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Old 11-07-2013, 02:24 AM   #1
Feverdreamer
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Default Pan Laws/LCR mixing/Mono mixing

Right, firstly, I know there are already dozens of threads about Pan Laws in Reaper. I have read them all. I am still not able to solve my problem and so I'm creating my own thread.

Here's the situation:

I normally have my Pan Law set to -3 with Pans Boosted.

I tend to mix LCR, with elements either hard left, hard right, or centre. But I always find that when I collapse to mono (both on the Reaper output and using just one speaker) the L + R stuff is massively reduced in volume.

I try to start mixes in mono, but the L + R tracks are always FAR too loud when I listen back in stereo.

Now you would assume this was a phase related thing, but the problem is, these L+R parts are always different. If it's rock guitars, they are different parts/tunings/amps/mics/guitars. Still collapses in Mono.

I recently did a mix with a guitar hard left and a mellotron VSTi hard right. Playing completel;y different parts with different sounds. Still collapses in mono.

Obviously the next thing to check would be my speakers/monitoring. So I open a new project (which I use for reference tracks) and try switching to mono using pro-recorded stuff from other artists. These mixes survive fine in mono. Hardly anything disappears. So that can't be the problem.

I'm aware that stuff collapses in mono if 2 tracks are similar and hard panned due to phase cancelling. But this happens with completely different instruments!

Is this to do with my pan laws? Is it something to do with using Aux busses with the same pan laws? So say if I have 2 guitars playing different parts panned L+R, and these go to a buss which also has the same pan law (-3) then this is somehow doubling the effect of the pan law, thus causing these discrepancies? Do I need to set my Auxes to a different Pan Law?

Or is it just that I need to work a lot harder to separate the tracks with EQ/arrangement to ensure this doesn't happen? And that there will be a degree of compromise until I get more experienced? Perhaps give up on doing LCR panning?

I'm by no means new to all this, but the whole concept of mixing/checking in mono is something I've never been able to get to my satisfaction.

Any sage advice will be appreciated.
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:57 AM   #2
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Can't speak to the pan laws, but you could use a stereo meter to check the phase to be sure that it's not phase cancellation that's causing the mono mix to drop in volume. Try the free Flux Audio Stereo Tool > http://www.fluxhome.com/products/freewares/stereotool

The phase meter is at the bottom and you'll know if the phase of the left and right are out if the meter is constantly around the centre.

There's also a JS plugin that comes with reaper that is similar… JS: LOSER/gfxGoniometer.
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:10 AM   #3
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Yes I forgot to mention that I use Voxenego Span to do this. It was showing the two tracks (mellotron and guitar) were out of phase. How is this possible when they are both mono tracks, and completely different instruments/parts? Is it just the clash of frequencies?
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:16 AM   #4
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If the instrument are in the same register (similar frequency range) then yeah, if they're out of phase then there will be some phase cancellation when summed to mono. And even though both parts are mono, they're still being sent to the main mixer buss as part of an interacting stereo field.

Solutions could be…
- Hit the track polarity button on one of the parts to see if that fixes the issue… if not...
- Add a delay or nudge one of the parts so the two parts are brought back into phase with one another.
- EQ one of the parts to make room for the other (so the frequencies don't mask or phase cancel as much). Or you could EQ both parts, scooping out different frequency ranges between the two.
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:51 AM   #5
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Thanks, I will try this and report back. I had done this to some extent but I was quite cautious with it, in case it was something to do with the Pan Law of the Auxes and the sounds were just fine!
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:02 AM   #6
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I tend to mix LCR, with elements either hard left, hard right, or centre. But I always find that when I collapse to mono (both on the Reaper output and using just one speaker) the L + R stuff is massively reduced in volume.
Aha, you're traveling down the same path that came up in the mid to late '60s when stereo started getting more popular. This is why people were making separate mono and stereo mixes. The formats really are too different to have a mix that works well in both. (In this case the centered program comes out double the volume of the L, R panned program. Physics...)

Today we have the same situation with surround. Some have tried to make 'downmix' features on media players to fold a 5.1 mix to stereo and it flat out doesn't work at all either. (It's fine for a cheesy 5.1 movie surround track but an abomination for 5.1 mixed music.)

So we make separate 2.0 vs 5.1 mixes. If you want to truly make an uncompromised mono mix, make a separate unique mix and release in multiple formats.

