PreSonus Blog

The Studio One Stereo Separator

A couple previous tips dealt with how to give mono instruments, like guitar, a stereo image that won’t degrade when collapsed to mono. Widen Your Mono Guitar—Sans Problems used delay, but in a way that minimized phase issues. Delay-Free Stereo from Mono used two Multiband Dynamics, set for no compression, to separate the audio into bands that you could then pan left or right.

 

This tip takes the process even further—it’s versatile, relatively simple, easily customizable, and also, has no phase issues when collapsed to mono. I’ve even used it to create a subtle, artificial stereo image from old mono records.

 

The Stereo Separator is particularly effective with power chords and rhythm guitar, especially as an alternative to layering parts in search of a “bigger” sound—you can obtain a stereo spread with a single track, so the sound is more defined compared to using multiple layers. And of course, if you scroll to the end there’s a downloadable FX Chain, so you can start playing with this immediately.

 

This example assumes a mono, distorted guitar track, like what you’d obtain by using a single mic on an amp. To create a stereo image, we first need need to convert this to a stereo track. So, set the track’s Channel Mode to stereo, and bounce the track to itself (Ctrl+B) to convert it into a dual mono (i.e., stereo, but with the same audio in the left and right channels). Now we can start playing with the stereo imaging.

 

  1. Open the track’s Channel Editor, and select the Routing Window. Drag a Splitter into the Channel Editor. Choose 5 splits, and Frequency Split for the Split Mode. The defaults split frequencies are fine, at least for now.

 

  1. Add a Dual Pan processor to the four high-frequency splits. You usually want the bass frequencies centered, so we’ll forego a split in the lowest-frequency split. You now have a Channel Editor that looks like Fig. 1.

 

Figure 1: The Channel Editor, with Frequency Split selected, and the Dual Pan effects inserted.

 

 

  1. Fig. 2 shows the macro control assignments. It’s pretty straightforward—the four pairs of knobs are for the Low (L), Low Mid (LM), High Mid (HM), and High (H) frequencies. Each section has left and right Pan controls, which are assigned to the Pan knobs. The left Pan knob is also assigned to the linked Width control, and the right Pan knob ties to the linked Pan control as well. Each section’s buttons are assigned to Link and Bypass.

Figure 2: The Macro control assignments.

 

 

 

  1. When Linked, the Left Pan knob becomes the Linked Width control, and the Right Pan knob becomes the Linked Pan control. The labels for the controls (Fig. 3) show the default control first, while the = sign shows the function when Link is enabled.

 

Figure 3: The Macro control panel. All the knobs and buttons are used.

 

 

And now, the fun begins! Play with the Pan controls to spread the different frequency bands in the stereo field—the audio example gives a good idea of the type of effect this FX Chain can do. The first example is mono, the second widens the image a bit, and the final example does a somewhat more radical stereo image.

Of course, you can go into the routing window, and change the levels of the various splits. Or, add FX in the splits…change the split frequencies…there’s enough to keep you busy for a while. Happy stereo!

 

Download the Stereo Separator.multipreset here!

  • Yeah, I know. I’ve alerted Presonus but I think some of the people are still on Thanksgiving vacation…when it does get posted, I think you’ll dig it!

  • Senor McDoofus

    They are pushing Virtual Nashville Tuning inside S1 but it leads to an error 404 page.

  • To follow up…when I played the SoundCloud example in mono, it definitely sounded weird. However, when I loaded the original WAV file that was uploaded to SoundCloud, and played it back in mono, the collapse from stereo to mono was perfect. I would not have suspected SoundCloud as the source of the problem, but hey…you learn something new every day. I guess the reason why Lanoss thought it was genius was because he tried it in Studio One.

  • I thought it can’t be SoundCloud, but after testing, I do think it’s the compression algorithm that’s messing things up. I just re-tested the Multipreset with Studio One to make I hadn’t made an error in the FX Chain: Mono guitar audio, stereo mode on the channel. Enabled mono on the main bus. Played with all the pan controls on all the bands, and the sound stayed the same. The preset definitely works…but I think it works best as intended, in Studio One 🙂

  • Martin E Klemm

    unSane could have put it a bit more tactfully, but he’s right. If I sum my speakers to mono and play the 3 samples, they certainly do not sound the same. The low mids are reduced with each example. If this is not supposed to happen, do you think it might be Soundcloud?

  • Did you listen to the audio example? It shouldn’t sound phasey, there are no delays being used. If you sum it in mono, it should sound the same as the original mono signal.

  • unSane

    honestly sounds like crap, phasey and weird. Yikes.

  • Todavía recomendaría mantener el kick en estéreo si vas a hacer “vinyl.” Pero aparte de eso, ¡tienes razón!

  • Lanoss (José Martín-Albo Pérez

    Genial. Supongo que esto también serviría para que un kick en stereo pudiera pasar su parte grave a mono, manteniendo el resto en stereo. (Vi a alguien que lo hacía con otra DAW y siempre me quedó esa espina clavada). Muchas gracias por compartir tu sabiduría.

  • Please see the last paragraph in last week’s tip.

  • Michael Anderson

    What’s the best folder of the
    FX Chain that “Stereo Separator” multipreset be placed..?