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Old 05-19-2014, 02:20 PM
janmulder janmulder is offline
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Default How to correctly pan MS recorded sources in a mix

I have a question about panning MS (Mid/Side) recorded sources in a mix.

Imagine I recorded my guitar using this technique ... now I would like to pan the guitar about 25% to one side of the mix because it is part of a guitar/violin duo + bass and drums.

I'd pan the mid signal 25% left ... but what about the side signals? I can't find any info on this anywhere and don't know anyone who uses the technique in band recordings.

I'm kinda assuming you keep the sides the same ... equidistant from centre ... my (admittedly not too good) instinct would expect any diversion from this to possibly introduce phase issues which are the very reason for using this mic technique.

All the info I can find is about one keeping everything in the center of the mix. Does anyone know the rules here?
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakedi View Post
I have a question about panning MS (Mid/Side) recorded sources in a mix.

Imagine I recorded my guitar using this technique ... now I would like to pan the guitar about 25% to one side of the mix because it is part of a guitar/violin duo + bass and drums.

I'd pan the mid signal 25% left ... but what about the side signals? I can't find any info on this anywhere and don't know anyone who uses the technique in band recordings.

I'm kinda assuming you keep the sides the same ... equidistant from centre ... my (admittedly not too good) instinct would expect any diversion from this to possibly introduce phase issues which are the very reason for using this mic technique.

All the info I can find is about one keeping everything in the center of the mix. Does anyone know the rules here?
You kind of lose the benefits of MS when you do anything other than balanced stereo - for example, it's not going to collapse properly to mono once you alter the balance between left and right. It's not so much phase issues, but you're not going to get what ms does. Instead of R=M+S and L=M-S (so that mono gives you M+M+S-S = 2M) you'll have some R=M+S, L=M/3-S/3 kind of thing, which won't cancel the sides if you listen in mono.

But that said, you have lots of options. You can just use the mono signal and pan that. You could then bring in just a touch of sides to add some space, but without significantly altering the location. You can decode to stereo, and then pan it like any stereo track. There are also plugins that let you do all kinds of manipulations. Voxengo's free MS decoder will let you pan the mid and side signals independently as well as set the relative levels and of course, decode/encode. Panning just the middle will still give you mono compatibility, since the sides would be there equally on both sides.

I'd also consider leaving the guitar centered in stereo, at least worth a try.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:00 AM
janmulder janmulder is offline
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Thanks. I have played with MS recording a bit in the past but was never really convinced by the sound when used for a single instrument that will end up as part of a mix. In the end I always revert back to using mono because, even if it ultimately isn't the best, it sure is easy to setup and repeat.


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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
You kind of lose the benefits of MS when you do anything other than balanced stereo - for example, it's not going to collapse properly to mono once you alter the balance between left and right. It's not so much phase issues, but you're not going to get what ms does. Instead of R=M+S and L=M-S (so that mono gives you M+M+S-S = 2M) you'll have some R=M+S, L=M/3-S/3 kind of thing, which won't cancel the sides if you listen in mono.
There is just so little info on this. Thanks. Good to know that it is really meant for balanced stereo and probably solo performances, small ensembles or maybe mixing the whole lot to MS ... as opposed to just one instrument in a mix.

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Panning just the middle will still give you mono compatibility, since the sides would be there equally on both sides.
OK ... so if I try it I will just pan the Mid a little leaving the Sides. At least now I know that they are not to be moved.

My quest is to try to make the guitar sound a little bigger in the mix.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:10 AM
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There's tons of info on MS out there. Here's Wes Dooley's AES paper that goes into lots of detail:

http://www.ribbonmics.com/pdf/technique.pdf

But a google search will turn up all kinds of info, tips, etc:

https://www.google.com/search?q=mid-side

Here's a couple of the first hits:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar1...-tech-0311.htm
http://www.uaudio.com/blog/mid-side-mic-recording/

I think MS is perfect for what you want. If you want to create an artificial sound stage by paning mono sources, just use an MS decoder and spin the dial to get mono, then pan. If you later decide the guitar should be in stereo, add back in the sides.

For a "big" guitar sound in the mix, I'd consider leaving the guitar in stereo. But of course, I haven't heard your mix, so it's hard to know for sure.
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:21 PM
janmulder janmulder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
There's tons of info on MS out there.
Unfortunately, most articles are introductions to the subject and explanations on how/why it works. What I meant was, there is not that much info on what to do with the different components (especially the side) if you want to pan the instrument left or right as part of a mix. But I think I got it now

But thanks for the links. Every new article I read gives different insights and more ideas of the possibilties

The ribbonmics article makes some interesting points ..."M-S stereo offers best frequency response at the center stage where the M microphone is on axis and the extremes where the S microphone is on axis. As a solo pickup, the M-S technique is especially useful not only because of the on-axis pickup of the M microphone, but also because the solo sound source is located primarily in the null of the S microphone. The S component is therefore primarily reverberant information, and thus the M-to-S ratio can be used as a direct-to-reverberant ratio control."

It's certainly awakened my interest in this technique again and I'll definitely try using it next time I record the guitar ... and if I just can't get the MS recording to fit in a mix I still have the mono M component.
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakedi View Post
Unfortunately, most articles are introductions to the subject and explanations on how/why it works. What I meant was, there is not that much info on what to do with the different components (especially the side) if you want to pan the instrument left or right as part of a mix. But I think I got it now
I think that's because that's not how MS is normally used. It's probably not really how any stereo micing technique is usually used. If you want to manually place an instrument in an artificial soundstage by panning, you generally record in mono, so you have the flexibility to put the instrument wherever you want. The point of recording in stereo is to capture the natural sound stage of the instrument or the room. Of course, anything's fair game, if it works for you.
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Old 05-21-2014, 02:38 AM
Luke W Luke W is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakedi View Post
Unfortunately, most articles are introductions to the subject and explanations on how/why it works. What I meant was, there is not that much info on what to do with the different components (especially the side) if you want to pan the instrument left or right as part of a mix. But I think I got it now
The reasons how and why it works are the same reasons it needs to be panned as it does, as mentioned if you go messing around with the panning of the mid signal you won't be achieving what M/S is intended for.

If you want to be to one side of the stereo image and you are recording in stereo (true stereo, not M/S) then you can just physically move over more to the side that you want the instrument to be on while recording.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:54 PM
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here is a quick showing of various mic setups that may help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-_xkBoAuJw

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