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How to get that wide sounding sound?


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Hello! I´m a noob but loves tinkering around with sound :) One thing that i can't really get the hang on is to get that "wide" sounding sound. I'm into EDM, House etc, call it what you want. When i'm layering synths, i always use doublets, one paned to the right and one paned to the left (of each type of synth). Then i send them to a bus where i use stereo spread. Also i send them to a bus were i have some reverb in the opposite direction (synth panned to the right goes to a bus with reverb panned to the left) I guess that this is not the way to go, but how do you guys do it?
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What song would you consider 'wide?'

 

Main room/big room, like Animals by Garixx.

A lot of that tune has very defined and open center elements, which really helps to contrast the stereo stuff. Sometimes if you put in too many stereo effects, it starts sounding mushy. For instance, keeping a verb on the same side as the element that's feeding it can make a bigger sense of space than spreading that reverb all over the place. It's one thing to have different reverbs or delays that poke out in different places in a song (like the popping sound around 1:40 in Animals) but if they're all going on at once, it starts getting crowded.

 

Another thing to keep the image clear is sometimes to put mono reverbs in the center, leaving more room for stuff on the sides. So, your "panned reverb on the opposite side" trick is certainly an option but if you've got two of those going plus everthing else - maybe it's overkill.

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...keeping a verb on the same side as the element that's feeding it...to have different reverbs or delays that poke out in different places in a song...to put mono reverbs in the center, leaving more room for stuff on the sides.

mmm :o some neat things to think about there :wink:

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Thanks for all the info. So, you guys don't use two tracks per synth (Panned to left and right)?

 

That doesn't work well with synths because they always make the same sound, so you end up with a mono signal anyway.

 

On the other hand, I don't think I've ever not recorded a guitar in this way. It works well for live instruments! (except drums, probably)

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Thanks for all the info. So, you guys don't use two tracks per synth (Panned to left and right)?

 

That doesn't work well with synths because they always make the same sound, so you end up with a mono signal anyway.

 

On the other hand, I don't think I've ever not recorded a guitar in this way. It works well for live instruments! (except drums, probably)

 

I don't quite understand what you mean? I can only pan a track to right or left (With the panning wheel). So i should pan them with Plug-ins instead? I mainly use Sylenth1, no recordings what so ever.

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I don't quite understand what you mean? I can only pan a track to right or left (With the panning wheel). So i should pan them with Plug-ins instead? I mainly use Sylenth1, no recordings what so ever.

 

Let's say you have two Software Instrument tracks using Sylenth with the same preset loaded. One is panned left and one is panned right. Then record a part onto one of the tracks, and copy it over to the other one.

 

The two instances of Sylenth are now producing pretty much the same sound. The MIDI notes are the same, the plugin is the same, the preset is the same. One is going to the left channel and one to the right channel, but since they're producing the same sound you end up with a mono signal. There might be some subtle differences between the output of the two plugins (depending on the preset) but it won't be much.

 

If you do the same thing with a live instrument, the two recordings are totally different. You might be playing the same notes/chords/strumming pattern, but there are billions of subtle variations between the takes which are interpreted by your brain as two different sound sources. Pan those left and right = space.

 

Try layering a few similar sounds from different synths and panning them around. Then have a try at the Sample Delay trick I mentioned before.

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I don't quite understand what you mean? I can only pan a track to right or left (With the panning wheel). So i should pan them with Plug-ins instead? I mainly use Sylenth1, no recordings what so ever.

 

Let's say you have two Software Instrument tracks using Sylenth with the same preset loaded. One is panned left and one is panned right. Then record a part onto one of the tracks, and copy it over to the other one.

 

The two instances of Sylenth are now producing pretty much the same sound. The MIDI notes are the same, the plugin is the same, the preset is the same. One is going to the left channel and one to the right channel, but since they're producing the same sound you end up with a mono signal. There might be some subtle differences between the output of the two plugins (depending on the preset) but it won't be much.

 

If you do the same thing with a live instrument, the two recordings are totally different. You might be playing the same notes/chords/strumming pattern, but there are billions of subtle variations between the takes which are interpreted by your brain as two different sound sources. Pan those left and right = space.

 

Try layering a few similar sounds from different synths and panning them around. Then have a try at the Sample Delay trick I mentioned before.

 

Alright, thats how it's done. Thanks. Is this a standard way of doing this? I know that every persons workflow is different, but is this "the way to go"?

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Alright, thats how it's done. Thanks. Is this a standard way of doing this? I know that every persons workflow is different, but is this "the way to go"?

 

There isn't one standard way of doing this with synth tracks, rather a combination of techniques. Here's a list off the top of my head:

 

  • Sample delay one side
  • Phase inverting a different side of each stereo signal (described here)
  • Comb filtering (stereo spread plugin) - never really liked this one personally
  • Reverb
  • ?????

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Widely used (see what I did there?) methods include:

 

· Different waveforms in the left and right side (e.g. square/saw) in the tone generators of a synth

· Two different synths or synth patches, hard balanced left/right

· The same waveform but detuned in the left/right side in the synth

 

Just like you're already doing it, Joesoes.

 

It's not necessary to actually play them live/twice for the analog dubbing effect, but that is an option as well, though it generally doesn't suit most club oriented music.

 

Real M/S widening can widen existing stereo sources, but generally avoid fake widening, i.e. anything that artifically creates a stereo image using filtered/pitched LFOs, etc. So when you say "stereo spread" make sure it's a plain and simple M/S widener, nothing more.

 

Polarity inverting one side of a signal can lead to a nearly cancelled sound in mono, and will lead to a complete phase out with mono sources. Slightly delaying one side of a signal can lead to phasing and a somewhat metallic sound, especially in mono. A lot of clubs use only the left side or sum to mono, many transistor radios do as well, and car radios default to mono or part mono (i.e. narrowing) when the signal quality is low.

 

An important thing about stereo width is that it's about context/relativity. A very focused mix with a good centered image and just one or two wide sounds will generally appear more naturally wide than a mix where all elements are trying to be wide. The latter is often referred to as "wide mono". A "wide mono" mix has less potential to be loud, transients appear smudged and listening fatigue sets in earlier due to a lack of focus and clarity.

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Thank you all for the awnsers! I'm definitely going to try what you said, @lagerfeldt. It´s almost as i already does it, but i don´t think to much about different wave form and detuning.

 

How much should i hard pan the tracks? I find it good to pan the synths about 25 to left or right (I guess thats there´s no exact value here, but just a measure of thumb).

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