The wide stereo sound with Izotope Ozone & more!

Izotope Ozone - stereo zoom

I almost always take the lead roaring synth in my songs and make them wider in the stereo field using a plug-in called Ozone from Izotope. Ozone is a complete mastering suite plug-in with several modules you can turn on and off. It consists of a Paragraphic EQ, Multiband Harmonic Exciter, Multiband Dynamics, Mastering Reverb, IRC Maximizer, Dither and Multiband Stereo Imaging. When I master full finished songs I use many of these modules. However, during the creation of the song itself I only use the Stereo Widener on one sound. I keep the other modules off. From the Izotope website:

Ozone allows you set widening and imaging for the mix using a multiband stereo imaging module. As with the other multiband modules in Ozone (Dynamics and Harmonic Exciter) the module is split up into four bands determined by the multiband crossover points displayed on the spectrum.Izotope Ozone - small

I put the plug-in as an Insert (not a Send Return), click on the Stereo Widener, turn off bypass, slide all the bands to the right until the number reaches 6. That’s it. Done.

If I want a dirtier more aggressive tone sometimes I will use Ohm Force’s excellent Predatohm plug-in. Load the plug-in as an insert and the look in the bottom right corner. See where it says “Super Stereo”? Thats your section. Click the little white square button on and turn the phase up. Done.

Ohm Force - Predatohm

There are few other plug-ins that do widening such as DUY Wide and the Waves S1. I’ve never used those so I can’t comment how well they work. I have lots of little rules I like to keep when it comes to panning but thats the subject of another post. Do you use any stereo widener plug-ins?

11 Comments

  1. Chorus effects is the classical widener effect, but this sound goes in and out of fashion… It could be again used for low end, bass lines, as one does not need to worry about vinyl cutting in case the release will be digital only (extensive low end stereo will make the needle jump).

    Anyway, the other widener trick I use is to just clone the midi or audio channel, have different settings, and somewhat pan the two sources.

    –Kent

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  2. Hi Oliver,

    Can you explain how do you use and realise “insert” in Ableton. Do you mean chain of plugins in Audio/MIDI effect zone or its something differnet?

    -Ivan

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  3. Hello Ivan. I just mean “in between” your audio source and the main outputs. Nothing special as far live is concerned… just put the plug-in on the channel you want to use it. That’s what I would consider inserting it… I hope that helps clear it up a little for you.

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  4. Oliver thanx. Now all clear for me :)

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  5. I’ve found that you’re not careful, Ozone’s widener can do strange things to a mix when played back in mono.

    If you have not already done so, definitely give DUY’s “Wide” a try. It uses M/S technique to create a very wide stereo image, while keeping the original sonic material sounding thick (I believe that most DUY plugins are now AU/UB too). Brainworx’s BX Digital also uses M/S for stereo widening. Both do an great job of stereo widening, without ANY phase cancellation. I like how BX Digital allows you to set a frequency below which all signal is set to mono, keeping your low end centered (no “needle-jumping, as referred to in an above post) and your stereo highs sounding huge.

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  6. Hi Alex. Thanks for the comments. I don’t see DUY Wide as a native plug-in for Mac OS-X. Maybe I am overlooking it? Do you have a link? Thanks for the tips I will 2x check Ozone’s widener, in fact I emailed Izotope for their opinion.

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  7. Here is a link on the Izotope website concerning checking things in mono: link

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  8. Hi Oliver. The Izotope link you posted gives good information about the importance of checking mixes for mono compatibility and how you can use Ozone’s tools to troubleshoot phase cancellation.

    Here’s the link to the DUY Native plugins that were recently released. Here’s a link to where you can download the demos (you need an iLok) DUY link

    The DUY plugs are available for multiple formats on the Mac (AU,VST, MAS, RTAS), but on Windows will only run natively in Protools. I find their “DUY Wide” and “DUY Valve” indispensable for mixing ITB.

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  9. I use the S1 Imager to great effect. It’s easily automatable too. I set up an LFO to widen against the rate of my filter LFO for instance and it makes for a really great headphone effect.

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