005 MixCoach Minute-How I use stereo widening tools

In this MixCoach Minute episode, I tell you how I use stereo widening tools in my mixes (spoiler alert: VERY CAUTIOUSLY).

Raw Transcript:

Hey guys, it is Kevin with MixCoach again, here for episode number five of
the MixCoach Minute brought to you by MixCoach Member. Come check it out.
You get some good training there. Today’s question is from Douglas
Williams. He says, “How do you make the best use of stereo widening tools?”

Let me tell you what I am doing today and then I will tell you why I am
telling you this way. I am working on a new product today, it is Pop Music
Production. I am working with a killer keyboard player, producer,
programmer, song writer named Chris Crunk; one of the coolest names in
existence. Some of you members may know Chris from the [inaudible 00:00:38] song that we mixed a few months ago, he was the guy that programmed it.
Well, we are doing a whole project with him.

Why am I telling you this? Because that is where I am today and that is
what I’m doing and this question reminds me of something that he told me
one time. Your question was, “How do you make the best use of stereo
widening tools?” Doug, I don’t use stereo widening tools that much. I find
them to be a little fake sounding and they mess with my ear and they make
me feel like my head is too far inside something, when someone uses it just
to widen something, unless it is for an effect. The only times I have used
stereo widening tools I have regretted it. Not so late that I couldn’t do
something about it but I regretted it a little because it just made things
sound like I did not want them to sound.

I will tell you how I used it one time. I used it on a stereo reverb return
because I was trying to get the reverb out of the center where the vocal
and everything else was. I was trying to clear out the center a little bit
and the client ended up coming back and saying there was too my reverb.
Well, there was not too much reverb, it was just too wide and it was
bringing too much attention to it so I had to take it off of that song and
every other song I tried it on.

The reason I mentioned Chris was Chris uses it for pads. When he has a pad
that he is trying to get out of the center, something for an effect or
something, he will use it for that. Chris uses it for pads. I have used it
on stereo returns and I have used it on the whole mix before. To me, it
makes a mix sound a little thin.

I know that you are probably asking for ways that I do it but I wanted to
answer this question too Douglas because I do not do it. I have not found,
I have tried but I have not found a good way to use a stereo widening tool
in a way that I was happy with it. Now, I’m not a programmer, Chris is, he
uses it for that. Other than spatial effects, I would say the best way to
use them is very, very sparingly.

Hopefully that helps you with stereo widening tool issues. But I wanted to
go ahead and answer this too because, like I said, these are my opinions
and they are not industry accepted opinions. I think some people might use
them diplomatically. But I think if you use them subtly on things that you
are trying to bring attention to, then that is the way to use it, okay?

So Douglas, I hope that helps. I hope you guys will come by and check out
MixCoach Member when you get a chance. See you tomorrow. Bye.

Click HERE to watch the next episode of the MixCoach Minute!

MixCoach, Stereo Widening, Tools