There’s one simple but VERY annoying issue with Apple Logic that really bugs me.
This problem constantly occurs with stereo image.
You must sort it out in order to achieve a solid mix…
And yet Logic doesn’t have a straight up way for dealing with it!
Before all you Ableton or Cubase kids cream your twinkies… Your situation might not be much better so pay attention!
I am not sure about the other DAW:s to be honest, but I would like to hear what the deal is – feel free to drop us some comments.
However, despite the situation there are ways we can work around this problem, so let’s spill the beans.
I’m going to show you three different ways to tackle this bastard.
So What Is It??
I’m talking about stereo content in the low end of the audio spectrum.
Shouldn’t happen, but it does.
What’s the fuss?
Admittedly, stereo bass can work in some genres such as jazz or lighter rock music.
But for bass-heavy club music?
Don’t do it.
Making the low end mono will make your mix more solid.
You also prevent the bass from the sides of the stereo image from piling up into a boomy blob when the tune gets played back through a mono system (such as many club systems).
Lastly, if you are aiming for a vinyl release… You should know that the mastering engineer will make the low end mono anyway if it isn’t already.
Otherwise it just can’t be pressed properly.
And when someone else does that for you… Depending on the severity of the problem…
Your tune might end up sounding a bit different and not how you intended.
So you’re better off just dealing with it in the mix.
Always make the bass mono.
And not just that.
Also the low end of your drums, synths, effects… Anything with low frequency content.
What people used to do was to simply make all bass and drum channels mono.
That still works, but the technique is not up to today’s standards.
You want to be able to make the low frequencies mono while still having control over the rest of the stereo image.
Now, all frequencies of up to 100Hz at least should be mono. I often go higher.
So how do you do that??
It is straight up STUPID…
But Logic does not have straight up functionality for this…
So here are the workarounds for you – three of them as I promised.
Split the signal into two different channels – one with the bass content and the other one with the rest. Make the bass content channel mono.
- Through Bus sends, have it go into two AUX channels.
- Shut down the original channel by setting it’s output to “No Output”.
- Use a low pass filter on one AUX channel, and a high pass filter on the other. Both filters tuned at the same frequency (let’s say, 100Hz for example).
- Make the channel with the low pass filter (the bass channel) mono.
Here’s a screenshot of how this looks like in the Logic mixer:
It’s a bit of a hassle but it gets the job done.
There are stereo image manipulation plugins that do a great job with this kind of thing (and much more).
Such as the MStereo Processor by Melda Productions.
Extremely versatile – it actually allows you to shape the stereo image in 4 different bands.
Solution #3 (my personal choice)
I use an EQ plugin that does M/S processing.
The PSP Neon to be specific.
I simply high pass the side channel at whatever frequency I want.
That’s all there is to it.
The great thing with Neon is that it’s easy for you to audition exactly the point below which you want to make the bass mono.
Plus it has an analyzer built-in which actually shows if there’s stereo content going on in the low end or not.
So they completely took out the guesswork with this plug-in.
It has many other extremely nice functions as well.
But I might tell you a bit more about that another time.
Anyway, here’s a few ways for you to deal with this issue. I am really hoping Apple will provide some up to date tools for working with the stereo image in their upcoming big Logic 10 (Logic X?) update.
In the meantime we’re stuck with these tricks!
What about those other DAW:s… Live? Cubase? Reason? Are you guys covered with this? Let us hear in the comments…