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78: How To Use Panning To Get Wide, Exciting And Balanced Mixes

78: How To Use Panning To Get Wide, Exciting And Balanced Mixes

Right after balancing, which we've covered in episode 75, panning is the second most important thing you need to get right in your mixes. 

Again, this seems trivial but it's crucial to spend some time diving deeper into the subject. There's more to it than most people think.

There are no rules, but there are definitely best practices, proven techniques and a couple of different approaches that everyone should experiment with to fully understand the concept and idea behind panning.

And then there's the fun part: Beyond the basic stuff there are endless ways of using panning creatively to add excitement, movement and dynamics to your mixes.

Listen now, take notes and then figure out what works for you to give your songs exactly the width and clarity they need!

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This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB Podcast 078 (automatic transcript, not reviewed for mistakes)

[00:00:00] Benedikt: [00:00:00] All right. 

Malcom: [00:00:14] That is creative counting. 

Benedikt: [00:00:16] This is the self recording band podcast. The show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are, DIY style. Let's go.

Hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host Benedict Klein, and I'm here with my friend and co-host to Malcolm. Oh, and fled. How are you buddy? Hello. I'm great, man. How are you? Fantastic. Thank you. Despite one little thing that happened today, and that is my super expensive, but very nice apple wireless Bluetooth keyboard died.

No, 

Malcom: [00:00:52] I live in a very real fear of that house. Yeah, like, it's 

Benedikt: [00:00:57] that a big deal, but it kind of hurts if you spent [00:01:00] that like way too much money on a keyboard, but it died because I, it was my bad, like I spill coffee over two weeks ago, nothing happened and I thought I was fine and now fast forward two weeks, it died.

And I know it's from that, because those keys where I spilled the coffee over it, they were gone first and now it's like X up and yeah, it's trash. 

Malcom: [00:01:19] Okay. Well, that's, that's uh, definitely a huge bummer. I love my apple keyboard 

Benedikt: [00:01:24] too. 

Malcom: [00:01:26] I'm I'm, this is actually audio related. Believe it or not this conversation, because a lot of people buy the apple keyboard, especially pro tools users, because it's like the only keyboard that I can actually access is all of the ProTools shortcuts.

So I'm surprised for a Cubase user like yourself to be using an apple keyboard. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:01:43] And the reason is super practical because I'm just the type of person I know that it's like, I could probably get something decent for less money. And I, in fact, I tried it and I like the replacement that I bought was it is a larger tech that has the app layout and is also made from metal and some looks [00:02:00] similar, but it's a little too.

And like, I, I, and it has a backlight, which mine doesn't have like a, um, yeah. Light. Um, so I try this now, but the reason I always went with the apple ones was simply because I always use apple computers. I know how their keyboards feel. I know the layout, I know where everything is and I just don't want to learn something new.

Like whenever I I'm used to thing, I just think, okay, I can say 50 bucks maybe, but at the time it takes me to maybe, I don't know, reassign certain keys or learn a different layout or get used to something like, that's not worth it to me. I'd rather pay a premium and then just keep using what I'm used to and stay fast.

And that's the only reason why I just keep buying these apple things. That's why I 

Malcom: [00:02:44] keep buying protocols. 

Benedikt: [00:02:45] Yeah. Until we totally understand. But now, like this larger tech thing that I find. Looks to be pretty much the same. So I tried it, but it's going to go right back if it's not the same. Yep. 

Malcom: [00:02:56] Yep. Cool.

Well, I've heard good things about the logic tech stuff. So, [00:03:00] um, I think you're going to be in luck. I'm glad you found a replacement so quick. 

Benedikt: [00:03:05] Thank you. All right. Um, other than that, keep the banter short today because I listened back to our last episodes and we were talking about running for like five minutes.

Yeah. Which story? But I think people would maybe appreciate it if we would jump right in this time. Yeah. So before we do that, I want to tell you guys something that's also super valuable and that is if you go to the self-reporting bent.com/ten step guide, there is. Um, a PDF waiting for you, a free sort of mini ebook that walks you through, uh, all the steps from like writing, arranging, doing pre-pro recording demos to the final, uh, recording the actual recording session, uh, mixing mastering the whole process, breaks it down for you in 10 steps.

And I think it's a really, really good starting point and it's completely free and you can get it. If you go to the self recording band.com/ten step guide, nice, um, side [00:04:00] effect. If you do that, is that you will be part of our community, which means. I can keep you in the loop and I won't spam you of course, but I can send you cool stuff that only community members have access to like free workshops, free feedback sessions that we do with our crew.

Um, all sorts of free things, basically that I send out. So yeah, sign up for that. And you get the free guide and you will be on the list for that. If you don't enjoy that being on their list, just download the guide. I had an unsubscribe right afterwards. I don't have a problem with that. Just get the free thing.

Now let's get on to the episode. Yes. 

Malcom: [00:04:35] All right. What are we talking about? 

Benedikt: [00:04:38] Panning, panning. This seems pretty the trivial, but um, we wanted to dive more into mixing episodes. That's what we said. So, and we started with a basic balancing. Not long ago where we talked about getting the right volume balance, first of all, like getting your faders and you gain knobs and everything, um, to work together so that if you hit play, you hear a decent rough mix.

[00:05:00] And this time, the next step, or sort of part of balancing actually to me, is getting the pan, uh, the panning rate. Again, this seems like a very, very easy trivial thing to do, but you can actually do, um, you can make a lot of difference if with that. And it really, yeah, it's, it's just a really important part of the whole mix.

Like if you, you have to approach it strategically and there are certain things that we think are generally a good idea, although there are, there are no hard rules, but there are things that are best practices and then there are other uses for it that are totally creative. And that's what we're going to talk about.

Yeah, 

Malcom: [00:05:35] definitely. And if we think back to that, uh, balancing episode, we discovered as we talked yeah. That. Well, we were originally starting to talk about that in regards to mixing, it ended up being very much so relevant to recording, and I think this is no different, um, panning plays a big role into how you're going to end up arranging your song as you record it.

So you want to be on top of using these panning bouncing tricks to, [00:06:00] to kind of like stage your recording as you go. So it will be very relevant even if you don't plan to mix. 

Benedikt: [00:06:05] Absolutely. Yeah, totally. It will also help you just hear properly what you record, because things will just get out of the way. Um, if you do it correctly, as long as you're listening in stereo, Yeah.

Okay. So let's start. Um, okay. To me, like my approach to panning is pretty basic, pretty simple, like to the, the, like the basic stuff, like not the creative part. Um, and that is because I tend to use the LCR method or like LCR panning, which means there are three main positions for me and that is left center and right.

Yep. And everything goes to one of these three destinations, basically with a couple of exceptions. Um, that could be sometimes, sometimes I don't like to have my vocal doubles as wide that sometimes I bring those into like, but then if I do that, it's like 50% left and right. And like nothing like weird.

[00:07:00] Um, and sometimes it can be like, um, a subtle, like if I have wide rhythm guitars and then there's a pair of Okta or something, maybe I'll bring those in a little bit to 50 50 or so. Um, and then Tom's usually are a little bit in between it not a hundred percent left and right. But again, I don't like spend a lot of time figuring out the detailed pan positions.

It's either left right center or in the middle, between left right center or right in center. Yeah. Basically how I approach it. 

Malcom: [00:07:30] I read your notes for the episode today. Benny, I was like, this is, I could have written this it's there's, we're almost the parallel minds on most of this stuff, I think. Um, and I want to draw attention to the Tom thing because I think there's some mindset to be considered there and it's like, wow.

