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Marcello

Izotope Ozone Imager Tips (Stereo Width, Phase Issues, Balance)

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Posted (edited)

Hi guys/gals,

I'm not such a pro at mixing and I'm still learning, despite this I have recorded and mixed a few songs at home which sounds pretty ok to me.
I'm using Cakewalk by Bandlab, I'm now in the phase where I'm trying to understand a few things like Mix balance, stereo width and phase issues.
I downloaded Izotope Ozone Imager (freeware version) and upload it on my Master bus, I was wondering if any of you is using it and would give me some tips.
There are some things that are not quite clear to me.

So I have read and followed pretty much the LCR technique, recommended by lot of mixing engineers, so in my mix (instrumental song), I have drums, bass and lots of guitars with clean and distorted parts.
So where I have only 2 guitars I panned them 100% right and left, when 3 guitars I put 2 on the sides and one in the mid. Bass and drums in the center.
I used a reference track and also there I can hear the guitars 100% or so panned L/R.

I tried to look at the stereo ozone imager graph on the master bus but it's not clear to me what should it looks like, how it is suppose to look?
I understand that the -1/0/1 bar on the right should be between 0 and 1, if it goes to -1 it's out of phase.
If it's out of phase, what should I do to the mix? pan the guitars I put 100% left and right more in the middle? like 60/50 % pan?
If so, that wouldn't follow anymore the LCR technique correct? I want my guitars to be wide.
Out of phase means the instrument is too much panned left and right and so should be panned more in the mid? Am I wrong?

In my mix in the first (clean) part of the song it goes under 0 on the right bar, so it seems out of phase, what should be done to avoid this? again not pan the guitars 100% R/L?

Also the waves I see in the imager left and right should not be larger or the same as the one in the middle? or is it ok?
WHat if one wave on the left end is longer that the one on the right? is it bad?
Could someone please clarify these points?

Here's my mix if someone would like to have a listen.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oLGf45PdSCaTDvxdgJU7Fm2DdYNpHXeG/view?usp=sharing

Thanks

image.thumb.png.9cb172f417562db669ccd17d10402fed.png

Edited by Marcello

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Actually I'm having serious doubts on how I recorded the guitars, something very strange is happening.

If I take these 2 tracks for instance, when I open the project and click on the input/output track option in all tracks I see the following, even though I recorded the guitars in Mono (as you can see from the waveform is mono)

If I remember well when I recorded the guitars I put Mono (Right) as option

unnamed.thumb.png.775b731f1852d9fc5850c4e4607f9c94.png

 

If I put the Ozone imager in Arpeggio Track I see the following mono signal

 

image.thumb.png.d9a0771baf52517d869aab386c5f7ff5.png

 

If I put the Ozone in the other Solo track instead I see the following, it seems like the track is in stereo?? What's going on?

The input output settings are the same in both tracks!

How should the input track setting be to record guitars?

 

image.thumb.png.947c31d6b56a52135630bedc128e66fb.png

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I'm finding out the problem step by step and now I think I'm getting closer to the solution!
Indeed the freeG Meter plugin is transforming the mono signal in stereo! The one I had on the master bus was widening all my mix.
If I switch it off the signal goes back to mono.
Now some tracks are also affected by the TH-U amp sim plugin, in some tracks the plugin is active but is not converting it to mono, in some other tracks it is.
Just need to figure out why.
Should the guitar tracks be transformed in stereo by the amp sim plugin? I think yes, because the track resulting out of phase is the one that is in mono (Arpeggio)

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Marcello....

I only have Ozone 9 Elements, but the Imager is included. Some of your questions are of interest to me, as I typically only use Ozone 9 on vocal tracks and at the Mix level, so i basically play around with the sliders till it "sounds" best to me.

Please continue to post your findings as to the "right" approach to using the Ozone Imager, as they could be useful to know.

BTW... are you the same Marcello that posts on the Cantabile forum?

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On 4/22/2021 at 11:43 PM, NOLAGuy said:

Marcello....

I only have Ozone 9 Elements, but the Imager is included. Some of your questions are of interest to me, as I typically only use Ozone 9 on vocal tracks and at the Mix level, so i basically play around with the sliders till it "sounds" best to me.

Please continue to post your findings as to the "right" approach to using the Ozone Imager, as they could be useful to know.

BTW... are you the same Marcello that posts on the Cantabile forum?

Hi Nola, no I'm not the same Marcello, anyway I found out that the amp sim plugin I'm using most of the times it goes in stereo as an output, and is correct, it has some settings you can put in mono though, such as the bass should be mono. I'm still not sure what's the difference between a bass in mono or in stereo panned center, to me it sounds exactly the same, so I don't understand when people say the bass and kick should be mono, but isn't stereo panned center the freaking same?

