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What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:36 pm

The Elf wrote:I've never done it and I've never been asked for it. Not once.

I have — done it and been asked for it. More than once.

Conclusions: some people want it and it can work; some people don't want it; other tactics can also work. :headbang:
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:45 pm

Zukan wrote:I use Pan Knob by Boz Digital as it has a selectable crossover frequency.

I've got that one too. It's rather effective, and has found its way its various of my recent projects. I find though that I tend to top and tail the frequency response of individual tracks so that I don't need a 'crossover to mono' on their pan controls - kick and bass instruments sit near the centre in their entirety, while sounds at the edges simply tend to get their bottom end rolled off so they don't need special pan treatment.

To be honest though, I spend more time reducing the width of stereo sounds to provide more space in the overall mix than I do widening individual tracks, and I almost never apply stereo widening to an entire mix if I can go back to the individual tracks and tweak their pan settings instead.

If you want things to sound wide then I also tend to reduce the width of stereo tracks and pan each element to less extreme positions (rarely above 80% L or R), and then put percussion or similar FX on extreme pan settings. In my experience, if the majority of the track occupies 3/4 of the width but you then have incidental elements darting about at the extremities it will sound much wider and dynamic than attempting to widen everything for more impact.


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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby mammy » Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:44 pm

I dont like theoric articles so I will write shortly.In theory everthing runs perfectly but in practical you forget about rules.Something Delay is more wide and stereo from a reverb.You can try different things.A rule can runs for a song but It does not run for your mi.Be free and forget all of the mixing bullshits.Try the newest things.Which plugin is better ? Slate,fab,valhalla,altiverb,lexicon.Dont know .sometimes a free plugin is better than an expensive one.
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:57 pm

I’m similar to Martin - mostly reducing widths so if I use any extreme panning it sits better. That and eq-ing out frequencies from patches that hog too much of the frequency spectrum. I tend to use presets and too many of them are built to sound good alone rather than sit in a track and leave a bit of room for other instruments. I forgot about Boz’s Pan Knob - another good choice as is his Mono Bass plug and Tilty Wilty. The last 2 help open up room for fun choices.
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby Zukan » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:55 am

Martin Walker wrote:
Zukan wrote:I use Pan Knob by Boz Digital as it has a selectable crossover frequency.

I've got that one too. It's rather effective, and has found its way its various of my recent projects. I find though that I tend to top and tail the frequency response of individual tracks so that I don't need a 'crossover to mono' on their pan controls - kick and bass instruments sit near the centre in their entirety, while sounds at the edges simply tend to get their bottom end rolled off so they don't need special pan treatment.

To be honest though, I spend more time reducing the width of stereo sounds to provide more space in the overall mix than I do widening individual tracks, and I almost never apply stereo widening to an entire mix if I can go back to the individual tracks and tweak their pan settings instead.

If you want things to sound wide then I also tend to reduce the width of stereo tracks and pan each element to less extreme positions (rarely above 80% L or R), and then put percussion or similar FX on extreme pan settings. In my experience, if the majority of the track occupies 3/4 of the width but you then have incidental elements darting about at the extremities it will sound much wider and dynamic than attempting to widen everything for more impact.


Martin

It's a great tool but rarely gets used. I just think it's one of the better ones out there.

I teach all my students to sort their pans out during the mixing process. I think the days of widening mixes are numbered. Cleverly placed reverbs, M/S magic, and so on offer a more stable and stronger stereo presence than slapping a widener on a mix...
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby ore_terra » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:56 am

Such a good topic this one :clap:
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby Matt Houghton » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:51 am

Since someone mentioned a split-band panner, I'll also give a little plug to Melda's MSpectralPan, which allows you to draw in a pan curve by frequency in an EQ-style interface. It's free. It's not something I routinely use and tend to use it more for problem-solving applications than creative ones, though I'm sure you could do both. DDMF's Directional EQ is another quirky one (not free this time).
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:49 pm

So Mr Zukan -
Say you had a pad that you wanted to be far left and right with minimal in the centre. Would you reach for M/S over a widener? If so is this due to better mono compatibility? Or to avoid potential phase issues? I’m not sure how wideners work or if they are different than M/S.
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby The Elf » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:17 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:So Mr Zukan -
Say you had a pad that you wanted to be far left and right with minimal in the centre. Would you reach for M/S over a widener? If so is this due to better mono compatibility? Or to avoid potential phase issues? I’m not sure how wideners work or if they are different than M/S.
Not speaking for Zukan, but for myself I have a few methods. Simplest would be to throw away one side of the pad, pan it left and pan a delay of it to the right. But there are many variables...
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby Luke W » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:22 pm

Move the speakers further apart. 100% analogue and easier than moving your ears closer together. :thumbup:
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:09 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Would you reach for M/S over a widener?

The majority of 'wideners' are M/S manipulators at heart. Some do thier M/S manipulation only over specific frequency ranges, to give frequency-selective widening (or narrowing). But the basic process is to increase the Sides signal relative to the Mid signal to generate a wider stereo image (and vice versa). Simples!

This process increases the inter-channel amplitude differences (IAD).

An alternative approach, though, is to increase the inter-channel timing (IAT)differences, which is what the Elf is alluding to with his technique. The risk here, though, is of comb-filtering if the two channels are summed to mono -- with the effect depending on the time delay between the two channels.

And both approaches can be combined...

It's also worth noting that with the advent of DSP mixers (real or virtual) there is often an alternative to the traditional amplitude-difference pan-pot, which is a time-domain pan-pot that introduces inter-channel timing differences instead of inter-channel amplitude differences.* This technique is becoming an increasingly popular alternative for live sound installations, but less so for recorded music generally...

(* With IADs you need about 16dB difference between channels to get a signal fully over to one side. With IATs you need about 1.5ms.)
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby Dynamic Mike » Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:04 pm

Luke W wrote:Move the speakers further apart. 100% analogue and easier than moving your ears closer together. :thumbup:
Screenwipe please. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:17 pm

Dynamic Mike wrote:
Luke W wrote:Move the speakers further apart. 100% analogue and easier than moving your ears closer together. :thumbup:
Screenwipe please. :lol: :lol: :lol:
We didn't have movable speakers in my day, just had to sit closer ...
Etc etc
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby Zukan » Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:07 am

Cubase Pro also has a Combined Panner which allows for the channel's L and R to be linked. This is helpful for panning a 'range' so to speak when dealing with stereo sounds. Quite often I will move one side and keep the other side as is. It can also help to widen or narrow the stereo field.

But TBH, I prefer spot panning within the mix and letting the overall pans work their magic.
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Re: What's your go-to stereo widening plugin?

Postby ore_terra » Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:27 am

Zukan wrote:Cubase Pro also has a Combined Panner which allows for the channel's L and R to be linked. This is helpful for panning a 'range' so to speak when dealing with stereo sounds. Quite often I will move one side and keep the other side as is. It can also help to widen or narrow the stereo field.

But TBH, I prefer spot panning within the mix and letting the overall pans work their magic.
I use it to pan stereo leslie speakers to one side without making them 100% mono.
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