Okay. Why do people often a lot of people do what we do. We mix LCR left center. Right. That's pretty common. Um, but why do Tom's ended up not being like that? And it's because [00:08:00] of the stereo image of your drum kit. And if you have a stereo pair on drum kit, like your overheads or set of rooms or something, if you listen to those, your Tom's aren't hard pan right there.

They're going to fall into place of where they actually are in relation to those overheads or whatever your stereo mikes are. So normally we're matching that and you can push it further. You can use your close mix to create hard pan Toms if you want. Um, but in general, it's because we're kind of trying to match a stereo image that was recorded, um, where with guitars and stuff like that, which are recorded, you know, one at a time, not bleeding into a stereo image, um, Mike set up, then we have the freedom to put them wherever.

And then that's where LCR 

Benedikt: [00:08:41] comes in. Yes, agreed a hundred percent also. And that is a very personal thing. But to me, I like to perceive drums as one instrument. And what happens if you create like super white rums, like in a rock context, if you have like guitars hard left and right. And then you have the drums also like hard left and right.

Everything. It's it [00:09:00] doesn't, it's not like when I close my eyes and listen to something like that, I don't see a band anymore and I don't see a drum kit anymore. I see. Like, um, I heard another podcast house when host one's called it drums in space. Um, where that's exactly, exactly what it sounds like. You can hear individual shelves somewhere, but you don't hear the one drum kit.

And if you look at a Sage or whenever you're in a room with a drum kit, it's actually not left and right off your ears, it's right in front of you. The whole thing, there's a site slightly different, but actually a drum kit is pretty mano if you're in front of it. And to me, um, I'll enhance that a little bit on a record.

Like it's not really mano, but it's not super wide. Also. I like to have the guitars really wide and then the drums a little bit like, um, narrower. Yeah. And so that that's, that's that and yeah, I agree. Um, kind of trying to match whatever image you capturing in the room, mikes or overheads or anything like, yeah, totally.

Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:09:54] There's, there's a time and a place for, for everything. Of course. I would say everything we talk about in this episode is going to [00:10:00] be, uh, uh, uh, usually a situation, but not a law, you know? Um, it, it, we, we do break these rules all the time. Um, 

Benedikt: [00:10:08] yeah, but I, I'm curious if, uh, sort of sorry, before we go on, I just have to ask real quick.

I'm curious if you break that rule because I, I really don't, but maybe you do, like for me, kick snare bass and lead vocals are center at least 99% of the time. Like I know that there are records where this is not the case, but I can't remember the last time I broke that. Um, except, okay. Let let's say kick snare and lead vocal.

I do it for bass. If it's a three piece band that had one guitar and maybe distorted bass, that's sort of the second guitar as well, then. Pan them apart a little bit. That's the only exception. But other than that, like kick snare and vocals are definitely like, the vocals are definitely centered for me.

Malcom: [00:10:53] Yeah. I'd say 99.9% of the time. Yeah. Um, th the only exception being, [00:11:00] uh, like maybe there's a trippy vocal effect where the vocal, the lead vocal like starts off to the side and comes to the center, you know, if it's some kind of psychedelic song or something, but like, again, that's like that 0.01% of the time.

Um, very, very rare. Um, but on the, the Tom front, for example, with Toms would be matched to a more realistic image. That rule gets broken more than 1% of the time I would say for me. Um, and it changes within the song, which is something we're going to talk about a lot in this episode. Is that panning doesn't have to be static.

You can definitely dynamically shift it throughout the song to change the perceived width of the song. Um, and you could do that with drums, or you could do that with your guitars, with your backing vocals. Like you were just talking Benny, you could have them start narrower and get wider on the course.

Um, there's all sorts of cool things we can do to change how we perceive the song. 

Benedikt: [00:11:52] Yeah. A hundred percent. Um, I will say though, there's two approaches to that. Like when I let let's get [00:12:00] into automating depending or changing it from part to part. Cool. Um, when I do that, the one thing you could do, and one thing that I often do is for example, with the guitars that I take a pair of guitars or a pair of Cynthia, whatever.

And I'll bring them in on the verses maybe. And then, um, back out all the way on the, on the, the choruses to make them wider. So sometimes I grab individual elements and just bring them in a little bit in the verse and then make the chorus speaker, for example, but sometimes the more convenient way of doing it and it even works better sometimes, or it's like a more drastic of an effect is I just sometimes put, um, like an imaging plugin on my mixed bus, something where I can just adjust the width and then I will bring the whole mix in to say 80% or so in the verse.

And then back to a hundred you're original image in the choruses that will affect everything. And it's a more drastic effect, but sometimes that's all I need. And it's a very simple automation that you have to do. Then it's [00:13:00] just one instance of a plugin where you can adjust the width. And I don't use it to widen the mix beyond like a hundred.

I use it just to narrow it down in the, in the, in the verses. And sometimes the one thing is better than the other. Yeah, that's just how I approach it. And oftentimes it's just, it can be very tedious to automate every single instrument that you pan and like make it narrow and into the verses. And sometimes one single plugin on the mixed bus will 

Malcom: [00:13:23] do it.

Definitely, definitely. In fact, most of the times when I'm hoping for that effect of narrow versus wide course, it's normally not done in panning at all. It's normally done in the arrangement. There's like one guitar, you know, that I have to put somewhere. So it goes, you know, maybe at 50%, like you were saying, and then on the course there's doubles that I can hardpan.

And so much of panning is not panning. It's just arrangement. Um, I haven't tried the narrowing on the mix bus thing myself. I don't use wideners a lot, but I should maybe experiment with it. Give it a shot. 

Benedikt: [00:13:57] Yeah. Yeah. I, I [00:14:00] was hesitant to do it for a long time because it's, it's, it's a drastic effect and it's easy to overdo, but, um, if it's just a little bit just interested, really works.

It does exactly what I wanted to do. As I said, I don't really use it for widening. I'm very careful with widening on the mixed Bessel and mastering it. It seems, it sounds impressive. The like when you do it and then, but like it's, I don't know. It's, it's dangerous. 

Malcom: [00:14:25] Yeah. It's hard to say. It's like the first time you hear it, you think it's like the greatest thing since sliced bread, but then the second time you hear it, you're a little less wowed.

And then the third time you hear it, you hate it. 

Benedikt: [00:14:36] Yep. And I, I had this experience, this awakening sort of where I, um, I did it for a while and I enjoyed it and I always thought my mixes were super wide and like, um, that was part of it. And I only did a little bit of it on the mix bus on, on, on many mixes.

And then I, when I listened to on headphones to other mixes that I liked and compared it to mine, I sometimes thought, yeah, [00:15:00] mine sound wide. But at the same time, the guitars, for example, that were printed, left and hard, right. It was hard to make out what they were actually playing. Like the separation seems to be worse than with some other mixes.

And so I didn't really know what it was. And then I, it was a subtle thing and most people probably wouldn't have heard it, but like, it bothered me. I didn't know why other people were getting the, this, this clarity, um, on the sides and like hard to describe. And then I played around with a couple of things, and then I finally removed the widening, which was just like seven or 8% or so, like 107 or 108 on this thing.

And then, um, I removed that and the, the width almost stayed the same, but all the clarity came back. Like there was well, because if you do widening, there's some crosstalk between the channels and some, I don't know, weird things that happen. And as I removed this, the clarity I was missing was instantly there.

