Stereo Widening Techniques | Aaron Carstensen | Skillshare

Stereo Widening Techniques

Aaron Carstensen, Keep making music

Stereo Widening Techniques

Aaron Carstensen, Keep making music

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5 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Vectorscope

    • 3. EQ Stereo Effect

    • 4. Layering Stereo Effect

    • 5. Delay Stereo Effect

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About This Class

In this class I will be going over the stereo field and techniques to increase the width of elements in your tracks. I encourage any producer to find a vectorscope plugin as it is useful for visualizing the sound field and warning you when things are going out of phase. The three techinques I cover in this lesson are EQ widening, Layer Widening and the Precedence Effect. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Aaron Carstensen

Keep making music


Hi! my name is Aaron and I am an electronic music producer with 8 years of experience. I have completed my degree in electronic production from the Berklee School of Music and am currently working on my trap metal project Xstitch.

The most recent release here is my Quick Mix: Low End video tutorial. I am starting the Quick Mix series as a way to quickly showcase practical techniques so if you like the first one I'd be happy to make more.

If you've gotten any use from my lessons it would be super helpful to get a follow on Instagram, I'm most active there.

As always let me know if there is something you are stuck on or want me to cover I would be happy to make a tutorial on the topic.

Keep making music!

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1. Intro: What's up, guys? Aaron here. Um, I wanted to make a quick tutorial about the sound field. Um, so, as with most Montessori ALS, I try to keep it in able to in just because it's it's overwhelming sometimes to have people say, download this download that just when you want to learn a concept. But, um, I say for production in general, you're gonna want to have some sort of sound field visualize. Er, um I'm using isotope in sight, but really use whatever you want, and you could probably find a free one out there. Um, so in this tutorial that we're going to get into, I'm gonna talk about, um, how to widen your mixes, make things sound bigger, basically. And, um, kind of what? To keep an eye out for eso. If that sounds like something you're interested in, stick around and we'll jump in 2. Vectorscope: All right, guys. Welcome to video number one. Um, so we're gonna jump into kind of reading the vector scope is an audio vector scope. If you want to just learn about, um, making your mixes sound wider. Probably skip ahead to another video. This just background. I think it's important to know, but I know some people just want, want the information, then dip. But that's cool. Um, so this is an audio vector scope. And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna play this. I have this on my master Iraq right now, so I'm just gonna play this section of a song I'm working on, so just look right here. That's pretty straightforward. Um, it's kind of a visualization of the sound field. You see, there's kind of this spray up down the middle. Um, so this pie area called us a pie area. A piece of the pie. Um, this is stuff that's in phase, and then these outer ones are going to be things that are out of phase and you'll see there's most of the whole track is in phase. It's most of most of it is lying in this area. This center area, and then there's a little bit on the outside. Um, so if we look to the sides into the bottom, let's look, let's play it again and look there. So this kind of has, like, a like a trail behind it. Um, And so the plot this goes from plus one stop that +120 to negative one. So what, this is telling you? I don't know the math behind it, But what this is telling you is, if it's that plus one, it's ah, it's 100% in phase. Um, it's probably a mono signal. Um, and that negative one is 180 degrees out of phase. Um, so I'm gonna do an example real quick after I tell you about this left, right, this is just a to bottom here. This left right is just telling you what the kind of where it's the music is leaning. Um, so if you notice when it's like a lot of ambient sounds, it kind of jumps all over the place. And then once the kit comes in, you know, the base comes in it kind of, uh, that is so distracting. Once the kick comes in and the base comes in, It kind of shoots down the center. It kind of leans middle. And that's kind of where you want things. Um, So what I'm gonna do real quick is look at the utility module. Enable Turn on what I'm gonna do right now has a width option on it. Um, I would not use this to Wyden, or sometimes I use it to narrow, but I wouldn't use it toe wide in your tracks. It's not really doing what you wanted to do. It's gonna have a weird effect. Um, so here, I'm gonna play this again. But here's it with the with all the way it zero now it's way have it's all the way in phase plus one and then it's everything is shooting down. So that's cool. Um, we don't really want our songs to be completely mono, though that's not interesting. It's not fun to listen to. Um, you know that. So why do we want things in phase? We want