i am currently struggling with panning a bit, mostly in drum n bass but i would love to hear your opinions of any music.
firstly, i know i should be panning some sounds pretty hard to the side, but when i pan them too hard it doesnt sound right. how far do you pan what sounds?
it feels like im panning things unnaturally, but maybe im listening too hard?
secondly, from what ive read it seems that drums and bass tend to stay pretty much centre in the mix. this is all good, but with drum n bass the drums and the bass is the majority of the track!
if i have other sounds only happening every now and then, or only one at a time, it sounds un-balanced if i pan those "extra" sounds to one side. also i might have sound X panned left, sound Y panned equally right, both those sounds happen about the same time so it sounds ok, then sound Y will happen next to sound Z, so i will pan that equally left, but then when sound Z happens next to sound X it all sounds un-balanced. how much panning automation do you use in this case? is it really practical to automate so much panning?
i have tried panning my hats to the sides slightly, but any more than about 20% to one side sounds wrong.
I always try and picture myself in front of the music, if the music were a physical thing.
It kind of depends on what you're going for. I personally go by ear and rarely do any extreme panning. I stay within 25% most of the time. You can experiment with reverb though and say, have something hit on the left side and echo on the right...
Panning, in my opinion, is just another tool to express yourself. I don't know of many hard,fast rules. I mean, I always center my bass and kick though...
Don't over think it. If something is panned too much or too little, it'll bother you when you're listening to your mix and you'll fix it
but panning stuff as hard as possible is essential in todays music, since you need so much space in the mix^.
however youre right that in "normal" dnb, i only would pan the high stuff, fx, risers, sweeps etc.
and, i also used to "overpan" my stuff, but now i tend to keep it under 30-40% (exept short sweeps from one to the other side)
so your highhats are swiching sides ?, i would kep them centered and widen there general stereo image.
so it seems that im on the right track when only panning minimally.
by sound X,Y,Z, i was referring to other sounds, not hats, but as for hats, i have tried having my hats switching sides (two different hats, not automated), but it doesnt tend to sound right if i pan more than 10-15%. i will usually pan them the same side, but then i end up with the mix being unbalanced again, and balancing it by panning other sounds to the opposite side does not really work
I noticed I get better results when the panning is modulated.
So instead of having a hi hat panned 20% left, I give it a little modulation, so it moves ever so slightly.
If I ever have anything hardpanned to a side, it never stays there, the extreme sides are either ending or starting points
I rarely find panning some drums more than 20% or 30%, but I think there is no a fixed rule for panning,
Somebody have hear some tracks of the Beatles where the drums are panned completely on the left? For example Good Morning Good Morning
For the most part, when I pan, I pan hard left or right unless it's to fix an unbalanced sound that I want in the middle. I used to think that everything sounded wrong if I panned it too hard but I just recently realized why that is. If you do your panning in the production stage chances are you're going to be unbalancing the track. If, however, you wait till mixdown to pan you'll notice that you can pull a lot more space out of your mix by panning hard to either side and you'll know when you can get away with it by having another element of the track to balance it out. This style of mixing, called LCR mixing, has largely fallen out of vogue in modern music but go back to listen to some classic rock and you'll hear it all over the place. Give it a shot in some of your mixes. If you like it, use it otherwise don't.
For the most part, when I pan, I pan hard left or right unless it's to fix an unbalanced sound that I want in the middle. I used to think that everything sounded wrong if I panned it too hard but I just recently realized why that is. If you do your panning in the production stage chances are you're going to be unbalancing the track. If, however, you wait till mixdown to pan you'll notice that you can pull a lot more space out of your mix by panning hard to either side and you'll know when you can get away with it by having another element of the track to balance it out.
Ehh, this is more or less what I do, at least I wait until EVERYTHING is done in mono, then I pan everything, just to give it more space, and make everything not sound so mushed together. Panning in stereo WILL make anything sound better, but wait until you have exactly what you want first. At least, this is what I do, unless Im trying to make an effect or something (quick auto-panning, "swinging" a sidechained bass left and right, etc).
Im not a fan of hard panning if not used for effects though, which is strange since I grew up on a gameboy tracker DAW, which only could do mono, 100% left or 100% right. Most of the time I pan things like 5-10% left and right... To be honest, I dont even know what Im trying to do with the panning most of the time, I just keep panning until it sounds more clear, I dont even think of my songs as stereo, more like mono with space.
Now that I say all this, I dont even know why Im posting, I really have no clue when it comes to good panning, just wanted to throw my technique out there I guess
My newest track will always be in my signature "Wanderlust Sampling Adventures":
For me, I usually pan based on music placement as well as activity. Let's say if a bunch of 16th stacato notes were placed in one beat in a piano roll, I'd pan each note back and forth between the left and the right speakers to give it more presence and make it seem like an active track. If a track has more groove to it, I'd sometimes pan from left to right slowly while the groove is building or vice versa.
As for effects, I can't really give you tooooooo much help because I'm a noob with panning.
But I will say that panning your drums will help you get some more room. One thing Steve Albini did during mixing was to pan the drumset according to what he imagined the drummer would hear. Hats farther left (right hand drummer in this case), bass drum center, snare center, one tom farther left, one farther right, lowtom harder right, I could go on but you get the idea.
Maybe this will help you pan your sounds out better? Just trying to help instead of ask retarded questions on this forum for once, haha.
Edit: one things that's rad to do and makes hard panning sound less weird is to pan a sound (especially if it's just a note or two or a one-shot sample) to an extreme side and fade it out. Sounds way more intentional, and I dunno maybe it'll help you out.
Usually, the higher pitched a sound is, the wider it can get. So hi-hats are often panned to the sides. They can either be panned or spread. When panned to the left, it's nice to have another high-pitched sound panned right.
Another cool trick is to pan a sound to the right, but have the reverb on that sound panned to the left. This way the sound feels more natural. IRL a snare hit from the right will most likely bounce off a wall on the left.
Another fun thing to do with panning is have it follow either the filter or amplitude modulation. If I have a "filler" sound that has a slowly opening filter, I'll often pan it hard to one side and bring it into the middle as it opens up. Makes it feel almost as if the sound is closing in on you.
I don't pan my main kick and snare (or my bass lines) but use panning a lot on other percussive sounds. A little bit of panning can go a long way at the mix down stage. I try and balance things out, so if I pan some closed hats slightly right, I'll pan my open hats left.
Don't forget that things like delay, reverb and a long attack will pull sounds back in a mix. less (or no reverb) and a sharp attack pull things forward.
I know what you mean about DnB (and breaks) all having sounds in the same frequency range, I'll use really selective eq boosts and cuts (boost a freq on one sound, cut on the other) with panning to help things stand out.
instead of panning, i spatialize, i found waves shuffler is doing a great job on frequencies above 300hz. i almost never panned a whole track on a fixed position, leslies and variants (naturally) are prone to being panned, that is, being slowly aoutopanned over half or a third of the bar
BD --> stays in the middle
Bass --> stays in the middle
Vocals --> if lead vocals then also in the middle
Overheads --> not so far from the middle
everything else can be panned as you wish. But I would not recommend hard panning. I do not more than 30l and 30r.