When you hear someone talking about 'checking the mix in mono' these days it doesn't mean "This mix works in both stereo and mono." It's more "This stereo mix is at least not completely f***'d in mono even though it certainly isn't right."
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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Yeah, I don't think the pan law has anything to do with it. In fact, I think that pan law is more about the way it "feels" while you're mixing, and that we will tend to kind of undo it naturally by adjusting faders if it's doing something strange to the mix.

That is, what you're hearing through the speakers is the signal with the pan law already applied. It's not applied in rendering afterward or anything.

You pan the thing over and then it sounds too loud so you turn it down. That's the pan law in action, but now it's done. If the pan law was otherwise, maybe you wouldn't need that extra fader move, but the end result would presumably be the same.

Not sure if I'm making the point very clearly. You will decide how loud it needs to be after it's panned either way. The pan law might help you to get there, or it might force you to take extra steps, but the final volume of the panned track will end up being what you think is right either way. Yes?

So, unless the Mono button actually acts like turning every pan pot to C - as opposed to just outputting L+R - then the pan law can't have any direct effect on how the mix sums to mono. You might test that, I suppose. Use something external to reaper to sum the left and right outputs and see if there's a noticeable difference. Report back if there is, cause that would suck!
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
Yeah, I don't think the pan law has anything to do with it. In fact, I think that pan law is more about the way it "feels" while you're mixing, and that we will tend to kind of undo it naturally by adjusting faders if it's doing something strange to the mix.

That is, what you're hearing through the speakers is the signal with the pan law already applied. It's not applied in rendering afterward or anything.

You pan the thing over and then it sounds too loud so you turn it down. That's the pan law in action, but now it's done. If the pan law was otherwise, maybe you wouldn't need that extra fader move, but the end result would presumably be the same.

Not sure if I'm making the point very clearly. You will decide how loud it needs to be after it's panned either way. The pan law might help you to get there, or it might force you to take extra steps, but the final volume of the panned track will end up being what you think is right either way. Yes?

So, unless the Mono button actually acts like turning every pan pot to C - as opposed to just outputting L+R - then the pan law can't have any direct effect on how the mix sums to mono. You might test that, I suppose. Use something external to reaper to sum the left and right outputs and see if there's a noticeable difference. Report back if there is, cause that would suck!
No you've explained it well. Probably better than any explanation I've read of the damn thing actually!

I think it's just a case of more hard work on my part. I didn't realise that 2 completely different instruments could cancel each other in that way. When I double track guitars I use different guitars/amps/chord voicings etc, because this supposedly improves the phase relationship. So I assumed that if it was 2 totally different instruments that it wouldn't be an issue. Obviously I was wrong!
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Old 11-08-2013, 02:48 AM   #9
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I normally have my Pan Law set to -3 with Pans Boosted.

Is this your issue?

hard-panned tracks will probably sound louder than they should?

I use -3dB on mono channels, but I don't boost. Fader creep can be enough of a problem without boosting here...


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Old 11-08-2013, 03:12 AM   #10
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Is this your issue?

hard-panned tracks will probably sound louder than they should?

I use -3dB on mono channels, but I don't boost. Fader creep can be enough of a problem without boosting here...


>
So you're suggesting I untick the "boost pans" box for my universal project pan law? Or just on individual mono tracks?
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:28 AM   #11
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So you're suggesting I untick the "boost pans" box for my universal project pan law? Or just on individual mono tracks?

I create "mono" and "stereo" tracks with shortcut keys triggering 1-track Track Templates. I have -3dB pan law on the "mono" track template and dual pans on the "stereo" one.

How you want to set the pans will be a personal and workflow thing, and dependent on how you pan your "stereo" tracks.

Inverted commas used because REAPER doesn't have mono and stereo track-types as such (although I'd like the ability to set a track as 1 channel).


TBH, the pan boost won't affect the relative panned levels, only the channel gain (3dB boost compared to non-boosted pans), so it's probably irrelevant to your issue FD. :/



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Old 11-08-2013, 11:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by serr View Post
... (In this case the centered program comes out double the volume of the L, R panned program. Physics...) ...
This.

Maybe this could be a good read for you: http://www.moultonlabs.com/more/prin...ntom_image/P1/

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Old 11-08-2013, 10:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by planetnine View Post
Is this your issue?

hard-panned tracks will probably sound louder than they should?

I use -3dB on mono channels, but I don't boost. Fader creep can be enough of a problem without boosting here...


