When it comes to panning in a mix you basically have 2 choices. LCR panning or Traditional panning and mono. But why live in mono when we hear in stereo?
Panning is one way to add separation in a mix
While I preach mixing in mono to help get balances and find any phase or eq problems. Panning is crucial to spreading everything out on the stereo stage. It doesn’t add depth to a mix but width. Since our ears hear in stereo we can move sound sources left or right. This adds separation between similar instruments like two guitars. It also adds to the sense of width in a mix by giving our ears a solid sense space and direction.
Two ways to pan
Since we have this wonderful stereo stage we can play with let’s look at two approaches to how we can best utilize it.
The first is traditional panning. Traditional panning is to pan some sources hard left or hard right. Then to pan some sources in between and some closer to center still. This approach is great in its ability to give us a clear sense of where things sit in a room. It gives us a sonic picture of how things are laid out from left to right.
The second is LCR panning, better known as left, center, right. This method everything is panned hard left dead center or hard right. This style is interesting in that it gives a wide stereo image and a very clear center. It has the added benefit of leaving the center clear for the main sound sources. (i.e. lead vocals snare solo instruments etc.)
a quick video
I made a short video showing you the differences between the two.
Don’t forget to check out my other blog post on using filters or how to sweep EQ to find and control frequencies.
You can also get a free studio gear guide here