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5 hours ago, Marcello said:

... I don't understand when people say the bass and kick should be mono, but isn't stereo panned center the freaking same?

yes and no. the center panned stereo phantom image is "essentially the same" as a mono track except that any stereo pan laws in use , phase differences, etc can impact the levels whereas the mono buss/track will enforce a consistent phase and energy level on your mix decisions. a mono pan law in a stereo master field can also be impactful, but you've already addressed any potential phase and level issues by forcing the mono.

you can easily test this yourself. setup your bass and kick through mono source tracks and a single mono buss. switch the tracks to stereo and back - what did you hear/measure? then set tracks to mono and switch buss between mono and stereo - same hearing and measures (phase scope)? 

note: most times, instruments are mono sources like vocals, so unless you're stereo miking the instrument (e.g. acoustic guitar, a three mic drum kit setup, M/S etc) just using mono tracks and audio clips will be best.

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43 minutes ago, Glenn Stanton said:

yes and no. the center panned stereo phantom image is "essentially the same" as a mono track except that any stereo pan laws in use , phase differences, etc can impact the levels whereas the mono buss/track will enforce a consistent phase and energy level on your mix decisions. a mono pan law in a stereo master field can also be impactful, but you've already addressed any potential phase and level issues by forcing the mono.

you can easily test this yourself. setup your bass and kick through mono source tracks and a single mono buss. switch the tracks to stereo and back - what did you hear/measure? then set tracks to mono and switch buss between mono and stereo - same hearing and measures (phase scope)? 

note: most times, instruments are mono sources like vocals, so unless you're stereo miking the instrument (e.g. acoustic guitar, a three mic drum kit setup, M/S etc) just using mono tracks and audio clips will be best.

I see. thanks.

Actually I managed to put my bass in mono.

Regarding the kick, I did the drums in MIDI with a plugin, so they are programmed drums, the plugin is very very good, and it's coming out in stereo, I didn't redirect the MIDI drum parts to different outputs, for simplicity, the drums output is just one Track (I did the mix inside the plugin), so all drum track is in stereo, also the kick. But to me sound pretty fine to be honest, the kick is stereo but dead center.

For the guitars, same I'm using a plugin amp sims which most of the times (depending from the effects you use) it goes out in stereo as well, but again to me sounds fine, but I'm not a mixing engineer, I'm just self learner.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/28/2021 at 5:47 AM, Noel Borthwick said:

Please post questions like this in the techniques forum which is more appropriate.

Production Techniques [NEW!]

Discuss best practices for mixing, recording, production techniques, music distribution, etc.

? So we have 2 sub forums that cover the same topics.  Now if he had posted under the Songs sub forum I would have agreed. 

The OP topic seems to be about mixing and production Techniques to me? 

 

Hey @Marcello-- that  FreeG meter is obviously a stereo plug in. It has 2 meters. That's why that happens.  But it must be buggy to create 2 different outputs.. in theory they should be the same. I would totally avoid it or at least contact the vendor and complain.   

And the thing with Ozone is I find it only makes my stuff worse and not better and this is 100% due to the fact I have no clue how to optimize it. It's also a huge CPU hog so I just tossed it aside after a few trials.  

Edited by John Vere
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This seems to be a common issue, judging by how often topics like this come up in the forum.

We need to remember that tracks can routinely switch from stereo to mono and back as they wind their way through the signal chain. Some plugins are inherently stereo and will produce a stereo output regardless of what's going into them (e.g. delays and reverbs), while others are inherently mono and always produce a mono output (e.g. most amp sims). Some plugin vendors offer mono-specific versions of their plugins, while the trend in recent years has been toward smart plugins that are able to preserve mono or stereo paths internally.

To further complicate matters, there's the choice of track interleave setting. You may have to set the track interleave to stereo even if it's a mono recording, if you're putting, say, a chorus effect on the track. Flipping the track interleave can cause unexpected behavior in some plugins. And don't forget that no matter what processing happens in the track it's all going to wind up stereo in the end if it's going to be routed to a stereo bus. 

It's a minefield. Cakewalk does a great job of figuring out when to switch between mono and stereo internally, but ultimately it's up to us users to keep track of what's going on under the hood, even if we can't always see what's happening there. Guitar tracks (well, most tracks in general) should usually be recorded in mono (verified visually by the waveform) but it's a good idea to assume they'll end up stereo somewhere along the way. This, btw, isn't necessarily a problem.

"I'm still not sure what's the difference between a bass in mono or in stereo panned center, to me it sounds exactly the same, so I don't understand when people say the bass and kick should be mono, but isn't stereo panned center the freaking same?" Yes, Marcello, you are correct. However, there are potential complications that can be avoided if you stick with mono tracks most of the time, especially for those tracks that aren't panned center. Plus the miser in me can't help but see stereo bass, kick, guitar or vocal tracks as a needless waste of disk space.

 

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