>
No, it will sound the way it sounds, and you will adjust it so that it sounds the way you want it to sound no matter what the pan law says. It won't change a damn thing about how it sums to mono.

Honestly, I don't think it has anything to do with phase cancellation either. Go back to what serr said.
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Old 11-13-2013, 12:45 AM   #14
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Not quite sure if the problem already has been solved or not but to make this physics thing a little bit clearer think about it in energy:

- Hard panned left peaks at -6dbFS and no energy (zero db but not zero dbFS !!!) on the right -> summed to mono (L+R) -6dbFS + 0db = -6dbFS (mono) peak

- Hard panned right peaks at -6dbFS and has no energy on the opposite channel -> summed to mono (L+R) 0db + -6dbFS = -6dbFS (mono) peak

- Center peaks at -6dbFS on the left AND -6 dbFS on the right side -> summed to mono (L+R) -6dbFS + -6dbFS = -3dbFS (!!!)

Or in layman terms: imagine you have two bottles. Each bottle represents a channel (L & R). Hardpanned left means a full bottle of water on the left and an empty one on the right side. Vice versa if hardpanned right. Center mixed means that you have both bottles full of water (both full, not half/half). If you now mix the hardpanned channels to mono you will have a sum of one bottle of water and an empty one which results in the same amount of water like before. But if you sum the centered mixed one (both bottles full of water) you will end up with two times more water than a hardpanned one.

Does that makes sense?

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Old 11-13-2013, 01:52 AM   #15
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I understand all that, I can see now that it wasn't a pan law issue but more case of making the stuff that is hard left and hard right less similar so that it fits better when summed to mono.

What's confusing me is, when I listen to my reference mixes (ie commercially released songs) they sound much better in mono than mine. There are hard panned elements, but they don't reduce as much in mono as they do in my mixes.

So on a reference mp3 there are hard panned guitars. When I sum to mono it still sounds good. Even though they are both relatively similar doubled rhythm parts (although probably different mics/amps etc).

On my mixes, even when the parts are totally different instruments, they still seem to have a lot more cancellation going on in mono.

It's probably just going to take more work on arrangement etc. I thought I had it down, as when I double parts I use capos, different amps, mics etc. But it's going to take more work with EQ to really get that separation.
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Old 11-13-2013, 02:31 AM   #16
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...

On my mixes, even when the parts are totally different instruments, they still seem to have a lot more cancellation going on in mono.

...
This is one thing I don´t get. If your hardpanned stuff is THAT different then there should not be any (phase) cancellation. Have you already tried to mute the center elements and only listened to the hardpanned stuff in mono? Does it now cancel out? If not then some of your centered stems could be responsible for that. Btw do you use MONO signals? If not then one of your stereo signals could sound phasey when summed to mono. And just curios: is your complete mix LCR? Or do you have some stems that are halfway panned (nothing wrong about that but that could disturb that LCR feeling too if you choosed the wrong instruments for that...eg if I use LCR 99% of my mix is LCR but sometimes toms or percussion are "mixed between them".)

Thing you could try:

- good old HAAS trick (hard pan one source and put a delayed copy of it with NO feedback on the opposite channel- so you only have a time delayed signal) to get a more balanced sound. But this CAN yield in some REAL cancelation issues. You can avoid that if you modulate the delayed signal slightly (eg in pitch like a little bit of wow flutter or eq them differently).

- not every hardpan works in my experience. I am a big LCR fan and mixed a lot with that technique but not every "pan setup" works. Try different setups (obviously, but you knew that already). Eg a fast played hihat pattern and a fast played shaker pattern complement each other if hardpanned L & R. But both on the same channel sound confusing. LCR is all about finding the right balance for your instruments.

And one last thing: LCR mixing gives you the opportunity to check out your reverbs. Did you use mono or stereo reverbs? Because I mostly use mono reverbs when I am in LCR mood and pan them until it sounds cool. So maybe if you are using a stereo reverb or even a true stereo one then this COULD be a reason for that kind of issues too.

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Old 11-13-2013, 02:58 AM   #17
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This is one thing I don´t get. If your hardpanned stuff is THAT different then there should not be any (phase) cancellation. Have you already tried to mute the center elements and only listened to the hardpanned stuff in mono? Does it now cancel out? If not then some of your centered stems could be responsible for that. Btw do you use MONO signals? If not then one of your stereo signals could sound phasey when summed to mono. And just curios: is your complete mix LCR? Or do you have some stems that are halfway panned (nothing wrong about that but that could disturb that LCR feeling too if you choosed the wrong instruments for that...eg if I use LCR 99% of my mix is LCR but sometimes toms or percussion are "mixed between them".)