So when that was the moment from that moment on, I was very, very, very careful. Stuff like that. Also that, of course the [00:16:00] center focus, the base kick snare and stuff. It's like much more focused than calm and, you know right. Where it should be if you don't do stuff. 

Malcom: [00:16:07] Yeah. Yeah. I think that is almost actually a, um, something we should mention.

Yeah. There's almost like this beginner's trend where, why the means everybody thinks it's something that you're like meant to do every mix it's like that lives on your mixed boss. And I told the disagree, it's like a very specialized tool that normally doesn't get you. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:16:27] I remember Dan Lancaster, a great mixing engineer, producer and musician.

Um, he was asked when he did a, um, uh, yeah, um, a mix. He was, uh, he took questions from people and he was, um, asked about whether or not he would use widening on his mixed bus or in mastering. And he was like, I don't really get what widening would be. I never got that concept because to me, like there's a hundred percent, less than a hundred percent.

Right. Which means everything is on one speaker and that's the widest possible thing. So what should I do beyond that? And of course he knows that there are like psychoacoustic effects [00:17:00] and you can make it appear as if it were, it was outside of the speakers, but he was like, that doesn't make sense to me.

I'm make it as wide as it can be through panning. And then I just stopped because that's the maximum width that can achieve. And I don't care about anything else. And that really stuck with me because his mixes sound super wide and incredible, super modern and just huge. And if he can accomplish that without any wide.

That should tell us something. So totally, 

Malcom: [00:17:23] totally. I think Brian Lucy, the mastering engineer, very, very famous, successful master in engineer, um, said something similar. It's like, if you're using widening on your, your mix or your master bus, you screwed up the mix, which is a very strong opinion. And I think there's a time and a place for everything.

But, um, but I mean, you can definitely get the result with just your panning. Like you said, there's only as far as one speaker, you can't put it past the speaker technically. 

Benedikt: [00:17:52] Yeah, exactly. Cool. Okay. So yeah, automate the panning to create like a better, I would say to, [00:18:00] um, this it's the macro dynamics sort of throughout the song.

Like you want a chorus to pop or a bridge or a solo and you want to, it's the same thing you can do with like subtle volume writes. And I, for me, it's a combination of volume. Yeah. And, and the panning thing, and oftentimes is what you said. I just mute one of the guitars and the chorus and the verses and bring the other one halfway in.

And then in the choruses, both guitars are super wide. So play around with the panning and create this, this, um, I don't know how to say that, um, this movement throughout the song where this, like, I don't know that, that the word I'm looking for here, but you know what I mean? Like, I, I, I'd like to take the listener on this journey throughout the song and grab their attention and keep it that attention.

Because if you, if everything is always a hundred percent, the same volume, the same with everything, it's very hard to keep the attention of the listener from start to finish. They will eventually like tune out and like, yeah. And that's not, they don't, they won't focus anymore. [00:19:00] And if you can create these wider and narrow moments, these louder and quieter moments throughout the song that will keep the listener engaged and, and.

Right, 

Malcom: [00:19:10] right. I, yeah, I agree. Um, it, it's probably something you have to do less of than you think when you hear us talk about it, but it still has to be done. Um, and it's not like every instrument's getting moved around, you know, I'm not taking my like snare mic and shifting it, like throughout the song, it's like, it's just like pretty much, it's just the wide things that are coming in and out a little bit.

We're just manipulating that widest parameter a little bit in some spots. And it's, again, it's not every song. Um, we should talk about Penn law and what that is. I bet you have a good technical explanation. You normally very good at that. 

Benedikt: [00:19:49] Am I? I don't know. Yeah. Um,

I think I'm, uh, and part [00:20:00] of the German cliche thing where like, we, like, we just like to get into the nitty gritty engineering building. Um, okay. So I put it in the notes, um, because when I put there was that depending on your DAS pan law levels can change with different pan positions. And that means if you're started out with the pans at zero in the center, and then you start spreading things out, you might find that when you move something to the sides, it gets quieter or louder, or there's about the same.

And that depends. On the pan law setting of your door. So there is a setting in every, in every dorm, or I guess most, most, at least every professional one at least, um, that lets you adjust that. And I think for Cubase, in my case, the default is minus three DB, which means if you pan something to the side, um, okay.

Now you've got me with the, with the, with the explanation. I think maybe I got it backwards, but if you pan it to the side, it appears [00:21:00] louder. And the Pamela ensures that it's. Uh, it gets turned down three DB, if you pan it to the side. No, I totally messed up. It gets turned down three DB. If you, if it's in the center, like three DB louder on the sides, that's what it is.

Um, it's just, some things are so clear to me when I do it, but when I have to talk about it, it's just all this, I get it, for sure. Yeah. So basically what, what it means is a mano signal in the center means that both speakers are summed together. And it's this, you perceive that differently compared to when one, when the same thing is just on one side of the, um, on just one speaker and with a panel.

Awe you can, um, compensate for that so that if you move something from center to left or right, it, uh, it seems to stay the same volume. It doesn't actually, it gets turned up or turned down, but it seems to stay the same volume. If Pamela is set to zero, you probably notice a volume of perceived volume difference.

If you move it to the. That's what it does. 

Malcom: [00:21:57] Yep. Yep, exactly. Yeah. I think I'm just [00:22:00] trying to remember now. I, I'm pretty sure mindset to 3.5 and I have no idea why I did that because I just Googled the default and it's three, 

Benedikt: [00:22:07] but I think the default is three, because if, if you have the same signal on both speakers and it adds up, you get a three DB level increase.

Yeah. Yeah. Now if you move it to one side, that means it's still on that one speaker, but not any more on the other speaker, because the pan knob is basically just a volume knob. So that's something you need to wrap your head around. Like the pan knob is just two combined volume knobs. If you, if you move it from the center to the right, what you do is you turn down the left speaker.

Yeah. So it's still on the right speaker, but not anymore on the left speaker and that results in a 3d B level decrease. And if you put it back center, the other speaker comes back in and the level increases by three DB and with a panel, or you can compensate for that. So. It goes out to the side and it also gets 3d DB louder.

So it stays the same. Yeah. I, 

Malcom: [00:22:55] I like visualizing it like that. Like as if somebody is holding two volume [00:23:00] faders knobs and they're like, okay, I want to hear it in the right speaker. They turned down the left and it that's it being panned. Now, if that's confusing to you and you're like, what about when it's like 50%?

You know? And it's like a little to the right. Uh, and not all the way out of the left. Well, that's, they just turned down the left speaker some of the way, not all the way. Um, exactly. And it's not turning on the speaker. It's turning down the elements in that speaker, of course, because everything else sustain there, you're not just muting your left side, but, uh, yeah, that's a great way of thinking about, you're not actually moving things.

Benedikt: [00:23:31] Exactly. And if you ever, and many doors show you that if you have a stereo channel and sometimes there is not a pen knob, or sometimes it's not called pan, but balance in that case. And you can, in some, some software programs show you still one enough. And, but some show you two pan knobs that are a hundred percent less than a hundred percent.

Right. And you can bring them in or turn them all the way up. And like that way you can visualize what we mean. Sometimes you have that. I don't know what pro tools does, [00:24:00] but some dos give you that, um, different sort of, um, yeah. NOP or knobs, like on a, on a monitor, generally you have the Panov and on a stereo channel, you often have two knobs that are all the way left and right.

