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michaelcreese

Need guidance panning

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Hope someone will help. Someone always does. I am recording three guitar tracks and two vocal tracks. Is there a best way to split these individual tracks right and left? Is it best to split any one track to right and left? Any ground rules? I'm trying to record something that can be heard. Scary though that may be. I have searched for previous threads but didnt find any.

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kidhaiti    0

well I m no expert but here are a few things I've gleamed from the web, mags and trial and error.

Firstly it depends on quite a few factors as to what you would pan and how much.

Most commonly your panning to get a nice stereo image of the piece or to create space for another track ie vocals.

perhaps you use pan to give the rhythm more punch or presence.

doubling

in this case you can pan the the same part left and right, in rock songs they often pan hard left and right but you have to be careful how this sounds in mono when everything's stacked center.

the most organic way to double is to record each track separately then pan. But you can get good results by duplicating the track and then panning each. you can improve the results by shifting one track by a few milliseconds, you can also try shifting the pitch slightly.

keep it symmetric

you also want to make sure that there is an over all balance so if you push a particular Frequency one way , its a good idea to balance it on the other side, either by doubling or with other instrumentation.

in terms of how far to pan you really need to just test the results through stereo,mono, headphones etc. to see how it holds up. it also depends on how much spread your after.

Ive found panning between9 and 3 o'clock is pretty safe but doesn't always give you enough definition /spread.

you can also use pan if you have 2 rhythm parts that intertwine to give each more definition to each, again these should be in the same frequency range.

you can also move a track backwards or forwards by adding reverb to individual track reverb moves it back spatially.

I have had the best results personally and again I'm no expert, by centering the bass

panning rhythm parts

and centering melodies (vocals/lead) unless there is a counter-piece to in similar freq to balance a pan against.

Oh also make sure that your monitors are equal distance from each other and your listening point.

I know this only scratches the surface but hopefully might give you a bit of help

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Hi kidhaiti. Thanks very much for taking the time. There is stacks of stuff there that I can experiment with that I would never have thought of trying. I didnt even realise what effect panning would have on my recordings till Jomi commented that one of my songs didnt seem to be in stereo. Of course I have now realised how important it is to the finished product so thanks again. Some very interesting ideas for me there.

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starsailor    20

Hi Michael, good to see you around, I'm no expert either it always seems to be a learning curve this recording lark, I like messing around with panning it is a bit trial and error though, I've been surfing and gleaned some insights, when you're panning think of how a band is set up on stage, the Drummers dead centre, the singer's right in front of him or her and the lead guitarist is one side of the singer and the rhythmn guitarist is usually the other with the bass player out to the left or right a bit more and the other singers if there are any hang out in the background behind one of the guitarists, and the keyboard player if there is one usually hangs out to one side, I know the speakers are set up in different places but the positioning of the band members can act as a map for recording. Your main focal point if you don't have drums is your main guitar track and lead vocal and the rest is free to pan any way you want to, like Kidhaiti says you don't have to go hard left or right unless you want a particular sound to jump out at the listener but you don't want to leave a hole in the recording or make it too crowded either does take practice to get it right.

When panning it may be best to use you speaker monitors rather than your headphones as you'll get a better idea of what the finished product will sound like to you and to others, this though depends on where you're recording and if there are other people around who may go insane hearing the same song over and over again.

Check out some of Pink Floyd's music too, don't know if you like them or not but they are a good example of how to use Panning to great effect.

Just thought I'd post and float some ideas, hope this makes sense and helps you a bit.

All The Best

Chris

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Thanks Chris. The band on stage is sound idea. I have just this morning moved my speakers about a bit instead of having them in a pile in the corner. No one here will go insane now, we have been there for ages. All the best

Mike

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starsailor    20
Thanks Chris. The band on stage is sound idea. I have just this morning moved my speakers about a bit instead of having them in a pile in the corner. No one here will go insane now, we have been there for ages. All the best

Mike

Hi Mike, I had to move out of the house into another building with my music, it was like trying to record in the middle of a High Street as I was in the hall way, the Family got a bit fed up with me playing songs over and over too so retreat seemed a sensible option.

If you need any feedback you can always post a take and the Techs. will be able to help if there's anything you're not sure about.

Look forward to hearing your song Mike, haven't done much recording in the last few Months but I'm getting back into it now after enjoying a break.

Cheers

Chris

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Tekker    1

Hey Michael,

As starsailor has already mentioned there really isn't any hard fast "rules", the key is just play around with it and see what sounds good.

I don't know what your three guitar parts are, so for now I'll assume it's two rhythms and a lead. What I would likely do in that case is pan the two rhythm guitars hard right/left (I love that W-I-D-E guitar sound) and put the lead right down the middle.

Then if you have a lead vocal and a harmony vocal, there are a couple things I would try. One would be put them both down the center. But another thing I would try is putting the lead down the center and use a delay effect to psuedo-stereo the harmony part. I use Voxengo Audio Delay (freebie), but I just checked and it has been discontinued. :( The Audio Delay has been combined it into another free plugin called Sound Delay, but it doesn't appear to let you set different delay times for the right/left channels, which is exactly what I use it for... But I found another download link for the Audio Delay plugin here:

RapidShare: 1-CLICK Web hosting - Easy Filehosting

What I do is set one of the channels to 0000.00 and typically set the other to 0024.00, which delays one channel by 24 ms. But play around with these as adding different amounts of delay will change the sound.

So give that a try and see what you think. :)

-tkr

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Hi again Tecker. Thanks for the tips. I am playing about with it now and will be for some time. I will try all of these things that I think I am capable of but I dont think I have a good ear for panning or equalising. Or maybe it is inexperienced. I will probably be back for help.