things and face so that we don't lose information when it's transferred. Amano. But in general we don't want a completely mono mix because it's not fun and part of this spectacle on the size of attracting. When they talk about, I want it fat. I want a big ah, that's gonna be coming from, like, a healthy dose of, you know, stereo kind of play. Um, so I'm gonna go the opposite direction. Now, let's see. So I just turned this up to 200% the with to 200%. And listen to this, you can't really hear it. And it sounds super weird. If I'm not sure if you can hear the same effect. Um, you can't hear the kick. A lot of a lot of parts of the song are actually missing. Um, so that's why we want to avoid things being out of phase. Um, so let's see. I'm gonna take this over to the, um, to the brass track, and then in the next one, I'm gonna show you a few methods of creating wider tracks. Well, keeping an eye on everything you know you want to be ableto no is like Is it OK that it's a little out of phase? You know, all the details will go into that. So continue in the next video 3. EQ Stereo Effect: all right, So there's gonna be the actual stereo methods that were using methods for stereo widening and manipulation. Eso this first, I'm gonna order it in kind of intensity. I guess I'm also going to try to show you things that you probably haven't seen before. I know a lot of like YouTube tutorials will say double the track and put some delay on. And unlike on one of the tracks, it's a it's an option. But I wanted to show you some like stuff that sounds cool but isn't like super aggressive and Faizi. And like, you know, I want to show you like riel stuff. So So this 1st 1 I am going to show you is an e que technique. So I took. I uses on vocals a lot because it's it's subtle. It's not super aggressive. It's not Faizi. It's not crazy. It's not phasing out crazy. So I'm gonna play you this. I pulled the reverb off this vocal track because I wanted to show you kind of where it starts. So that's the track heading that this is Let me pull this up it so very mano I pulled this off slices just a sample I pulled off. Um, not a plug for supplies. I'm just saying, uh, it's where I get a lot of samples. And you never know what, like the stereo fields gonna be like, If you find something cool, you're gonna want to be able to, like, work with it and just run with it, not be like, Oh, well, it sounds really cool, but it's in mono, and I I don't know how to make it fat, so I can't use it. You know, I just tryto just increase your tool belt. I guess so. What time do I pulled the reverb off? I throat on e que enable tin. So if you're using a Bolton, go over to the CQ Hit control G and now you put it in audio rack. Now the effect rack, if you press these three lines right here, is gonna pull up the chain. And then this is where you start doing parallel effects. So if I say right click, create chain, I could make another chain and basically make however many chains I want and these will be processed parallel with each other s. Oh, there not one after another. It's like instead of, like, going it's like module module and then, like, split it. So what we do with this is we actually control de duplicate this, and then what we're gonna do is pull one channel. These all have their own effects that you could put a chain of effects here and you could put a chain. You know, you can PanAm do volume. All that stuff so we're gonna do is pull one all the way left and went all the way, right? So, first, before we do anything, let's listen to what happened, right? Teddy Bruschi, talk with roof. Nothing happened. It sounds exactly the same. The only difference is it's louder. Teddy Bruschi. Yeah. So that's the thing. If you're if you're copying something, if you're directly duplicating something, um, and panning it out, you're not gonna It's not gonna do anything. It's just gonna because it's the same signal on both sides. It's the exact same signal. So you're just changing the volume. Basically, um, so I sometimes I'll bring these these each down. That's what I just did is bring him down to D B, just kind of even it out. So now it sounds exactly the same. Brad Teddy Bruschi with Roof. Pretty much no change, no audible change, which is when you're like, manipulating things you don't want a bunch of, like gain just to pop in out of nowhere. It's kind of a game staging thing, but so now what happens once we start messing with easy cues is where we start hearing a difference. So let's do this, Teddy say, roof a little bit out here who's heading, Maybe dio a cut here. Be the head of a That's kind of too, you know? So now if you look, we just created a more stereo, um image Teddy Bruschi and all of a sudden that's gonna fit in the track a little better, very loud right now, but it just kind of sits back now a little bit. And that's the other thing is like, You don't want this to be doing a bunch. You don't want your vocals to sound like they're not the vocals Overy Central thing. So what happens with this? I kind of just picked those spots because I looked like there were some bumps there and, you know, I just kind of have decided over time just what, where I usually do them. So the bigger the change, though, the more intense, like the stereo effect is going. So I took a big chunk out of