10 Tips for Better Mixes Through Panning

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10 Tips for Better Mixes Through Panning

by Nick Messitte, iZotope Contributor July 15, 2021

This article is all about panning—specifically, it will give you tips to keep in mind when figuring out how to pan elements in your mix. Though the kick, snare, bass, and vocals often sit in the middle of a mix (commonly referred to as C or 0 in most DAWs), everything else is pretty much up for grabs.

What Is Frequency-Based Panning? Try It Out With A Free Plugin | Production Expert

What Is Frequency-Based Panning? Try It Out With A Free Plugin | Production Expert

Standard pan controls in DAWs and mixers let us position the signal in the stereo panorama regardless of its frequency content whereas spectral panning gives us the ability to divide the signal into frequency bands and pan these bands individually. In this article, Ufuk Onen explains what spectral panning is, the benefits and how to use it using a free plugin.

MSpectralPan | MeldaProduction

MSpectralPan is a powerful panner, which lets you apply panorama to each frequency individually. It is indespensable for mixing and also provides lots of creative potencial.

Mixing In Stereo – Everything You Need To Know To Make Your Music Mono Compatible | Production Expert

Mixing In Stereo – Everything You Need To Know To Make Your Music Mono Compatible | Production Expert

Think you know everything there is about mixing in stereo? Think again. FabFilter has published an excellent three part video series produced by Dan Worrall titled How To Mix In Stereo Without Sucking In Mono. This series is extremely well presented explaining stereo mixing fundamentals, panning, stereo microphone placement, phase, the effects of comb filtering, width, mono compatibility and more.

I just watched the first part – “Toeing the Blumlein” and stayed fascinated throughout.

I do a lot of mono monitoring to make sure things don’t get lost, but I rarely make changes that will make the mono mix down work really well. These videos are an excellent pointer.

Using Logic built-in plug-ins I think it will require several steps (made easy by the FabFilter tools)

Bus effects – independent panning required?

Logic EQ would need to have two instances, one for Mid and one for Side. Probably 2 aux channels…no, simply use the EQ in “Dual Mono” mode and work with Mid and Side channels as desired. Unfortunately there are no documentation resources for the “Dual Mono” mode of the EQs in Logic. The documentation says use two plug-ins. I will try to compare other EQs and see how easily things can be adapted.

Ozone 9 EQ essentially has both available “easily” along with pan and width. 

Mid, Side, and Everything In Between (A Mid/Side Deep Dive)

Mid/side processing is an undeniably powerful technique, and one which gives the mastering engineer a wide range of sonic sculpting tools not available with traditional stereo processing. However, as we all learned from Spiderman’s Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

 IK Multimedia has a nifty new EQ – T-Racks EQual…

IK Multimedia – EQual

The new EQual digital equalizer is a 10-band, ultra-clear, high-end parametric equalizer with an extremely transparent sound, ultra-precise editing and a vast array of filter shapes that are based on the typical curves of classic British and American analog EQ’s. This incredibly flexible “hybrid monster” gives you the best of both worlds – digital precision with transparent clarity and on-demand analog character that works perfectly for high end mastering as well as individual track work.

 

 Also need to look at the Imagers….

Show/Hide Pan Knob – Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day

Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day. #LogicProX @StudioIntern1

  Show/Hide Pan Knob

Show or hide the pan knob on channel strips. This command only works in mixer windows (stand-alone and bottom of Arrange window). If you want to hide the pan knob in the inspector channel strips (far left of Arrange window) you have to use the contextual menu to check/uncheck the Pan Knob setting.

On the topic of panning…

Set channel strip pan or balance positions – Logic Pro X

Instead of having instruments compete with one another in a mix, you can separate elements by positioning audio and instruments in the stereo mix from left to right. Typically, you want to have the most important tracks (lead vocals, solo instruments, drums, bass) positioned in the center of the mix, and have other tracks (rhythm instruments, instruments doubling the melody) to the sides. In general, most of the mix should be close to the center, with tracks panned far to the sides only for an unusual effect.

 

 

⇧ SHIFT  –  ⌃ CONTROL  –  ⌥ OPTION  –  ⌘ COMMAND

Friday Tip – Panning Laws: Why They Matter – PreSonus Blog

Friday Tip – Panning Laws: Why They Matter – PreSonus Blog

You pan a mono signal from left to right. Simple, right? Actually, no. In the center, there’s a 3 dB RMS volume buildup because the same signal is in both channels. Ideally, you want the signal’s average level—its power—to have the same perceived volume, whether the sound is panned left, right, or center. Dropping the level when centered by 3 dB RMS accomplishes this. As a result, traditional hardware mixers tapered the response as you turned a panpot to create this 3 dB dip.

Definitely in the “rocket science” category. The final takeaway of the article is that pan laws will effect audio processed in different DAWs. If the panning is set “the same” in Logic Pro X and Studio One the output might not be identical.

In Logic Pro X the pan law is set on a project level. Normal is -3 dB compensated, not applied to stereo balancers.