Nowadays we track more and more in stereo, no longer having the constraints of 24 tracks on 2” tape (sorry showing my age, but you could insert, new systems have a higher track count as technology improves). However if you aren’t careful when it comes to mixing, having loads of stereo tracks sat on top of each other, can leave you with a very poorly defined stereo mix with little, if any, defined stereo imaging and perspective.
So what to do?
What a lot of folk do is dive for the stereo width plug-ins or wash synth and guitar sounds in wide stereo chorus in the hope of producing a wider stereo mix, because wide is good, but if you aren’t careful all it will do is end up with a wider stereo mush.
You could reduce most of the components down to mono and pan them across the stereo image so each of your instruments has its own place in the image, it may sound like a contradiction but your mix can end up with a wider perceived stereo balance and elements will stand out more easily.
The best way forward is somewhere in between. There are some sounds that work well in mono like drum sounds. I think the sub-title for this series is that over used phrase “little is more”. If you pull in the width of a lot of your stereo sounds then those that are left will have room to breath and the others will have a clear space to occupy in the stereo image of your mix. You will have also created the space in your mix for image enhancers and special effects to work clearly in your mix.
So over the coming parts of this mini series we are going to look at some solutions.