How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

We welcome you to today’s post on the stereo mix! In this post, we will discuss how this tool can assist you in making some high-quality tunes just like the professionals using a stereo mix.

When we talk about the fine art of music mixing there is a great deal of apprehension associated with it. The reason behind that is this topic is full of subjectivity because one person’s head-banging mix can give another person some sonic creeps.

Another point to consider here is that one type of mixing can only be good for a particular genre ad not all of them. However, there are some basic concepts that you need to understand for application in most of your mixing projects.

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Don’t worry this post is not about giving you a crash course on blending a couple of tracks. The basic point to consider here is that all your instruments require clarity. They all must be properly balanced and separated from each other. Each of them must be able to acquire their own space within the listener’s stereo field.  

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stereo mix installation

What does the stereo mix mean?

Stereo mixing is for the human physiology and brain. The real stereo mixing is about the creation of a sonic image that can easily replicate what your brain can decode and your ears can hear.

Your brain can localize any sound when it measures the differences of time and tone of the sound that enters each of your ears.  In a perfect scenario when all other variables are not considered, stereo mixing can produce a sound that is very close to living or organic performance.  

However, in reality, mostly stereo mixing is far from organic. For instance, during a live performance, the venue’s acoustics have a significant role in creating a blend of various sources of sound. It can mask any specific instrument’s specific localization. Furthermore, in a studio, all tracks get recorded individually and it also happens in a very dry setting.

It can allow you to take control of the perceived ambiance through technology. But in practice, the current age stereo mix doesn’t have much to do with replication of conditions of the real world. It relies more on creating a sound balance between different music elements in a particular recording.

How to install a stereo mix in Windows 10?

A lot of you might say that this feature was there inbuilt in Windows prior to the Win10 OS. So why did it get removed in the first place? Well, we must tell you that this is not the case where Microsoft is being evil to its customers. The company officially replaced it with WASAPI. You can also use the Audacity stereo mix and some of the newer versions of Adobe Auditions that support it. But Audacity will work for you better and it’s free too.

Adobe Audition configuration

Adobe Audition might not be able to select any new audio devices at the default level. Therefore, you need to configure it for this purpose.

  • You need to install Adobe Audition 3 for this
  • Now go to the Edit menu and select Audio Hardware Setup
  • After that, you need to click the Control Panel and choose your new devices for inputs/outputs
  • After clicking OK, choose the new devices from drop-down menus of Edit View

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

Image Credit: mediarealm.com.au

There are various other programs that you can use to get stereo mix in your Windows 10. These include the likes of Jack and Virtual Audio Cable or VAC. But these programs are pretty complicated and they are not free of cost either.

One of the best alternatives for you to consider here is VB-Audio Cable. It can create a single output and a single input and ay type of audio program can easily record the virtual input here.

Installation of VB-Audio Cable

This process is pretty simple and we’ll provide you with some images to get you going in no time.

  • First, you need to download this application
  • Then you must unzip this downloaded file
  • The next step is to run the .exe file and go through the setup wizard
  • In the end, you can reboot your system but it’s entirely optional
  • Once you are done, go to the Control Panel and then click on Sound
  • Check whether the new input & output for audio is created or not
  • If it is not created then you need to go through the entire process again

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

Image Credit: mediarealm.com.au

If you set both of your input as well as output devices as default, the recording process will become a whole lot easier. This application comes with its own Control Panel and you don’t have to install t either. From your zip folder just open the .exe file for the Control Panel and you are good to go. In this control panel, you can select different sample rates and that too up to 96 kHz. Furthermore, you can also monitor different audio levels.

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

Image Credit: mediarealm.com.au

How can you listen to your recordings?

Using your VB-Audio Cable when you set it as your new playback device (default), you can’t hear the audio from the speakers. To solve this issue, you need to go to your Windows 10 Control Panel and select Sound. After that select, the tab labeled Recording and then select Properties.

From there you will see the Listen tab along with a checkbox labeled “Listen to this device”. After checking it you will be able to choose all your headphones and speakers and also listen to all audio recordings.

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

Image Credit: mediarealm.com.au

How to enable stereo mix in Windows 10?

If the stereo mix is already there in your PC then enabling it is not that big of an issue. You will get t done in a few clicks and that’s it. But you need to have stereo mix installed on your PC for this.

  • Just right click on Speaker icon that is present at the bottom right corner of your screen
  • After that select the option labeled Sounds

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

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  • A new window will open which will have Recording as its second tab
  • By clicking it you will see all devices that allow you to record via your computer

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

Image Credit: gearchunk.com

  • In this list, you will not see the stereo mix option. The reason behind that is by default Windows 10 hides all disabled devices.
  • Just right click on the empty space in this tab and select the option from the menu saying “Show Disabled Devices”

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

Image Credit: gearchunk.com

  • By doing this stereo mix icon will appear in the list if it’s already installed
  • You will see that it will show that it is disabled in the description
  • Just right click on the icon and select Enable.