Yeah. And that's basically what it is like if you've ever mixed live or, or operated in the analog console, especially like, I don't know about the large format consoles, every like I know, but they all do differently. Um, if you ever used a basic small console that bands using the gym space or that small venues use live, they above the faders, they have usually two faders for the master.

And then above those two faders, there are two pinups and they are usually panned all the way left and all the way, right. To make sure that the left channel comes out of the left speaker and the right channel comes out of the right speaker. And that's there. You can see what it actually is. Yeah, yeah.

That, 

Malcom: [00:24:53] that's it. Um, I think the next thing we should talk about, because we got some notes about perceived panning on headphones. [00:25:00] So what we should describe is crosstalk and what that is. Um, and cause cross dock is kind of fascinating. Uh, there was a time where everybody was listening to music on speakers and not on apple earbuds or beats by Dre and stuff.

Um, and at that time, which is how I normally listen to music actually is with speakers. Something comes out of the right speaker. And like, as we've been describing, you turned down the left speaker when you pan it all the way to the right. But my left ear is still here. Is that right? It still reaches the left side of my head.

Just like when you were talking about standing in front of a Trump kit, when you're really in front of a drum kit, the Toms aren't all the way to the right. We're like the RACOM is not all the way to one side and the floor side all the way to the other side. It's, it's actually quite mano. Like you said, both of our ears, our ears here, there's slight timing differences, but really our ears are very close together with headphones.

Entirely changes because if something's hard pant and only coming over to the right speaker and we're wearing earbuds or after year doesn't hear it at [00:26:00] all, it doesn't reach it. It just comes directly into that radio. And that changes how we perceive the music. Um, there's definitely some mixed opinions on this.

I personally tend not to care. I think this is a, this is like the couple of notes that me and Benny are gonna differ on is that I just don't give a crap. Um, it just, uh, like it's, it seems like if I do a good job on my mix, it tends not to matter checking on headphones, but, uh, but, uh, there's, it's definitely gonna be different.

Benedikt: [00:26:31] Yes. I think I partly agree. Um, and I know exactly what you mean, but there's just one exception, one situation where I absolutely can't stand this effect. And that is like with a full mix going, I don't care at all. Like I can. Things hard left and right without like, and bone dry without any, any cross-talk or any reverb or delay or any trick to make it appear.

On the other side, I don't really care. But as soon as I have, like, for example, one guitar or one thing playing all the way on one [00:27:00] side and nothing else is going on, I can't stand that because it's like, it's such, if that only sounds weird, it feels weird. It's like, as if you were deaf on one ear or so it's like a very weird effect.

Right. And whenever I have that, when there is a short break and only one guitar is playing, I always, or yeah, I pretty much always put, um, a slight, like a tiny, maybe some, some tiny early reflections sort of thing, or, um, a very short slap delay or maybe a very short reverb, or I don't know, on the other side, turn down as much as I can so that it's not perceived as reword, but just to avoid this effect on headphones, like if you just do that, if you put a slight delay on the other side and turn it all the way down, Um, and you put headphones on and then you, like, it sounds like one guitar hard pan normal, but if you mute that effect, all of a sudden you go deaf on the other ear and because it's silent.

Yeah. And that's, that's what I basically create crosstalk that otherwise it's not there on the headphones. Yeah. [00:28:00] Yeah. You are. I can't live without that. 

Malcom: [00:28:03] I can, but only, uh, I agree, but like, uh, it's it's because sometimes that unreal Def effect is like kind of a modern thing. Yeah. It's like you get thrown in to this thing.

You're like what happened? And then it comes back in like your left ear, all of a sudden, it's not definitely more of that. That's the, uh, the difference, I guess now another way of creating that crosstalk is of course panning it in just a little bit or, or whatever, you know, like you're introducing some back to the left speaker and that perceived crosstalk is back.

Um, so it's really just something to be aware of, but not something to worry about. And again, this is something that gets over-thought a lot by beginning engineers and mixers is like, oh, like there has to be a little bit of reverb on everything. Something that muddy up your entire mix. 

Benedikt: [00:28:51] Yeah. Exact no, no, totally, totally.

Right. But I, I still think it's worth knowing that it's going to be different on headphones and speakers and that's relevant [00:29:00] for, because much of our audience. I think a lot of people listening to this are mixing exclusively on headphones because they don't have treated rooms or great monitors or they don't can't turn up the volume in their apartment or whatever.

Yeah. So I think it's absolutely worth mentioning that because if you only make some headphones and you're used to what that sounds, just know that it's going to be different on speakers and you might do things to avoid effects like that or to, I dunno to, um, yeah. As you said, you might use too many effects or muddy things up because it's, it's bothering you in headphones, but it's not really relevant to everyone not listening on headphones.

And the other way around is also true. If you only listen on speakers and you're not checking it on headphones, maybe it's worth having a check here and there. And like with more experienced, I think. Um, you don't have to check any more or as often, like, I don't check every single mix on both headphones and speakers.

Sometimes I don't check on headphones at all, but I know now what that might mix will translate. Right. Um, so that comes with experience. Exactly. It comes with 

[00:30:00] Malcom: [00:29:59] experience my bugaboo. It's the phrase I use here. Uh, this is actually kind of the opposite, um, that I've been caught with before. And when I caught it, it was like, oh my God, that sounds awful.

Was hard. Pounding something, having a reverb on it. That is staring. Yeah. So there's like an acoustic all the way to the right. And then there's like this weird reverb that's like partially coming to the left speaker that doesn't feel attached to the hard panned instrument. Because think about that, that doesn't sound right.

You hear an acoustic guitar, but you hear the only the room in your left ear that, and this is a situation that could happen with headphones. Right. Um, so, 

Benedikt: [00:30:36] so now it gets interesting. I keep going, I'll say something about that. That's 

Malcom: [00:30:40] not how we would hear it. Right. If we were in front of it, we would hear.

The reverb would be attached to the guitar. Right. It would be balanced to it. And there are certain rubber plugins that actually do that automatically where they're like, they're true stereo. Like the, the, the river changes, depending on the panned information is fed. But, um, some of them [00:31:00] just treat it as it's equal.

So you're, you're re reverbs, just sending like as if the instruments up the middle. Um, so that's just another thing to be careful about because if you're mixing on speakers, you might not notice that 

Benedikt: [00:31:11] effect at all. Yep. You're right. I know what you mean, but it comes my, my butt here. Um, and that is. To me.

I like it. I think it depends on how you use reverb. I'm not a big fan of reverb anyways. Like I use it very, I'm very careful with it and it's like, uh, sorry. Reverbs sucks. Yeah. Yeah. I like, I, I love great room sounds, but I don't like, like artificial reverb tails as much, unless it's like an intentional effect.

But if I use reverb, it's really an effect and I don't care if it's realistic or not, because then it's just an effect that I use. So most of the time when I use reverb or roommates or anything, it's just to create this sort of ambience and air around the source and like maybe glue things together or put things in a certain room or a space or whatever.

Um, and in that [00:32:00] case, I hated when people do, but I know that's not what you're talking about, but I hate it when people put the signal, plus the rework all the way to one side, because in a real room, that's not the case. Like the guitar can be all the way over at that wall. You still hear the reflections from the other side of the room.

It's never going to happen that the instrument plus the reflections will be all the way on one side. So that's always what bothers me when people use, for example, I can't use drum samplers that, or like samples and trigger or anything that half the room baked into the sample thing, I can't stand it. I don't want a one-shot that has to close mic plus the room in one sample that doesn't work for me because if I want to place the Tom maybe halfway.

