'stereo wide' for mixes. The jambox lives.

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Whiskeyrebel, May 15, 2008.

  1. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Center Line MI
    On my desk I have an old RCA boombox that I use for listening to cassettes and LPs (a turntable is plugged into its aux inputs). It has the usual pushbutton functions to compensate for the cheesy, closely spaced speakers: bass boost, treble boost and 'stereo enhance'.

    What is odd is that these functions are active through the headphone jack. Call it heresy but sometimes I prefer the sound through headphones with the 'stereo enhance' on.

    Lots of boomboxes had this function or something similar, with names like 'stereo wide'. What is done with the signal when I turn it on? Some sort of mid-side monkey business with L+R and L-R to emphasize the sounds that are not common to both channels?

    Here's why I want to know. If I like what this function does to mixes, maybe there is a way to get it using the functions on my Cool Edit Pro software. Maybe CEP already has a similar function with a different name.

    Or maybe the only way to get it would be to feed my mix through the boombox ...either through the aux inputs, or if I really want to be perverse, through the tape head using one of those old car-CD player adaptors that looks like a cassette. Then tap the headphone jack of the boombox back through my DAC into the computer.
  2. Sunbreak Music

    Sunbreak Music Member

    Sep 27, 2007
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Cass mini-rant: Stereo wideners are the devil. Rant over. ;)

    To answer your question, though, odds are it's not any sort of mid-side manipulation, rather a broadband use of the Haas effect, which means that introducing a slight delay in one channel in the area of 20ms-40ms creates a "wider" image.

    The downside is that it's inducing phase cancellation, and your low end will suffer. It's a psychoacoutsic effect which might sound good at first.....but not for long.

    The good news is that there are probably a few freeware plugs that do m/s processing, and you can play with that to achieve the perception of a wider image w/in any daw platform. Might even find some multiband enhancers which probably work better because they introduce the effect above a certain frequency, so you keep the bass intact.

    Before everyone jumps on me, there are uses for stereo image manipulation--I know that, and do them from time to time. I just always recommend getting the mix wide during the mix process, rather than trying to put something on the master that is detrimental to the overall sound. You don't get something for nothing :D
  3. Ulysses

    Ulysses Member

    Sep 29, 2005
    The SPL Stereo Vitalizer has long been a rack gear favorite for crazy wide stereo effects. I do have one in my studio but have only played with it. Never comfortable enough with the artifacts to commit to a mix. Like Sunbreak said, there's a price you pay when messing with the signal like this. I must admit the SPL is capable of some amazing psychoacoustic feats. It can throw the feild width way wide outside the monitors. Once your ear adjusts to it for a moment then you turn it off, it sounds like your speakers are broken.

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