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How to get a wider sound

How to make your synths sound wide
| , 16sounds.com

How to get a wider sound

Stereo width is more popular than ever and here is a short guide on how to do it on some synths.

This article explains how to get a wider sound. Wider- and more separated stereo.

We are looking at two ways:

  • Stereo Spread
  • Pitch Spread
  • MS EQ

Unison stereo spread

unison stereo is way to make a Sound Wide. It requires 2 or more oscillators and each oscillator is panned opposite from a little from center to full left and right. The further apart the panning is the wider the stereo sounds. Be aware that panning and pitch spreading voices can lead to phase problems. We recommend the free plugin SPAN to check the phase when making sounds wider.

Unison pitch spread

Unison pitch spread is a way to make 2 or more voices/oscillators slightly different in pitch. Used combined with stereo spread is an effective way to create stereo impact.

How is it done on

Here is a guide to on how to set it in some synths.

Arturia Pigments V1 and V2

In Pigments the stereo spread is in the UNISON panel til left. 

Pigments Unison, voices and detuneUNISON panel with Stereo Voices, Stereo spread and Detune.

To use stereo spread you need to set voices to more than one. The Sterei knob will then pan voices opposite by the amount dialed in.
Detune will detune the voices for more more impact and the stereo spread will sound further apart.

Arturia Mini V3

In the Minimoog emulation Mini you need to turn on UNiSON in the output section. You can then use Voice Detune to pitch spread the voices apart. 

Minimoog unison detune for side stereoUnison and voice detune in Arturia Mini

How to get a wider sound with Mini - set Polyphony
The bottom bar with Polyphony set to 2.

Arturia Jupiter 8

 

Jupiter 8 Unison and Poly for wide stereo

 

Native Instruments Massive 

In the old Massive synthesizer the pitch and stereo spread is set in the "Voicing" tab.

Massive Unison spread voicing tab - How to get a wider sound
Voice tab with Voicing and Unison spread. How to get a wider sound

 

When to use wide stereo and when not to

A god mix has a good center sound and some wider sounds for stereo impact. Not all sounds can be wide.
Keep the bottom closer to center and keep basses and bass drums more centered in the stereo field.

Always check the Phase of you sounds with a Phase Corellation Meter like the free SPAN plugin from Voxengo.

A Phase Correlation Meter is measuring phase from -1.00 to 1.00 and we do not want the phase to be to much every where or below 0 on too many sounds in you mix. If the Correlation Meter reads 1.00 it means the stereo signal is two identical signals. -1.00 means out of phase and bad stereo translation since the phase difference will cancel out some sound.

Using an MS EQ for stereo width manipulation

An MS EQ can be used to narrow the low end and widen the topend on the daw channel or groups.