How to Widen Your Sounds
How to Make Your Sounds sound WIDE!
Trying to achieve wideness out of your instruments or sounds!? Here’s a video explaining how.
How widening works is quite technical, but simple at the same time; the people who think of these things are crafty with audio!
How Widening Sounds Works,
If you delay the sound on one of your speakers by a few milliseconds, you can get some extra wideness in your tracks! The delay is not noticeable, in a sense that it sounds out of sync, but enhances the stereo image, giving you that wide sound to your tracks.
This is GREAT for creating separation in your tracks. You can push a sound wide so it’s noticeable, and then suddenly, your sounds in the middle start to become audible as well! This gives you a lot more placement while mixing!
There are two ways of doing this. One with a plugin, and one without. — Personally, I like learning the tricks without plugins because what happens if you don’t have the plugin on hand, but still want that effect? So, learning the manual way of doing the trick/effect is always good to have in the tool bag of mixing tricks.
Manual Way of Widening Sounds,
Simply, duplicate the track. In FL Studio, you will want to Make Unique, as when you duplicate, it’s still the same track, and when a new note plays, it will override the other one. So make sure to Make Unique.
Now, simply move one of the tracks a bit to the right, and I mean like five milliseconds — 5ms. In FL Studio, hold down ALT and click on the pattern in the playlist, this will allow for no-snap movement, giving very precise placement.
With the Plugin,
FL Studio’s Stereo Shaper is a real cool tool. Allowing total control over volume on the left and right speaker, MID/SIDE mode, and a whole bunch of uses I do not yet know about! (Always hit F1 on a plugin inside FL Studio to learn more about the plugin! — Only for FL Studio plugins, not third-party plugins).
With the FL Studio Stereo Shaper, simply move the DELAY dial to the right, or to the left. In the F1 help manual, they suggest 20-40ms. I usually use about 5ms, but, it does depend on the sound I’m working with, and what I can get away with.
But, you do want to be careful with how much wideness you are giving your tracks. This can make your sounds disappear while being listened to in mono! — let’s go over that.
Pushing Wideness TOO FAR While Mixing,
By pushing your sound too wide, your sound could disappear when the track is played in mono; depending on how far you’ve pushed it. You may also get a little bit of it bopping in and out of the mix.
So, there’s a trick of the trade you can use here:
- Don’t use much widening, try to pan instead? — Too much will make the track go missing when listened to in mono.
- Use as much widening as you’d like, but use it on a ROUTED CHANNEL. — Keep your sound as is, but then route that to another mixer track. On that mixer track, you can now adjust how much wideness you’d like in your sound, and be as extreme as you’d like, because you’re not effecting the mid on the original sound, only the routed channel is being effected. Now, when it’s played in mono, you have two versions of that sound playing at the same time. One that will be heard in the mid, and one on the sides. This allows for best of both worlds, and keeps a wide sounding track !
For more info on routing your tracks like in #2, check out The Benefits of Sends.
Widening Sounds in FL Studio,
Overall, you can see that widening your sounds is actually quite easy. It’s the technical stuff of learning how far is too far, and learning the tricks like how to route your audio tracks so that you can have consistent mixes across all platforms of speakers. (Huge PA systems, cell phone speakers, computer speakers etc.).
Hope that helps!
Check out more tutorials by Beatstruggles!