Today, there are a lot of techniques for stereo spreading the audio signal. In earlier tutorials, we had covered some of them. However, since modern technologies in the audio production realm are continually advancing, new plugins are emerging on a daily basis. Spatial enhancement with the use of the Spatifier plugin by Voxengo deserves to be described in full detail.
The Spatifier is essentially a “mono-to-stereo” spatial enhancer plugin which can be used to turn mono tracks to spatially enhanced stereo tracks. It works very well with a large number of instruments such as guitars synth instruments, piano, organ, back vocals, and other sounds. Besides this, it can be used to add “body” to originally thin sounds. One of its advantages is that it “decorrelates” the audio signal in the left and right channels while retaining the “mono compatibility”. Such decorrelation creates the “as wide as possible” surround effect.
Furthermore, the plugin then offers six different spatial impressions ranging from very close, which results in more “in your face” sound to very far, which again results in more distant, room sound. In its core, it possesses an internal convolution processor. It creates a complex impulse response. The impulse response is defined using graphic equalizer-like controls (which can be adjusted in a freehand mode with the right mouse button). Consequently, this makes it possible to set the spatial effect for each frequency band individually. In many practical cases, Spatifier adds a great deal of warmness and enriches the timbre of the sound being processed.
After this brief description of the plugin, let us move to a more practical example. Like usual I am using SoundBridge: DAW, and in it, I have recorded a short mono sequence of Mediterranean Bouzouki guitar. So here is how it sounds unprocessed.
~Bouzouki guitar – unprocessed
Upon loading a fresh instance of the Spatifier plugin on the Bouzouki guitar channel rack you can notice a more-less simple interface.
It consists of 16 adjustable frequency bands. The upper set of 16 frequency band is for spatial time while lower for the dry mix. On top, there is a drop-down menu with a selection of 6 spatial impressions ranging from “very close” to “very far”.
Above that, there is a preset manager which is offering some very interesting starting points. Besides that, there is also a “Random Variation” entry field. It allows you to select a random variation of the spatial enhancing effect. Furthermore, on the right side of the interface, we can see a control for “Dry Mix” amount as well as “Out Gain”. In the end, there is a dedicated built-in meter where you can monitor possible peaking of the output signal.
Now let’s hear a couple of practical examples of Spatifier in action. I advise you to use a pair of good quality stereo headphones in order to fully comprehend the effect and difference from unprocessed Bouzouki guitar.
~Bouzouki guitar – Spatifier 1
~Bouzouki guitar – Spatifier 2
In the end, let’s add a bit of reverb after the Spatifier to colorize the Bouzouki guitar further.
~Bouzouki guitar – Spatifier 3 + Reverb