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How to True Stereo Pan NOT just balancing

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bitflipper said:

The downside to that method is it makes automation, compression and EQ more complicated because everything's duplicated.

 

That leads to long standing(Sonar days even) requests from many - to have automation with master/slave or parent/child relationship - in other words VCA groups. That is exactly what that does - target many from one automation curve in a relative fashion.

 

I experimented though, and by quick grouping(ctrl down) some tracks with automation lanes visible I could move one automation curve and the others followed. So do a group and move all same amount together works this manual way. My workaround for now.

Worked by writing automation too and have Offset active - but it freeze into existing automation immediately when stopping transport. So have to be done with Undo and redo that until satisfied right there. You cannot postpone till later.

 

But truth is so many do fake VCA groups anyway, the controls are fixed what you can group, fader only or not nested grouping.

Reaper and Samplitude does not have nested VCA groups. Trialing Reaper 5.4 it did not move faders either, just on meters you saw things changing which is a joke not getting visuals until merged.

Cakewalk really has excellent freedom in the control grouping - rightclick any individual control and group together with others - so maybe more difficult not to break that if to do VCA stuff. Most daws have checkboxes for a control group to include pan as an example - but not for VCA stuff, as I recall. Cakewalk is more sofisticated, I think.

Edited by LarsF
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Maybe I’m way out in left field here but, if the Stereo Interleave is selected and the track is a stereo WAV file, then the one knob should do the same as two would do in the aforementioned DAWs. 
 

At least to my ears, I hear the percentages being played out.

 

Center position would be %50 Left and %50 right  and if panned say right by 20 then it would be %80 right and %20 left? 
 

It just seems like less clutter to have only the one knob to me.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Jacques Boileau said:

Could we achieve true panning using two mono tracks instead of a stereo track and panning each track as needed?

One of the forum contributors in the oldie days, Jonas Aras, created a template that routed everything this way.

image.thumb.png.6c92f228a2a066e9081c03163f9ee893.png

Edited by John Nelson
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I just have to reiterate here what a great DAW we have in Cakewalk, what a great forum this is and what a great bunch of exceptionally knowledgeable users and Cakewalk staff who continue to offer wisdom and assistance .

Thank you, thank you, thank you

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1 hour ago, Robert McClellan said:

Maybe I’m way out in left field here but, if the Stereo Interleave is selected and the track is a stereo WAV file, then the one knob should do the same as two would do in the aforementioned DAWs. 
 

At least to my ears, I hear the percentages being played out.

 

Center position would be %50 Left and %50 right  and if panned say right by 20 then it would be %80 right and %20 left? 
 

It just seems like less clutter to have only the one knob to me.

I think this is what they are talking about, little different than just volume balance.

https://theproaudiofiles.com/mid-side-processing/

So many libraries produce stereo stuff, and just stacking this on top of each other can create a mess. Balance panning helps, but width is not adjusted.

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8 hours ago, Jacques Boileau said:

But the guitars are stereo tracks coming from stereo multi effect pedals. So, if I understand correctly, I am essentialy cutting  a channel from each guitar!

Precisely. I often do a dual-amp setup panned hard left/right in Axiom, driven by a single guitar track. If I turn the Pan (actually 'Balance' when working on a stereo track) knob away from center CW's console, all I'm doing is turning one of the two amps down, screwing up the relative volumes of the pair.

That's where having a Width and (true) Pan control would be nice. Width to reduce the hard left/right pan to something less extreme (say, 20% L / 20% R) and then a Pan to rotate that whole pair over towards one side or another, without changing the relative volumes of either amp.

Of course (in this particular case) one can go back into the amp sim and pan both amps straight up the center. Then the Pan control will move them left or right in the mix without changing their relative volumes. But now they're both coming from the same position...

Great that it can be done with various plugins, but this seems like a function of the Console. I'd like to see it added there, rather than relying on 3rd party (or pre-Bandlab) plugins.

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8 hours ago, Robert McClellan said:

Maybe I’m way out in left field here but, if the Stereo Interleave is selected and the track is a stereo WAV file, then the one knob should do the same as two would do in the aforementioned DAWs. 
 

At least to my ears, I hear the percentages being played out.

 

Center position would be %50 Left and %50 right  and if panned say right by 20 then it would be %80 right and %20 left? 
 

It just seems like less clutter to have only the one knob to me.

I think the idea being posited is that the controls in a stereo pan do not need to be equal ratios as they change left to right. But you can define power levels independently between left and right. It gives a more realistic representation of a stereo field.

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For those doing midi, and especially those doing orchestral work:

for years I tried my own panning schemes. I thought that, because I used several different orchestral libraries, and they all have their own natively-panned positions (in both dimensions), I needed to make them all agree. I have recently realized this is not a good idea, for the very reason this thread is about: simple panning causes loss of signal in one of the fields. Now, Vienna Instruments has something called "power panning," which is true stereo panning. but you still have to decide on pan positions for the whole orchestra. And move your other libraries, with their baked-in room reflections, which are difficult to improve upon; so that they agree with the Vienna positions. 

