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Author Topic: Widening Stereo Image?  (Read 19852 times)

ajcamlet

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Widening Stereo Image?
« on: March 11, 2005, 12:48:46 PM »

Isn't there a technique of widening the image OR- bringing out the extreme L/R content of a a mix by having two copies of a mix up on a console but attenuating one by 3db....or something like like that?  Does this ring any bells?

ajc

TotalSonic

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2005, 01:25:57 PM »

I don't know the technique you're speaking of  but a much more common method is to encode to M/S, increase the gain of the Side (or attenuate the Mid), and then decode to L/R.

Best regards,
Steve Berson  

ajcamlet

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2005, 01:28:02 PM »

TotalSonic wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 13:25

I don't know the technique you're speaking of  but a much more common method is to encode to M/S, increase the gain of the Side (or attenuate the Mid), and then decode to L/R.

Best regards,
Steve Berson  


Hey steve---

i think thats what i'm referring to...can you go into detail about that?

lucey

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2005, 01:54:22 PM »

A Mid Side mix like you're describing would require a 2 channel recording, with a cardioid mic and a fig 8 placed on the same axis, with the cardioid aimed to the source, and the fig 8 aimed across the source.

On playback the Fig 8 is multed to 2 channels (effectively L and R, when one of them is phase inverted.)  The cardioid is the mid.

So if it were CH1 Fig8, CH2 Mid, CH 3 Fig8 (phase) ...  each side of the fig 8 is seeing the outside in-phase, and the cardioid is seeing the middle/front.

Panning and levels of CH 1 and 3 change the width and depth of the image.





In mastering M-S processing possible by first encoding the stereo signal to M-S, then processing M and S differently, then decoding back to stereo.

This requires very high quality encode/decode as program material is obviously more sensitive than 2 tracks of whatever might be recorded.

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ajcamlet

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2005, 02:19:29 PM »

and what do folks typically use to "encode/decode" to M+S?

TotalSonic

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2005, 02:37:10 PM »

ajcamlet wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 19:19

and what do folks typically use to "encode/decode" to M+S?



I'm using the Sonoris codec which is a digital plugin proprietary to the SAWStudio workstation.  It calculates at 64bit integer processing and dithers down to the SAW native 32bit integer internal processing stream with tpdf.  I've been thinking of getting a couple of the older German "panorama" modules (such as ones made by Neumann, Telefunken, Siemens) racked up to have another option in the analog realm as I've been able to find cool stuff from http://www.vintagecity.de before and they have a few different ones available but haven't made a decision regarding this yet.  

Dangerous Music makes both the "Master" insert & monitoring box and their "S/M" box which both offer high quality M/S encoding and decoding also.    There are a few other companies offering M/S modules too.

Regarding the original question - I also have the SPL SX2 Vitalizer in the rack which has a stereo widener that can work ok for some material but very rarely ever use it.   Since I do a ton of cutting for vinyl master I actually spend more time narrowing the stereo image than widening it!

Best regards,
Steve Berson

jackthebear

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2005, 03:43:45 PM »

The Waves matrix isn't too bad either as a software solution and the DBX Quantum I understand is a kewl little unit if you want to go the hardware option.

Personally I use M/S as a last resort in CD mastering as it is phase manipulation and I find it smears the centre of the image. Like Steve I use it to focus the middle when I'm cutting lacquers, but for trying to spread the program out.........forget it in most cases.

Hey there are guys that swear by it. It can help in a situation where say you can help some guitars in the sides with more eq without affecting vocals in the centre as those two elements live roughly in the same part of the frequency spectrum.

Remember this as well.....most playback systems now offer some sort of widening button and radio does the same.

Proceed with caution.

Cheers,
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dcollins

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2005, 06:19:57 PM »

jackthebear wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 12:43


Personally I use M/S as a last resort in CD mastering as it is phase manipulation and I find it smears the centre of the image.



Because anything you do to make it "wider" is going to cause the center to suffer.  And in most pop music the center is where the action is.  I guess 1% of time you might consider a frequency-limited addition of L-R that tried to target, say, electric guitars, but then the vocal might suffer, causing you to go chase your tail...

There does seem to an unfortunate tendency for people think that you have to do some kind of M/S manipulation, parallel compression, mulit-band, whatever, or you aren't really mastering.

