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Stereo Pair Pan Starting Point

Member for

21 years 3 months
Does anyone have a rule of thumb for first pan setting at mixdown? I've tried several mic setups XY, ORTF, and Spaced Pair but I'm yet to figure a valid start point. Either I've overlooked the pan start points or it's in none of the reading I've done.

I am also fighting reflective room where I've used these setups. I do not yet have a figure 8 mic or pair to try blumlen or MS. If it were a good acoustic space I may have found the answers on my own.

Working in a bad environment and trying to learn makes learning difficult!


Member for

20 years 5 months

audiowkstation Thu, 12/26/2002 - 14:12
How many tracks?

What instruments?

If you give me specifics as to what instrument, I can help with the pan points I find tasty..but really without hearing the track, it can be hard to guess.

I will say this for a start.

Look at positions as the dial of a normal analog clock. 12 hr clock X2..(not military time)

Kick 12
Bass line 12
snare 1245 or 1115
hat. 830 or 330
overheads 2 mics 7 and 5

toms 10 or 2
Floor tom 8 or 4
guitar 3 or 9
shakers, triangles tamborines 430 or 730

is this working for you???

More info please./

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Thu, 12/26/2002 - 14:28
Are you talking about drum overheads? I kinda get that impression. If so, I would suggest that the mics would be the first step, which ones, and then the type of set .. the big key being how consistant the dynamics are on the drummers end. The "same" mic positions for drums do not apply exactly due to the highly inconsistant combinations of set, tuning of the set, drums, and cymbals .. drummer to drummer. Also, if you are to combine a mic for each drum in the end, your choice for overheads may differ as well.

As for paning in general... I think the advise above is a good start. Let us know some specifics of one or more sessions that have presented problems .. not that any of us have ever seen sessions with problems... ! :)

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Thu, 12/26/2002 - 16:59
Sorry, I guess I left out one of the most important details. What I'm having that problem with is a 20 odd member contemporary choir. As for mics I've tried several but out of my small closet keep going back to AT 4033, probably not the best choice just what's available.
I got carried away with other details and left out an important detail. I have not done drums except using a spaced pair and not had a real problem there finding my pan. There I usually have to rely on a D112, sm57, and either pair of 57 or 4033's again useing what's available. Planning on small dia. cond. pair soon maybe akg451, Neuman 18x, or rode NT5 for overheads. I'm just trying to make up my mind on those to buy wisely so I'm not stuck with one trick poney until closet grows more. (I know I said I have D112 above but I needed low end that was reputable first.)

Member for

20 years 5 months

audiowkstation Thu, 12/26/2002 - 17:07
Proper for choir is faily close spaced microphones (16inches) pointed at 1/3 and 2/3 and use a widest Pan of 630- 530

If you hear a hole in the middle, adjust angle inward ever so slightly until it is a solid picture or wall of sound. Do the distance at 15 feet and add plenty of 160 down to compresate for loss of priximity effect. Also be carefull of female SSSSSSSS it tends to grow annoying. Roll off the 13K if needed on post production. Add 4 K to make up for it and use the 90 hZ up and down quite a bit (sweep it and find the spot) to get the male body. Watch the 630hZ. That is where phase problems from multiple distances from mouths to mic cause phase slash and hashing effects.

Make it distant and close at the same time

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Fri, 12/27/2002 - 14:01
Yikes! These rwenty great voices are on a stage, in a room, in a semi-circle.. on platforms of different levels?
I think Bill's got a good starting point, and my only addition would be to listen carefully to them in the room, find an area where you can hear everything well, then see if that same position, in front or above them looking down a bit, works as bill suggested .. what I'm trying to say, is don't just dump them dead center and live with that .. I'd mic them from a couple of different locations, carefully mark down your settings, and distances, make a drawing, and take a photo .. then listen back .. if you have that option during a rehearsal.. go for it, you'll learn a bunch and have some pluasable options.

I did a session where I had:
Timpanis, trombones, saxes, clarinets, tuba, french horns, flutes, and oboe all at one sitting. I don't think it could have been worse, I'd never done anything like that.
I chose to place them in a circle, the timpani outside and back a bit from the circle. They were all sitting down, so I placed two AKG-451's in an X/Y overhead, pointing downward, and then placed a Lawson L-47 in the middle about seat height in omni. I got lucky, and you could very clearly hear everyone with no overpowering. I did mess with the overhead exact placement a bit and same with the low placed omni so they balanced... really quite lucky. The point being I couldn't hear them well as I walked around until I was inside the circle.

edited part: mixdown:
oops .. multed the 2 tracks of akg's so that two tracks were panned hard left and hard right, and the other two were in that 10:00 / 2:00 area, with the omni tcak dead center, and multed as well in the mix to two more tracks to add just a breath of bottom, panned however it sounded well .. yep a mono signal going three ways .. center and L/R panned to taste.