Right. But I still want my room to be stereo where it was. Right. And not move with the Tom to the right. So for me, it's actually very important that the room only comes from the left side then, or like also comes from the left side of her pants, something, right, right. The true stereo thing is still a thing.

And you're [00:33:00] absolutely right, because it doesn't stay exactly the same. It moves with the thing you're moving, but not all the way. Uh, some of it stays on the, on the other side. And that is, that is absolutely right. So if it's static and you move the close mic over, or the thing you're putting reverb on, you move that over to one side and the reverb stays exactly the same.

That's weird. But, but yeah, but there's that, that I don't, and that's also why I find it. We've been talking about this in another episode about Diego, our mutual friend, where he made this drum samples and he, um, what did he do? He, I think he put every single Tom in the middle between his overhands when he grabbed the samples.

And I just don't get that concept because the overheads are where they are and the Tom is supposed to be on one side of that. And not in the middle. Like, I don't want to, if I move the Tom over, I don't want the overheads to move with it. Like, and like all that sort of, you know, 

Malcom: [00:33:52] I have two minds of it. I, I see your point for sure.

But then there's also like. If you're trying to use the sample and their overhead setup doesn't match [00:34:00] your recorded kit set up. You're kind of, you could run into issues as well. It can be hard to make it work kind of thing, but, uh, yeah, it totally is interesting. Now here's one more pushback to your year, but 

Benedikt: [00:34:14] things like that, 

Malcom: [00:34:15] vintage recordings, I've been kind of fascinated with some like spring reverb, guitar tracks and stuff like that from just older records and stuff.

And, uh, I think a lot of that sound is the reverb, the delays and stuff being literally sent out of the app as a recording. And then it is stuck on one channel, right? They're like, okay, you're spring river, a year old fender, whatever. Uh, and, and the slap delay pedal you used in front of it is captured by that SM 57 and is literally stuck on the left side of the tape now.

And that's where it lives, right? It's not on the right at all where most digital effects. Cause a lot of the time we'll use reverbs in the dark and delays in the dark and don't get me wrong. I prefer that almost every time. Uh, they'll default to this ultra wide [00:35:00] beautiful stereo thing. And it's like, oh, that's not going to sound the same as this guitar.

That's been captured that way with it coming out of your sinker as well. So it's kind of a 

Benedikt: [00:35:09] fascinating thing. Yeah. A hundred percent agreed. But in that case, I've considered that, um, an effect and that's part of the thing you capturing. That's not, I wouldn't, you wouldn't do that to simulate a real room or space around the thing.

It's just part of the sound. And in that case, it can absolutely come from one side and it should, um, totally. I actually. Thank you see to me, it's just maybe, I don't know. I'm not sometimes I think like, I sound like this, this old dude who does it all, like 30 years ago, but I haven't even lived back then.

Like I am 33 or so. So I haven't, you know, I don't know where that comes from that I like to do things the way they're it was to be done. You know what I mean? No, like I don't like all these modern ways of doing things. Not, not, no, but how did [00:36:00] I describe this? I want a room pair of roommates is a pair of roommates.

It doesn't move with the source. So that there's one thing. And also, um, what did I want to go with this? Yeah, I, I don't remember. So for example, um, I just, it's easier to me to think about things a certain way. For example, I would like, I would always set up an effect on a scent and not put it on the insert and then turn the mix knob down.

I know that's exactly the same and it would work just the same, but to me, the proper workflow is to put it on a sand and like all that. So that's one exact example. Now, when it comes to this reverb thing that you just described, I would just because it's easier for me to understand, and it's just a digital simulation of what actually happened in the real world is when I want to put a spring reverb on it.

And pen it all the way to the left. I probably wouldn't use some reverb plugin and try to get that sound and then make sure it's like true stereo or mono and put it in panted pan the sand, along with the track and all that you have to do to make that happen. I [00:37:00] would, in that case, actually put the reverb on the guitar track because it's part of the sound and I wouldn't even choose a standard river plug-in I would probably go with some amp SIM where I can just use the pedal or the reverb section of the amp, because it sounds like an emperor to me.

And also it, like, I just know what I'm using is exactly that. And then I put it on the thing and panted with the thing instead of using some sophisticated rubber plugin and then try to make it sound like an amp spring. I know that can be done in a lot of people do it that way, but to me it's so much easier if I in the digital world do what I would do in the real world.

Malcom: [00:37:39] Yeah, I totally agree. Like you separate the, your mindset exactly what you just said. It replicates the physical world and you're trying to do it the same way. So by putting it on the track, I perceive it as putting up a pedal in the chain, you know, rather than, than a sandwich. Just, I mean, I guess people weird people use effects, loops, but 

Benedikt: [00:37:59] yeah, [00:38:00] exactly.

I totally agree with that. 

Malcom: [00:38:02] Um, but yeah, just, just it's 

Benedikt: [00:38:04] I never, I never really got like, why would you that you would do that? But yeah, who's got time for that now. Yeah. Like we already went down that rabbit hole, but I want to add one more thing here and that is, and that's around to you, but I just don't get it.

Like I got the simpler, I told you about that. I got the drum forge savior sampler, right. Um, do weeks ago or so. And I really think it's awesome. I really think it sounds great. The samples are great. The rumps they chose, there are some unique things in there. They have the left and right hand thing and like it's, it's a really, really good drum sampler.

That sounds incredible. And yeah. Um, make things sound insane or really realistic. I love everything about it. The only thing I can't stand about it. And that's why I haven't really used it on a production since I have it is. And I only found that out after I bought it, because I thought like, who would do that is like, they don't give you the overheads or rooms on separate outputs.

So if I said to multi out [00:39:00] and I want to mix it as if it was a real drum kit, I don't get a pair of overheads and room mikes. I, they send out the, you can blend it with the closed mix. Of course, the overheads in rooms. And you can even choose different overhead settings. But if you like the overheads and rooms come through the same output as the, the close mic sort of, so you have a kick channel and that ended up on a tracking your dog.

And whatever amount of overheads or rooms you blend in with that comes also out of that Kik channel. There's no separate output channels for rooms and overheads. And I can't mix that way. I can let my mind just, doesn't like, that's the same reason why I don't like these one shots that have everything baked into them because in my setup, I want to send the rooms to a room group that I can process and crush without affecting the close max, for example.

Right. And, and that has a lot to do with planning. That's why I'm mentioning it in this episode. I just don't want that. I just want separate control over the [00:40:00] panning and width and everything of my rooms and overheads, um, and my close mics. So I know that they probably do that because a lot of people break this.

These days and it's totally fine. But to me, um, I don't know. That's not how, how, how it works. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:40:16] I bought it by the way I bought the same, the same sampler. Um, and it does sound very cool. Um, and it, it's a pretty cool layout and stuff. I'll totally agree. They did a great job. Um, but it's like, you're mixing.

Yeah. It's like you're deciding which sample it is with how much overheads in that sample. And then you're mixing of kit that entirely mid or close make samples kind of thing. Um, and I couldn't, I just couldn't do it. I was like, I need, I need overheads. I need. My room pair. Like I was like, I, so I just bailed on the mixed, entirely, started over with the audio files that were sent to me, actually mixing the song for our listener.

Uh, Brandon, good hope you're doing well, man. Uh, but, uh, yeah, it's just, uh, I was like, Nope, Nope, can't do it. 

