Plugin Alliance LLC announces the availability of bx_stereomaker, designed to “widen any mono signals in modern mixes,” which joins bx_rockrack as the newest addition to Plugin Alliance’s line of creative plug-ins from founding member Dirk Ulrich’s German M/S mastering tools and audio plug-ins company Brainworx. bx_stereomaker is useful as an upmixing tool that allows users to add a sense of space and width to mono source-recorded tracks such as guitars, vocals, and room mics, while balancing the center of the stereo signal and paying particular attention to its frequency range.
Available in 64- and 32-bit versions, Brainworx’s bx_stereomaker plug-in can be purchased and downloaded until September 15 in all Mac OS X and Windows formats (VST 2.4, VST 3, RTAS, AU, AAX) for an introductory price of $95; on September 16, the price will increase to $129.
bx_stereomaker creates a virtual stereo signal with analog-style filters by slicing the source signal’s spectral energy in an appropriate way (using the onscreen Tone knob’s 11 frequency intervals) to ensure that mono-compatibility is retained—providing that the Tilt/Pan knob remains untouched or centered. Plugin Alliance says that depending on the frequency range of the mono source material being processed, bx_stereomaker can create a stereo image that is perceived as leaning to the left or the right; tilting or panning allows adjustment of the stereo image to suit individual mixing taste.
As a result, the original signal is preserved when mixing the plug-in’s output down to mono. Moreover, the effect can be band-limited to provide a tighter phase image in the bass frequency range (using the Mono-Frequency knob to select the frequency below which the output signal will remain mono), and is said to make the results sound more natural and less tinny by turning up the Hi-Damp knob to roll off the spatial effect in the higher frequency range above 5 kHz.
The GUI offers a Stereo-Width knob, allowing for adjustment of stereo width added to the mono signal to vary between 0 and 300 percent; Output Gain (-12dB to +12dB), plus a series of functional switches that enable the left and right channels to be exchanged before being fed into the Tilt/Pan section; Solo M, for soloing the output signal’s non-spatial content; Solo S, for soloing the perceived spatial content, and meters: L/R Peak, L/R RMS, Balance, and Correlation).
The top toolbar includes 32 steps of Undo/Redo and four settings per preset for setting and recalling momentary snapshots for automation purposes.