each one. Now that's a sound you're going for that school. If you see it's leaning really far right, so I don't want that. I want just kind of like a subtle widening. So that's something you can play around with. You know, just the cue. Adjust the frequencies. Um, all that stuff, Um and then so that's gonna sit in the mix. Nicer is going to sit a little better. And it's not super big. It's not. It's not Ah, not tearing it apart through the river bag on She sounds just sounds a little bit nicer in the mix. Um, so that's technique numeral uno. So let's continue on to the 2nd 1 4. Layering Stereo Effect: All right. Uh, this is gonna be the second technique. Um, so this one involves stacking a few different sounds, um, on, like, layering a few different sounds. Ah, it's gonna be kind of similar. You could do this with background vocals. Um, I think they do it with electric guitars. Ah, bunch. And, like, rock music and stuff. Um, so basically, it's we're gonna You'd be panning stuff again. I pulled this, um, insight instance onto this brass track. So this brass what I did, I pull, I quickly pulled down. Let's see the individual. Okay, so these these air once again samples I downloaded. Um, but I pulled down there with for this tutorial just because I wanted to show you I didn't have them like this. I didn't have them pull down to 0% with, like, completely centered. Um, but I still use this technique. I just wanted to show you in this tutorial that it works with, like, very thin, very centered sounds. But it also worked like this. When, when? When it was already at its you know where it waas. Um, so let me mute this. So if you listen, this first sample is when I found, um, just a brass hit. It's very dark. Um, and once I found that sample, I said, Okay, I want this brass hit to be like big, and it's not a central thing. I have a few other things that are central. So when the brass hits, I wanted to be kind of big, and I want it's like atmosphere. You know? It's that trap e like, big. Like when the drop heads. It's big. Um, so let's see. So I pulled this sample and then after I found that when I continued looking through brass hit samples and then I pulled down this one see? So if you listen to it, it's, you know, it has its own characteristics, and this is bothering. Sorry. Okay, um, so I pulled them both down in the story of field to see this is with Is that zero? If I bring up this, that's the brass hits that's them together. Um, so find a few different sounds. If you're let's say you're recording background vocals, do one take in one way and then do another. Take it a different like Tambor, something kind of sing it in a different way. Um and then what we're gonna start doing is pulling these out. So let's say like, 25. Um, Well, you see its way wider now. Um, and that's, you know, that's you could you could Let's see, let's try this. This is hard panned. I think you could do that if you'll see here. Just kind of sneaking down, sneaking down into that out of phase range. Um, I think it sounds a little better just to have a little bit of focus. You know, I usually try to keep it in here, like right in there. I think it sounds better. Um, maybe that's just me being a rule follower. But, um, you know, do what you want. It's OK to have elements in the song that are just kind of sneaking out of phase, and we'll go over another technique that does that. Um, but let's see. So that's with nothing. No reverb. Let me throw this river back on. So that is pretty much where we arrived. That's kind of the hit that brass hit, and then we have other elements that are taking up center stage, so it's OK. That is kind of leaning. You know it's not. It doesn't have to be perfect, always, like, always centered and completely like, um, you kind of gotta take it in like, what's the feel of? The song has everything playing with each other. It's all the other. You should be listening in the mix. I'm solo things. I still owe things out just so you can hear them. But when you're doing this kind of stuff, you should be listening in the mix. That's the most important, you know. That's kind of like, even though I pulled down that with at the very beginning, I made them into basically mono, Um, it still sounds like a big brass it and that's pretty cool. Eso. Another thing to watch out for is time based effects like re verbs, delays, all that kind of stuff. Um, kind of will lean into that or fade into out of phase nous out of phase itude. I don't know. Um, so let's see. Let me pull out. He's the one that were kind of messing with sound of pulled this reverb up to 100% real quick, and then I'm gonna bring so do default. I had the stereo down. This is where the verb is gonna be at by. And then if you're if you're one of those who likes to just turn the knob, let's say we turned upto 1 20 Now we got something to worry about because it's like it's starting to get out of phase. We're gonna lose some of that river once we transfer to Mano. Um, if you want that size, if you're about that size Ah, like that's up to you. It's not horribly out of phase. It's just kind of, you know, I like to follow the rule, I guess just kind of keep it in their keeping in phase. So what I'll do like what I did on this one in the final, I had a stereo at about 80 yes, somewhere in the eighties, and