Stereo Pan 2.0: now with "subtle mode"

Oh well, better late than never. I present to you the next version of Stereo Pan (announcement for previous version), introducing a second mode of operation: the subtle mode. It’s called that because its effect is more subtle. Duh.

A great property of it is that it doesn’t distort the sound if the output is downmixed to mono. If you downmix to mono while using Stereo Pan in its normal mode, you get a flanger-style effect on the sound. That’s yucky. Now you can choose whether you want to get better mono compatibility or more noticable stereo expansion.

As requested, this post contains example sound files, so you don’t have to buy it without knowing what it sounds like. Then again, it’s for free anyway (feel free to use it for whatever you want but please refer people to this page instead of giving the plugin itself to others).

In subtle mode, the sliders titled “Ctr gain” and “Ctr lowpass” don’t have any effect. I was going to have the plugin hide them when subtle mode is enabled but it’s just too much work. I don’t really care that much. You have been warned.

Examples

This section contains six different versions of an excerpt of a song of mine, “Dry Spell”. The effect has been applied to the lead vocals in some of these files. It’s most noticable if you listen on headphones. I have removed the reverb on the lead vocals so it doesn’t get in the way of seeing what Stereo Pan does to the sound. All of the links refer to MP3 files of about 200 to 250 KB each.

Boring technical details

Subtle mode uses the concept of comb filtering for real: it splits the frequency spectrum of the signal into bands, all the same “size”, and pans the “even” bands left and the “odd” bands right. That’s why downmixing doesn’t hurt the sound: you get pretty much the same thing you had before the effect was applied. The effect is more subtle this way because the transients (“sharp” sounds) in the signal aren’t actually duplicated, so the two channels sound less distinctive… taken together, anyway. Use the two output channels separately at your own risk!

Download

Current version for Windows: Stereo Pan 2.0 (ZIP archive, 219 KB)

Current version for MacOS X: still not available. I don’t have OS X and cross-compiling for it is a lot more complicated than I anticipated. Sorry.

To install, extract the ZIP archive to your VST plugins folder (often C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins). You may need to restart your DAW after that, or tell it to re-scan the plugins folder. That’s it!

Documentation

If you can’t figure out how to use it, tough luck.

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