recording - pan laws

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by jmm22, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    ...made me wonder what others are doing with their pan settings. I just finished reading the section on pan laws in Roey Izhaki's book Mixing Audio. He indicates the main pan laws are -0 -3 -4.5 and -6dB, and explains that for most stereo mixing, -3dB is probably what we are looking for, but I am always curious about rogue values and settings, and the people who might use them. Another interesting thing is Cubase has (in addition to the values already mentioned) another (default) value called equal power, which claims to maintain equal power regardless of pan position. I have just started experimenting with settings other than equal power, but I have not come to any conclusion.

    So, are there any rebels out there using something other than -3dB, and if so, why? I am also curious to know if any analog mixing boards have selectable pan laws. I trust that if there are, the numbers are relatively small. And perhaps to expand the core idea of spatial placement of sounds, do any of you regularly the Haas trick as a tool? What about phase or time adjustments to one side of a stereo track? My early experiments indicate that changing phase and time even in the smallest amounts can have a profound effect on location.
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    Everything you do to the stereo interleave affects the phase and timing. IMO it is best to pick your version of center setting and then forget about it.
  3. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    -3 is logical. Twice the power will raise your level by 3db. So when you pan to the center, you want the volume to come down 3db so that it sounds the same in the center as it does on the sides. How your mixer deals with mono, stereo, and summed mono tracks, will dictate the use of the other values.

    I used to use the Haas trick for dealing with stereo toms, it works ok, but the amount of time it takes to set it up didn't seem to be worth the benefit. I now pan the toms less and use SideChained compression more. Easier to set up, better results.
  4. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Perhaps -3 is logical, but I remain curious about the other values, even if just because they exist. Somewhere in the evolution of the recording arts, these other values found their way into mixing boards and DAW's, so one assumes there is a purpose to them, and that they are used from time to time. But I can see the logic of finding a particular setting and maintaining that setting not only for one project, but perhaps as ones own standard pan law.
  5. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Well, it's going to depend on your application. Like all things artsy, you can use tools to make things sound natural or you can use the same tools as an effect.
    If you pan something across the stereo field, using the -4.5 or -6 will further enhance the stereo effect. Only the -3 will give you something close to what happens naturally when you move from one side of a stage to the other.
    Others will argue that the math doesn't quite reflect what happens in the real world and so the -4.5 is used as a compromise in those cases.

    OTOH If you're taking stereo mixes and folding them down to mono, and playing them along side other mixes that were originally done in mono, then your stereo to mono mixes will be about 6db louder than the strictly mono mixes. So that's a different use for that tool.

    The subject can easily get long winded with history, nomenclature, exceptions to the rule, and old habits that have changed over time. But I like to keep these answers short when possible.

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