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How should I pan my instruments?

 
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Jagtornado
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Joined: 16 Jun 2015
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 2:33 pm    Post subject: How should I pan my instruments? Reply with quote

Hi guys,

I wonder how I should pan the different instruments when recording. Firts I make the foundation of a song on a hardware sequencer. What I record in the sequencer are mostly: drums, bassguitar, piano/organ and strings.

Then I make a stereo mix on my Boss Br-600 eight track digital recorder. And on the remaining tracks I record guitars and vocals.

How should I pan the instruments so every instrument can be heard properly I wonder.

Cheers.
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Freddy V-C
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Joined: 17 May 2009
Posts: 3627
Location: Leeds

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a general rule of thumb, you'd have your kick, snare, bass and lead vocal panned central. Then say for example you had two guitars, a piano and a programmed hi-hat, you could pan the guitars 100% left and right, the hi-hat 50% left and the piano 50% right, that would give you some vague symmetry across the stereo field.

But really there is no 'correct' way of panning things, I would say do what you think sounds good!

Having a clear mix isn't just about panning, it's also a case of EQing things effectively and so on. So you could take some low end out of the guitars to make sure the bass gets heard. You could add some highs to the kick drum so that it cuts through, but take out a bunch of the mids to make room for your snare drum.
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Doog
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Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 17570
Location: London

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, EQ is as important as panning, if not moreso. It might sound great and balanced on headphones, where there's a very strong stereo image, but in a room with a set of speakers that aren't so far apart? Messville.

The way I see it is if things work together (ie, kick drum and bass guitar) it makes sense to keep them close to each other, likely central.

I don't like to pan vocal harmonies apart too much because you don't get the nice 'interplay' of them overlapping, but say if you've got one rhythm guitar and one lead guitar, best give 'em space so they're not fighting it out too much.

Often organ/strings from a synth etc will be a stereo track, typically emulating the left-right layout of the piano, or just spread-out for a bit of definition. Mushing them onto mono tracks on your BR-600 might make everything a bit flatter sounding, but I guess it'll make mixing them easier.

Like Freddy says, there's no formula for this stuff. Listen to some records of similar set-ups and get an idea, paying attention to where they sit in the mix.
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Jagtornado
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Joined: 16 Jun 2015
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply guys. Now I have something I can use as a starting point instead of groping in the dark. I am a creative guy but i don't want to re-invent the wheel. Cheers.
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dezb1
The Oppressor


Joined: 01 Mar 2009
Posts: 6365
Location: glasgow

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fuck stereo all the best records are mono...
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