How to… reference the stereo image of commercial tracks
Drop a few of your favourite records into your latest project (on separate audio tracks in your DAW), then turn them down so they’re the same level as your own mix. Next, place a M/S-capable stereo utility plugin on your master buss, then sum the output to mono. Now, when you flick between the reference tracks and your own mix, you’ll be able to compare how the mix’s mono image has been built up, and how the overall balance is affected between mono and stereo. Similarly, switch the utility plugin to the 100% side signal, and you’ll decipher how panning, reverb and stereo manipulation have been used.