Benedikt: [00:40:55] Thomas was next to me and I tried it out and I got really excited about the sounds and I chose carefully chose the snare and the [00:41:00] kick and I go, yeah, that could work. And then I tried to get it in to my dog and I realized, oh, I can't do it that way.

And then as you said, I completely, okay, this doesn't work. I used a different set of samples. Just didn't use that one, but that's only because of our way of working. It's not because the thing is bad. Um, they decided for people who write music with these tools and, um, mix the drums in there and grab the output and that's totally okay.

So, but that just shows you how important to us is the placement and individual control over things. And, um, and this, this brings us back to this episode that panning and how wide stuff is, and which elements belong together and work together. It's just so important. And like, you see, we, we got all excited about this stuff and we haven't even talked about things like accuse compression, saturation, the usual things that get us excited.

We only talk about levels and panning and like how the room sounds. I think you can tell now how, how important that stuff actually is. Yeah, totally. 

Malcom: [00:41:58] Uh, yeah, [00:42:00] it definitely gives me really excited. I actually like choosing where things are panned is like one of my favorite parts of mixing it's it's like the first step and it's exciting because it totally changes things.

And it's like the easiest way to beat the rough mix you were sent as well. Like here's our rough mix and here's the files. And you're like, all right, pan to the guitar. There we go. Beat ya. It's so easy.

Uh, yeah, you can do so much, especially with that the previous episode or a couple ago, when we talked about balancing and panning between these two you're you're halfway there. 

Benedikt: [00:42:33] Um, so that's, that's interesting because we, we always assume that certain things are so clear and trivial and, um, but it's not the case.

It's just for us because we've been doing it for so long and you totally right. I had a band that I worked with last year. They sent me a bunch of demos and they were. Hey, I hope you can sort of get what we're going for. You can't really make other guitars. I don't know why. Um, uh, it's just a rough mix and it's like a little muddy, but I hope you get the idea.

And I was [00:43:00] like, yeah, of course you can't hear the guitarist because it's like, I don't know, 12 layers of guitars all coming out of the middle. Like just use those man-hours and all of a sudden you can hear the guitars, you know? And like, but I don't know, but people just don't don't get the idea it's like, and yeah, it's our job to help you with that and communicate that.

And it's not just because we know it doesn't mean you have to know it. So we haven't done that yet. Put your guitars to left and right. And you know, heal much clearer. Yep. Absolutely. 

Malcom: [00:43:27] So now, and levels is like playing chess. That's moving, it all arrested you to YouTube strategically. 

Benedikt: [00:43:34] It's great. Totally.

Now I'll come. Um, as you said, like panning gets you excited and it's like, um, it's an easy way to beat the mix. Now let's get to the creative side of things. Or like to the part where, um, when you, when you're building a song from when you're actually working on the song, not on the mix when you're deciding which element goes, where and how certain things work [00:44:00] together, um, which role does panning play here?

Like when you're starting out, when you're building the song, how do you go about that? And, and how do you find things that go on one side and then another thing that, that goes along with it on the other side and stuff, 

Malcom: [00:44:14] right? Yeah. So again, let's revert to our LCR frame of mind where we only have left to center.

Um, I say obviously, but maybe it's not obvious, but I think it should be obvious that we want whatever is primarily in focus to usually be up the middle. Um, so our vocal, right, our vocal is going to be center. We can assume that and start planning around it. Um, our kick, I think, is also going to be center.

Right. Um, it will feel weird. Began slapped in the side of the head, by the kick drum. And I would say the same as for a scenario, but actually if you really want to freak yourself out pen, your kick left and your snare, right. And have a listen to a song, it is awful. It's just like, you're getting badgered.

But, um, so like, it kind of, it's hard for me to answer that question, I guess [00:45:00] it's just like instinct. Um, those are up there and then, and then guitars go to the side, like, that's just going to be my default right away. Right. Okay. Instantly. 

Benedikt: [00:45:08] Well, but what happens if, um, so you have drunk hit let's, let's stick with that example because there's so much.

And the, the person recorded it or you record it and the way you put the overheads and everything results in, uh, in the high ahead, all the way to the left or regular regularly received very, very wide on the left side. Um, now you have two pair of guitars. You have to kick in scenario if your vocals, but you have this one element on this one side, this high hat that's on the left side.

Um, do you, do you want to do something about that or not? Like, is it, is it okay sometimes a mixed seems to lean to one side or do you come up with a counterpart then? Gotcha. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:45:47] Yeah. It, uh, it absolutely is okay for a mixed saline. Um, and that's actually something I think I struggle with. I like some symmetry, but then it's like, I hear some of my favorite mixes and I'm like, [00:46:00] oh man, it's not symmetrical and it's fine.

Why is it with me? 

Benedikt: [00:46:03] I have a hard time concentrating on our podcasts sometimes because I see myself here in the screen and I see the asymmetrical, um, curtain behind me with two absorbers all the time. And that, like, I constantly think about what, what I can do about this, but 

Malcom: [00:46:18] yeah, that's a quirk of many mixers.

Is we all like things symmetrical if you install a new window. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Um, but, uh, so it is okay to answer that, but it is. Often better, if you can make it symmetrical. And again, it doesn't always have to be, but like for that example, you got a high. To the left or in my misses, it's going to be on the right.

Almost always. I literally reverse the patent and they sent to me to make it audience perspective. I'm just saying no, 

Benedikt: [00:46:51] but what if you want to add rum while you're listening on headphones? Uh, I don't

Malcom: [00:46:59] um, [00:47:00] uh, and then, uh, so yeah, your, your high hats over on the right where it should be as a music listener and then the, um, you've got this high frequency thing happening over there now, right? There's an hi-hats, as we know, are, can be heard from space there there's very attention grabbing and they cut like nobody's business.

So maybe you've got this really bright thing happening over there, but there's nothing like that. On the, on the other side of the mix on the left. There's a shaker in the track. You can try and put that over there. Uh, you could put your shaker over there or a tambourine or something, something in a similar frequency range.

And now, like up until this point, we can kind of talking about arrangement panning, but this is kind of frequency, balance panning, where if we have similar frequencies fill in the left and the right speaker, it's going to feel balanced, um, and weighted in those frequencies evenly. So in guitars it's always been easy because we love double panic guitars a lot of the time.

So you just take a left on the right guitar and they're going to sound similar and it's all great. But you sometimes [00:48:00] have to figure out how to do that with instruments that don't have doubles. You know, you're not going to have two high hats 

Benedikt: [00:48:05] probably. Yeah. Does that answer that, that does answer that. Um, as always, I think about things for way too long before I make decisions.

And, um, I have thought about the drummers and audience perspective thing, and it's a perfect thing for this, for this episode, for this pending episode, because I used to do it audience perspective. Because it's, it seems logical, as you said, like you, you're a music listener, you're looking at the drum kit and usually the highest on the right.

But then I thought, um, and or I read something that made total sense to me and that is. The other thing is that 90% or more of all music listeners don't care or don't even know about this, it's just, just doesn't matter. The only people who do know and care about this are drummers or musicians who know how a drum kit is actually set up.

And those are the ones who want to air run to it, or who have the headphones on and think about like what it's like sitting behind a drum kit. So for the audience, it just doesn't matter. And for the [00:49:00] only people that does matter for are the ones who know what it's supposed to be, and they are, could be bothered if it's like reversed.

