't fit my philosophy.

After I went on a processing diet and really explored how simple a chain you can use was the date my masters got a lot better sounding and the business went up like there is no tomorrow.

So I won't stay in the bed in the morning, even if I sometimes wanted to.
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Jaakko Viitalähde
Virtalähde Mastering, Kuhmoinen/Finland
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Patrik T

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2010, 04:03:28 pm »

It's pretty obvious that a well balanced mix has a well laid out width in itself.

That math works very well in L/R mode, so there I am, every time.


Regards
Patrik
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compasspnt

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2010, 08:19:44 pm »

I might use M/S 1% of the time.
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dcollins

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 09:46:19 pm »

compasspnt wrote on Tue, 27 April 2010 17:19

I might use M/S 1% of the time.



Ok, 5%.  Just to be trendy.


DC

masterhse

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2010, 11:00:41 pm »

I'm tied into a variable percentage rate.
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Tom Volpicelli
The Mastering House Inc.
CD Mastering and Media Production Services

bigaudioblowhard

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2010, 11:39:20 pm »

Jaakko, are you terminating the 111C's with 600 ohm resistors?

I read somewhere on the net where a guy was using a 3300 ohm resistor claiming less ringing?

bab

Viitalahde

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2010, 12:44:46 am »

Mark, indeed I am. Or I think the tests were done with 680ohms, but they were still flat from 10hz to 20kHz with just some 0,2dB drooping at 20k. Gotta try out that 3300ohm resistor, but it does sound odd to me.
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Jaakko Viitalähde
Virtalähde Mastering, Kuhmoinen/Finland
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dcollins

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Re: What's with all the fuss about M/S?
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2010, 02:26:06 am »

Viitalahde wrote on Tue, 27 April 2010 21:44

Mark, indeed I am. Or I think the tests were done with 680ohms, but they were still flat from 10hz to 20kHz with just some 0,2dB drooping at 20k. Gotta try out that 3300ohm resistor, but it does sound odd to me.


It would make more overshoot/ringing, not less.


DC
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