[Solved] Problems With Stereo Widening.

So when mixing on headphones, as I must do for financial reasons, it’s tempting to to fiddle with the “width” slider either on instruments or on the stereo expander device. It especially makes mono recordings sound better. I’ve come across a problem though: When I play songs with stereo widened elements, it sounds really funny on monophonic speaker setups, like the built in speaker of a laptop or a phone. Here is an example:


First half is the stereo version, and the second half features the stereo channels combined into a mono track, and thus mimicking the single speaker phenomenon. The melodica suddenly sounds unintentionally distant. I sorta know why this happens, but I’m confused since stereo widening is supposed to be a pretty common technique, no? Is there something I need to do to the master, in order to make it mono friendly while maintaining the width on stereo speakers, or is this just a result of, erm, bad DSP coding?

I’m really curious.

it sounds bad over headphones if you overdo it. how much are you widening a track? over 50%? i had to get monitors before I had a good idea of how much to do it without making it sound bad

Yes it’s a common phasing problem, it almost always happens with that type of stereo effect when played back mono.

This. It is a well documented effect or overusing the Widening effects as they are often implemented by introducing phase shifts. Widening should only be used subtly on the whole and not across the whole mix. Bass you have to be very careful of, especially if you ever consider you might get pressed to vinyl.

Yeah I had the surround slider all the way up to 73 % :(

But thanks to everyone who replied. It was very helpful insight.