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Thread: How do you pan your tracks?

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    BluesPower is offline Newbie
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    How do you pan your tracks?

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    Is there a tried and tested pan position you stick to for bass/drums/guitar/vocals, or do you change it depending on the song?

    I usually put Vocals and drums at 12 o'clock, Bass 9 o'clock, and guitar at 3 o'clock. Seem like these are the best positions I can come up with.

    I haven't experimented with more than 4 tracks or overdubbed instruments.
    Do you pan your overdubbed guitar parts and bass parts together in the same position, or change them around?

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    Cyrokk's Avatar
    Cyrokk is offline Farce of Nature
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    I pretty much pan everything the same with every mix:

    1. Hi-hat to about 8:00
    2. Rides and other aux cymbals between 8 and 10
    3. Crash cymbals around 10 and 2
    4. Snare slightly off center
    5. Toms at 8 and 4

    Lunch at noon

    6. Kick and bass straight up the center
    7. Guitars at 9 and 3
    8. Vocals slightly off center
    9. Back vocals and lead guitars a little more off center
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    Blue Bear Sound's Avatar
    Blue Bear Sound is offline Don't feed the bear......
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    Bass/kick/vocals are typically placed in the center of the soundstage... the placement of the other tracks can and do vary!!!
    [size=1][b]bruce valeriani
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    Ronan's Avatar
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    90% of the elements in my mixes are hard left, hard right or right up the center. If the drums are stereo I will pan out the overheads and pan the toms and hi hat to fit that image. Listen to almost any big hit record in rock or pop from the last 40 years and you will see that they pan pretty extreme as well.

    The most important thing to keep dead center is kick and bass.
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    mrface2112 is offline Why 2K?
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    the band i record the most has 2 guitarists and a harp player along with bass and drums. it took me a while to find a mixing solution that made sense and didn't turn everything into mush.

    bass, kick, snare, lead vocals and lead guitar all go in the middle. drums are pretty widely panned (i've got a big kit ). rhythm guitar goes on the right and harp goes on the left.

    why lead guitar in the middle and not harp instead? b/c harp and the rhythm guitar both play more or less supporting roles rather than lead ones. putting the lead guitar to one side really made the mixes sound unbalanced. when there's a harp solo, it comes through plenty clear on the left, and with judicious compression on the rhythm guitar on the right, everything's got its own nicely carved out space.


    with other bands, obviously, it'll differ. generally, though, kick, snare, lead vocals and bass all go in the middle.......everything else will and can be up for grabs. sometimes, though, it's fun to pan things "weirdly"--listen to Abbey Road......on some tunes the bass is on the left and the drums are on the right.


    cheers,
    wade

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    mrface2112 is offline Why 2K?
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    << Listen to almost any big hit record in rock or pop from the last 40 years and you will see that they pan pretty extreme as well. >>

    there's definitely truth in this, and IMO, it's due to two things. first, and it's not the case as much these days, but a lot of the early mixing boards (as we know them) were mono, and on those that weren't mono you didn't necessarily have pan *knobs*, but rather buttons for left, right and center. so you either panned hard, or you didn't pan at all. there was none of this "10 and 2" stuff that we talk about these days.

    secondly, hard panning can sometimes help you maintain mono compatibility--that's something that's lost on a lot of home recorders. a lot of times what seems to be a beautifully lush stereo mix can easily be reduced to absolute crap when thrown into mono. hard panning won't solve this problem for you or make everything instantly mono-compatible, but it can sure help. at least, it can in my experience.


    wade

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    I put anything that is to hold the low end in the center always. Anything that is the foundation of the song I will have centered--even if that involves "balancing" multi-tracked guitars at 3:00, 9:00, 10:00 and 2:00 respectively.

    I try to avoid getting too wide of a stereo image on drums unless I'm working with electronic drums/drum machines/samples in an industrial format (stereo tricks are the norm for that genre).

    I tend to place drums the "British" way--which is how the drummer would hear them: high hat left, high tom to low tom going left to right, etc.... I grew up on a lot of British Invasion bands as a little kid so that's the only way drums sound right to me... plus I play drums myself. It just seems more natural to me.

    So for me:

    Kick - center

    Snare - center

    Toms - typically set from high to low tom (assuming 3 tom set) 10:00, 1:00, 2:00

    Overheads - generally L side at 9:00 and R side at 3:00 (but reversed the Brit way)

    High Hat - typically about 9:00 to combat some bleed into the overheads to give it stereo placement

    Bass (guitar or synth) - center

    Guitars - balanced out with either multiple tracks or possibly synths--I don't like to favor a stereo side for melodic instruments

    Synth - depends what it is doing... the more fundemental to the song the closer to center I place things, or balance them out with a double

    Vocals - center

    Backing vocals - usually around 10:00 or 2:00

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    BluesPower is offline Newbie
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    Interesting. Seems like I should be putting the bass in the center, since most of you recommend it. I will try this when I start working with more than 4 tracks.
    Right now, i got drums/vocals in the center, so something has to be left and right too, this being the guitar and bass.

    As far as panning each drum piece in a different place, sounds like there are many cool possibilities. Does anyone ever pan all the drum pieces in the same place to have it sound like a complete drum kit in one place, maybe heard as if you were listening from a distance, as opposed to the the stereo sound of being right in the middle of it?

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    I noticed a lot of you pan your drums from drummers perspective...reasons why? I like audience perspective since that's how the listener usually listens to a live group, and that's what I like to try and recreate. Comments?

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    Blue Bear Sound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bennychico11
    I noticed a lot of you pan your drums from drummers perspective...reasons why? I like audience perspective since that's how the listener usually listens to a live group, and that's what I like to try and recreate. Comments?
    Unless the producer or a band leader has a specific preference, I tend towards audience perspective as well... often-times, the band doesn't hear the difference until you point it out anyways.....
    [size=1][b]bruce valeriani
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