What exactly is stereo separation and why do you need to know how to stereo spread your sounds? Here’s the answer…
The stereo separation function is an essential part of a (subtractive) synthesizer that you can usually find in the oscillators area or unison section.
What are oscillators?
An oscillator is a function of a synthesizer where you can generate an audio signal. The audio signal, aka “soundwave” or “waveform”, can be shaped and tweaked to produce a unique sound. So, an oscillator is the absolute starting point of your sound design process. Thus, it’s very important to understand all the settings that come with it, such as stereo separation.
How to use stereo separation
Alongside the detune and voices settings, your synthesizer usually has the stereo separation or stereo spread function. This function creates a phase difference of all the available voices between the left and right speaker. So basically, your sound will split up between left and right where both start at a different phase position. Whereby the phase means the initial point of the vibration. Also, you need to have at least two active voices in order to spread the signal between your two speakers.
So, by using stereo separation, you will get different signals in both ears in terms of timing, which then results in your brain interpreting the sound as being stereo. This effect is best hearable via a headphone.
Choose the stereo separation based on your outcome
Thereby, it’s your job to separate the sound based on your goal. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and which role the sound plays in your mix. Once you’re happy with the stereo spread, you can tweak the other settings, which we will explore next in the complete “Synthesizer for beginners” series.
Synthesizer for beginners
The “Synthesizer for Beginners” series is a huge collection of quick lessons about sound design and synthesis. Each lesson explains one part of how a subtractive synthesizer works, which is vital to know if you’re an electronic music producer.
Most people have the attention span of a butterfly and therefore miss all the important tips later in my videos and posts. Still, I don’t want you to miss a thing and that’s why you will see these short clips on Screech House. Each short clip explains a bite-sized topic from one of my longer videos. This gives everyone the chance to focus solely on what they need and thereby also saving a lot of time.
Today’s short clip is from the 4-part “Synthesizer Explained” video course. Watch the full episodes here:
The “Synthesizer Explained” video course is now finally available as an exclusive guide. This easy-to-read book is jam-packed with valuable info about the essential basics of sounds design, including practical tips and bonus cheat sheets.
Since the day of release, many people have already read it. But if you haven’t, click this link to get your copy: Synthesizer Explained.
Make sure to get it now, else you risk being too late, and I don’t want you to miss out.