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Stereo width done in mix or master?

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Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby Kinh » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:15 pm

Is it necessary to do any widening in the mix if it's done in the master?
The reason I ask is most of my widening happens in the mix so when I get to the master there seems to be too much high on the sides which results in weaker mixes.

If you have control of the end result as a whole it would make sense to widen it there rather than in mix. Is this how you do it?
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Re: Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:21 pm

The mix should stand-up in it's own right. Mastering is the final polish.

If mastering is causing your mixes to lose or significantly alter stereo imagery then something somewhere is going awry.
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Re: Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby CS70 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:07 pm

Kinh wrote:Is it necessary to do any widening in the mix if it's done in the master?
The reason I ask is most of my widening happens in the mix so when I get to the master there seems to be too much high on the sides which results in weaker mixes.

If you have control of the end result as a whole it would make sense to widen it there rather than in mix. Is this how you do it?

The rule of thumb is that if you can do it in the mix, do it there.

Some stuff - like monoizing the bass - may be easier to do on the full mix and it makes not a great deal of difference if it's done in the mix or at mastering.

If the mastering engineer notices something odd about the stereo image, he should tell; but his assumption will always be that you want it like you gave it to him. At most, ask the question and he'll give you feedback that allows you to change the mix and resend, if needed.

A possible reason to do something at mastering stage is that the monitoring and room at your mixing station is tricking you. In that case you either change the mixing station (go headphones for example, but you need to be aware on how they behave, or rent a studio for a couple hrs) or allow for changes at mastering - but again, only if you direct the mastering engineer to check that the stereo image is how you would like.. references are good for that kind of communication.

The other reason to do something at mastering (other than changing as a consequence of the mastering engineer's feedback) is that the mix is "finished" - i.e. you've run out of budget.

For self-made productions that's seldom an issue, as the budget is your own time, but if you have hired a mixing engineer or a studio, it may well happen.
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Re: Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby ITHertz » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:40 am

Kinh wrote:Is it necessary to do any widening in the mix if it's done in the master?
The reason I ask is most of my widening happens in the mix so when I get to the master there seems to be too much high on the sides which results in weaker mixes.

If you have control of the end result as a whole it would make sense to widen it there rather than in mix. Is this how you do it?

Although I'm no expert I find that using stereo widening affects the level and panning of individual elements in a mix so it needs to be used at the mixing stage. That's my 2c. YMMV.

Cheers,

Chris
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Re: Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:47 am

So much (understandable) confusion these days about what mastering is...
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Re: Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:05 am

Definitely at the mix stage.

Why? Because...

1. The mix should sound the way the mixer feels it should ultimately sound. If it's supposed to be wider, make it wider at the time. It's never a good idea to leave things to the mastering, with the exception of limiting for level that you don't feel is necessary to achieve the sound of the mix. In other words, make it sound finished, regardless of level. The mastering engineer then has the task of making your mix into a final delivery medium, at the appropriate level, correcting any anomalies that result from your environment. If they feel that something you've done is problematic, they can raise that, and you can work through a solution as a team.

2. Because width in a mix is usually about certain things being wide, but not typically a blanket widening of everything. Not to say that a mastering engineer shouldn't apply a process if they feel that it's a sonic benefit, but just that it's probably not the ideal way to achieve that end.
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Re: Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:48 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:2. Because width in a mix is usually about certain things being wide, but not typically a blanket widening of everything. Not to say that a mastering engineer shouldn't apply a process if they feel that it's a sonic benefit, but just that it's probably not the ideal way to achieve that end.

So true - I recently reduced the width of some of the sounds in one of my mixes, so that the occasional more extremely wide sound stuck out more, and was thus far more noticeable ;)

This is the sort of thing that provide more obvious real-time movement, in electronic mixes in particular.


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Re: Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby erikveach » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:34 am

In my experience, it's best to utilize panning and stereo-based effects (reverb, delay, chorus, echo, doubling, etc.) on each track WITHIN THE MIX and then check your master output, use a stereo analzyer plugin if needed, to aim for a nice left-right balance of sound power.
Then, in MASTERING use a very subtle amount of stereo image widening a la your favorite stereo image widening plugin or audio trick (if you're old school or like doing things manually) to help enhance and open up the balanced stereo soundstage you created in the mix.
Don't leave it all for mastering to open it up or you'll be doing it too artificially. But if you skip doing any imaging work during mastering, you'll be missing out on that nice little bit of extra lift that really engages the sound and helps envelope the listener more.

I've mixed and mastered thousands of songs over the past 20 years and tried lots of variations on stereo width in that time. This method has always served up the best results, though.
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Re: Stereo width done in mix or master?

Postby Hjlphilp » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:23 pm

This is dope guys keep it coming... Im just HEAR... ... To learn

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