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

Image Credit: gearchunk.com

How to record audio when you are using the stereo mix in Windows?

This is where your audio recording app like Audacity will come in to play its role. Just install it and find the microphone input option in it. Just choose the stereo mix as the input and make sure that all other devices for recording are disabled or muted. After ensuring that, just click Record.

How to Better Use Stereo Mix [Fix and Guide Provided]

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The stereo mix not working

There can be various reasons behind your stereo mix not working. Maybe there is something wrong with the settings or the application itself. This happens when you are hearing all the sounds from your computer but there is nothing in the recording to play. If you are not able to hear anything then there might be some issue with the cable connectivity or the driver. However, this problem is not that major and you can fix it in no time.

fix and tips for stereo mix

1st Solution – Ensure that the sound from your computer is also going through the sound card

For making sure that your stereo mic works perfectly fine, the computer audio must go through the sound card. Otherwise, the computer will not record the output. If this sound goes around the sound card like through HDMI then your stereo mix won’t work. The computer sound must come from the sound card. You have to directly connect your sound card with the speakers and it will make your stereo mix to work perfectly fine.

2nd Solution – Sound driver requires updating

The stereo mix might not work properly if it doesn’t have the correct driver installed or it’s outdated. Therefore, you need to update its driver and see if it works. This will definitely resolve your problem if the driver requires an update.

3rd Solution – Enabling stereo mix

As we have mentioned earlier, even if your stereo mix is installed you have to enable it before using. One of the primary reasons why the stereo mix doesn’t work is that it is disabled. Windows 10 doesn’t show disabled devices and programs by default. Therefore, you have to go through the process that we have described above to enable your stereo mix and resolve this problem.

6 tips for getting a wider stereo mix

If you are concerned about the efficacy of music field you mix then you need to create some space. You also need to control the width of the stereo for getting an increased emotional impact. Here are a few tips for you to follow in this regard,

1.   Mix your mono first

For your information, this is the tactic that the Beatles used and you can see it worked out pretty fine for them. When you mix your mono first and stereo later, you will have to work with EQ reverb, compression as well as delay and a host of other tricks to individualize each of the instruments. When you get your balance right, then it’s time to panning it out.

2.   Be bold during panning

Your panpot will allow you to pace signals wherever in the sound field with high accuracy. But you must be able to disperse all of the sounds to most of the listeners to carefully craft the audio image. Maybe your listeners are not listening to the acoustics and are just using low-quality headphones on their tablets or phones. Therefore, you need to be bold and go all the way with your panning. For instance, you need to rhythm horn stabs on one side and guitar on the other side.

3.   Avoid off-center sound

Sometimes creating those off-center sounds o make some elements stand out can worsen the entire track. When you leave the midpoints uncluttered the extreme edges will become a lot more dramatic. Therefore, you can do some experiments with these off-center sounds but up to some extent.

4.   Utilize delays

You can also pan your signals using delays. You can try it out yourself by duplicating the track and assign the original one with a hard right and the copy with a hard left. Additionally, you can begin nudging in with increments of one millisecond. When you reach to eight milliseconds you will see that the sound will start shifting towards the undelayed side. Note that it will only work for around thirty milliseconds. If you go about this limit, the sound will start to echo. It is also known as the Haas Effect and with this simulated reaction; you are able to fool the brain of the listener that the sound has shifted.

5.   Apply the plug-in for the stereo imager

There are different types of plug-in that you can use for this purpose. One of them is the S1 Imager that will allow you to widen or narrow your stereo signals. Narrowing part is very simple because this is where the signal becomes less spread. On the other hand, widening can make that the sound is located way beyond the speakers. If you widen the signal a lot more then you will definitely risk incompatibility issues of mono. Therefore, you need to use this plug-in carefully.

6.   Apply the plug-in to selected frequencies

The plug-in can also come with Shuffle option and it increases stereo width of different frequencies as per your requirements. There is a separate control for Bass Trim as well. You can conveniently work on your kick drum without influencing any other element in the kit.

Conclusion

Music mixing can really be fun if you have the right set of tools at your disposal and you are able to use them effectively as well. A stereo mix can help you with that in an effective manner but you need to be a lot more careful when producing your tones. It is better that you produce a sound that a wide range of audiences can listen to and for this. There is no one formula for this and you have to be very specific based on the tones you are working. The most important thing here to emphasize is that you need to make all the elements to stand out yet create.

So how have you been putting up with your stereo mix? Have you ever faced any problems with the installation or enabling processes? Have you used any other software application apart from the ones that we have mentioned above? Share your side of the story by leaving a comment below!

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 RELATED TOPICS

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  2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Mixing With Headphones
  3. Mixing: Headphones VS Monitors
  4. Nine Essential Tips for Mixing with Headphones


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