What is Mid-Side processing?
The concept of Mid/Side Processing comes from a mic technique patented by Alan Blumlein in 1934. The original idea was to recreate how the human ears hear a stereo image. In other words, Mid/Side originally came to be used effectively as a recording technique to enhance ‘space’ before stereo playback existed. In contemporary music, there are many reasons why you should have a wide sounding mix. For example, a wide sounding mix will, in most cases, be more pleasant to the listener. Using a variety of panning and stereo imaging techniques can help create a wide sounding mix. However, one of the best choices to achieve the aforementioned is to use a Mid-Side processing. If we were to explain the Mid-Side closer, at its core there are two basic aspects.
Mid and Side channel
The Mid channel is the center of a stereo image. When the Mid channel is boosted, the listener perceives a more centered (mono) sound to the audio.
The Side channel is the edges of a stereo image. When the Side channel is boosted, the listener perceives a more spacious (wider) sound to the audio.
Audio effects, such as equalizers, reverbs, etc., which have the ability to alter tone or dynamic of sound are traditionally done in mono or stereo. This means that any applied process would affect the entire mono/stereo signal of the track.
In the first place, I have made a short loop with just 5 channels in SoundBridge DAW. Furthermore, I will use a FabFilter Q2 equalizer to demonstrate how to use it in order to achieve wider stereo image on certain instruments.
~Loop – unprocessed
In order to get to the Mid-Side mode in FabFilter Q2 equalizer, we have to engage few parameters. Moreover, In the next picture, you will see how to change from Left/Right to Mid/Side mode and how to switch between Stereo and Side signal. After doing that, the small “S“ icon will appear on the frequency curve of the selected bend. Let’s hear how the channel containing the Chord sequence sounds with the effect bypassed and on. In order to clearly hear the change, I advise you to use a pair of stereo headphones.
~Chord sequence – unprocessed
~Chord sequence – processed
Lastly, I applied the same process (in reasonable amounts) for the rest of the elements. Finally, let’s hear the difference between the unprocessed and the processed version.
~Loop – unprocessed
~Loop – processed
Download project here.