This technique will let you push a sound towards the sides of the stereo image, leaving the centre free for other material.
What’s nice about this effect is that it’s easy to very precisely control the amount of widening you want. It’s essentially like punching a neat hole in the middle of the stereo image for that sound. Great when you need to make room for drums, vocals or bass for instance.
I use this technique with many things – pads, guitars, backing vocals – anything you want prominent and balanced but away from the centre.
Use a delay plugin that lets you delay left and right channels of the sound separately in really small increments (sample accuracy).
Start increasing the delay for one of the channels, little by little. Leave the other channel untouched. You will notice the stereo image starts to get wider. You won’t need much until you start hitting the limits of your stereo image!
Please note: there is a real danger of pushing things out of phase with this technique. Be careful and use a correlation meter to monitor the phase of the signal to avoid cancellation.
- In Logic you can do this using the very straightforward Sample delay plugin.
- Voxengo has a great free plugin called Sound Delay which can do this and a lot more. It’s available for PC and MAC in both VST and Audio Unit formats. To do separate L/R delaying with Sound Delay, you first have to assign the left and right channels into separate groups in the routing section. Then delay one of the groups.
- Finally, if you are working in split stereo you can of course manually delay the left or right track in the arrange.