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Trance Forum  Forum  Production & Music Making - M/S Processing
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M/S Processing

routingwithin
IsraTrance Junior Member

Started Topics :  46
Posts :  204
Posted : Jul 17, 2017 20:40:47

Ok so the past few years I havnt finished or uploaded any tracks cause I tend to get obsessed with quality and perfection. Not good for my music, lol..

I believe I am almost there but I have one Q about mid/side processing.

When I listen to a well sounding commercial track (in house music like deadmau5 its the most obvious - simplistic)
I clearly hear the leads, perc and snares in the side channels. Kick n bass is center - white noise swooshes aswell.
But clear as fcuk. Eventhough there is alot going on.

So I tried the basic - adding EQ on master chain and cut out low end on the sides. But still my lead sounds are present in the mid.

OK,, then I duplicated the lead and pan left n right and offset (channel delay) on one. Nope - messes up the mono mix. Phasing.
No offset but add reverb on one to go for a double tracking vibe. Nope - Not enough. It still reached a point where the wave form meets - pulling it to center.

OK,, pan lead to left and delay it to right side. Nope still crosses the mid.

Panned two different sounds left n right. Too obvious difference. Sounds unbalanced.

Tried voxengo mid/side plugin and cut out mids on leads. nope disapears in mono.

I know true double tracking is recording say a guitar twice and pan left n right. But even if you use a synth which has interchangeable modulation going on it still adds presence in the mid channel. (which i dont want)

There are no tutorials out there that Ive found that shines a light on this subject. Its like a mastering secret or something.

I just want to have my mid channel clear from all except kick and bass and other single sounds. And the rest should be completely in the sides without disappearing in mono.

Any help ?

Thank you



          " We are together in this matter you and I, closer to death, yes, closer than i'd like. How do you feel? - There can be no division in our actions, or everything is lost. What affects you affects me. "
frisbeehead
IsraTrance Junior Member
Started Topics :  10
Posts :  1350
Posted : Jul 19, 2017 13:48
There's no polite way to say this. You have it all wrong.

The most obvious answer would be:

if that's how you want your mix, then you should *plan for it in advance* - i.e. you should place your sounds where you want them from the get go, this isn't something to be handled as an afterthought, let alone with processing on your master bus.

So, what's wrong with what you're saying?

When you reduce the sides, you get mono. That's how it works. Sides are the portion of a signal where there's a difference between the two channels, mid is where there's no such difference.

For instance, when you filtered your mix with a side high pass filter, you're effectively narrowing down the signal bellow the cutoff - this will still depend on the slope you chose, of course, but this is exactly how this stuff works, including the famous Brainworx stuff, Voxengo's (which is a great utility that one), even Ozone and many many others.


Quick demonstration:

Pick some mono channel you have on your mix and place two instances of an EQ that's got L/R and Mid/Side functionalities in series, followed by the MSED Voxengo tool.

On MSED mute the mids entirely. Then on the first EQ, set it to Left/Right and pick a bell filter, make it Left, and boost through the spectrum. Can you hear that? You're only listening to whatever part of your signal where there's a difference between the left and the right channels. Now bring in the Mids. You can now adjust each of the volume knobs for Mid and Side and it works for there's both mid and side information on your signal.

Another example: if you had a mono, dead in the centre sound and two other sounds panned to the extremes and you'd place this MSED plugin on your bus (or master bus), you'd pick the centre one in the Mid and the other two on the Sides, because the plugin is decoding the entire mix.

What you'd get from adjusting the Mid and Side volume knobs, would be as follows: Mid Knob will change the sound in the centre, the Side Knob will act as if you're turning the fader of a bus with both panned to extremes sounds together. That's it.

Mute the sides. Place a Side High Pass on one of the panned sounds and start cutting. What do you hear? a part of that sound is now joining the mono one, right? But only a part of its spectrum, not the entire sound.

Pick a mono Kick and place a stereo hat on top. So... Layering is your friend, isn't it? Send the kick to an auxiliary channel/bus with some chorus (or other stereo effect you like). Once more: mono signal + added stereo/side information on tops, you can EQ, compress, automate, whatever you want, full control.

