Thoughts on mid-side processing

Thoughts on mid-side processing

I’m curious about people’s thoughts on mid side processing, whether EQ, compression, or whatever.

There’s a part of me that thinks this could be the next New horizon for me, something that makes sense intuitively, and something I might want to explore. But I’m curious about something…

As I think about it, couldn’t mid-side processing actually cover up other problems in the mix that have to do with balance, competing EQs, etc. I’m just wondering how much the gains that I would realize when I listened in stereo would transfer to a mono mix. It would seem to me that when I listen in mono the problems would be back again.

How much do y’all use mid-side processing. When is it helpful, when should it be avoided. Are my concerns off base?

I’m thinking if I had my instruments EQ’d properly, and had good balance in my instruments, maybe it wouldn’t be necessary? Just wondering.

yikes… its cool for drum overheads and electric guitar cabs, often bass… so yeah its pretty useful. :slight_smile:

Ive worked out my drum micing, and guitar cab mic techniques to reduce phase issues to almost zero, as I record live without hearing what I’m doing).

But yes I will use some (but usually only a little) stereo widening… basically the same thing, if it sounds better, so yes… do it. especially if your mics don’t match, maybe you have an LD condenser over the snare (your $500 vocal mic) and a $150 figure 8 ribbon (that you really like on bright guitar amps), looking at the room sideways, jammed up against it in a small but tall room… like a stairwell. That could be a genius scenario… :+1: maybe even Bonham like :wink:

A thing to remember about M/S is that it ensures mono compatability by totally eliminating the S signal when the mix collapses to mono. Sometimes that’s great, and sometimes it’s not so great. I’ll give an example of not so great;

Mid Side drum overheads. You get a great mono, solid & direct representation of the kit from the M mic. And from the S mic, you get a great big roomy sound. You balance them to sound great in stereo, getting the best of both worlds for a nice big lively roomy drum sound.

Then you do a mono test, and the S-signal entirely disappears so you lose almost all the room ambience on your drums.

Bu contrast, if you went for a normal, L-R signal stereo mic technique, when your mix collapses to mono you can still hear both signals. You get resulting potential comb filtering/phase issues, sure, but you can still hear everything.

And then you just need to decide what you prefer to happen when your mix collapses to mono.

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Really? I did not know that. but you’re saying that that would only be for when I had literally click into mono mode, say, for monitoring my mix, right?

Ugh. I just re-read your post, Josh. You already answered my question. Sorry about that!

I tend to avoid, except on my mix bus. I use bx_digital v3 to collapse everything below 120-150hz to mono, and sometimes I’ll do some light EQ. For example, if I wanted to generally boost the low end, I’ll put a bump in the M channel, and if I want some more “sparkle” to the wide elements I’ll put a boost on the S. Doesn’t happen all that often though.

M/S can pretty easily wreck a mix, so always use with some degree of caution and reason. Definitely something that’s fun to experiment with though… I’m going to try out some of the suggestions above and see if they work for me.

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What plugins do you guys use for mid side? Do you use more mid side EQ, compression, or both? How about saturation?

Ahh yes, I actually forgot that I usually cheat on the decode part, I mic it correctly, then just use it as a cancellation / widening, balancing act technique in mix after that…

Just typical of where Im at… :wink:

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:grinning: If I had a doller for every time I had to re-read something, I’d have to convert them into pounds because shops don’t accept dollars here.

When I use it, it tends to be IK plugins as I use them anyway and they have a handy stereo/midside/left/right/linked/unlinked matrix on many of their plugins. Probably most often it’s M/S eq on the master bus using the 432 to get a bit more sparkle at the sides and a bit more punch in the middle. Very occasionally it’s a compressor, either ssl style or their vari-mu, to just tickle the snare transient a bit without pumping the sides.

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I guess they don’t accept Euro’s anymore either? :smirk: