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Help: Stereo image manipulator - Stereo Tool 3.0
The Stereo Tool stereo image manipulator offers some unique options. The following settings and sliders are available:
  • ON
    Turns the stereo image manipulator on or off.

  • DIFF
    If ON, plays the difference between the input and output signal. Useful for analyzing the effects of different settings.

  • fix phasing (azimuth)
    These sliders can be used to repair phasing errors (AZIMUTH errors), which are often present in tape recordings, and also on some cheap CDs. Phasing problems causes playing a recording in mono or through a surround system to result in very ugly artifacts. But even normal stereo playback may sometimes sound a bit unpleasant.
    The phasing offset is automatically detected and removed by this filter.
    • max is the maximum tape head displacement (assuming cassette tapes) that can be detected and resolved. Setting it to 0 disables this filter. Suggested value: 40.
    • diff is the maximum speed at which the filter follows detected phasing errors. Suggested value: 0.20.
    For more information and a more detailed description of the sliders, see Help: Tape Restore Live!: The AZIMUTH filter.
       Stereo Tool Winamp plugin - Automatically repair AZIMUTH phasing

  • phase
    Stereo phase multiplier. Moves between 0 (no phase differences between the channels), 1 (no change) up to 8 (8 times as much phase difference as in the original signal).
    0 is VERY useful for converting to MONO, the resulting sound can be downmixed to mono without any distortion or loss of sounds, which occur in normal stereo to mono conversion. This creates a much fuller and undistorted mono sound.
    Note that "0" does not mean that the output signal is mono, because the instrument locations are not affected by the phase slider. To get mono sound, also put the width slider to 0.

    When playing compressed audio, especially lower (< 192 kbit/s) bandwidth MP3 files, setting phase to a high value will very strongly amplify the already present MP3 encoding artifacts, which results in a very poor sound quality.

  • width
    Stereo width multiplier. Moves between 0 (all sounds in the center, 1 (no change) up to 8 (the sounds are moved 8 times further away from the center than in the original signal, if possible of course).
    Note that "0" does not mean that the output signal is mono, because the phase differences are not affected by the width slider.

    Setting width to a very high value will almost always introduce artifacts, so it should be used with care - or not at all.

  • limit
    Sets the maximum phase difference per frequency. Could be useful for example for FM radio stations, this can ensure that the maximum phase difference stays below a certain level, which reduces signal loss when a receiver switches to mono.

    This setting currently introduces artifacts. It should not be used unless it is really necessary. Changes may be made to it in later versions.

  • max phase
    When the total phase difference between the two channels gets above this level, the phase amplification is reduced temporarily to keep it below the level that is set here.

    Some example uses:
    • Goal: Mono output.
      • Set phase and width both to 0. This results in mono sound, but without the loss of sounds and distortions that normally occur when converting from stereo to mono.

        This has been reported to be very useful for people who are deaf in one ear. With this setting, they can listen to music using a headphone in only one ear, and still enjoy the full sound of a stereo recording.

    • Goal: Stronger stereo effect.
      • Set width to 1 and phase to 2-3 (lower if using low quality MP3 recordings). The instruments stay at the same position, but the phase differences are increased, which usually results in a very pleasant sound, unless the phase differences get too large.

        The max phase slider can be used to limit the maximum phase difference. So when a recording that already has strong phase differences is played, nothing happens - or the phase differences are even reduced.

    If there is a phase difference in the bass between the left and right channel, and the sound is played using a single bass speaker, the bass will get deformed and lowered in volume. If this filter is turned on, phase differences for bass sounds are removed completely, which solves this problem.
    This occurs only very rarely. Note however that when the "phase" slider is set to a high value, this will occur much more frequently.
    When listening with headphones, this somewhat reduces the stereo effect.

  • angle
    This slider can be used to add a phase offset between the channels. Both -180 and +180 cause the channels to be the opposite of each other, 0 is normal output.
    Note: The phase slider is performed first!

  • stereo only
    -100 %: Play ONLY the mono sounds.
    0 %: Don't do anything
    +100 %: Play ONLY the stereo sounds.
    If an instrument is only present on one channel, -100% will completely remove it. If an instrument is present at the center, +100% will completely remove it.
    Note: The width slider is performed first!
    Use 'stereo only' with care: High values can cause annoying artifacts.

The bars display the input and output phase and width. Use these bars to visually check the effects of what you are doing.

Stereo Tool Winamp plugin - Stereo image manipulator

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Stereo Tool is shareware. You are free to give Stereo Tool to others, publish it on shareware CDs/DVDs, websites etc.