1 Technique to Clean Up Your Stereo Image

Hey friend, welcome to another Sage Audio video – today I’m going to show you 1 really simple, incredibly effective technique to clean up your stereo image using mid-side processing.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with mid-side processing, it’s essentially splitting your track not into left and right signals, like a regular stereo image, but into one mono, and one stereo signal.

Using plugins that offer this function definitely opens up a lot of new techniques you can use on your mixes – and the one I’m going to show you today is one of the better ones I’ve found so I definitely think it’s going to be helpful.  

Before we get started though, if you find this video, or any of the other Sage Audio videos helpful, you can subscribe to our channel, or click the link for notifications.  That way you stay updated on our latest releases. Also if you’re a mixing engineer or an artist, and you’re wondering what your mixes would sound like professionally mastered, send one to us at SageAudio.com for a free mastered sample of your work.

So here we have a final mix, that hasn’t been mastered as of yet.  On this mix we have an equalizer that allows for mid-side processing, so let’s open that.  First thing to do is click the left right section down at the bottom and change it to mid-side.  This will again convert the processing from a left and right, split stereo image, to a mid-side, or mono, stereo image.  Once thats been changed let’s use a low cut filter on the stereo image, and cut up to roughly 135 hz.

So right not it looks like we haven’t done too much, but in actuality we’ve changed a lot about the stereo image of this track.  Essentially we’ve made all frequencies below 135hz, mono, by allocating them solely to the mono signal, or the mid signal, of the mid-side processing.  This means that the kick, and a lot of the bass frequencies are now only in the middle, instead of bleeding into the sides.

So let’s take a listen, while doing so I’m going to pull up a sound field analyzer so that we can visualize the change this technique makes.  Also I’ve automated the bypass function of the equalizer to periodically turn on and off, so that we can get an AB or a before and after comparison.  

Note how on the sound field analyzer, the image goes from being wide when the equalizer is bypassed, to more narrow once the side frequencies are cut.  If you didn’t catch it the first time, go back and take another listen, perhaps with your studio headphones or some speakers you trust, and see if you can notice a difference in both the audio, and the sound field visual representation.  

Although we used this technique on a full mix, you can use this on just about any stereo image, with which you want the low frequencies to be mono, focused, and distinguishable from other, wider instrumentation.  

Once you start using this really simple, but effective technique, you’ll definitely notice separation between you kick/bass frequencies, and the rest of your mix – leading to greater dynamics in your mix, and a cleaner, clearer stereo image.  It’s definitely a quick and simple way to drastically affect a lot about your mix, so that being said just be careful not to cut too much out of the side image when using mid-side processing.

So, I hope this technique is something you can use, and one that will be beneficial to you for future mixes. If so, please subscribe to our channel and click the link for notifications to stay up to date with our latest mix tutorials and techniques.  And again, if you have a mix you’d like to hear mastered, send it to us at SageAudio.com, and we’ll send you a free mastered sample of that mix.  

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Sage Audio Mastering

Nashville, TN

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