Help panning

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by silentandcliche, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone. I'm new to the site so I have tried searching around and I don't believe there is a thread that covers my question exactly but if there is, or if this is in the wrong section, I apologize.

    I would also like to say that I am a newb and I realize that every recording is case specific and that there is no 100% correct answer. All I am looking for is some suggestions, ideas and maybe what has worked for you. Since I am new to this, please spare me the technical jargon. The simpler you make it, the better.

    I believe the main problem I'm having with my most recent recording is panning. I am trying to get my vocals to sound as though they sit in front of the guitar. It is a pretty simple acoustic guitar, bass and vocal set up. A good example of what I'm trying to do is Damien Rice's "Elephant". I have tried numerous things including doubling the guitar tracks and placing one all the way to the right and one all the way to the left while leaving the bass and vocals pretty much in the middle and everything in between but it still just isn't getting the sound I want. Obviously I know 1. I'm not Damien Rice so my stuff is never going to sound like him so please don't take this as me saying that I'm trying to be Damien Rice Jr. or something; 2. I'm doing this at home and my equipment isn't exactly what you would call first class. But I still think I can get better results. I'm using sonar producer 8 so anyone familiar with that will obviously be a great help.

    On the other hand, I am also curious about possibly doing more of an Elliott smith sound with doubling the voice tracks. I know that both of these options are kind of at opposite ends of the spectrum because Damien obviously leads with his voice while Elliott kind of uses his as another instrument but, I like both and am still trying to find my "sound" for recording, so I'm trying to stay pretty open-minded about it all.

    To get a better idea of my sound, here's a link to my myspace with our older recordings that might give you an idea of what you think would be a better fit for us. If someone wants to hear the actual recording in question, let me know and I will send it to you. It's going to be redone because I've been rethinking how I'm doing the micing and a couple of other little things but I don't have a problem letting someone listen if they want.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Damn, was my post that bad? 155 views and no comments.
  3. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Yeah, it happens sometimes. It's a good post. Just not a lot of advise to give on the subject probably.

    Unless you're doing surround, panning is fairly straight forward.
    Only when phase becomes an issue (either as an anomaly or purposefully) does panning become an issue.

    Perhaps the problem is not panning. The clarity of the recording seems to be it's weakest link so far,which might make the panning seem less localized.
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    This is a mastering forum and you should be posting your question over at the pro recording forum. That is probably why no one is answering your question.
  5. Thank you both for your input.

    Natural - I can definitely see what you are saying with the clarity. I really agree that it is our biggest problem with our older stuff. The problem I'm finding now is that we've cleaned the sound up in our new stuff and the panning still isn't sounding localized enough for me. But with that said, I could always use advice on how to possibly fix the "clarity issue" because it could always use improvement.

    Thomas W. Bethel - My apologies, I was under the impression that panning was part of mastering. I will gladly fix this however I can. Do I simply just need to repost this in the pro recording forum or is there a way to move this entire thread? Please let me know and I will happily take care of it.

    Thank you both again,

    P.S. Thank you to whoever moved this.
  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Doubling and then panning the tracks won't do much if you don't do something slightly different with each panned track. You'll still have the same exact track coming from both speakers at the same time...just like mono.

    You could try a few different things to experiment. But, the first thing I would do is take care of the levels. I could barely hear the tune with my volume set as normal, and after I turned it up, and you kicked it BLASTED OUT in a startling way. That doesn't mean to squash it to death with compression or something so there are no dynamics at all, but it shouldn't be that varied.

    You may try a very short delay (or slide the track slightly) to one doubled guitar tack, panned opposite. That'll be sterero, and open the middle. You could add very light stereo chorus. You could play with reverbs. You could EQ both guitar tracks slightly differently. You could EQ the guitar/vocal to stay out of each others' way a bit. You could create a third copied track, and EQ out above a certain frequency so it sits "lows" panned in the center, and then EQ out slightly BELOW that frequency on the two separated tracks to add effects to the mids/hi's to create an interesting stereo spread. Add some compression to get the bassier part to ride below your vocal, and let the stereo sides run wild. You could double the guitar part by playing along with it. You could try more than one of any combination of any of the above.

    Play around with it. It's just that identical left and right tracks are essentially mono, so they come back to center, unless one side is louder than the other. Then, it's still mono, but panned more left or right. Which is fine, if something else is on the opposite side. Unless you're doing early Beatles techniques. Then just put the music left, and the vocals right.


  7. Thank you! That was very helpful. You gave me a lot of information and I will be trying it all! I may have some questions about the more technical stuff but if I do, I'll just PM you if that's cool. Thanks again Kapt.Krunch!

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