Six mix­ing tac­tics to try for pro stereo width

Use these widen­ing tech­niques in com­bi­na­tion to cre­ate wide yet mono-com­pat­i­ble mixes

Future Music - - PRODUCER’S GUIDE -

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To add width, first look at which sounds can be panned out to the sides. Pan­ning just one sound out to one side may up­set the bal­ance of your mix’s width; coun­ter­act it by pan­ning an­other sound in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

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El­e­ments such as run­ning hi-hats or FX sweeps sound great when you get their stereo po­si­tion swirling with a bit of auto-pan. While your DAW’s stock de­vice will do, ad­vanced au­topan­ners like Sound­toys PanMan give you deeper con­trol over the width and pan angle of the pan mo­tion.

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Of­ten, you’ll want to use re­verb to place sounds in an ob­vi­ous vir­tual space, and this will add width as a byprod­uct. To main­tain a sound’s ‘dry­ness’, try gen­tly fad­ing up an ex­tremely short re­verb, de­signed to act as a cos­metic widener rather than ob­vi­ous ’verb.

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Again, you might be us­ing stereo de­lay as an overt ef­fect in your track, which will add width any­way. But try blend­ing short de­lays in the mix, purely to add width. Be care­ful with phase-in­com­pat­i­ble Haas de­lay, too – try a ded­i­cated ‘mi­croshift’ de­lay plugin in­stead, and mix the dry and wet sig­nals to re­tain mono so­lid­ity.

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A pseudo-widener is a good op­tion af­ter you’ve ex­plored our pre­vi­ous tips, as they don’t add much char­ac­ter. Multiband widen­ers are great, as you can cus­tomise which fre­quen­cies are widened. To stereoise mono sounds, ap­ply short re­verb, then use a widener to mag­nify the width added by the re­verb.


Fi­nally, there are mid/side pro­ces­sors such as sim­ple M/S gain plug­ins and EQs. Sim­ply turn up the side sig­nal’s gain for more width, or widen only the high-mids of a sig­nal us­ing a high-shelf EQ boost to the sides. M/S pro­ces­sors are also great for con­trol­ling or ex­ag­ger­at­ing the width ap­plied in our pre­vi­ous steps.

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