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Mono guitars = wider sounding mix?

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Mono guitars = wider sounding mix?

Postby Ben Asaro » Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:30 pm

I was working on a rough the other day and I noticed something. With the guitars being either very slightly panned, or just straight in the center and synths and drums being panned across the stereo field, the stereo image was very wide; much wider than it sounded with the guitars panned hard left/right, which has been my go-to strategy for electric guitars.

I am wondering if there is some sort of psycho acoustic effect for this or if pushing the synths wider than I normally would has a bigger effect on the impression of a much wider stereo image without the guitars hemming the mix? Perhaps because the synth sounds are rarely matched, in that it's not just a doubling of one sound, it's usually different sounds on each side? Or is this a false positive because I am very used to doing it another way?

I don't think this is a false positive, however because the difference is pretty noticeable.

Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.
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Re: Mono guitars = wider sounding mix?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:19 pm

It depends...

A *dry* signal panned hard to L/R will tend to feel very close, and that can reduce the feeling of mix width. But a touch of reverb can counteract that effect and make the mix feel wider.

If you have other stereo elements in the mix, such as synths, these may make the mix feel wider or narrower too - It all depends on how that width is being created. Some older Roland synths may sound wide in isolation, but in a mix will tend to pull to centre - the old JX synths are culprits for this - I'll often record two mono passes in preference.

As ever, it's all about finding a blend that supports the song - there's no right/wrong you can universally apply.
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Re: Mono guitars = wider sounding mix?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:30 pm

Stereo width depends upon incoherence between the left and right channels. In other words, the greater the difference between the left and right channels, the wider the image will seem -- and that difference can be based on level and/or timing (phase) differences.

Effects like stereo chorus and reverbs are inherently highly incoherent. Duplicated guitar tracks might not be...
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Re: Mono guitars = wider sounding mix?

Postby Ben Asaro » Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:33 pm

Thanks for the input!
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