Thing you could try:

- good old HAAS trick (hard pan one source and put a delayed copy of it with NO feedback on the opposite channel- so you only have a time delayed signal) to get a more balanced sound. But this CAN yield in some REAL cancelation issues. You can avoid that if you modulate the delayed signal slightly (eg in pitch like a little bit of wow flutter or eq them differently).

- not every hardpan works in my experience. I am a big LCR fan and mixed a lot with that technique but not every "pan setup" works. Try different setups (obviously, but you knew that already). Eg a fast played hihat pattern and a fast played shaker pattern complement each other if hardpanned L & R. But both on the same channel sound confusing. LCR is all about finding the right balance for your instruments.

And one last thing: LCR mixing gives you the opportunity to check out your reverbs. Did you use mono or stereo reverbs? Because I mostly use mono reverbs when I am in LCR mood and pan them until it sounds cool. So maybe if you are using a stereo reverb or even a true stereo one then this COULD be a reason for that kind of issues too.

Regards
Sebastian
I have listened to the hard panned stuff in mono, on it's own. It doesn't cancel entirely but is noticably quieter.

These aren't stereo signals, they are always mono, I very rarely use any stereo tracks. And any reverb I use is also mono.

The way I understand it is, the mono mix not going to be perfect or identical to the stereo. Perhaps the frequencies in the center need sork so they aren't as similar to the hard panned ones, as that may result in some cancellation.

I try to mix completely LCR wherever possible. It's not "in-between" type things (toms, BVs) I hav a problem with, it's stuff that cries out to be hard panned, usually rhythm guitars.

Perhaps I could post a sample of what I mean. I might just be that I am expecting too much of the mono versions, and actually it's not as bad as I think. Maybe some outside perspective would help.
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Old 11-13-2013, 03:37 AM   #18
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Not quite sure if the problem already has been solved or not but to make this physics thing a little bit clearer think about it in energy:

- Hard panned left peaks at -6dbFS and no energy (zero db but not zero dbFS !!!) on the right -> summed to mono (L+R) -6dbFS + 0db = -6dbFS (mono) peak

- Hard panned right peaks at -6dbFS and has no energy on the opposite channel -> summed to mono (L+R) 0db + -6dbFS = -6dbFS (mono) peak

- Center peaks at -6dbFS on the left AND -6 dbFS on the right side -> summed to mono (L+R) -6dbFS + -6dbFS = -3dbFS (!!!)

Or in layman terms: imagine you have two bottles. Each bottle represents a channel (L & R). Hardpanned left means a full bottle of water on the left and an empty one on the right side. Vice versa if hardpanned right. Center mixed means that you have both bottles full of water (both full, not half/half). If you now mix the hardpanned channels to mono you will have a sum of one bottle of water and an empty one which results in the same amount of water like before. But if you sum the centered mixed one (both bottles full of water) you will end up with two times more water than a hardpanned one.

Does that makes sense?

Regards
Sebastian

That's the point of having a pan law Sebastian. The idea is to get "two half bottles" at centre pan, to use your analogy.

My understanding is that with a mono channel, the "correct" way is to attenuate the signal by 6dB to each of the two busses at centre detent, to maintain power levels from track to busses. This is then gradually lifted until a gain of 0dB on one side and -inf on the other is achieved (one full, one empty) at hard-pan.

But that doesn't sound "right" because we expact some attenuation of level psychoacoustically when the source is perceived to shift to one side, and most rooms don't acoustically combine two speaker sources to give "the sum of two halves" (two half bottles don't equal a full one due to phase differences and room reflections). So a slightly reduced centre attenuation is used to give centre-panned sounds more level, more presence in the mix. Some use -4.5dB, some use -3dB, but the actual acoustic summing at centre will depend on your listening environment.

Just to muddy the waters...



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Old 11-13-2013, 03:56 AM   #19
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...
Cool, obviously there is something more going on. At least we have narrowed it a little bit down.

Another thing came into my mind: does your level change also appears on your meters? Or does it only "sound more quiet"?

The last could happen if you a/b them constantly. Of course they sound way more defind and precise (and therefore louder) if every guitar has it´s own output (L or R). Now when summed both guitars have to distribute their energy on the same channel(s) and sound way more quiet then before.

