Middle & Side Technique
As the middle and side stereo technique will feature prominently in my Major Music Project recordings I thought I’d give some brief insight on it. Middle and Side is essentially a way of widening the stereo capture of an instrument, in my case, an acoustic guitar. Two microphones are used: one ‘middle’ (usually with a cardioid pattern) and one ‘side’ (a figure of 8).
These two audio tracks on their own will not produce any results. In order to turn them into a wide stereo pattern the ‘side’ track should be duplicated. The phase is then flipped on the duplicated track which should silence them both as one is completely out of phase with the other and will cancel each other out. The trick is to pan them hard left and hard right. What you will now hear is what has been picked up by either side of the ‘figure of 8’ pattern, stretched fully left and right. Bring in the ‘middle’ track to fill in the gap in the centre and by adjusting its volume you can vary how wide or how narrow the stereo field appears. While researching the technique a little further I came across this great tutorial video which practically explains how to set up and implement it and also gives audio examples throughout:
Not that I plan to use it for my project (yet!) but I also came across a very intriguing video on Mid-Side plug ins and their use on bounced WAVs during the mastering stage. Check it out!