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 Panning - Stereo Widening

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PostSubject: Panning - Stereo Widening   Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:21 pm

Panning - Stereo Widening

Panning is the placement of sound in the stereo field.

So you want to make a rock song right? As you probably know, you shouldn't keep all the instruments in the middle of the mix. It'll be a mess.
Panning is, again, one of the most important things that makes your project really really good.
It's easy to adjust it, it's just 1 knob in each track, but where should you pan each instrument?


So, you have recorded all the tracks and you are ready to mix.

You have 2 guitars, bass, drums and last but not least, vocals.
We will pan each instruments just like we see them at a concert.

Let's see the most common way to pan them:

* Guitars
Guitars are at the left and right of the mix. You can pan them hard left and hard right (from 60% to 100% each for example).

* Bass
Put the bass in the middle (0%). Experimenting is always positive, but don't overdo it.
Putting the bass far away from the middle will confuse the listener.

* Drums
There are 2 different perspectives that you can choose to pan drums.

Drummer's Perpective:
You are sitting at the drums. Pan each drum as you see it.

Kick: Middle (or not far away from middle)
Snare: same as kick.
Toms: From left to right.
Hi-Hat: Little left
Ride: Little Right (or even near center if you like the bell to "hit your face")
Cymbals/Overhead: From left to right

Audience Pespective:

It's exactly the opposite of Drummer's Perspective.

Feel free to experiment

* Vocals
In most songs vocals dominate the mix. They are in the dead center or near centre of the mix.
You have more freedom to experiment though with backing vocals (60% Left/Right for example)

Of course, all the above are just some basic examples.
You can change anything if the mix asks for it.



If you want your guitars to have a "huge" sound you can Quad-track them rather than Double-track them, putting the added tracks to 80% each.

Common Mistake:

Many people just copy-paste the tracks. You have to re-record the tracks in order to make them sound fuller. You need 4 different recorded takes.

How do you pan?
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