I tried a quick LCR setup in REAPER too and experienced something wiered. I have not mixed LCR that much inside Reaper. But I used to do it inside Reason for a few years. Maybe my preferences are not set correct but if I mix eg a mono kick center, hihat left and shaker right and sum it to mono on the master there is absolutely no difference in amplitude. It is only collapsing to mono with no differences at all beside the "steero seperation". That´s wiered because when I mixed inside Reason and monoed the signal it centered stuff became louder...not the case now in Reaper.

I am not sure but I think I have read something about the "post pre fader mono master something" a while ago and I am not completely sure if the default master mono setup works like intended. I am little bit confused right now.

I even tried it manually with prefix from bootsie but got the same results. Wiered...

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Old 11-13-2013, 04:08 AM   #20
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That's the point of having a pan law Sebastian. The idea is to get "two half bottles" at centre pan, to use your analogy.
...
Yeah I know. But I always thought that the pan law is only interesting for mixing and setting levels. Eg you can set it to values that your crossfades from left over center to right (if you pan your source) has no obvious drop or raise in gain.

IMHO the pan law does not grab here because it only affects your volume behaviour over time while turning your pan knob (eg linear or equal power).

Your pan law should not make your signal quiet when collapsing from stereo to mono.

Am I wrong here and have some error in my thinking?

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Old 11-13-2013, 01:50 PM   #21
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Your pan law should not make your signal quiet when collapsing from stereo to mono.

Am I wrong here and have some error in my thinking?

Nope, you're not wrong and I agree, that sounds like phase issues or inverted polarity on some tracks/ channels...



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Old 11-27-2013, 07:42 AM   #22
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This issue has come up again with hard panned guitars in a rock mix. Different players, different parts (1 capoed), different guitars, different amps, different mics. The hard panned guitars are loads quieter in mono.

And yet my reference mix (in this case Scorchio by Weezer) sounds fine when switched to mono, even though there are wide guitars there.

The only way I've found round this was:

- Introduce a 3rd guitar part in the choruses (where the hard panned guitars need to sound big) that goes straight down the middle.

- Use the Loser Stereo Enhancer tool to narrow the width of all frequencies below a certain point on the guitar buss. This means that the guitars for the most part are mono, apart from some of the high end. It sounds better ( I think, certainly a lot closer to my references in terms of how different it sounds between stereo/mono) but I can't help but think this is the wrong way to go about it, and if I listened very carefully there would be some kind of unwanted artefacts from this plugin.

When I listen to commercial mixes in stereo then mono, the hard panned parts just seem to slot into place when I move to mono, without losing volume.

When I switch my own mixes from stereo to mono, the hard panned parts get a lot quieter.

I use Voxenego Span on my 2-buss. When I play the hard panned guitars soloed they hover around the middle, sometimes going above 0, sometimes below. Does that imply that it's all down to phase inspite of my efforts to track different parts?


Sorry for all the questions, this is just really really bugging the hell out of me to the point where I wake up at 5am every morning thinking about it and can't get back to sleep. I don't like not being able to solve problems!
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:44 AM   #23
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I also had problems in the same mix with drums. The main mics on the drums were an X-Y pair of AKG 414s using the Blumlein setup (with Figure 8 patterns).

I was under the impression this setup caused no phase problems, as the signal hits both capsules at around the same time. I took great care with correct positioning, and yet still, the difference in mono is ridiculous when compared to commercial mixes with hard panned drum mics.
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:50 AM   #24
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I use Voxenego Span on my 2-buss. When I play the hard panned guitars soloed they hover around the middle, sometimes going above 0, sometimes below. Does that imply that it's all down to phase inspite of my efforts to track different parts?
I'd expect it to spend most of its time hovering closer to 1. If hovering around zero and the volume drops in mono, I can't think of anything but that being phase cancellation.

Are you sure you don't have something in the chain with reversed polarity and just haven't found it yet? As an FYI, I have multiple guitar amps and one of them has the wrong polarity. I'm aware of it and know to reverse it but the point is, visual checks show everything is correct, audial says otherwise.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:09 AM   #25
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I'd expect it to spend most of its time hovering closer to 1. If hovering around zero and the volume drops in mono, I can't think of anything but that being phase cancellation.

Are you sure you don't have something in the chain with reversed polarity and just haven't found it yet? As an FYI, I have multiple guitar amps and one of them has the wrong polarity. I'm aware of it and know to reverse it but the point is, visual checks show everything is correct, audial says otherwise.
Not sure how I'd be able to check that. But it has happened on lots of sessions with different bands/amps, not just in this case (where it's my own band).

