I've been making a lot of super layered sounds recently, being quite militant about the m/s separation for certain layers, (sub and lower mids in mono, upper mids and tops in stereo).

I generally group (bus) these channels together and apply some processing to the group 'master' channel. That got me wondering about stereo effects on a master channel full of mono channels...

Doesn't it negate the m/s separation in the first place?

1 Answer 1


It depends on the effect, but probably yes.

If your effects are all true separate stereo processes with no time-shift, then no; but consider that even a simple true stereo echo, set to provide different repeat delays left & right will return differing amounts of bass to left or right depending on if the repeats at any given time are in or out of sync.

Anything else, mono in/stereo out, or any kind of smear effect, then yes.

You can very simply fix the whole lot, either at bus or master with a low frequency stereo to mono control. Google "vst mono bass" for a selection.

  • So doesn't this mean that when a mastering engineer uses stereo processing on a track with mono channels he is also doing the same thing in negating the mono separation?
    – GavBeard
    Jan 5, 2018 at 8:47
  • "true separate stereo processes with no time-shift, then no" That would cover what a mastering engineer does. He would also be reasonably likely to use some kind of bass/mono process, if he felt the track needed it.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 5, 2018 at 8:53

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