Left handed vs Right handed mixes

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JediJoker

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Having said that, it has become quite normal to place certain elements in the centre of the stereo image, such as vocals, drums and bass. It always had a lot to do with compatibility for radio play in mono etc.
My earliest mixes put bass off to the left—sometimes 100% hard-panned—but these days, unless I'm trying to replicate an on-stage lineup for a live or live-in-studio performance, bass is strictly center. It sounds odd to me otherwise. I don't think I've ever tried drums off to one side, but I might given a compelling reason (like the aforementioned staging-matching). Usually, it's kick and snare center, overheads panned audience perspective to varying degrees depending on micing technique, and any other spot mics panned to match audience perspective. Aside from panning for effect (word painting, etc.), lead vocals go to the center, often with backup vocals flanking at either side to varying degrees. If there are multiple simultaneous lead vocals (duet, trio, trading fours, etc.), I'll pan them just off center (with one dead center if an odd grouping). For individually mic'd vocal ensembles, I usually pan according to standing order, audience perspective; width will depend on the size of the group, among other factors.

To get back to the OP, I hardly ever pan reverb anything but straight-up-the-middle. If it's a stereo reverb, it might be hard-panned or narrower, possibly with channels reversed. Delay will depend on numerous factors, but I don't think I favor one side over another. Other effects generally get applied directly to the source, wherever it is panned.
 

national-kid

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I don't understand why you would want to do this.
The rotation of the "sound field" (which is a privilege of the Sansui QS method) is quite fun. (The QS method was already object-based at that time.)
In addition, it is often used to check the balance of volume, the operation of equipment, sound quality, etc.
 

par4ken

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I don't understand why you would want to do this.
Still rather cool that you can. I was going to mention that I think that it only rotated the QS decoder sound field. That would make it much less useful IMHO. Early discrete quad usually placed vocals full centre and were relatively symmetrically balanced, so the field rotation was not deemed necessary for that application?
 

tonyE

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You are right. I miss the reverse and mono switches... I understand that in the High End we don't want them, but they are useful to determine if you cartridge or tubes is/are hosed, for example.
 

Soundfield

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I was going to mention that I think that it only rotated the QS decoder sound field. That would make it much less useful IMHO. Early discrete quad usually placed vocals full centre and were relatively symmetrically balanced, so the field rotation was not deemed necessary for that application?

The Direction switch on those Sansui receivers was not implemented in the QS decoder, it worked on all 4ch sources. Contrary to the speculation that it might have been primarily intended to allow for the convenience of different seating positions in the room, Sansui describe its function thus –

direction.JPG



Which sounds like someone rather desperately trying to come up with a justification for the thing. Can’t imagine why it disappeared!
 

par4ken

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The Direction switch on those Sansui receivers was not implemented in the QS decoder, it worked on all 4ch sources. Contrary to the speculation that it might have been primarily intended to allow for the convenience of different seating positions in the room, Sansui describe its function thus –

View attachment 77718


Which sounds like someone rather desperately trying to come up with a justification for the thing. Can’t imagine why it disappeared!
I would have to drag out my Sansui QR Receiver out to check, I thought that it didn't function on the four channel tape inputs (at least), but I'm not sure. Makes more sense to function on all sources and would be more useful. Sansui's description sounds a bit bazar. As with the whole phase modulation thing, I think that they were just winging it in the beginning. They were full of ideas that sounded fantastic but in practice shouldn't have made it past the porotype phase.

The QS-1 decoder has various surround settings plus the surround field rotation, all on the same selector switch! I'm positive that it doesn't function on the tape input.

Sansui seems to be acknowledging "left handed mixes", so maybe they do exist. IMHO it's sort of like the search for "Big Foot".

To rotate the sound field by 90° would move the left dominant channel to the right, does that solve anything? You might need National Kids 12 position selector switch to accomplish anything useful?
 
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J. PUPSTER

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The Direction switch on those Sansui receivers was not implemented in the QS decoder, it worked on all 4ch sources. Contrary to the speculation that it might have been primarily intended to allow for the convenience of different seating positions in the room, Sansui describe its function thus –

View attachment 77718


Which sounds like someone rather desperately trying to come up with a justification for the thing. Can’t imagine why it disappeared!
I don’t totally disagree with your assessment of the switch; but I actually can understand what they were “intending” for its use. I’m thinking it’s that they did a crummy job of explaining it.