it's still the reverb still doing what it's meant to do. Um, but you're kind of keeping it in your reigning it in your keeping it under control so you don't have a bunch of, like problems or weird, weird sounds later on. Um, so that is going to be the the stacking, the layering technique. Um, I want to show you a weird kind of stereo effect in the next tutorial. Um, so continue on 5. Delay Stereo Effect: All right, guys, is the last, um, stereo whitening effect. I'm going to go over. You might have seen this one. Ah, I did some research about origins or whatever, so Ah, I think the guy who discovered this in, like, writing was named Haas eso. It's been called the Haas Effect, but it's also the proceedings effect. Um, but I'm not gonna go over that. I was going to go over what it is. So basically, what we're gonna do is take, um ah, delay. And we're going to take the left and right channels, and they're going to come in and hit our ears at slightly different times. And what that's going to do is gonna make our brains like there are brain still, um, takes it as one signal. Um, if the delay is small enough, but it gives it this stereo thing. Um, So what I do with this effect, uh, that I pulled off the river broke quick, so they were going back to the wraps. The little rabbit. So dead center. Um, so this I did this one last because I think it's it's not my first choice. If you're gonna If something central to your track. I wouldn't do this. Um, because it it's it gets out of control easily, and it has a very I don't know it. It sounds audible. Um, it's almost like forcing this stereo effect like I like to do the the layering thing that we did in the last video. It takes more work, but it has a better payoff. Is a thicker sound. Just I think it sounds better. Um, this almost seems Ah, it's not. I'm not a big fan. What I do use this four is like, um, on atmosphere. Maybe I have, like, an atmosphere that's super far in the back. Um, and I'm not I'm not trying to put all my time in tow one atmosphere track, you know, because it's just going to be kind of like ambient noise or something. So what I will do is use this effect there, So let's jump in. So we have this wrapped. So you're gonna pull down a delay? I'm actually gonna do a new one. So let's grab the symbol delay so we could go through it. So what you're started off is your with this timed delay. You So that's you know that's what DeLay does, but we're going to do. We're gonna take the dry wet and crank it up to 100% we're gonna take this is out of sync mode into times that this is goes from like, beat matched to milliseconds. We're gonna pull left or right, one of the sides all the way down toe one millisecond. So let's listen to this right now. Now. So because we have this, you know, the second instance is coming in 100 milliseconds later, it has this jump to cite, you know, here you hear one side and then you hear the other. So we're gonna do is pull down this side. So I put half. So the the left side is going is one millisecond set at one milliseconds. So it's close to like no changes we can and then the right side, I literally have at 1.47 milliseconds only, like half a millisecond mawr delay on the right and it makes it into this like stereo sound . So it's pretty far down like wide is pretty wide. It's like pretty, it's not very transparent. The other ones can be more transparent and to me more, more musical and complex. Um, but like I said, if you have like an ATM oh, or something in the back that you want your like, I just want it big. I don't want it screaming down the center. It's like noise or something. You just want it a wash. You know, the other dangerous thing about this is watch this. So this guy at 1.47 milliseconds were like touching the thing. The center point. Sorry, that's not a good term. The thing that's, um, but as we move this number, I'm control clicking, control dragging, by the way, even right there Way I'm now. I'm at 2.4 milliseconds and were out of phase. You would lose information when I say lose information when like transferring Tamano, Imagine like you're playing something through your phone or something. You know, like most not everyone's listening through monitors all the time. Um and and to me, something that's out of phase like this is it's almost like it's instead of so far center that it's unmixed. It's so far out that it's unmixed. It's not in the like. It's not in this range. You know we're looking at it, Um, and it's it's audible to me. At least I'm you know, from what I hear, Uh, so I thought I'd show you this effect. You know, it's it's it's valid, you know? It's music. Do whatever the you want to do. But, um, I personally don't use it a whole bunch. Uhm so let's see. Yes. So that's with it on this off. Also, once we add river stuff like like I said, it just sounds like it's it's been mixed out of the track. Um, over. It's over. It's overdone. I don't know. Um, so that's gonna be all we're talking about with thesis. Terry affects, you know, play around with them, find one that you like best. I usually use a mix of all of them, depending on the situation. The more you do it, the more you'll find um, what you like, what you think would be best applied there. Um, So you guys keep getting to keep making music, keep doing it. Peace out