Sound Width

This is something I have noticed since I had my FostexPM05 monitors and tweaking with “Width” on Track DSP… and each time I turn out to be more curious.
If you place some PhaseScope/StereoImage on your Master channel and scope your tracks you can see that the sound becomes “wider” and “round”.
If the Width is set to be too low (including zero) the image will be a flat vertical line… if the width is set to be too high the image will turn to a flat horizontal line…
How comes that the best-sounding/looking setting for Width is almost always placed around 75% ? :huh: (except some rare exceptions, that’s it)
I wonder if there is anyone onboard with math/magic/coding skills able to come with an answer to this…

No… c’mon… for real now… I CAN’T believe that

  1. Nobody noticed
  2. Nobody cares
  3. Nobody knows
    or that
  4. Nobody actually understood my post.
    Ok it’s not a top-priority thread and it does not really deal with any great solution or improvement… but I was curious about this and I bet there is people onboard with greater knowledge than mine about sound width…

use the one which comes with wavelab. I think its best sounding stereo expander Ive heard.

I vote for option 4]


Mono sounds sound best in stereo field.

+waves s1 imager

You didn’t understood my post. It’s ok.
You said so, at least.

There is a WIDTH slider in the TRACK DSP, you know?
To actually “SEE” what it does you can use any phase-scope you like.
You can actually place it on the master channel… or maybe directly on the track you’re working on… it doesn’t really matter: now you can see WHAT the width parameter does to the sound… and while you SEE the phase you can HEAR as well…

If you drag the WIDTH slider you will notice that the shape drawn into the phasescope changes accordingly… that’s why it’s there.

With WIDTH at ZERO… the phase looks like a vertical line (if you set the PAN to be to ZERO too. If you set PAN to LEFT channel only you will most likely see a straight diagonal line from top LEFT to bottom RIGHT…

If you move the slider toward 100% WIDTH you find that the wave sounds completely “Behind” you… and the phasescope is most likely to show a FLAT horizontal line.

While you “open” the WIDTH gradually from ZERO… you can see HOW the phase image start morphing from the upmentioned straight line to a more “round” image… and then as you reach the end of the slider (100%WIDTH) you see the image morphing back to a totally horizontal line.

Somewhere, in the middle, there is a moment where the phase-image is balanced and not stretched vertically/horizontally.
This moment is NOT the mid position of 50% WIDTH as you might suppose… as weird as it sounds… most of the times this “Perfectly round point” is instead placed somewhere around the 75-80 % WIDTH.
Sometimes you have samples with great stereo image already… sometime the “round point” it can be somewhere around 60% some other times it’s around 85%…

My simple question is:
How comes that this “best-sounding/looking setting” for the Phase-Image is almost always found when the WIDTH slider is somewhere around 75-80 %?

And of course

is a reply that, as kind as it comes, I don’t really understand anyway… pretty much like


Parsec, I don’t have any magic math skills, nor I’m a good coder.
I suppose you already know that the magic behind the ‘width’ slider or the stereo expander is phase invertion.

To give a short explanation however:
Inverting each one of the two stereo channels and mixing it to the other will seemingly widen the stereo image. Because a mono sound kills itsself on the other channel, you’ll feel it widely seperated on the two speakers.

In your case, Parsec, I guess it would depend on your instruments.
Not meaning to play the intelligent here. If this is all something you already know, just ignore it.
Say you have a stereo instrument which has two different channels (left,right), then widening the image will sound ‘more stereo’. Probably in your room with that instrument this feels more impressing than the old known sound. About the mono sound, see above.
A too strong width kills too much of the own signal on the other channel, so you probably dislike it because of this, as you describe ‘it’s too horizontal’.
I have an example of selfmade stereo-widened strings which I used in a couple of modules. If you use them and you widen your master track afterwards, the stereo image will be somehow lost. So your 75% wouldn’t work in that case. I can upload them here, if you want.

edit: each one, not either one.

koira irtos!



