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Widening in pro mastering
Old 30th August 2004
  #1
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🎧 15 years
Widening in pro mastering

how much width work occurs in a typical pro mastering session?

thanks
Old 30th August 2004
  #2
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Re: Widening in pro mastering

Quote:
Originally posted by Renie
how much width work occurs in a typical pro mastering session?

thanks
Depends on how many donuts or chocolate muffins are available.

I have heard of several clients gaining a couple of inches during problematic sessions.
Old 30th August 2004
  #3
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I'm wondering too...are there times when all that gear can't save a small ITB sounding mix? I'm guessing that rarely happens with the big time acts but smaller project/home studio stuff?
Old 30th August 2004
  #4
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Re: Re: Widening in pro mastering

Quote:
Originally posted by StoneinaPond
Depends on how many donuts or chocolate muffins are available.

I have heard of several clients gaining a couple of inches during problematic sessions.
That's tickled me
Old 30th August 2004
  #5
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One cool trick for widening a mix is to add distortion only to the S channel. The Ibis works a charm in this respect as does the Culture Vulture.
Old 30th August 2004
  #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by jazzius II
One cool trick for widening a mix is to add distortion only to the S channel. The Ibis works a charm in this respect as does the Culture Vulture.
S channel? what is that?
Old 30th August 2004
  #7
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S from M&S, Mid and Side. S is the 'Side', the stereo info in a stereo signal. M is the mono center info in a stereo signal.
Old 30th August 2004
  #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrDeltaM
S from M&S, Mid and Side. S is the 'Side', the stereo info in a stereo signal. M is the mono center info in a stereo signal.
Which leads to the next question how do you just process the S info? There's gear that has a setting for this?
Old 30th August 2004
  #9
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There exist boxes that can convert normal LR stereo to MS and back.
Back is easy to do yourself on a mixing table: you need 3 channels, first and 3rd get the 'S' signal, middle gets the M signal with pan left center. Pan ch1 to L and ch3 to R and flip the phase of channel nr3.
Old 30th August 2004
  #10
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dfegad Bob Norberg has ruined so many albums by widening them. That and overuse of No-Noise, compression, limiting and too much EQ is a nice way to end your career in mastering.
Old 30th August 2004
  #11
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The changes that can be done to the width or mono part of a mix's signal by a mastering engineer are a big grey area for many engineers - any one care to educate in detail? Usefull links? Thanks in advance.....
Old 30th August 2004
  #12
JMS
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I prefer when mastering to only add a bit of widening with the S1 Imager from Waves 1.30 or so. Another good thing is to add the widening ITB before mastering on a couple of select items...ie the reverb for some guitars or vocals. Maybe take the doubled vocal and put it on 2 tracks and throw one out of phase hard pan L/R and drop it a bit lower in the mix. Another trick is taking the double trick and instead of throwing it out of phase filter each side slightly different and hard L/R pan it to get a widening effect. When it comes to mastering when they do add a bit of sweetening of the stereo field they don't add as much because it's already subltly wider. Don't put something outboard like the Peavey Kosmos or Behringer "?" thing on the 2buss because when you try to go back to mono all that wonder gets really phased out.

My 2 cents.
Old 30th August 2004
  #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
The changes that can be done to the width or mono part of a mix's signal by a mastering engineer are a big grey area for many engineers - any one care to educate in detail? Usefull links? Thanks in advance.....
Not that I am able to educate.

But if you have a Waves Bundle with the S1 Stereo Imager, it's amazing how quickly you can get into trouble being seduced by the hi-fi-ishness of the process.

I am sure there are places for such processing, but how much and when?

And does the process "empty the center" for want of another term?
Old 30th August 2004
  #14
JMS
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If you want to be crazy with the s1 you can but yes it does seem to empty the center if you used incorrectly. So don't over do it. Move it out till it sounds fake. Think. Move it back in till you can't hear it. Think. Then leave it and try the bypass switch. Listen. Repeat if you aren't satisfied. Just remember if you can really hear it messing with stuff back off.
Old 30th August 2004
  #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by JMS
If you want to be crazy with the s1 you can but yes it does seem to empty the center if you used incorrectly. So don't over do it. Move it out till it sounds fake. Think. Move it back in till you can't hear it. Think. Then leave it and try the bypass switch. Listen. Repeat if you aren't satisfied. Just remember if you can really hear it messing with stuff back off.
You can master my stuff anytime.

If you start dinking around with widening you will, in a sense, be essentially remixing the record. You'll be turning down everything panned to the center (which includes important stuff like the snare, kick, bass, vocal, etc.) If the mix needs more width may I suggest a remix? When you start hearing the width you must be hearing the lowering of these centered instruments. Not good. Those things were mixed there for a reason.
Old 30th August 2004
  #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
The changes that can be done to the width or mono part of a mix's signal by a mastering engineer are a big grey area for many engineers - any one care to educate in detail? Usefull links? Thanks in advance.....
The distortion on the S is a good one. Also EQ'ing the low end only on the M is cool......boosting only the in-phase bass......often seems to sound tighter to me.

I think you can also get away with things on the M that you couldn't do on the stereo. For instance, i've used the transient designer on the M in hiphop tracks, which were over compressed, or lacked punch.....only a hair, mind.

One way i think about it is to eq the M + S differently....to accentuate different parts of the spectrum to create a contarst = wider mix......spread out the energy......

... For instance, maybe put in some 9k and 700hz to give the vocal body and air (in the M), while eq'ing in some xtra something on the guitars if they're siting out wide.