Member for

20 years 5 months

audiowkstation Fri, 12/27/2002 - 14:14
When I do large scale wind symphonies, I use 5 microphones to mix later. 7 are actually going to multitrack. Flat eq settings. Noise floor at -82dB

2 pairs of B&K 3529 and a RE 20

I take one set of main mics left and right of the conductor pointing forward at 6 feet, the other (3&4) matched set goes wide in same configuration, close to the edge of the stage and the RE 20 pointing strait up, behind the tubas.

Then the mix

I mix with Front main 7-5 the outside pair is 930-230 and the bass is where they are seated..usually 2 to 3 o'clock.

I also have 2 more mics (scholps) at the 5 row for blend but do not mix those, I use them as a blend reference for my 5 track mix.

It is killer!

Best I have ever heard really...and I have 95% of the Telarcs.

Member for

21 years 3 months

archived member Sat, 12/28/2002 - 04:18
You guys have jumped on my topic and I really thank you for that. One of you was posting while I corrected and added to my post.

Maybe my pan setting was not that bad after all. I've done some rough work with the eq settings mentioned above but need to play with Q and tune on center of the 630 suggestion some more. The prox setting is also a very good idea to me. I'll just have to work out my ear based on your recomendations there.

I guess my problem may be the reflections and the available space. My tapes are being made in that choir's environment by all means not my choice. The angle of mics stage coverage is by nature of the room kind of wide. Choir is on three levels of parallel straight across riser with about a normal step elevation difference. Walls are textured plaster except for large electronic organ speaker cab on rear wall. Most all selections are performed by this group using piano placed on one extreme end to the 90 deg to left of only place to place main mics.
I'm beginning to believe, based on your input and what I've tried, my sole problem is the reflectiveness of the space and I have no control of that directly. One of you commented about using pair pointed downward and in another place a low pair. I think that using the group itself as acoustic dampening my be what I need to try. I'm trying to place a starting point. Both of the ideas above sound good. I'll also make a real newbee comment I do not hear the reflections in the space as much as the mics do, that may be ear level vs mic level.

Also is there a possibility that even though I do not compress to the digital recorder (plenty headroom left also because this group has a BIG dynamic range) that I'm getting some sort of thing like analog tape compression. With compression, if it does exist, the incident sound would be reduced and reflected a few miliseconds lagging really jump out at you. I know that I've not read anything like this, it's just a left field thought. (This may be reserved for another topic though that could make some interesting discussion)

Would I gain by trying a pair of small dynamics like an sm57 or maybe small cond. pair Crown CM 200. I know these are particular mics that each have their own color but they are what's currently available. I didn't mention CM 200 in above post because it's not mine and it's only available from that location so I did not remember it being available.

Thanks again you've both dirctly and indirectly given me a lot of ideas.

Member for

19 years 8 months

sdevino Sat, 12/28/2002 - 10:14
If you are doing just choir I personally believe that less is more.

2 Mics placed so the mix is right going to tape or HD should do the trick. If you set up a stereo pair than you should leave it as stereo as you can (hard left and right) and make only minor adjustments per bill's suggestion above.

The thing I don't think I would do is try very hard to correct for the room in mix. Rather I would try really hard to get the best miced sound from the original setup. In the end the choir is mostly interested in hearing what they sounded like. IF you mess with the room acoustics via mix treatment you will certainly be making a bigger effect on the vocal sound than the room. This is a tradeoff I would choose not to make.

My personal favorite mic setup for a small choir like this is 2 Earthworks small diaphragm omnis in either XY, ORTF or spaced pair. Same for overheads on drums, I almost exclusively use Earthworks omni small diaphragms for overheads in a spaced pair. IMO they sound much much better than the KM184 (more natural , less spitty high end) and their pattern accuracy gives you an incredibly natural sounding sound field.

I use my KM184's when I want something bright and a little noisy, I use the Earthworks when I want something to sound real or intimate. YMMV.

Have fun,