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Best Stereo Widening Plugins

Being a mixing engineer brings different sets of challenges but one that comes around fairly often is the lack of space in a mix. You can change the panning all day for your tracks without opening up any space and getting the room you need to breathe. That’s where a stereo widener can help out a lot. 

There are a couple ways to use these on your tracks both on individual channels as well as final mix busses.

One method I found recently actually included a widener from this list, the Center from Waves. In it they have 2 busses, one with the Center plugin pushing the mix far out and the other holding it in the center. With this you can mix the 2 busses together to get the perfect blend. 

Top Stereo Widening Plugins To Consider Adding To Your Daw

To check out the video where I learned this and see the more in depth explanations click here.

What To Look For When Choosing a Widening Plugin

When we make our lists we try to find plugins that will best match different types of skill sets and styles. Here is a quick look into the aspects that we take into account when we chose the best stereo widening plugins. 

Pricing

Pricing is one aspect that is not as big an issue when it comes to widening plugins. You can find some top end choices available for low prices and sometimes even free. 

Compatibility – System Requirements

As with any game or program, you want to make sure your computer can run the plugins. You need to look at the specs given on the producer’s website and compare it with your own computer’s abilities

DAW Compatibility

Very few times will you ever see a plugin that cannot work on every major DAW available. But it can happen occasionally especially with VST’s.

Frequency of Use

You want to know that this will not be a one and done plugin. Widening plugins are the unknown answer to many mixing questions, and I did not even discover them for myself until a few years into working with audio. 

Skill Level

Skill level is an important piece to think about. However, with the amount of tutorials and manuals available, you can get one that is out of your skill level and use that opportunity to grow your knowledge.

Best Stereo Widening Plugins

Here in no particular order are our choices for the best stereo widening plugins.

1. CENTER – Waves

CENTER – Waves

As we mentioned before there is a really cool way to implement this into your mix to give it a full sound. Waves made a great choice for engineers everywhere when it comes to bringing out the true width of their mix.

  • Who’s it for? All Levels of Experience
  • Price: $149
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Ableton

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive
Operating System10.12.6-10.15Windows 10 64 bit

Buy it on Waves.com

2. Sidewinder – JST

Sidewinder – JST

JST is known for their affinity for rock and metal plugins and have been rising in popularity since their creation. The Sidewinder is one of the less glamorous plugins they make, but without a doubt it is an important one. 

  • Who’s it for? Rock and Metal producers wanting to control their width
  • Price: $49
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Logic

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive
Operating System10.10 – Latest 32 & 64 bitWindows 10 32 & 64 bit

Buy it on Plugin Boutique

3. Microshift – Soundtoys

Microshift – Soundtoys

Soundtoys likes to reference the past with a twist of modernity. With the Microshift, you can not only give your tracks the spread you need but also incorporate some chorus effects. Soundtoys is great at taking simplicity and making it professional. 

  • Who’s it for? Producers looking for a natural, almost analog effect
  • Price: $129
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Pro Tools

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive
Operating System10.10 or laterWindows 7 or later

Find it on Splice

4. Ozone Imager – iZotope

Ozone Imager – iZotope

As always I love to throw iZotope in with their amazing products. With the Ozone Imager, you can adjust the width with an in depth visual representation of what you are working with sonically. Alan Meyerson, who mixed the Dark Knight and Gladiator movies, will use it not only on his mastering chain but individual channels as well. 

  • Who’s it for? All Skill Levels
  • Price: Free
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Cubase

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive
Operating System10.11.6-10.15Windows 7 – 10

Download for free

5. Wider – Polyverse

Wider – Polyverse

Wider is a great tool especially when it comes to electronic music. It has a certain sound that just blends better with electronic sounds over those of analog. It makes sure to keep itself aligned in phase with itself so as not to have any phase cancellation. 

  • Who’s it for? Beginners and Producers on a budget
  • Price: Free
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Reason

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory4 GB RAM4 GB RAM
Operating System10.12.6-10.15Windows 10 64 bit

Download it on Polyverse

Expand Your Creativity

When it comes to creating a better mix you have to think outside of the box. It may not be a new idea sometimes, but even just finding old methods of using plugins and techniques can make a huge difference in your final outcomes. Always checkout tutorials because you never know, you could find a better method than just slapping the plugin on the signal chain. 

If you would like to learn more about other great plugins, click here to see our history of reviews and comparisons.

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