November 2021 - 34

-Review by Bill Stunt
Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
Get wide, get narrow-or both!
SideMinder ME2 is a multiband dynamic widener/controller that works in the
spatial domain, similar to how a multiband compressor works in the dynamic
domain. Raising Jake Studios has just released SideMinder ME2 (master
edition, second-generation). ME2 introduces a host of refinements for taming
and enhancing the width of a stereo sound field. It's recommended for use on
individual stereo tracks, submix busses, and the master bus.
band crossovers are bypassed when in
external mode, and a wide-band signal
is applied to all. You can still tweak static
width and the ratio, while the Sid-Mid
offset acts as a threshold control allowing
you to tweak the amount of processing
at each band.
The
external
sidechain
inclusion
caught me by surprise. Ducking audio
with a sidechained compressor or gate
is pretty standard. Doing something similar
in the spatial domain wasn't something
I'd ever considered but made a lot
of sense. My experiments so far reveal
it to be a solid concept. When the external
sidechain is engaged, processed
audio gets narrower as the audio in the
external sidechain gets wider. As such,
I've achieved some interesting results.
Three bands are better than one
SideMinder ME2 has an extensive set
of controls and graphs, nicely laid out in a
busy yet coherent resizable GUI. On the left
are rotary controls for setting the crossover
frequencies of the three available bands:
High/Mid, Mid/Low, and Bass Narrow.
The Bass Narrow control sets the crossover
frequency where the signal gets gently filtered
to mono. You can switch individual
bands in or out of the signal path. Each
band has a corresponding graph that displays
the amount of widening/narrowing
and limiting that is being processed.
Moving right are sliders for adjusting
the static width adjustment. Values are
expressed as percentages: lower values
equal narrowing, plus values produce
widening. Band-specific dynamic width
control is tweaked in the Width Limiter
section, with release time, ratio, and mid/
side offset controls (the latter two function
only in Advanced Mode). By default,
those parameters are fixed to ensure
mono compatibility. In Advanced Mode,
you can achieve more radical effects, but
34 RECORDING November 2021
care is needed. The Side-Mid Offset control
is used for adjustments to keep the signal
in the positive correlation range.
Depending on the number of bands you
choose, SideMinder ME2 can modify the
phase relationships in ways that can produce
small changes to the overall levels
and spectral balance; you can use Band
Level Trim to correct those processing-based
changes. Handily, each band has a solo
option for precisely identifying what is happening
at each frequency range.
Elements in a mix can drift out of phase,
resulting in a loss of mono compatibility. You
can detect this issue on the Stereo Correlation
Meter. When things drift hard left on the
meter, out-of-phase signals are present; these
will be canceled in mono. Signals that meter
completely to the right will present accurately
in mono. Handy Mono and Delta Monitor
buttons here help with the task of making
sure you'e maintaining mono compatibility.
Mid-Side
Intriguingly, you can also control SideMinder
via an external sidechain. The
Price: $39.95 More From:
raisingjakestudios.com/plugins.html
Read the manual
Admittedly, there is a lot to take in
here, and I strongly suggest spending
time with the excellent manual. That
said, all you need to do to get up and
running with SideMinder is to run stereo
audio through it and move the static
width sliders; you'll hear the changes to
the sound field immediately. Tweaking
the crossovers and the limiter section will
fully reveal the tremendous power of this
plugin to manage width in a sonically
pleasing fashion.
Fit it in the mix
I found SideMinder to be effective in
all the suggested use cases. I particularly
liked it for sculpting effects returns. I
also used it to narrow the sound field
of the lower frequencies in a mix I was
working on. I find narrowing the lows
gives more focus to the bass and generally
tightens up the mix. It's standard
to mono the bass frequencies for a vinyl
release. SideMinder ME2 is an excellent
tool for all these purposes. I'm going to
enjoy exploring ways to use its extensive
functions, especially the external sidechain.
SideMinder ME2 is a great new
addition to the toolkit. It's also hard to
argue with the price.
http://www.raisingjakestudios.com/plugins.html

November 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November 2021

Fade In
Fast Forward
Studio Upgrade Roundup
Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby: A Crash Course in Atmos
Plugin Outlet: Slate Digital MetaTune
KRK Systems: KNS 8402
Southern Avenue and the Modern Memphis Sound
Plugin Outlet: Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
RECORDING Show and Tell: Studio Upgrades (2021 Edition)
Plugin Outlet: bx_console Focusrite SC
Novation Circuit Rhythm
Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 11: Home Mixing in Home Studios
Mackie: Onyx16
Alclair: Electro 6 Driver
Plugin Outlet: Arturia FX Collection 2
Inside the Box with Joe Albano: workflow-focused programs and plugins
RME Fireface UCX II 40-channel USB Interface
Readers' Tracks
Fade Out: Studio Feng Shui
November 2021 - Intro
November 2021 - Cover1
November 2021 - Cover2
November 2021 - 1
November 2021 - 2
November 2021 - 3
November 2021 - Fade In
November 2021 - 5
November 2021 - 6
November 2021 - 7
November 2021 - Fast Forward
November 2021 - 9
November 2021 - Studio Upgrade Roundup
November 2021 - 11
November 2021 - 12
November 2021 - 13
November 2021 - 14
November 2021 - 15
November 2021 - 16
November 2021 - 17
November 2021 - 18
November 2021 - 19
November 2021 - Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby: A Crash Course in Atmos
November 2021 - 21
November 2021 - 22
November 2021 - 23
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Slate Digital MetaTune
November 2021 - 25
November 2021 - KRK Systems: KNS 8402
November 2021 - 27
November 2021 - Southern Avenue and the Modern Memphis Sound
November 2021 - 29
November 2021 - 30
November 2021 - 31
November 2021 - 32
November 2021 - 33
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
November 2021 - 35
November 2021 - Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
November 2021 - 37
November 2021 - RECORDING Show and Tell: Studio Upgrades (2021 Edition)
November 2021 - 39
November 2021 - 40
November 2021 - 41
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: bx_console Focusrite SC
November 2021 - 43
November 2021 - Novation Circuit Rhythm
November 2021 - 45
November 2021 - Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 11: Home Mixing in Home Studios
November 2021 - 47
November 2021 - 48
November 2021 - 49
November 2021 - Mackie: Onyx16
November 2021 - 51
November 2021 - Alclair: Electro 6 Driver
November 2021 - 53
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Arturia FX Collection 2
November 2021 - 55
November 2021 - 56
November 2021 - 57
November 2021 - Inside the Box with Joe Albano: workflow-focused programs and plugins
November 2021 - 59
November 2021 - 60
November 2021 - 61
November 2021 - RME Fireface UCX II 40-channel USB Interface
November 2021 - 63
November 2021 - Readers' Tracks
November 2021 - 65
November 2021 - 66
November 2021 - 67
November 2021 - 68
November 2021 - 69
November 2021 - 70
November 2021 - 71
November 2021 - Fade Out: Studio Feng Shui
November 2021 - Cover3
November 2021 - Cover4
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