And that was the logic that got me to doing it the other way around. And now I am finally able to air run to my mixes because that's, 

Malcom: [00:49:15] you're figuring you're pleasing everybody with this. Uh, let's see. Yeah. See, I, it's funny. The reason I first chose not to actually, that's not true. One of the reasons I chose the stick with audiences because I wanted drummers to instantly perk up and be like, what's going on?

It was like, I'm going to grab your attention right away. And they're going to be like, what's up? What's up. Oh, so 

Benedikt: [00:49:36] good. Also a good one. Also. 

Malcom: [00:49:38] Um, honestly the real reason was that I got tired of thinking about it. And I, when I think of a drum kit, I'm looking at it as the guy walking into the room, the change of mic and 

Benedikt: [00:49:48] that's my perspective.

But then drum fills go from right to left, which is also wrong. 

Malcom: [00:49:54] It's not, it's not wrong. 

Benedikt: [00:49:58] I could go on for this. [00:50:00] Okay. No, you're totally right. And at the end of the day, this doesn't matter at all. As I said, I spent way too much time in my life thinking about things like that. So, yeah. 

Malcom: [00:50:08] And the reason I've stuck with it.

I would say is just because when I get a shaker track, I instantly panic to the left because I know my high hats on the right. I like, I just don't have to think about it. I'd like my I'm just like guests, it's gonna be over there. And then, you know, I'll probably end up massaging it somewhere else, but it like, while I'm doing my mix prep, it's immediate decisions.

Benedikt: [00:50:27] Yep. Got it. Okay. Yeah. Cool. Okay. So, um, yeah, we covered that. So you have the complimentary part for certain things. Like maybe you, you can even come up with things you haven't thought about while writing the song or arranging the song, if you, um, things to treat strategically about the panning right away.

So if you don't do what I described, what that band did and put everything in the middle, but. Start when you're building your songs and making a demos. If you're already starting to find pan position for things, you might come up with new instruments or elements that you otherwise wouldn't have thought of because of that thing, because [00:51:00] you feel like, okay, this goes here, this goes there.

This goes there. Oh, now we have one thing left. Where does this go? If it's in the middle, it's going to conflict with the vocals. Maybe. So let's put it on one side. Okay. Now the mix needs to one side, we need a counterpart on the other side, and then you might come up with a new part or bring in an entirely new instrument just because of that.

And if you had done all that in mono and then sent it off to someone or go to the studio, then you could be in trouble because then you need to come up with something on the fly. Yeah. And it's always better to plan these things out so that tambourine or shaker might have never been added. Um, if you, if it wasn't for the panning during the demos, same thing is true for guitars as well.

Like a lot of bands and other people don't get it when, or this is a very common question to ask, which parts need a double, which parts don't. Um, should we record one guitar to guitar or six guitars, uh, or how many gang vocal tracks should we record? And if you, if you always think in terms of the stereo image and you're panning [00:52:00] these things answer to themselves, like just depends on if you're like symmetry or not.

Like, do you want it to lean to one side? Do you want it symmetrical? And that answers your question. If you have a group of people doing gang vocals and you wanted this to be this wide choir thing, that's symmetrical, you need 2, 4, 6, 8, or I dunno how many, um, takes that you can spread out left and right.

But it needs to be like an even number. If you have five, you got to put one in the middle or otherwise it will lean to one side. So yeah. Yeah. I think 

Malcom: [00:52:31] evenly Tony and I will be happy. Yeah, exactly. 

Benedikt: [00:52:36] Cool. So, and then there's one thing left and that is, um, the creative, like the really creative stuff. Like that was also creative.

Like building your song and thinking about the panning in a strategic way of thinking about how, how wide each part should be. If there is parts that should be mano. If there sometimes there is a part that can have just one guitar, but if you do that, just know that this is going to be mano or lean to one [00:53:00] side.

Uh, whenever you want stereo guitars, you need to actually actually record a second guitar and put it to the other side now. But then there's this other thing that we called, um, creative panning here in our notes. And that is actually moving things around where it would, it doesn't make sense. Um, it's not a realistic thing.

It's just something that moves around for artistic reasons. Yeah. So what would be, um, examples of it? Is our podcast 

Malcom: [00:53:26] in stereo or is it a 

Benedikt: [00:53:27] motto? It is like when we talk it's mano, but I pay for the couple of extra bucks that it costs to have the episode and stereo just because I can't stand. If the intro music is mano.

Yeah. They did that. You don't do that on your band sex at business. And I wanted to tell you, now that you reminded me of that, I immediately noticed that your intro is mano and I hate it. That was 

Malcom: [00:53:48] brought if you're listening, I'm seriously considering changing because of that. I I'm pretty disappointed in you.

They don't, they don't list it, you know, cause podcasters aren't audio people like we are mostly. [00:54:00] And, uh, so that it was like, ah, nobody will really understand and they should have, they should clearly state on the plans that it's Manowar stereo. Cause that's gross. Motto's ugly. 

Benedikt: [00:54:11] No, ours is stereo for that reason.

Um, although everything you're listening to right now is probably mano. Um, but the music 

Malcom: [00:54:18] a request could, could you quickly, as I'm saying this right now, uh, in the mix pan, my voice. Yeah, from left to right. And that will, if we could have a sweep, as I talk this through and people can understand, like that's a vocal phrase that could happen.

Benedikt: [00:54:31] Can we do a, such a, like, can you do like these, these, like these ASMR voices, like that are whispering in one ear and then in the other year and stuff like the creepy stuff like that? No, I'm on your left now on your right now. I'm panting from left to right today. I'm going to keep going back and forth as Thomas makes me thank you, Thomas.

Our pockets editor, you rock. 

Malcom: [00:54:55] All right there. You have it. That is creative panning. No, but like you could do that with [00:55:00] a, like, you could have a reverb throw or a delay throw with like the echo of a tagline in the course that kind of sweeps across the stereo spectrum. Or, uh, you could have doubles on the start of like vocal phrase, start closer to the center and then get wider as like the, the scream continues or something, you know, a big yell or something like that.

There's all sorts of little creative moves. You can do that. That can be really cool. You can have a, like a room sample of a snare that big, that just goes and shoots across. And it's like, kind of like jarring. And if that's what you want, you know, there's, there's all of these options. Um, I can never get through an episode without making up drum sounds.

Benedikt: [00:55:41] Yeah, totally. Yeah. But yeah, you're right. Yeah. And that whispering example is actually pretty good because that is something I sometimes do. Like some people, especially like with heavier stuff, um, they do, there's this technique in metal, for example, where you, you record this whispered track, like a screamed [00:56:00] double bed is not really screamed.

Like it's it's without the voice, you know, it just whispered and that gives the, the screaming or growling tracks like this, this additional, I dunno, it makes, it makes it makes it appear closer. Um, And more aggressive in a way, because you only get the mouth noises and the breathing now what you can do.

And then I like to do that a lot is if you have a bridge or some, some like vibey atmospheric part in the middle of two heavy parts, for example, or you want to make it sound really creepy and haunting, then you can take that whisper Trek and move it around just like we did in this episode now. And that is really a cool effect because if you keep the lead vocal center and then you have this weird thing, moving in the background, these whispers go from left to right.

This can be pretty awesome sounding and creates a certain, certain vibe. Yeah. Um, so that is, that is one example of that. Okay. 

Malcom: [00:56:55] Yeah, double D um, yeah, the sky's the limit. There's great. Plugins for this [00:57:00] showed up to sound toys. Probably my favorite company. Um, they make one called pan man, which I'm sure you have, right.

