Listening to JUST stereo info in Cubase

I’ve just gotten an album back from mastering and the engineer gave me some helpful info. He said my mixes sounded nearly mono. He said that when he listened to just the stereo info there was virtually nothing there.

Is there a way in Cubase to listen to whats happening in JUST the stereo field. Essentially muting whats happening in the mono area?

Needless to say I am crushed at the fact that my mix is sounding mono. I know I panned a LOT of stuff stereo wide.

Its a hard pill to swallow but I gotta learn from this.

How can we listen to stereo only info in Cubase?

D

i use voxengo msed (free) usually for mastering and listening to S only.

i’m not sure if cubase has a ms matrix plugin. all that’s needed really is a most simple L + (-R) (minus 6db) process (flip polarity on either L or R and divide gain by 2).

The mastering engineer said this

“Just flip the polarity on either the L or R main output in your mixer.”

Can we do this?
It may have been there all along but I have never noticed being able to do this.

just d/l this:
http://www.voxengo.com/product/msed/

Lucas,
Thanks for the link.

Just put this on the last channel of the master buss, right?

D

If you want to do it without learning a new plug-in (free and useful as the Voxengo M/S is), just:

Render final stereo signal to split mono tracks, flip the phase/polarity button on the mixconsole for one of the two split mono tracks (L or R, doesn’t matter), then play the two tracks together to get “side”, i.e., non-mono content.

That’s it!

You may already have some comps or EQs with M/S processing, where if you want you can just dial up the side component. UAD-2 Fairchild 670, and the Voxengo EQs have that, as well as a whole bunch of others.

Alexis,
My mixes are buttered with the buttery goodness of UA’s 660’s and 670’s so I do have them.
Do you have some settings you care to share that will help me out?

Rendering, as you say, will work, but I’d rather be able to do this while I am working.

Please geek out with all the nerdy details about using the UA 670 in this application. I assume step 1 will be to put it as the last slot on the master buss, right?
Then what about the settings?

D

Hi Denicio - From memory (I’m at work here in NE, deflating footballs):

In the 670, turn the AGC to Lat/Vert (instead of the usual L/R) for mid-side instead of the usual stereo processing. The vertical is the stereo signal info, the lateral is mono signal info. Then just turn one vs. the other up to hear more of the mid (= mono signal only, = lat = L+R) vs. side (= stereo signal only = vert = L-R).

I usually create 1 last bus between the whole mix and the master, route all signals to that bus, and then put the F670 as an insert in that bus, then out to the master.

The F670 manual from the UAD site does a pretty good job of explaining it, and there are some great SOS articles for more theory (Hugh Robjohns is the author, “Faking Stereo signals” or something like that is the title, in the last 2-3 years).

I’m sure there are better ways to do this as I came up with it on my own, but I hope it at least gets you started!

i have my MSED on the control room inserts. that way i can monitor whichever channel via the listen bus, listen just to the Side or just the Mid of that channel. this is followed (in the CR inserts) by a spectrum analyzer, so i can see if the Side alone contains too much low-end frequencies for instance, etc.

So what I am hoping to accomplish is to basically zap the mono (middle) and hear what is happening in the stereo fields of my mixes.
This method will do this?

Also, will making the 670 the last insert on the MB work?

MS conversion is the simplest DSP thing you can think of (i am sure you could run hundreds of MSED’s). so, generally speaking, using the 670 is a bit of an overkill, that eats up your UAD’s resources. on top of that, many UAD emulations alter the sound and gain once inserted with all settings flat / at unity. i’m not sure the 670 does, but it’s worth pointing out.

True True True!

All I want to do is basically null the mono so I can hear what’s happening in my stereo field. Something easy and quick.

My head is still reeling that my mixes have turned out Mono-ish. As the brits say…I am GUTTED! Worked too long and too hard to have that as initial feedback. I gotta learn from this mistake.

I use Brainworks bx_solo, it also has one of the best sounding stereo width controls IMHO. And its free.

Guys thanks for the cool referrals on the Plug ins from Brainworks and Voxengo.
The brainworks looks especially simple to use for a simpleton like myself.

What I can do now is take some commercially released stuff and import it into C7 and see what I hear with those mixes and them pull mine up to see how bad I missed the mark on stereo spread.

Good points! As I’m using it for effect, I’ve never checked to see whether it nulls or not. If someone’s looking to take a quick look how much side info is there or not, it’s probably just as easy to fire up the 760 and take a quick listen as anything else.

That CurveEQ we have in Cubase 7 now (or is it Span?) … that has a M/S decoder as well, doesn’t it?

Confirmed! The included (7.5.20) CurveEQ allows one to solo the Mid, and solo the Side, channels of a stereo signal independently, to see how much (if any) “stereo” a signal has (i.e., how much side channel info, aka the difference between the L and R channels).

Test - I took a mono vocal track, rendered it to a stereo track. Clearly there is no “side” signal, since the L/R are identical.

Put “CurveEQ” as last insert in the master bus. In the “Routing” drop down arrow of the plugin, chose M/S.

Then I just played the stereo track while toggling at the bottom the MID and SIDE buttons to see that there was no side signal (i.e., nothing that wasn’t mono).

Then to hear that there was no side signal, toggle the SOLO button at the bottom, while SIDE was selected. Completely silent when SIDE was selected … which makes sense as there is zero side signal.

No third party stuff needed to do this!

Thanks guys! This is a huge help for me and glad you were here to help me.

I appreciate the discussion and everything you have done!

Cheers
D

So when checking my mixes for stereo content, the best place for this CurveEQ to be in the last plug in slot on my master buss, correct?

Until the pros come around with better advice, that should be fine, you can compare your imported reference tracks to yours for differences in stereo imaging.

As far as why your project(s) turned out so mono-ish, per the engineer … maybe it’s as simple as something being routed to a mono group/FX channel that you meant to be routed to a stereo one?

I wish it were that easy. No my groups were all stereo and there is stereo imaging. Its just that it seems to be a mono heavy mix, even though there is all kinds of stuff happening hard left and right.
I always hit the mono button to hear how things sound that way but never thought do to the opposite by muting the mono region and hear whats happening wide.

Now I know!