These are not everyday tricks, but when someone says "can you make it a bit wider?", anything goes.
Old 30th August 2004
  #17
JMS
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Exactly. Mastering isn't about messing up what you spent hours upon hours putting together and it also is NOT about squashing the crap out of it either. It's about actually enhancing what you just did. Too much of anything is always bad. If you want a tighter record use less room, verb as well goes the opposite etc. And I know I'm not saying anything new but it's true. Mastering engineers can really screw up a mix so bad it isn't funny. If you don't pay attention you'll not only make a hot rod into a pinto you'll lose clients and that ain't a good thing.
Old 30th August 2004
  #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by JMS
Mastering engineers can really screw up a mix so bad it isn't funny. If you don't pay attention you'll not only make a hot rod into a pinto you'll lose clients and that ain't a good thing.
Turn a hot rod into a Pinto. I love that! It's very true though. In the moment you'll think you're creating something great but in the harsh reality of time you'll realize you've turned everything to mush.

I'm all for turning knobs. I've never been accused of being conservative but you have to know boundaries before you try to leap over them. Be careful out there!
Old 30th August 2004
  #19
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When people ask for the mix to be made wider, what they sometimes mean (i think) is for the elements to be more seperated.....so you hear the elements that are wide and central more clearly.....this can make it seem wider.....i used to be of the opinion that making the wide elements stronger meant automatically weakening the central elements.....i agree this is true with crude tools like the Waves S1, but with some jiggery-pokery, amazing things can be achieved.
Old 30th August 2004
  #20
JMS
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I've actually sent stuff back to the client...I know it's kinda sh*tty but I'll give them a suggestion in the sense of hey this is where it's going is this what you meant. If not here is how you might be able to get there if it is I want to make sure that I'm not going to put it in a bad spot that you didn't mean for it to go. Get what I'm saying? It's usually only somethin I would do if I know that they can go back and fix it and won't be spending additional money. I don't have to do it with bigger budget projects.
Old 30th August 2004
  #21
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Stereo Widening eh? I did this a couple times. Worked out okay but it wasn't a true stereo feast with panning, like a drum kit for example.

I learned quickly that boosting anymore than 3-4dB on the side channel caused things to begin to sound wierd when summed. Reverb and room tone can easily get out of hand as well as stereo imaging becoming smeared.

I also learned that raising the side by a couple dB only becomes apparent if the listener is using headphones. Stereo width in general is not always obvious when listening in a room with speakers, unlike listening with headphones.

If you really are dead set, take a look at Spatializer Audio Laboratory. If you can find the hardware component that is discontinued, maybe that'll change things for you. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with a mono sound when done right. On a side note, a mono source can be more punchy and focused.

-John
Old 30th August 2004
  #22
JMS
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The discussion is about mastering not about taking a mono source and faking it stereo.
Old 30th August 2004
  #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by JohnMcD
On a side note, a mono source can be more punchy and focused.
Yes, yes. Just listen to some of those great mixes from the 60's... Dave Clark Five, Stones, etc.

Stereo width is something I've been paying attention to a lot more. I recorded an album that Neil Dorfsman and I split mixing duties on. I noticed his mixes were wider than mine. Mine were punchier but his had a smoothness and width I loved. It's hard to do but I've been focused on getting that sheen and width ever since. Clearmountain has it too. They don't use trickery to get the spread, just their ears.
Old 30th August 2004
  #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by JMS
The discussion is about mastering not about taking a mono source and faking it stereo.
A true evil!!! It came out of a purely financial reason. They figured they could sell stereo records for a dollar more and people would buy them, even if they were electronically reprocessed for stereo.
Old 30th August 2004
  #25
JMS
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Touche...
Old 30th August 2004
  #26
no ssl yet
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Why use cheesy s1

If you have only protools to master with, why not use the

waves stereo >>M/S converter plug Then,
a multi mono plug (eq or comp etc...) Then,
Waves M/S>> Stereo converter plug.

This way you have separate control over the processing of the stereo and mono information. you can level, eq,comp,distort, etc... the signals separately and then combine them back in stereo
Old 30th August 2004
  #27
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cdog's Avatar
 
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If you want a mix wider, it should probably be remixed...
Old 30th August 2004
  #28
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by JMS
Exactly. Mastering isn't about messing up what you spent hours upon hours putting together and it also is NOT about squashing the crap out of it either. It's about actually enhancing what you just did. Too much of anything is always bad. If you want a tighter record use less room, verb as well goes the opposite etc. And I know I'm not saying anything new but it's true. Mastering engineers can really screw up a mix so bad it isn't funny. If you don't pay attention you'll not only make a hot rod into a pinto you'll lose clients and that ain't a good thing.
that's why it is called mastering and not "mixing"
As Jazzius said "when people - i.e. the customer - ask for it"!
we should all keep this in mind!
Old 31st August 2004
  #29
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RobMacki's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: pass the cheese please

Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet
If you have only protools to master with, why not use the

waves stereo >>M/S converter plug Then,
a multi mono plug (eq or comp etc...) Then,
Waves M/S>> Stereo converter plug.

This way you have separate control over the processing of the stereo and mono information. you can level, eq,comp,distort, etc... the signals separately and then combine them back in stereo

in Homer Simpson voice
hmmm that gives me an idea.
mmmmmmm cheese.
Old 31st August 2004
  #30
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4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by DrDeltaM
There exist boxes that can convert normal LR stereo to MS and back.
Back is easy to do yourself on a mixing table: you need 3 channels, first and 3rd get the 'S' signal, middle gets the M signal with pan left center. Pan ch1 to L and ch3 to R and flip the phase of channel nr3.
Just one word:

Scott Hull's mastering Manley mixer at Hit Factoty Mastering.

http://www.manleylabs.com/Manley_mastering.html


It not only sounds great, but the way Manley Labs designed this section is pure genius.

I love on his console that with a switch you can monitor each independently.

I've seen him use different chains of outboard for the middle and the sides at the same time.
πŸ“ Reply

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