Common Mid Side EQ , compression, and recording Techniques To take your mixes to the next level!
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Mid Side processing gives you the ability to only affect the middle information or the sides of an audio source.
It can be only the middle or side frequencies you affect with Mid side EQ, or it can be the dynamics with mid side compression.
It can be on a single track like an acoustic, or it can be on a whole stereo mix.
I will be talking first about common mid side eq techniques that can enhance your tracks, and then move on to other mid side processing techniques like compression.
When I first learned of Mid Side EQ and heard the power it had on my mixes, it felt like something out of the Matrix!
It's super cool and I'm honestly just scratching the service of this powerful technique.
For instance: You could roll off the low end frequency information on a the sides of a mix, leaving the key low end elements that typically live in the middle of the stereo field alone like the Kick, and bass guitar.
This one move could clean up a muddy mix that wasn't properly EQ'd during the mixing phase.
Another way you can use Mid side Eq is to get the lead vocal to poke out a little in the middle of the mix.
You could boost the upper mid range frequencies where the vocal lives in the stereo mix to get the vocal to become a little more focused.
I have an example of this in action below.
You can also cut out some low end mud from the center of you mix if you feel your kick or bass could use a little love.
I have used a mid side mic technique when recording drums on the drum room mics.
The way I did it was have one mic recording in a cardioid pattern so that it only captured what was in front of the mic and rejected the sides and back. I had this mic inverted or upside down (top of the mic facing the floor)
I pointed the mic directly at the drum kit set far back in the live drum room. (Mid)
Then I positioned a mic that had a figure 8 pattern right side up (top of the mic facing the ceiling) and had the top of the mic almost touching the 1st mic's top that was facing the floor.
So they are directly above and below each other.
The figure 8 pattern mic was positioned so that the sides that picked up the sound were facing to the left and right of the room (Sides)
See illustration above.
This figure 8 pattern only picked up the sides of the mic and rejected sound from the front and back.
Once recorded and in my DAW, I had one track for the mid and One track for the sides.
You will need to duplicate the sides track so you have two copies, pan one hard left and one hard right, and then flip the phase of one of those tracks.
MS Matrix- Sum And Difference Matrix
It's a process called MS (mid side) Decoding called "sum and difference matrix)
Basically you have to add (sum) one of the sides to the mid track, and to get the difference (subtract) one of the sides to the mid track.
Flipping the phase or shifting it's polarity 180 degrees is how you subtract (difference)
You can bus or send the two copies of the side tracks (with the phase flipped on one) to a stereo aux track so you have control over both at the same time with volume.
Now you can adjust the sides volume into the mid volume to taste.
Louder sides means a wider stereo image, lower volume sides means a more mono image of the audio source.
I was able to use EQ on the sides to enhance the room sound and make it a little brighter on the sides than the mid cardioid mic resulting in a wider stereo image!
It's a pretty cool mid side mic technique if you can get it right!
I'm in the process of filming some more videos breaking down other examples, and I will update this blog post as soon as they are done to show you the power of mid side processing!
Comment below and let me know how you have used these techniques in your mixes.
Also grab a FREE Eq chart below to help you better your EQ skills!