STEREO MIX­ING STRATE­GIES

Want your mixes to strike the per­fect bal­ance between jaw­drop­ping stereo width and mono power? Look no fur­ther…

Computer Music - - Contents -

Achieve max­i­mum width ev­ery time with our ad­vice

Cre­at­ing a ‘wide’ mix can be one of the big­gest chal­lenges fac­ing any pro­ducer or en­gi­neer. Go too far when dialling in pan­ning, stereo widen­ers and am­bi­ence ef­fects, and your track will suf­fer when played back through a mono speaker or PA sys­tem, with el­e­ments chang­ing or even dis­ap­pear­ing al­to­gether. On the flip­side, ex­er­cise too much re­straint with your stereo ef­fects and the mix will end up sound­ing am­a­teur­ishly nar­row – and pretty in­ad­e­quate when played side by side with the wide, pow­er­ful com­mer­cial re­leases that you hear played on the ra­dio to­day.

So where’s the per­fect mid­dle ground between im­pres­sive stereo width and mono power? And how can we make sure that both head­phone lis­ten­ers and fes­ti­val pun­ters can en­joy your prosound­ing mix­down? You’ll find out over the next few pages as we work through the es­sen­tial strate­gies you need in your locker to make per­fect mixes that not only have plenty of width but still sum to mono ef­fec­tively and sound awe­some in the club – in ex­actly the same way that to­day’s best com­mer­cial pro­duc­tions al­ways do.

Be­fore we get stuck in, re­mem­ber that ev­ery style of mu­sic is dif­fer­ent, and each track de­mands its own ap­proach. Trends and tastes vary wildly across gen­res, so bear this in mind when ap­ply­ing our tac­tics to your own mixes. Pop-style pro­duc­tions of­ten go all out with the stereo niceties, while pri­mar­ily club-des­tined bangers will pri­ori­tise mono com­pat­i­bil­ity.

As­sum­ing you’re al­ready us­ing de­cent mon­i­tor­ing and head­phones, prac­tice and ex­pe­ri­ence are the only ways to get your head around stereo mix­ing tricks. A fool­proof way to fast-track your skills is by ref­er­enc­ing the stereo con­tent of your favourite com­mer­cial mixes, which we’ll look at fur­ther over the page.

Ul­ti­mately, it helps to have a stereo gameplan right from the start of writ­ing a track, as fix­ing things later on in the process is al­ways much more of a has­sle than sim­ply dialling in the right stereo bal­ance from the start.

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