• Achieving Wide Mix without feeling empty

    Struggle was real.

    When I was at Berklee College of Music studying, it was try&error days. Everyday I worked to make my mix 1% closer to what Pros’ mix sound. While copying techniques I learned from the teacher/books/web, there were few thing that I could achieve with one or two try, but with most of those I was like “How the hell did they do that!?!?”. Struggled with them. One of those was to make my mix sounds NICE and WIDE. Many, especially pop tracks are mixed in very wide sound-field. You almost feel like the sound is coming out from outside of the set speaker positions. Using plug-ins like waves S1 stereo imager did help, but didn’t get me to the level I wanted to be.

    In theory, made sense. To achieve was different story.

    Time and tone difference between sounds arriving to left and right ear defines the width of stereo. That I know from reading. And for that reason, applying delay and such time-based effect makes stereo wider. Another thing you can do is to play with phase polarity and weaken the center to make it sounds wider.

    Sure, sounds easy. but it wasn’t.

    Plug-ins like Avid Air Stereo Width, Waves S1 Stereo Imager let you control the stereo field of the track the plug-ins are inserted. But in exchange to the wider sound, there were always some sort of sacrifice. When you select “sides only” preset on Air Stereo Width, it sounds wider but you lose the center. S1 is musical and gives you subtle control over the stereo field, but it won’t get as wide as “outside of speaker” feel. Then one of my mentors Prince Charles Alexander showed me this technique, used by so many top mixers in the world apparently.

    Eventide H3000 harmonizer

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    H3000 Harmonizer from company Eventide has lots of functions. Adding harmony to a single melody, Adding doubling sound, etc. By using their harmonizing function, we can get wide mix.

    Check out the video for how.

    By using this as sends, just like you do with reverb, you can add wide sound to your track without losing what you have already.

    1. Create AUX track, insert harmonizer plug-in. (Recommendation: Waves Doubler, SoundToys MicroShift, etc.)
    2. From the track you wanna add widening, send to the AUX track with harmonizer inserted.
    3. Adjust the send level to achieve the wide effect as you prefer.

    Simple three steps. One thing I’d add to this as a little warning, is to be gentle with this. It sounds amazing so that I added way too much to mixes right after I learned this technique.

    Instead of adding lots of widening on one track, add little widening effect to many tracks for better result.

    Try this out, let me know what you think in the comment section below.

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