It also happens with hard-panned drum mics, suggesting it's not the amps.

A few more observations:

- Regarding the "Boost Pans" setting, it's not likely to be that, as my reference mixes are in a separate project which has the same -3db pan law and "boost pans" settings. If pan law was the problem, it would also be a problem in the references, surely.

- Maybe I'm setting my standards too high? My reference mixes were probably tracked and mixed by someone who's been doing this 25 years, not 5 years like me? But it seems as if I'm doing everything by the book! It makes no sense.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:10 AM   #26
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When I have just one hard panned track solo'd, it shows as being out of phase on Span (-0)

2 hard panned tracks hover around the middle.

When one of the hard panned tracks is dead centre, it's at 1. Is this correct?
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:14 AM   #27
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Also, reversing the polarity on one of the tracks doesn't make much of a difference. I also tried that Betabugs Phase Alignment plugin on the guitar buss, made hardly any difference either.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:26 AM   #28
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Also, reversing the polarity on one of the tracks doesn't make much of a difference. I also tried that Betabugs Phase Alignment plugin on the guitar buss, made hardly any difference either.
Planetnine or someone can correct my discrepancies but I would think hovering at zero would indicate 90 degrees out of phase, or 1/2 out instead of 180 or fully out of phase. That being the case, flipping the polarity just puts it 90 degrees out in the other direction aka not much difference because it is still out of phase by the same amount.

At least that's what I see by testing a couple of sine waves. So, you could literally compare the two questionable tracks zoomed in. You may literally be able to see the problem depending. With some determination you could probably find it by delaying one of the suspect tracks by a few samples/ms and listen for it to suddenly get better but that is likely only going to work if you have it down to a couple of suspicious tracks.

As far as span, anything panned center is irrelevant since the correlation meter is only showing what is different between L/R signals. If you pan it to the center/mono it should show 1 because it is the same in both channels.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:43 AM   #29
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@fever did you take care in your blumlein setup that the correct faces of both mics are pointing forward?
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:45 AM   #30
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Planetnine or someone can correct my discrepancies but I would think hovering at zero would indicate 90 degrees out of phase, or 1/2 out instead of 180 or fully out of phase. That being the case, flipping the polarity just puts it 90 degrees out in the other direction aka not much difference because it is still out of phase by the same amount.

At least that's what I see by testing a couple of sine waves. So, you could literally compare the two questionable tracks zoomed in. You may literally be able to see the problem depending. With some determination you could probably find it by delaying one of the suspect tracks by a few samples/ms and listen for it to suddenly get better but that is likely only going to work if you have it down to a couple of suspicious tracks.

As far as span, anything panned center is irrelevant since the correlation meter is only showing what is different between L/R signals. If you pan it to the center/mono it should show 1 because it is the same in both channels.

That makes sense, 90 Degrees out of phase being the worst possible scenario as far as phase goes, as far as I understand it!

Let me try some stuff with a delay, see how much of a difference it makes.

Seems weird they are so far out when they are different parts/players/guitars, but as with the previous track I was mixing, they could still have very similar frequencies which would cause this problem.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:46 AM   #31
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@fever did you take care in your blumlein setup that the correct faces of both mics are pointing forward?
Yes, definitely. Both fronts facing the kit. The grills are a different colour back and front, so this was clear.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:22 AM   #32
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just a note the blumlein mics won't mono well if they are not well back from the source. anything not in the front or rear 90 degree quadrants *will* cancel to some degree or other - in a reverberant room mono levels will be somewhat reduced as well.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:26 AM   #33
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That makes sense, 90 Degrees out of phase being the worst possible scenario as far as phase goes, as far as I understand it!

Let me try some stuff with a delay, see how much of a difference it makes.

Seems weird they are so far out when they are different parts/players/guitars, but as with the previous track I was mixing, they could still have very similar frequencies which would cause this problem.
Yep, you can use the JS: Delay/time_adjustment which gives you both ms and samples. That's a grand way to do it and the only caveat there is you can't actually look at the waveform and make decisions, just your ears. Or you could literally zoom in and manually move them and undo as needed, either method is fine IMHO where the latter is testing and the former the final correction. YMMV though so use whatever works best for you; you might even create a copy of the project just for testing and getting to the root cause.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:55 AM   #34
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just to be clear here, are you listening in mono in one speaker, or two?