I believe it may be a combination of original recorded balance, phase shifting, and psychoacoustic perceptions.

Some titles I’ve listened to; either from a matrix stereo source or sometimes even CD-4, depending on how it was mixed, the vocals (primarily) can end up on one side or the other of the sound field. By turning the switch 1/4, you’d bring it back around to the front where we generally like to hear vocals. Even if I’ve decoded a matrix title for conversion on my computer, I’ll make balance adjustments for the fronts often to get the vocals shifted to the Phantom Center on a 4.x decode.

And for the half turn; that’s more of an eyes & ears front focused/predator’s psychoacoustic readjustment to put you (as Sansui said in the middle of the stage (or band.) This is because I’ve often noticed we like more of the amplitude of a recording up front, but stronger rear sounds can feel unnatural and draw our attention to the back side away from our more preferred front focus. You see it all the time in discrete surround titles mixed with the fronts weighted more than the rears. Probably would work well for more Ambient style music or Classical.
I’d imagine @chucky3042 knows all about this stuff as he has some education in that field.
He can tell me if I’m all wet in my assessment or not.
 

chucky3042

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I don’t totally disagree with your assessment of the switch; but I actually can understand what they were “intending” for its use. I’m thinking it’s that they did a crummy job of explaining it.

I believe it may be a combination of original recorded balance, phase shifting, and psychoacoustic perceptions.

Some titles I’ve listened to; either from a matrix stereo source or sometimes even CD-4, depending on how it was mixed, the vocals (primarily) can end up on one side or the other of the sound field. By turning the switch 1/4, you’d bring it back around to the front where we generally like to hear vocals. Even if I’ve decoded a matrix title for conversion on my computer, I’ll make balance adjustments for the fronts often to get the vocals shifted to the Phantom Center on a 4.x decode.

And for the half turn; that’s more of an eyes & ears front focused/predator’s psychoacoustic readjustment to put you (as Sansui said in the middle of the stage (or band.) This is because I’ve often noticed we like more of the amplitude of a recording up front, but stronger rear sounds can feel unnatural and draw our attention to the back side away from our more preferred front focus. You see it all the time in discrete surround titles mixed with the fronts weighted more than the rears. Probably would work well for more Ambient style music or Classical.
I’d imagine @chucky3042 knows all about this stuff as he has some education in that field.
He can tell me if I’m all wet in my assessment or not.
The Pup is correct!
 

MidiMagic

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I have a device with these positions and works with discrete or matrix. It has these positions:
0 deg
90 deg L
180 deg
90 deg R
Flip F - B
 

Todd 987

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Sure. And different hearing between sides just like many people have different vision in one eye vs the other. People with even only mild vision problems will get correction. We're visual creatures and we need to read things. People with mild to serious compromised hearing don't. I suspect this is why some of the crude mixes and shrill volume war drek is ever accepted. Put some artwork in front of someone visually compromised without their glasses and they'll wonder what the heck you're going on about talking about subtle details, shades, and textures. Then they see a stickman drawing... "Oh, I can make that out! It's a stickman! Cool. Not sure what that other bunch of nothing you were just trying to show me was."

Vocals sitting fully in one side of a stereo mix was a thing in the '70s. The overall energy was still usually balanced side to side even with that. I'm pretty sure vinyl cutting would tend to want to be balanced for best results? Tape relies on alignment. As soon as that starts to stray, there goes the channel balance. Some of the analog rips of old quad are prone to channel volume offsets from a skewed transfer. There is usually a similar rms and crest factor to the waves across channels even with intentional surprises in the mix in professionally mastered program and you can spot this. It's still strictly ambiguous if you don't have the master in your hands but you can usually spot level offsets.
So I’m thinking when I started using a phone which ear did I put to the phone. My right one as long as I can remember. Why did I do that? Is it because my body was just wired to go to a dominant ear? I’m left handed, but always use the right hand and ear for the phone. Maybe it’s nuts, but something to think about.
 

MidiMagic

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So I’m thinking when I started using a phone which ear did I put to the phone. My right one as long as I can remember. Why did I do that? Is it because my body was just wired to go to a dominant ear? I’m left handed, but always use the right hand and ear for the phone. Maybe it’s nuts, but something to think about.