Heed Tony's advice and be very careful with widening.  You have to constantly compare in mono anytime you do anything to the L-R signal, as you'll get it as wide as the mighty Mississippi only to find that in mono, it sounds tiny and stupid.......

DC

Ed Littman

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2005, 07:17:13 PM »

dcollins wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 18:19


Because anything you do to make it "wider" is going to cause the center to suffer.  

with the exception of the Dangerous box. I don'tknow how they do it but I heard no loss in the center.
Ed
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Ronny

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2005, 02:53:31 AM »

Ed Littman wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 19:17

dcollins wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 18:19


Because anything you do to make it "wider" is going to cause the center to suffer.  

with the exception of the Dangerous box. I don'tknow how they do it but I heard no loss in the center.
Ed



Same with the waves S1. You can widen L and R and maintain center or you can widen extreme and lose everybit of the center image. It depends on how you dial it in. However I'm in Tony and DC's camp, always toggle to mono to check that you haven't lost too much information otherwise when the tune is played in mono or listeners are on one hard side of the sweet spot in stereo, they won't hear the whole tune. If you just reverse phase on one side of a stereo signal and than listen to both signals in mono, about the only thing left in the center will be the stereo reverb "if" it's used on the vocals, so be careful when you go tinkering with a clients stereo image.

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jazzius

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2005, 03:00:20 AM »

Ed Littman wrote on Sat, 12 March 2005 00:17

dcollins wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 18:19


Because anything you do to make it "wider" is going to cause the center to suffer.  

with the exception of the Dangerous box. I don'tknow how they do it but I heard no loss in the center.
Ed


That's impossible....widening the LR means weakening the centre....no way round that.

One trick i've found for widening stuff is to add subtle distortion to the S channel.....this tends to only bring up low level side info like reverb, delays and details.....so it seems to widen without damaging mono power the way pure gain change would......my goto box for this is the full range disto on the Ibis.....because it seems to add distortion fairly evenly thru the spectrum.

Ed Littman

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2005, 09:25:20 AM »

jazzius wrote on Sat, 12 March 2005 03:00


That's impossible....widening the LR means weakening the centre....no way round that.




I spent only a few miniutes with the box at Dave Mcsnare's studio, & as I didn't put it through it's paces fully, it still blew anything i've heard away by a long shot.
Ed
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bobkatz

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2005, 11:04:07 AM »

Ed Littman wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 19:17

dcollins wrote on Fri, 11 March 2005 18:19


Because anything you do to make it "wider" is going to cause the center to suffer.  

with the exception of the Dangerous box. I don'tknow how they do it but I heard no loss in the center.
Ed


Ed, if the Dangerous is a true M/S widener, it's technically impossible not to get center loss. As the S goes up, the center goes down. Test it out with test tones and try to psyche out what they're doing.

I feel obligated to put in a plug here for the K-Stereo processor. It increases ambience, depth and apparent separation and definition of the instruments with no effect on the center. For example, if the snare drum was recorded in the original mix with reverb and the vocal "dry", then the snare will pull back and get "wetter" while the vocal will stay relatively up front. It's exactly like having a handle on the reverb returns in a mix after the mix is over. You can even adjust the tonality of the original reverb, which is very helpful if someone mixed with a cheesy reverb and you would like to make it warmer. Instead of equalizing the direct sound, you equalize the reverb and the results can be very pleasing. I'll leave that up to your imaginations.

Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The wetter you make a recording AFTER a mix has been done, you are changing the original balance. The more diffuse and less defined becomes the vocal, for example if you are pulling it back relative to the ambience. But this mix change has nothing to do with the problems that you encounter when you increase an S channel. Au contraire. K-Stereo is extremely immune to those problems.

But it sure helps to get a more u-shaped presentation in a rather flat-sounding mix and by virtue of the psychoacoustics involved, the sound usually has more definition of the internal elements.

BK
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lucey

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2005, 03:57:34 PM »


the safer way to get width is subtle L/R eq differences


and i agree with you DAVE ... the need to junk on processes is just silly and often counter productive.   it doesn't have to be "Hard Work", just smart and tasteful work.
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mcsnare

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Re: Widening Stereo Image?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2005, 04:02:32 PM »

I don't know how Chris does it, but yes, using the widening knob on the Dangerous console doesn't  seem to mess with the middle unless you use a crazy amount of it.
Dave McNair
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