Unless you want to make sure your mix is going to work on an old crappy TV, just listen to mono in one speaker... Take any potential problems in the amp, cabling, speakers out of the question.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:12 AM   #35
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I can tell you with absolute certainty that you do not have two tracks that are 90 degrees out of phase. I know this because it's an invalid statement. A simple delay cause a frequency dependent shift of phase. Some frequencies will be 90 degrees out, others will be 180 out (and cause total cancellation), but the you can't assign a number to the whole track. I suppose it would be possible to use a digital process to tear the complex mess of frequencies that we call a guitar track apart into individual partials and delay each of those by just enough to put it 90 degrees out and then recombine them. Don't know what that would sound like, but you would have had to done that on purpose. If you have found a way to do this, then just turn it off and everything should be fine.

I'm in fact pretty darn sure that this is not a "phase cancellation" issue. You know why? Because I haven't heard a single thing about the actual tone of the hard panned elements changing. They get quieter, not thin or washy. Also, the fact that inverting polarity - and even purposely smearing the frequency/phase relationships using that "correction tool" - made absolutely no difference. It ain't phase dude.

I suspect that you've got something in your monitoring chain that is giving you an exaggerated perspective on the width of your mixes. I should hope you're not mixing through something which is adding "surround" or "super stereo wow" or whatever they call it. Are you mixing on headphones? Have you got your monitors measured out to something reasonably close to an equilateral triangle with your head? Are the speakers perhaps very close to some reflective side walls? If it was real extreme, one might suspect that one of the monitors has its polarity flipped somewhere along the line. I'd think you'd have noticed some weirdness trying to place things in the center before now, but I suppose it's worth a check.

It's either your room or it's you, and it's probably a little of both. Any chance you could post a short snippet of a rendered .wav of the stereo mix? Please don't compress to .mp3, cause you never know for sure what it'll do to anything.

I highly suggest that you consider doing most of your mixing with the mono button on. Go ahead and make your LCR pans so that you don't get caught by the pan law down the road, but listen in mono until everything sits together and balances well before you switch it off to check how it works in stereo. Then you know at least that it sums well to mono.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:40 AM   #36
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A simple delay cause a frequency dependent shift of phase. Some frequencies will be 90 degrees out, others will be 180 out (and cause total cancellation), but the you can't assign a number to the whole track.
Of course, that's the case with anything that isn't a perfect sine wave but that doesn't mean as a whole that there can't be phase issues that show up as 90 degrees in a correlation meter. If that weren't the case, there would be no need for a polarity button for complex sounds nor a correlation meter for that matter. I don't disagree with you, it doesn't have to be a phase issue because it likely wouldn't be this hard to find/fix, however I was just responding to the SPAN results and haven't read the entire thread.

I agree, we need a sample to listen to which would make this much easier with less speculation.
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:06 AM   #37
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Oh yeah. Correlation meter. I'm pretty sure that 1 means that both sides are exactly the same. 0 means that their not the same - they don't correlate and therefore can't cancel. Out of phase between the two channels would show in the negatives.

Reading near (and on the positive side of) 0 is what you're looking for with hard-panned tracks.
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:17 AM   #38
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Oh yeah. Correlation meter. I'm pretty sure that 1 means that both sides are exactly the same. 0 means that their not the same - they don't correlate and therefore can't cancel. Out of phase between the two channels would show in the negatives.
IIRC... 0=90, -1=180, 1=0 but it is still only technical and relative as in if near zero but is leaning to the right of zero more than the left its likely just fine. And you are right (90 doesn't reaallly mean 90 as in needing to worry), just because it is hovering around zero doesn't mean its out of phase or sounds bad and I never use a correlation meter unless I'm already hearing something that bothers me; I would only use it to add credence to something I'm already hearing. At the end of the day if it doesn't sound wonky, ignore that meter.

Keep in mind, I'm quoting based on a sine wave because we can't really properly talk about the tool's basic function without it, so there is advice to be heeded between tool and music.
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:27 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by semiquaver View Post
just a note the blumlein mics won't mono well if they are not well back from the source. anything not in the front or rear 90 degree quadrants *will* cancel to some degree or other - in a reverberant room mono levels will be somewhat reduced as well.
That explains the drums. They were only about 3 feet from the kit, and it's a pretty big live room with wooden floors and reflective surfaces.

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just to be clear here, are you listening in mono in one speaker, or two?

