Balancing mono compatibility and stereo width
Learn how to add width while not compromising compatibility with club sound systems
Many playback mediums operate in mono, so a mix must sound strong when summed to mono. But most current records also feature crazy stereo tricks that impress on two-speaker setups. So how do we strike a balance?
As a rule, it helps to imagine your track’s stereo image as an upside-down triangle: keep low frequency elements in mono, and have your width get progressively wider, with your widest elements up in the treble region.
Sounds with more stereo movement or content disappear when the track is summed to mono. Therefore, make your less important sounds take more of a stereo role, and keep the main elements solid in the centre of the mix.
Compose your track using mostly centrallyplaced sounds right from the start so you’ll be sure your mix will be hitting all the right places in terms of mono power; then pan elements and apply width to add the icing on the cake.