expand mono track to stereo - learjeff?

Hey all;

Lear, you have mentioned in a previous post and in the past) that you should expand a mono track to stereo to get stereo out of your stereo fx. I’m a little unclear as to when you do this. For example, I’ve got a song with about 20 tracks, including guitar, keys and vocals. So do I expand each one of those to stereo (I’ll need a much bigger monitor lol) or only the ones with stereo fx in the channel inserts? If I have stereo fx in the aux (I usually have a reverb in one of the aux buses and just send each track to it to get the amount I need for each track) do I need to expand to stereo? I see what you’re saying with that, but it seems like there’d be a ridicuous number of extra tracks, unless I’m doing things the wrong way.


Nah, Tempus, you’ve kinda missed the point. Expand mono to stereo is a setting in each track’s preferences. It allows the track effects to perform in a stereo manner - for example a reverb plug might return different left/right returns in stereo. It doesn’t create additional tracks.

As to whether you want to do this on each track - probably not. It would be largely meaningless on say, a bass track sent to a compressor. Also, watch out for “smear” - lots of tracks all with stereo images makes it difficult to place instruments. Sometimes a focused, “placed” track is more meaningful than a big, “right-across-the-mix” track. I tend to save the “width” for vocals and other central tracks, but as with any kind of recording, there ain’t no rules.



One thing you can do, although it wouldn’t be true stereo, is duplicate the track by right-clicking on it and click on clone the track. You can manipulate the track with a little eq, panning, etc. to create faux stereo.


only the ones with stereo fx in the channel inserts

Mark is right, and you’re also right that you’d only want to do it for tracks with mono wave files and stereo FX in the track inserts. If a track has a stereo wave file, then it’s already stereo and there’s no need to check the “expand” box.

And as Mark pointed out, it doesn’t change the appearance of the track. Still just one track with just one wave line in it.

OK, so would you advise it for FX that are in the aux busses as well, or just the inserts?


Just the inserts. Aux buses are always stereo. So are Groups.

For example, if you have a mono wave file, and want to insert stereo FX on that track, you need to check “Expand mono track to stereo” to get the effect in stereo. However, if you want feed from that same track into an Aux, the Aux is stereo so the track gets converted to stereo on the way in automatically.

Bottom line: you only need to check the “Expand mono track to stereo” if the track has a mono Wave file and you are using stereo insert FX on that track.