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How to Use Mid/Side EQ with FL Studio’s Stock Plugins

Audio mixing and mastering require both technical skill and creative insight. One powerful technique that has gained popularity among audio engineers for its versatility in managing the stereo field is Mid/Side (M/S) Equalization. In this article, we’ll delve into what M/S EQ is, why it’s essential, and how to effectively use it within FL Studio using only its stock plugins.

Aslo read: Mixing Vs. Mastering – Explaining The Main Differences

Understanding Mid/Side EQ

Mid/Side EQ allows separate processing of the middle and side content of a stereo signal. The Mid (Mono) channel contains information that is identical in both the left and right channels—typically including vocals, bass, and other center-stage elements. The Side (Stereo) channel holds the differences between the two channels, which is where the sense of spatial depth and stereo spread comes from.

Why Use Mid/Side EQ?

M/S EQ can be transformative, enabling precise adjustments without compromising the integrity of the entire mix. Here’s why it’s a go-to technique:

  • Clarity and Focus: Adjusting the Mid-channel can make central elements more prominent or subdued without altering the stereo width.
  • Control over Stereo Width: Manipulating the Side channel can enhance or minimize the elements contributing to the stereo spread.
  • Frequency Balance: Tackle muddiness by addressing overlap in frequencies within the Mid or Side channels without affecting the other.
  • Creative Flexibility: M/S EQ offers creative ways to shape your mix, like enhancing airiness by boosting high frequencies on the Side channel.

When to Use Mid/Side EQ

M/S EQ shines across different stages of production:

  • During Mixing: To make room for vocals or lead instruments by adjusting their presence in the Mid-channel or to manage how ambient effects interact in the mix through the Side channel.
  • In Mastering: To make broad yet impactful tweaks that refine the overall track without disturbing the mix’s balance.
  • For Troubleshooting: If a mix suffers from phase issues or sounds different in mono, M/S EQ can help balance and correct these disparities.

Setting Up Mid/Side EQ in FL Studio

FL Studio doesn’t include a dedicated M/S EQ by default, but you can achieve this setup using the stock plugin, Patcher, combined with multiple instances of Fruity Parametric EQ 2. Here’s how to configure it:

Step 1: Initialize Patcher

Insert Patcher onto your track or the master channel. This serves as the base for routing your signals into Mid and Side paths.

Step 2: Configure EQ Units

Inside Patcher:

  • Add two instances of Fruity Parametric EQ 2.
  • Disconnect the default routing by right-clicking and managing the connections.
  • Redirect the inputs to each EQ unit, labeling one as ‘Mid’ and the other as ‘Side’.

Step 3: Set Up Mid/Side Processing

For each EQ:

  • Right-click the Mid EQ, go to ‘Inputs -> Activators’, and select ‘Activate only mid’.
  • For the Side EQ, follow the same steps but choose ‘Activate only side’.

Step 4: Apply EQ Settings

Adjust each EQ to target specific aspects:

  • Mid EQ: Focus on the mono elements like vocals and bass. This channel often benefits from cuts or boosts that clarify and define the center content.
  • Side EQ: Tweak the stereo components to adjust the spread and ambiance. Enhancing high frequencies can add a sense of space, while cutting them can reduce perceived distance.

Step 5: Fine-tuning

Balance is key. Constantly A/B test your adjustments by toggling the bypass state on the EQs. Ensure that the changes enhance the track without causing imbalances or unintended effects.


Mid/Side EQ is a potent tool in your mixing and mastering arsenal, especially within FL Studio’s flexible environment. By understanding and applying M/S EQ, you can dramatically enhance the clarity, spatial perception, and focus of your mixes, taking your productions to professional heights with just stock plugins. Dive in, experiment, and listen – your best mix might be just an M/S tweak away!

Also read: How To Do FL Studio Sidechain Compression

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