Widening the sound is an important aspect of making a decent mix where each feature has room to breathe and stand out.
1. The Haas impact
The Haas effect is a psychoacoustic property named after Dr. Helmut Haas.
It is also regarded as the “precedence effect.” He found that two sounds could be separated by at least 40 milliseconds in order to be heard independently.
Many humans can hear them as a single echo if they are closer in time.
We should use this term of music creation to broaden our sound palette. Split a signal into two tracks and pan one source to the left and the other source to the right. You may build the sensation of a larger sound by delaying one of the sides by 12–40 ms.
2. Mid-side EQ
Most advanced automated equalizers will now do mid-side EQ. If you want to get a broader tone, it’s worth spending a little more time sculpting your tracks with some mid-side EQ.
The mid channel in mid-side EQ holds all frequency details that is similar on the left and right channels, while the side channel contains everything that varies.
Boosting the higher frequencies on the side channel is a smart strategy so our brains sense higher frequencies with more spatial definition.
3. Automated panning
Although this can seem self-evident, a large sound field can be accomplished by using the appropriate panning automation.
Panning the kick and snare is usually frowned upon, but being inventive with these and other percussive elements will also help add width to your track.
4. Plugins for specialized widening
There are a few third-party plugins worth listing if you want to widening the sound. iZotope‘s Ozone 9 Imager and Soundtoys‘ MicroShift are two of my favorites.