Benny. Yep. Yep. Essentially just like we'll automatically pan things around for you and there's, you know, you can set it to different speeds. It'll sync to the tempo map. So every two bars it goes across or whatever you want. I use that thing all the time. It can just be such a emotion creator and to give the impression that there's some movement happening on the 

Benedikt: [00:57:25] sound.

Yeah. Uh, thanks for the reminder because that's one thing, I don't know why I have this and I have a couple of other auto Pam plugins, and I know that you can do that with those sort of plugins, but for some reason, I, most of the time do it manually, I just hit the automation rights thing and then I just move the pan around.

But you're totally right. Most of the time what I'm doing there is actually trying to make it accurate on the grid or make it work with the music. So, yeah. Instead of trying to get it right there. I could just use one of those plugins and it would be more accurate and easier. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:57:58] I don't know why it's like a [00:58:00] one-off I do it by hand, but if it's like something that's continually through the song going back and forth or something, I'm just going to slap it on and figure out the speed I want.

Benedikt: [00:58:08] Yeah, totally. And you can combine the panning to make it even more drastic. You can just start with the panning and then you can combine it with like a filter, um, right. Or anything, something like that. You can like open up a filter or close or filter while something goes from left to right. And you can create these, um, these sort of spaces and movements, and then you, you can also go into like very tiny, detailed things, like, um, just to create movement and, um, Make your speakers behave differently.

There's this trick that machine, the producer uses, um, mixed, um, lamb of God records, for example, that's where I, where I saw this, but he also did a lot of other stuff like hip hop at the crossover stuff, and a lot of cool projects. And he always aims for a unique sort of sounds and techniques and what he does.

And that's actually a pretty cool concept and idea behind it is whenever there's a double kick part, [00:59:00] he moves, he makes, he puts right hits, so to speak slightly to the right and the left pedals to the left. And not because it's a real image and it's still center because it's just a couple of like very tiny movements left and right.

But what it does is it makes your, like usually when you have one kick drum hit all your two speakers do make the same move at the same time. And when you do what he does, when you put one slightly to the left and one slightly to the right, the speakers, um, And I say that like, uh, differently, they, they, they get out of the way, basically in every single kick drum had comes through a little differently.

So the idea behind that is, um, with fast low-frequency content that your speakers can get out of the way and not be in yeah. And move differently than, than if it was all center. Um, so I, I just loved the idea behind that. And, uh, I dunno, I, I, I don't do that, but that's, I just say that that is, yeah. [01:00:00] There's limitless possibilities and you can experiment with all sorts of things.

Once you get the concept of two speakers doing the exciting thing or something slightly 

Malcom: [01:00:08] different, there's like a secret sauce, motion, track that I sometimes make that I want to talk about. And it's, I'll, I'll take like a, a guitar solo, for example. Um, and then duplicate the track entirely. Throw, I don't know, say like a giant reverb, a hundred percent wet on it, and then throw that pan man plugin on.

And now this reverb is just shooting around super slowly. Um, and the lead track still up the middle or something, but it feels kind of like the guitar is slowly changing, but it's like, if depending on how loud you mix one versus the other, it, it doesn't really sound like it's totally just moving. It's like, you can't really perceive where it is, but it's coming from somewhere.

I call it the motion track and it just like is a magic little sauce that works all the time. 

Benedikt: [01:00:54] Oh, that's really a really cool idea. Yeah. And then until like 

Malcom: [01:00:57] machines thing there that has all sorts of [01:01:00] applications, tambourines people tend to just, you know, record it at the end of the day with the vocal mic.

Now you've got a motto tambourine, which I think sounds pretty weird. Um, cause you shake a tambourine and it's moving around, right. So you can throw auto pad on and just have this little narrow quivering kind of thing. And it sounds totally natural. Um, you can also, you know, just throw it like a little short reverb on it or something, but that, like, that's kind of interesting thing throughout this podcast.

You and I have used river as a substitute for creating panning a lot, which I don't think a lot of people would think about that, that the same way. Um, but it, it is we're creating the, uh, stereo image with reverb, which to us is 

Benedikt: [01:01:34] panning. Yep. Yep. You're totally right. And I think, I think part of that is the concept of treating reverb as not only as a, as an effect, but as a way to put something into a space or like, you know, like.

Yeah, as we said, it's yeah, it's a part of using revert for me is actually pending you're right. Yeah. Cool. Totally. The temporary thing really got me thinking now that that's a cool idea because that [01:02:00] always used to bother me. I always thought, and we even had a discussion about that in our community. By the way, if you go to the self recording band.com/community, it will take you to our Facebook group.

And I remember one of our members, um, ask about this it's been last sometime last year, when they were recording the record, he wondered about how to properly make a tambourine. And at first I saw this post and I thought, man, I think you're way overthinking. This is just the tambourine. But then I was like, wait a second.

No, he's totally right. Because his, he was trying to compensate for that movement in front of the microphone and find the best way to make that work, which is totally valid and absolutely worth thinking about, because I actually can't stand that sound that you just described of a, of a moving thing in front of one mic and it just gets louder and quieter, but this.

Yeah, but I haven't thought about compensating for it with the auto pen. That's very clever because what I do is then set up an X, Y pair or something like that and make it like, do a stereo mic thing with a [01:03:00] tambourine, which is, seems like overkill, but it solves that problem. 

Malcom: [01:03:03] So, so worth it. Yeah. Whenever you can.

I use like a bloom line set of ribbons, which essentially ex-wife with, with ribbons and, uh, that is like, oh my God. And these sounds are 

Benedikt: [01:03:12] real. Yeah. Then it's also a matter of course, of how you place yourself in front of the mix. Like you could do like this in front of the mic and make it move left and right.

Or you could move it that way. Yeah. Back and forth to the mic. And then you would have no motion, but like louder and quieter. Yeah. Yeah. 

Malcom: [01:03:31] It, uh, and yeah, how close you get to the mic is going to be like, especially with like a bloom line is like the closer you get to the mic, it might sound fatter, but the pan, it becomes more dramatic.

It's pretty interesting. 

Benedikt: [01:03:43] Yeah. Yeah. Okay. But yeah, but the auto-pin thing, I never thought about that it's totally makes sense. Like, if you're doing 16th with a tambourine and you set the auto Panter 16th in slightly left and right then that that's the trick. Yep. 

Malcom: [01:03:55] And you can also, uh, like set that yeah.

That [01:04:00] auto pound and then run it into a true stereo room reverb, convolution or something. So that like, it, it, it's not just, you know, like as a dry tambourine going left and right. It sounds a little dry. And so if you're finding it not smooth enough, you can just use like a little, little reflect. 

Benedikt: [01:04:14] Awesome.

Awesome. Thank you for that. Okay, cool. Um, we've been talking for about an hour now about topic like panning, and it's been one of the most fun episodes, which. Yeah, 

Malcom: [01:04:26] should have been the most boring, but it was one of the most fun. Yeah, exactly. 

Benedikt: [01:04:30] Cool. Then I think let's wrap it up here. Um, let's playing to think about, um, I learned a lot and it's, it's interesting how important that stuff is.

Malcom: [01:04:39] Definitely. Yeah, that was fun. Um, anybody's got questions post them in the community or other cool uses of tanning manipulation. We're apparently we're both into tricks in this domain. So, uh, if you've got some panning hacks, throw them in there. We'd love to hear them. Exactly. 

Benedikt: [01:04:55] Exactly. All right. Thank you for listening.

See you next week. [01:05:00] .


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