A few weeks ago, I asked Lenny how he got such the bass on Into the Fire (especially when it first comes in at 0:13). He jokingly remarked that he did a bit of EQ magic but would have to kill me if he told me specifics.
So that got me thinking, which is a dangerous thing when the person doing the thinking is me. I wondered what would happen if I converted a mono bass line to stereo and then applied different EQ to the left and right side of the stereo channel. My suspicion is that you’d get a real wide sound as a result without having to resorting to tricks like doubling the track, offsetting one by a few milliseconds, and then detuning it by a few cents.
To test out my suspicion, I took a snippet of the bass from New York Blues. Aside from the fact that my crappy playing is now on display for all to see, listen to what happens. The snippet is played 3 times: untreated (mono), routed to a stereo group track with the Stereo Enhancer applied, and finally with the a +9 dB boost (Q setting of 3) applied at 120 Hz on the left and 500 Hz on the right.
(Interestingly enough, the stereo spread is much more evident when I play the test project in Cubase.)
When this is applied to the original song, the effect is subtle but definitely noticeable. In this snippet of the same song, the bass is untreated in the first four bars and the same L/R EQ “trick” is used in the second four bars.
To allow you to hear the bass better over the cacophony of the other tracks, a 4 dB boost was applied to the original track for the entire 8 bars.
This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive treatment of this test but only a “proof of concept.” I found that the amount of stereo spread is dependent on the distance between the EQ frequencies used in the left and right channels, but I’m 110% sure it’s also dependent on the spectral profile of the base track.
I hope you find this as interesting as I did.