Unless you want to make sure your mix is going to work on an old crappy TV, just listen to mono in one speaker... Take any potential problems in the amp, cabling, speakers out of the question.
A bit of both. I start the mix in mono on my DAW and one speaker, and do my pans. Sounds fine. I switch to 2 speakers with stereo, sounds fine.

When I listen on the headphones in mono, that's when the guitars disappear. Now I know that isn't a great indication (mono on headphones), BUT, the commercial reference mixes sound fine on mono in headphones. So surely mine should?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
I can tell you with absolute certainty that you do not have two tracks that are 90 degrees out of phase. I know this because it's an invalid statement. A simple delay cause a frequency dependent shift of phase. Some frequencies will be 90 degrees out, others will be 180 out (and cause total cancellation), but the you can't assign a number to the whole track. I suppose it would be possible to use a digital process to tear the complex mess of frequencies that we call a guitar track apart into individual partials and delay each of those by just enough to put it 90 degrees out and then recombine them. Don't know what that would sound like, but you would have had to done that on purpose. If you have found a way to do this, then just turn it off and everything should be fine.

I'm in fact pretty darn sure that this is not a "phase cancellation" issue. You know why? Because I haven't heard a single thing about the actual tone of the hard panned elements changing. They get quieter, not thin or washy. Also, the fact that inverting polarity - and even purposely smearing the frequency/phase relationships using that "correction tool" - made absolutely no difference. It ain't phase dude.

I suspect that you've got something in your monitoring chain that is giving you an exaggerated perspective on the width of your mixes. I should hope you're not mixing through something which is adding "surround" or "super stereo wow" or whatever they call it. Are you mixing on headphones? Have you got your monitors measured out to something reasonably close to an equilateral triangle with your head? Are the speakers perhaps very close to some reflective side walls? If it was real extreme, one might suspect that one of the monitors has its polarity flipped somewhere along the line. I'd think you'd have noticed some weirdness trying to place things in the center before now, but I suppose it's worth a check.

It's either your room or it's you, and it's probably a little of both. Any chance you could post a short snippet of a rendered .wav of the stereo mix? Please don't compress to .mp3, cause you never know for sure what it'll do to anything.

I highly suggest that you consider doing most of your mixing with the mono button on. Go ahead and make your LCR pans so that you don't get caught by the pan law down the road, but listen in mono until everything sits together and balances well before you switch it off to check how it works in stereo. Then you know at least that it sums well to mono.
YEs, I start out with 1 mono speaker, then 2 in stereo, then headphones. As mentioned above, when I listen to the mono in headphones, that's when it becomes apparent. And although mono in headphones isn't ideal, it doesn't cause the same problems with commercial mixes, so that shouldn't cause a problem on mine either right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
Oh yeah. Correlation meter. I'm pretty sure that 1 means that both sides are exactly the same. 0 means that their not the same - they don't correlate and therefore can't cancel. Out of phase between the two channels would show in the negatives.

Reading near (and on the positive side of) 0 is what you're looking for with hard-panned tracks.
Yes, my hard panned tracks are hovering round the centre. They go more to the positive side if I delay one slightly but it hardly makes much difference.



Could this all be a case of frequency masking? If what ashcat is saying about the phase correlation, then it could just be masking from other instruments in the centre (snare, vocal etc)?

Sorry if I sound like a complete moron here!

I will get some samples for you in the next 24 hours.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:18 PM   #40
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Ok some sample files:

GTR_S is the two hard panned guitars in stereo
GTR_M is the same but summed to mono

MIX_S is the hard panned guitars along with bass and drums for context
Mix_M is the same but summed to mono

Drums are AKG 414s in Blumlein tracked in a fairly lively room in a studio,then close mics on kick, snare, and toms. Close mics are all centred, 414s are hard panned.

There is also an additional mono room track done with a Reaverb impulse, distorted with Stillwell Rocket, gated (from the close mics) and delayed slightly to give some additional mono room "oomf".

Guitars are 2 different people played different guitars through different amps in different rooms. One is very close miced with a 57 off axis. This is the deeper, duller sound. The brighter one is also a 57 but futher away and more on axis. This is also a different tuning as I used a capo.

Am I expecting too much for these to sound decent in mono? Do they sound decent in mono yet my headphones are exaggerating how bad it is? Is it phasing afterall?

Here is the link:

http://we.tl/ya3wGF0VRJ

Thanks in advance!
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