All the best

Mike

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Tekker    1
I dont think I have a good ear for panning or equalising. Or maybe it is inexperienced.

Yep, the only way to gain an ear for it is to tweak, tweak, tweak... :D Get in there and turn some (virtual) knobs and see what it does to the sound. And remember to go back and listen to the original often and see if what you are doing is making an improvement or making things worse. lol

Often after spending hours tweaking and tweaking, I'll come back the next day after my ears have rested and listen to the original and my "mixed" version and wind up thinking the original sounds better... So then, you gotta start all over keeping in mind what didn't work the last time.

Also, load in some professional music (in a similar style to the song your are working on) into your project and then you can switch back and forth between your song and the professional song and try to see what sounds different about them. Then you will have a good guide as to how your song should sound and you can try to mix/EQ your song to sound similar.

It's just like anything, the more you do it, the better you'll get at it. So just keep at it and it'll come with time! :thumbup:

-tkr

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Dewy    0

I've been told by several folks that one should never master tracks the same day they are recorded. That you need a "refresh" of the head to be able to audibly view the pieces as a whole.

On panning... its not just left and right. Its also about Depth, which is achieves using reverbs, delays and presence (level and eqing).

One thing I think was a step in the right direction was thinking of the band on stage. But we need to take it a step farther in this day and age. Imagine the Video... imagine each part (track) coming onto and off the screen.

Guitar parts that are "durable", i.e. in the song the whole time, would be placed somewhere in the "mix" where the other parts can move around them and not collide... generally "to the back a bit" via presence, and left and right. Also can liven things up a bit to reverse pan them at breaks to "shake things up".

Lead guitar, or "licks and fills" can actually come in and out, be hard left once and somewhere else next time. It can come onto the stage from the back (again with presence and delays) and move full center, then exit stage left as the bit ends.

Lead Vocals should be up front... but here I actually like to imagine yourself in a car listening. If you could pan the singer to be right in the drivers seat for the majority of the song... and the harmony in the back seat... it'd be perfect to my ear every time.

How to achieve that of course is what separates every home recording to something mastered by Mutt Lange.

Some of the "depth" achieved is by setting mics at difference distances from the original source during recording. Then during mixdown you have "choices" that are not muddied by delays. The piano track can literally sound like its down the hall... or right beside you.

So How to Pan is one of the unanswerable questions... or should I say infinitely answerable?

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Yeah, I can see that you can make a career of sound. Many do. I am nowhere near bringing sound forward or pushing it back. Left and right are puzzling enough. I have been messing around and have learned a few things from the info posted here. My recording is better than it was a few days ago there is no doubt. Whether it will ever get much better than this remains to be seen. But interesting stuff for all that.

Mike

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scotty_b    16
Yeah, I can see that you can make a career of sound. Many do. I am nowhere near bringing sound forward or pushing it back. Left and right are puzzling enough. I have been messing around and have learned a few things from the info posted here. My recording is better than it was a few days ago there is no doubt. Whether it will ever get much better than this remains to be seen. But interesting stuff for all that.

Mike

Yes it can improve! My recordings are much, much better than when I started out. I have done a heck of a lot of reading, experimenting, and actual recordings to get to where I am at, and always feel there is more to learn. But it is an ongoing process. There are lots of sites on the net, some good, some not so good. And as with anything to do with music, a lot of very definite opinions presented as 'fact'. You need to decide what you are happy to achieve for yourself and not worry about other people.

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You are of course right Scotty. When I look back just a short time I am astounded at how ignorant I was. How could I have been so ignorant without even knowing it? I hope that in a month or so I shall look back to where I am now and wonder the same thing. Hope so,

Mike

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sheraton    20

listening to recordings of similar style artists/bands is a good ploy.

using headphones will make it easier to place different parts.

when mixing your own stuff be sure to use speakers ,as a good mix (panning levels etc.) through headphones won't always sound good through speakers, but a good mix through speakers will generally sound good through headphones.

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solidwalnut    5

You are so right! There are so many articles and stories about how to do it. I guess there's nothing like diving in and building on your experiences. Me, I'm such a visual learner that I have to understand how there's room for all of the audio on a physical stage...yah, I mean the instruments in a live band, but I also mean room for all of the different audio components to be heard and in the right amounts for what's intended.

It's all so subjective as to how you want to get things sounding like you do. But it's sort of good to get a handle on the ways of the road so you can navigate like you want to!

Anyway, I wrote a series of articles on mixing here at GfB&B if you're interested:

Tips for Audio Mixing: Overview

Have a good one,

Steve

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Daktari    0

Hi there,

Please realize that I still regard myself as a novice in the world of home recording but for what it's worth, here's my take on the panning thing.

I record almost every part in stereo. The way the Boss recorder is set up is 50% left and 50% right. If both sides are set to 50, that would place the sound source bang in the centre but would allow any stereo fx applied to do their thing in the full 100% stereo field. This is usually how I have the vocal set up, or maybe just off centre.

When it comes to placing different guitar sounds, I simply subtract from one side. For example: starting with both sides at 50%, if I now set the right side to 25%, this means that now the guitar sound will appear to be placed 75% to the left together with it's fx.

I think the key thing is to aim for good separation and a rough balance so that no sound or frequency is competing for the same space in the stereo picture.

I do sometimes record a sound in complete mono but this is usually when I want a complete dry sound which is really another effect in itself and can stand out real strong if all the other stuff is treated in some way.

Just a beginners observations and quirky technique I guess.

Gordon.:)

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