Make a duplicate of a track with slightly different whatever (really), no need to delay one part (no haas needed here), just be subtle. It already picks it up on the sides, doesn't it? Try and place a Mid/Side EQ on a bus with both these two signals, use a side high shelf and raise the high end (go to extremes, so you can listen). You've just made the subtle difference a lot more extreme, in just the part of the spectrum you want. See?

_________________________________

there's a Deadmau5's masterclass for sale now, which covers his entire process (I think).

no such thing as "dark mastering secrets", all information is out there if you know where to look. you can get Bob Catz's book on mastering and many others that cover almost all you can think of about mastering - if that's what you're interested in. No replacement for understanding things and judiciously experimenting on your own though.

Hope this helps. Cheers
knocz
Moderator

Started Topics :  40
Posts :  1130
Posted : Jul 26, 2017 23:59
Quote:

On 2017-07-17 20:40:47, routingwithin wrote:
I just want to have my mid channel clear from all except kick and bass and other single sounds. And the rest should be completely in the sides without disappearing in mono.


Quote:

On 2017-07-19 13:48, frisbeehead wrote:
There's no polite way to say this. You have it all wrong.


I don't think it's all wrong, only the word "completely" is wrong.

I think frisbeehead has it all technically correct - but the more I try to reply to this thread, the more routingwithin gets to me. Yeah, in a stereo signal, the "sides" is the signal difference between each channel. Equal signal == illusion is that it's "centered". But the question already considers this case, using M/S and side delay / changes on his tracks to try and make'em sound and pristine as the rest.

Have you tried listening to these commercial tracks through a M/S plugin with the sides out?


Lets consider some disco PA's and whatnot: Left is Mono. Would there perhaps be some issue in delaying either the left, or the right signal? And how should we convert tor mono: simply add each channel together and divide by 2, or just take the signal from one side?
How would these commercial tracks sound in all these cases?           Super Banana Sauce http://www.soundcloud.com/knocz
knocz
Moderator

Started Topics :  40
Posts :  1130
Posted : Jul 27, 2017 00:08
Quote:

On 2017-07-17 20:40:47, routingwithin wrote:
When I listen to a well sounding commercial track (in house music like deadmau5 its the most obvious - simplistic)
I clearly hear the leads, perc and snares in the side channels. Kick n bass is center - white noise swooshes aswell.
But clear as fcuk. Eventhough there is alot going on.


Quote:

On 2017-07-19 13:48, frisbeehead wrote:
no such thing as "dark mastering secrets", all information is out there if you know where to look.


For sure you're overlooking the mastering engineer - nothing beats a great judgement and good ears. I wish Colin came to give his input on this
And equipment.. somehow these great mastering guru's always use some piece of signal processing hardware, and they do stand by them.


To be honest, I don't know what they do to make these great sounding tracks. If I did, I would be making them too all the time.. but I'm stuck with who I am           Super Banana Sauce http://www.soundcloud.com/knocz
frisbeehead
IsraTrance Junior Member
Started Topics :  10
Posts :  1350
Posted : Jul 28, 2017 18:02
I wouldn't be so sure...

The point I was trying to make was that a master engineer is not to be thought of as someone who's a member of a cult in possession of secretive knowledge that gives them an advantage over the common layman.

But, like you said yourself, it's more about the great judgement and ears - along with years of dedication, passion and experience. All of which, btw, someone like Colin has loads of.

On the other hand, if anyone has enough money to burn, one could simply head to one of those websites we don't usually sail much to, where a single piece of equipment can go for more then a couple of thousand bucks, easily, then add up a nice collection of those together in our cart, ignore the fact you could probably solve climate change, mitigate hunger, pay scientists for researching a new pattern for psychedelic trance even with such money... and once you paid for it and it got delivered, you'd be in possession of a world class chain.

Only to find out that there's no real replacement for the great ears and judgement. And no other way of getting them, then through experience and dedication.

