Today, there are many techniques available in music production for stereo enhancement. Nevertheless, a producer should be careful because too much stereo enhancement can easily ruin the mix and make it sound worse than it was before. While there are some new and exciting ways to this, in this tutorial, we will show you one more-less traditional approach which has proven to be beneficial countless times. It includes a couple of processors needed to achieve great results.
Expanding the Stereo Image
As usual, we have been working on a short sequence within the SoundBridge: DAW. It contains all the elements of the full mix. For the sake of this tutorial, we will concentrate on expanding the stereo image of the drum section for which we feel it can sound better. First of all, let us first hear how the full mix sounds with the unprocessed drum section.
~Full Mix – Rhythm – Unprocessed
As we can hear from the example above, the rhythm section sounds a bit too punchy and doesn’t fit well in the overall mix. To fix that, we will use two processors, as we mentioned in the beginning.
The first thing to do would be to add a sense of space to the drum section by using a more-less simple room reverb. For this task, we have chosen the plugin called ValhallaRoom. It is a great and simple tool for achieving the desired result.
We won’t go too deep with the explanation of ValhallaRoom`s parameters and possibilities. It is more vital for you to understand the setting of parameters needed for our purpose. As you can see, the Mix is set to a rather low value, PreDelay is 0, and the Room Size is pretty small (a bit more than 1 s). Furthermore, the Hi-cut filter is set to about 600 Hz, and the Depth is at 0 as well. All these settings give us a pretty tight sounding reverb sound, which will increase the stereo image of our drum section and introduces some liveliness. So, let’s hear the difference between unprocessed and processed drum section now.
~Drum Section – Unprocessed
~Drum Section – Processed With ValhallaRoom
As we can hear, the drum sections sound quite better, but we feel it can be even better. That leads us to our second process in which we will apply some good old Haas Effect. We covered the Hass effect in one of our previous tutorials. Still, it would be good to mention again that the Haas effect is essentially a sound that is followed by another sound separated by a sufficiently short time delay.
This sound is below the listener’s echo threshold. Listeners perceive a single auditory event, and its perceived spatial location is dominated by the location of the first-arriving sound (the first wavefront). The lagging sound also affects the perceived location. However, the first-arriving sound suppresses its effect.
For this process, we have chosen a plugin called Stereo Touch by Voxengo.
Voxengo Stereo Touch
As you can see from the picture above, the Stereo Touch doesn’t have so many parameters to control, but it is very efficient in introducing the mentioned Haas effect. We have set the Delay 1 time to around 10 ms and did some filtering. Let us hear the difference now.
~Drum Section – Processed with Valhalla Room and Stereo Touch
With Valhalla Room and Stereo Touch, our drum section got a decent enhancement in the stereo field and now sounds a bit more glued together. In the end, let us hear it processed like this in the full mix.
~Full Mix – Drum Section – Processed
Feel free to download the project file here.