I always use my left ear so I can write down something the other party says.
 

~dave~~wave~

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Hey - if an artist, producer or mixer decides to place any audio components off centre, that should be a choice. There is no fixed protocol that makes it necessary to make everything precise in that way.

Having said that, it has become quite normal to place certain elements in the centre of the stereo image, such as vocals, drums and bass. It always had a lot to do with compatibility for radio play in mono etc.

I think it should always be about what you want the listener to experience!

I listened to the new release this morning by Reggae Elder Statesman Horace Andy, produced by the famed Adrian Sherwood.
Few reggae mixes are wide stereo, all the vintage originals remain in mono.

Through headphones (as the wife was still asleep) it was apparent that all the deep bottom-octave bass guitar was in the right channel.
The kick drum mixed to the left. Vocal slightly to the left.
Nothing coming from wide out on either side.

Don't know if that makes it a right-hand or left-hand mix?
On a pair of stereo meters it appears perfectly balanced in signal strength.
 

jimfisheye

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Some of these 1960's "stereo" mixes would be more accurately called dual mono today. I think the intention was both speakers were in front of you. Apparently they were thinking about headroom first and stereo field imaging came second.

Wasn't hearing the toms pan on Abbey Road considered a big deal at the time?

I know there were stereo field recordings before any of this. It just really looks like there was an intentional dual mono use going on there for a while too.
 

par4ken

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Some of these 1960's "stereo" mixes would be more accurately called dual mono today. I think the intention was both speakers were in front of you. Apparently they were thinking about headroom first and stereo field imaging came second.

Wasn't hearing the toms pan on Abbey Road considered a big deal at the time?

I know there were stereo field recordings before any of this. It just really looks like there was an intentional dual mono use going on there for a while too.
Stereo was new and they had to learn how to use it to it's fullest. Many early recordings were done to wow people. The exact same thing happened with quad. I love those exaggerated dual mono mixes, but sadly they decode to surround worth shit!

There was an article or advertisement that someone posted in a thread here about three channel stereo. Adding common information to two channel stereo (i.e vocalist) is like having a three channel stereo! I guess that wasn't obvious to all people in those early days, with those exaggerated stereo demo discs!
 

ummagumma

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I have a stereo Fisher 400 tube amp from ~1963 with a center channel out. Although I use it to feed my subwoofers. Have not experimented with it otherwise, but have seen vintage pictures of Frank Sinatra's living room and he had a center speaker plus stereo LR setup. So it was somewhat popular at some point?

Re: left vs right mixing: on my cell phone if I switch to my left ear it sounds drastically different than my right. I've been using my right ear for years, so maybe I have hearing damage, or my inner ear has adapted it's frequency response to tolerate the crappy bandwidth of a cell phone.

Sort of how your inner ear adapts to loud sound pressure levels to protect itself? There must be a study on longterm cell phone use vs your hearing.

I imagine that could affect the way someone mixes audio L/R though. My theory on why the Led Zeppelin remixes from the 90's were so bright was Jimmy Page losing his hearing. People have different hearing physiology anyway, it's amazing we can collectively agree on various mixes. Or maybe that's why we can't!
 

TheMiltonian

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Thanks for all the posts, happy to “hear” that I’m not just crazy. 😝

I’ve come to the conclusion that the reverse switch was used for dealing with Bass issues (before subwoofer placement concepts).

The steering control being discussed about Sansui quad is partly that & partly that some people prefer a traditional mix (I’ve had friends literally turn their chair around and listen “backwards” in some quad sessions.
 

TheMiltonian

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Stereo was new and they had to learn how to use it to it's fullest. Many early recordings were done to wow people. The exact same thing happened with quad. I love those exaggerated dual mono mixes, but sadly they decode to surround worth shit!

There was an article or advertisement that someone posted in a thread here about three channel stereo. Adding common information to two channel stereo (i.e vocalist) is like having a three channel stereo! I guess that wasn't obvious to all people in those early days, with those exaggerated stereo demo discs!

Three channel stereo was the original conception, but he was talked out of it & went with 2-channel.

Early stereo was a gimmic but once they got past that, it got pretty good until the loudness wars.
 
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