A Question About Width Automation

Hello there y’all and Happy Holidays! Wanted to see if anyone had any advice on how to approach width automation in a song you’re mixing. I’ve heard of the technique where you can make a certain part of your song more mono (like intro and verse), and then when the drop or the chorus comes along, the song sort of becomes audibly wider. What is a good workflow for this technique, how would you go about this? Where should you start?

There are a variety of ways to do this. Part of it also depends on the genre. Where I might go more heavy and dramatic on a dance track it might be much more subtle on a rock or acoustic track. In dance music, I tend to narrow the width going into a breakdown. Sometimes down as much as 40% on certain elements and then when the drop hits I pop them back up (often to above 100% (like 105) and then pull it back down to 100% after the first bar or so of the drop hits). You can also narrow elements linearly little by little headed to the drop or in some genres go from narrow towards wide as you build to a big impact. You can also keep elements more narrow in verses and wide in choruses).

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Hello there and thank you for your reply! That sounds pretty cool and was wondering where in the mix chain, track wise, would this technique be applied? Would you use a plugin and automate individually, or is there a way to do this globally across all tracks? Would only some tracks use the automation or all of them collectively?

Automation is the name of the game in mixing and in production. I rarely use it across a whole mix. If you were to do that then I can’t say there is a specific place but I always put it at the end of the chain so that any processing I want on the track all the time is already set. Most of this type of work is going to happen on individual tracks or groups of tracks, typically those with side information or wider stereo information. I don’t use it on the low end. These types of things have to be automation or else they will be across the whole track for the entire song.