What is Mid/Side EQ?

In music production, you usually work with Stereo files. But wouldn’t it be great if you could treat the central ‘mono’ (mid) signal and ‘stereo’ (side) signal separately?

If you want to make professional mixes as a producer, mono is very important. Some devices, including smartphones, play music entirely in mono. So your music should sound good enough this way.

In addition to mono, you have stereo.

Stereo sounds contain differences in the left and right signal. As a result, they sound wider, deeper and more spacious.

Mid/Side Processing allows you to further subdivide a stereo signal in Mid (mono) and the Sides. This gives you more control to create and mix bigger sounds.

Seperate the Mid and Side info from a stereo file,
with Voxengo’s Free MSED.

Making a mid/side signal from a stereo signal #

These are the steps to make a mid/side channel from a stereo channel:

👉 Combine the information that appears in both channels. This is the mono signal.

👉 Subtract the right signal from the left signal

👉 The difference between the left and right channel is the side signal.

Once the information from the stereo channel is divided into a Mid and Side Channel, you can process them separately. For example with Mid/Side EQ or compression.

Mid/side EQ’ing easier than it looks #

Mid/side EQ’ing seems complicated. But it’s not, because plugins do the heavy lifting for you.

In fact, more and more equalizer plugins include a Mid/Side option. And there are dedicated plugins that subdivide any stereo signal into Mid and Side. For instance Voxengo’s free MSED (Mid/Side Encoder/Decoder).

How to Mid/Side EQ with Voxengo’s free MSED #

Mid/Side EQ’ing with Voxengo’s free MSED is quite simple. This is how it works:

👉 Insert a example of Voxengo’s free MSED on the stereo channel you want to seperate.

👉 Set the mode to Encode.

👉 The MSED plugin sends the Mid signal to the left and the Side signal to the right channel.

👉 Now insert an EQ plugin which allows you to equalize the left and right channel independently. For instance Ozone Match EQ.

👉 EQ the Mid and Side.

👉 Insert at last a second instance of MSED and set it to Decode. This will convert the signal to Stereo again.

Do you think this is too much hassle? Then use an equalizer with built-in Mid/Side functionality. For example, Fabfilter Pro-Q. Then you can Mid/Side EQ in 1 handy plugin.

Happy producing!

Read more articles about mixing #

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