Yes :)

I -know- it definitely is about the samples.
You are just making me notice that some samples come with different “phase-images” but this was clear already.
Read again my post… I haven’t said that the 75% WIDTH is ALWAYS the “round point”… I have just said that “often” (this means: NOT true with every sample) the “round point” is “Somewhere around that value…” so it’s no surprise that your strings does not have the “round point” at 75%. Sometimes you have a good, round image even at zero width because the sample ( like the one in your example ) already comes with a good stereo image…

Still my point remains valid… xpecially with deep sounds rich in low-freqz.
If you had to manipulate some large number of samples you could well see what I mean.
Note that I don’t even know if that is the “best” way for them to sound… what I see is that their phase-image is not stretched or shrinked when the slider is in a certain position… and this poisition, OFTEN, is in a range that goes from 60% to 85%… and when I say “often” it’s clear that I didn’t wrote numbers on paper to do a statistical research… with “often” I simply mean something that happened so much that I have come to notice it and say “hey… it often goes like that!” :)

“Dog screen” ? :huh:

“Loose bitch”? :unsure:

Anyway, I never use the width setting, because I don’t like the sound of it. Every time I tweak it, I end up with setting it back to 0% again. For both stereo and mono samples. I rather use a chorus to spicen up the stereo.

No, no…I’m sorry if this was irritating. For sure I also mentioned the native stereo image that comes along with a sample. But my other point was this one:

You know why this is my guess? Because you can either virtually set the distance of your speakers, reflections of you room, etc… or you can truly have a different setting (different room size, different speaker positions…).
Because you say that it’s often like this, I thought that you might have had a different impression on different environments.

But if you’re searching for an answer like ‘A natural sound is heard from it’s source around 60%-85% inverted on each ear by humans, that’s why you prefer these values - because it sounds most natural.’ -then this is not my territorry and it’s probably that what you would expect from someone with magic math/coding skills.

I couldn’t know what experiences you already had made, so I thought I might be able to help you with my own experiences in a way, that’s all. As said, I never meant to bother you or anyone with a useless post.

No it wasnt :) I just wonder how it comes that nobody manages not even to just understand what I’m writing :D
It’s more near to “amazement” than “being pissed off” :rolleyes: :)

I think I quoted several times the word “Phase-scope” and “Phase-image”… so I probably got you all wrong by linking the word “best sounding” to the words “best looking” since it seems to me that you’re only speaking about the way the sample “sounds”…

You see? And this is weird… since (in the post right BEFORE your) I was writing:

So I’m not really irritated… but I feel like nobody’s “really” reading :)
Of course I’m taking the way the sample “sounds” into consideration but definitely it was just one part of the thing… where the other part is about the “roundness” and “wideness” of the stereo-image… and that is nothing that can be changed by my room’s shape, you see? :)
The image as you see it in the phase-scope changes with no regard for the way my/your speakers are positioned :)

And this “image” you get from your phase-scope seems to show a more “round” and “well extended” stereoimage when the WIDTH setting is around those values (as far as you can see from the phase-scope)
That’s it.

so you fancy the image of ellipsoidal sphere… :)

sombody likes circles… somebody quadrates… :)

no offence though… its just i dont understand either what is it that you are asking… :rolleyes:

edit: you propably think this is conspiracy against you :lol:

i guess its just that stereo image should not be too narrow and not too wide… its obvious…

i dont quite understand …

do you ask why stereo image shoud not bee too thin nor too wide?

EDIT: i think that if the width parameter is set to 0 and you increase it the sound sounds little different and it seems like its “better” because of the wider stereo effect… but if you overdo it (go beyond 70-80%) it starts to sound too out of phase, unnatural (feels like your head starts to hurt and spin :))

so around 70 seems to be the optimal to you…

Parsec, I’m proud to be able to tell you: I understood right now :)

Trackit, Parsec does consider the sound, but he also wants to know why you can see a round image on the phase scope with a widened stereo image around that mentioned amount.

edit: dude, you caused 18 post to get that question understood. not your fault, though :)

but i still dont get it :)

what you expect to see on phasescope if you widen the stereo image?

do you know how to read phasescope? (not trying to be smart here either… just asking :)

Me reading the phase scope? That thing looks like a submarines navigation to me.
Nah, it’s actually easy to ‘read’ the phase scope. Imagine where your sound would appear - that’s what the scope shows.

Well, I can tell you what you would not expect while watching the scope. It’s that you most times get a round image by setting the master’s stereo width expanded to 60%-85%.
If every tune would show up a different stereo image at say 75%, you could say ‘well, because every song comes with different instruments and therefor each song has a different native stereo image’.
But you often get that round image simply by expanding it to 75%.
Parsec wants to know why. Me too, right now.

Parsec, can you do me a favour? Because I haven’t got a phase scope installed here right now.
Can you tell me what it shows if you 100% expand a pure mono sound?

edit: imagine, not image. gosh…we’re talking for too long about it.
edir: corrected a word…argh!