Making a Track Wider & Punchier Simultaneously
In every track, the punchiness and power usually come from the center and mid frequencies. These frequencies contain instruments like ‘Kick Drums’, ‘Bass’, ‘Toms’, etc. which have a lot of low-frequency information.
Sometimes you may have a track that’s a bit too narrow, and you want it to sound wider and have a bigger stereo field image to be more impactful to the lister, but that usually comes with the price of losing some of the punchiness from the track.
In order to make a track wider, you may either stereolize the mono signals or boost the side frequencies. Stereolizing the mono signals usually cause a lot of phase issues and make artifacts, so it’s often better to enhance the side frequencies instead when it comes to enhancing the stereo field.
That’s why we recommend using the T-Imager for this task. It gives a musical result using fundamental mixing adjustments, such as level boosting and EQing, for manipulating the mid and side frequencies to enhance the stereo field.
As mentioned above, even enhancing the stereo field by boosting the side frequencies may result in less punchiness due to lowering the dominance of the frequencies in the center, which contain powerful instruments such as ‘Kick drum’ or ‘Bass.’
So how can we enhance the stereo field and have a track wider without losing the punchiness?
Using a Transient Shaper in the chain
By using a transient shaper after we proceed with enhancing the stereo field, we can recreate the lost punchiness while ending up with a track that’s more open and punchy at the same time.
In this example, we will use the T-Puncher as our transient shaper, as it gives a very musical result, and we will use its mid-side processing feature to only apply the punchiness to the mid frequencies.
3 Steps to get it right
1. Insert a T-Imager on your master buss or group channel, and turn the ‘Balance’ knob to the right while the playback is on until you feel the track is wider and more open. Use the EQ section from the T-Imager to apply EQ cuts or boosts on the mid and side frequencies if you feel it’s needed.
2. Add a T-Puncher after the T-Imager on your master buss or group channel. Choose the ‘Mid’ option from the ‘Mid-side’ section from the T-Puncher user interface so that the T-Puncher only affects the frequencies from the center of your stereo mix.
3. While the Playback is on, turn the ‘PUNCHINESS’ knob to the right until the track sounds decently punchier, and add more of the ‘Attack’ setting to keep the center tighter. You can choose to add the ‘Smoother’ saturation effect to round up the transients from the mid frequencies or apply a gritty effect to them.
Now the result you get is a wider and punchier track, which also may sound louder without killing your dynamic range.
Listen to the examples below to see how effective this solution can be. (We recommend you listen to the track on headphones or studio monitors.)
Stereo track - Master Buss Channel
Written by Amin Asbaghipour - Techivation Founder