(plus, the bank now owns your life)

When someone displays misunderstood concepts throughout and then hints that it must be something really secretive that he might be missing, then who's really overlooking things, eh?

The answer to these types of questions, usually lies under our noses and with tools already familiar to us. It's really about developing a better understanding of them and how they play out together that all "secrets" lie in.

>>I'm pretty sure that they do exactly the same things you or I do, only better. Likewise, you may have noticed that you don't quite tweak your synths the same way you did when you first started. Now you're guided by better concepts of how things work and the memories of the experience you have with it. This all adds up to better decisions. And in audio, this usually means a better sound as well.

routingwithin
IsraTrance Junior Member

Started Topics :  46
Posts :  204
Posted : Jul 29, 2017 16:37

Thanks for the advice. I will check out the things you guys talked about.

I kinda got it right layering sounds and pan them left and right equally. I just had to make sure both sounds has fundamentals/timbres in the same range to keep the balance. If the sounds are different enough it tends to form a double tracking vibe, so its good.

Using the same sound duplicate was the problem, causing phase cancellations in mono.

Still experimenting with it all though- cause it still doesn't get to the "mix" i hear in commercial records. But it does sound better and wider.

cheers
          " We are together in this matter you and I, closer to death, yes, closer than i'd like. How do you feel? - There can be no division in our actions, or everything is lost. What affects you affects me. "
frisbeehead
IsraTrance Junior Member
Started Topics :  10
Posts :  1350
Posted : Jul 29, 2017 20:38
You know, it's not just about technical vocabulary and know how. It's really much more, like I said, about planing for the interesting stereo in advance. This is also a creative task. It also has a lot to do with the perception of things, rather then just the science and analysis. Like, a sound can be place some degrees to the right, but it can also come up like a slowly moving snake and sound like a gentle whisper, then release slowly while another thing shows up on the other side. You see where I'm going?

I think I big part of the real nice stereo image is handled at the production stage, as you go. Even the whole layering thing, it's not like a recipe that you just have to do, all the time, to get that bigger then life width, I think. It's more about what the sound you're listening to needs, where you want to go with it. Like, adding some frequencies to a sound, even when you don't necessarily notice this too much, may make the difference between it getting drowned in the mix or upfront. Other times you may create a texture by combining two or more synths together, where one of these layers is really spread out by using some stereo fx or one of the tricks you've mentioned, or an harmonizer or whatever.

When you do this, though, you're not just going for the stereo width, it's really closer to working with a 3d software where you model stuff and place it within a room, and also coordinate the whole show with these elements (i.e. it doesn't have to, and it probably shouldn't be static) so as to make something nice and exciting - hopefully.

This is really what I meant when I said you should really be planning for all this in advance. Your music will sound intelligent if it's nicely thought out and put together and this is 'really' where you should be focusing your attention.

Another thing that's caught my attention from you last post, was when you said you simply duplicated something and panned each version to the extremes.

If you do that and place our dearest MSED plug-in on the master bus and "mute" the "sides", you still get all of it coming through. Because when the same thing is coming out of both speakers, guess what, it's dead in the centre.

It's only when there's a difference between them that you get the stereo spread effect, due to contrast, along with the phase cancelation mess, of course.

As a rule of thumb, the phase cancelation thing is a problem that you absolutely MUST not have on the low end. Mixes tend to be absolutely mono in the lower end, then slowly start opening up as you progress through the spectrum.

If you abuse things like doing the Haas effect, besides getting the really big width, sometimes, you're also occupying a lot of space in that mix whenever that sound if playing. So doing this kind of stuff to a lot of sounds isn't really of any help and will get you anywhere near the crisp and detailed sound that you're presumably going for.

It's actually better to keep things simple, in a way. To work on those sources and to focus yourself in how they interact together, including in a 3d space, including movement, btw, which is something that many seem to overlook, the fact that you don't just place sounds in a mix, it can be much more lively and organic then that, even when you're just relying on different versions of weird noise to put songs together (cough)...

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