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Brainworx StereoMaker Plugin Review

Sean W. Sep 27, 2012 0
5 out of 5 Rating

The StereoMaker Plugin by Brainworx is a unique plugin as it takes a mono signal and changes it into a virtual stereo sound but all while maintaing the focus the original mono signal. It is for use on individual instruments within DAW music production to help instruments fit into mixes better.

The StereoMaker creates a virtual M/S (Mid/Side) recording from a mono signal.  M/S recording involves two microphones, one in a cardioid pattern facing the sound source and the other in a bi-directional pattern facing to the sides. After some specific routing, the results are a full mono signal and an adjustable stereo signal.  Using M/S will allow as much or as little stereo effect to be heard during the mixdown process, something that can’t be done following the X-Y miking technique or the 3-1 miking rules.

Brainworx StereoMaker

The StereoMaker controls are as follows.  There’s a Tone knob that adjusts the frequency  that is adjusted, higher settings for higher frequency sounds, lower settings for low frequency sounds.  The High Damp is a high-frequency rolloff for the effected signal, The Mono-Freq knob adjust the frequency that which below sounds mono and above sounds stereo.  The Stereo Expansion widens the signal.  There’s a Tilt and Pan that control whether the resulting sound feels like it’s tilting to eiher side or if the sound should be panned to one side.  There are buttons that solo the original sounds and the stereo blend for more fine adjustments.  Lastly, there’s an output gain knob and metering.  The plugin comes with undo/redo features, four instant recallable presets and copy/past.

The plugin has a metallic black look with white knobs.  All the writing is visible and it so are eight rack screws where the plugin looks to be in a equipment rack.  The plugin isn’t CPU hungry.  I was able to run eight instances of the plugin simultaneously on stereo tracks about a 10% bump in CPU on a 2.3Ghz i5 Mac Mini.

The StereoMaker is a very good plugin. The plugin does a great job changing the mono signal into stereo without loosing that “mono” sound which is key for lead instruments like guitar or vocals.  Many plugins that convert mono material to stereo makes adjusts the phase of the signal to give the effect but a loss from using that method is the focus of the sound.  The StereoMaker keeps the focus and sound of the original and the stereo effect can widen the sound.  This can make a clean guitar sound thicker and bigger than it was when it was really recorded.  I also found that, if you output the signal to mono, the StereoMaker becomes a great tight sounding phaser for guitar or vocal.

This plugin by Brainworx might be the best stereo audio tool for widening any sound source.  The key to it’s great sound is the fact the original signal doesn’t become weak and distant but stays full as the signal can be made wider. Using it on different instruments widened up the sound without sounding unnatural in any way or creating in sudden phase problems in the mix.  The StereoMaker is exceptional at adding a bit of air to instruments making them a bit more open sounding.  Using it on low frequency instruments is possible with the controls given. After a bit of adjustment I was able to obtain wider kick and bass guitar sounds while adding minimum to no artifacts.

The StereoMaker is a excellent tool for widening and thickening up the sounds of mono recordings.  It helped individual sounds sources fit better in full mixes without losing the power of the original signal.  It is a great plugin that mixing engineers should seriously check out.