Then, I discovered I could get a cross-grade to the Synchronized Special Edition, which is the same library, but panned to the settings of their Synchron Stage. Finally, I could use the Special Edition in great-sounding pre-panned positions (well, mostly; some of the instruments actually sound better if you move them to another setting. Like, the bassoons sound better coming from Epic Orchestra's Timpani setting (Epic Orchestra is a bonus collection I got when I purchased Vepro 7).

So, I am now using all instruments in Garritan, EWSO Gold and Vienna in their native pan positions, with no signal loss, and everything sounds better. Of course, this means re-mixing all my orchestral projects...see you in a few years.

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In real life, true stereo is represented by relative signal delay between left and right and also reflections from the environment, maybe more than volume differences. One can also argue for differences in frequency response. The relative signal delay depends on the distance between microphones or ears. Reflections and frequency response also depend on microphone orientation and ear physics. Microphone orientation can certainly also affect relative volume as well as frequency response.

You could try this on a signal recorded in mono: put the straight signal on left and the same signal delayed by a fraction of a millisecond on the right. With the same amplitude on both sides, the signal moves to the left. Experimenting with the delay amount can be fun.

When considering how to reposition instruments (even when recorded in stereo), why not consider relative delay?

One reason why not is listening (or mixing) stereo to mono can wreck the whole sound if only delay is used to represent stereo.

A "true stereo" panner would have a lot of work to do.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, bvideo said:

In real life, true stereo is represented by relative signal delay between left and right and also reflections from the environment, maybe more than volume differences. One can also argue for differences in frequency response. The relative signal delay depends on the distance between microphones or ears. Reflections and frequency response also depend on microphone orientation and ear physics. Microphone orientation can certainly also affect relative volume as well as frequency response.

You could try this on a signal recorded in mono: put the straight signal on left and the same signal delayed by a fraction of a millisecond on the right. With the same amplitude on both sides, the signal moves to the left. Experimenting with the delay amount can be fun.

When considering how to reposition instruments (even when recorded in stereo), why not consider relative delay?

One reason why not is listening (or mixing) stereo to mono can wreck the whole sound if only delay is used to represent stereo.

A "true stereo" panner would have a lot of work to do.

This relates to the initial quandary I had when I saw the original post.  Thank you for articulating it so well!

http://recherche.ircam.fr/equipes/salles/WFS_WEBSITE/Index_wfs_site.htm

 

Edited by User 905133
to add a link to some information about wave field synthesis which to me starts to approach true location of sounds in space as perceived by two ears.

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I personally like to use VSL Power Panner for this very thing as you can maintain a balance of the stereo image while also panning that stereo image where you want. eg. Grand piano in Stereo panned slightly R.  Normally the Left hand would drop in volume, but with Power panner the Left hand is maintained. 

I also use it to slightly narrow the Leslie width sometimes.

VSL Power panner has the ability to use several different pan laws within itself as well. Very useful!


Waves imager can power pan as well.

Cakewalk Channel tool does this but without the Panning triangle visual. Works though!

Alternatively you can switch a Stereo track’s interleave to mono to pan them to the L or R together.

Also, The old fashioned way of Splitting the Stereo Track to 2 separate Mono tracks allows for independent panning. Left Hand can be at 50% and Right hand can be at 100%

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bvideo raises a good point, especially in the context of classical orchestration: there's more going on in there than just panning.

Sometimes, you have to also take into account reverb. That might be natural room reverberation baked into the samples, or added via a reverb effect plugin. In the case of the former, that reverb is also going to shift along with the instrument, possibly sounding unnatural. In the latter case, you may want to use a "true stereo" reverb plugin and pan the sends. Or not.

Sorry, I know any discussion of "true stereo reverb" could derail this thread even further. But it's been awhile since the topic was batted around here, so what the heck. After all, reverb (and delays in general) are very much a part of the whole stereophonic conversation. 

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I'm not sure if this was mentioned. I didn't see it. There are panning laws in Cakewalk are there not?  I haven't used them because I use the BOZ plugin Dave mentioned when I want to pan a stereo track. Most often though I track acoustic guitars in mono because it avoids so many headaches. Cuts down on the "spacial gobbledy *****" in many mixes. Sometimes even a good stereo panning solution isn't as good as making it stereo using mono tracks panned IMHO due to some of the undesirable effects that can happen with reverb , phase issues and comb filtering. If you have a compromised stereo track there isn't as much you can do to redeem it compared to a mono track.  FYI right clicking on a track will let you convert it to mono.

Some people are looking for a natural feel to a mix as in a classical composition. Others want more of a pseudo kind of thing, similar to some of the results one can get with many electric guitar plugins. I'm thinking mainly some of those metal mixes that make the guitar more spacial with a chorus effect. This ventures away from the goal of simply panning though so I'll let it at that.

I bought  the 2CAudio PBJ pack awhile back and thought I would use it to death.  Part of it is a psycho acoustic stereo field positioner. It works wonders for small classical ensembles or placing the players in a rock band all in their respective positions  without compromising the reverb in the constructed space since that reverb "follows" the position. 

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For orchestral panning I use Vienna’s MIR within VEP.  (Placing instruments or Sections in different positions in the hall/room and rotating them and placing the Mics to capture the performance) Works great with 3rd party sample collections as well.  Before MIR I would use Perfect Space (stereo)  and pan the instruments to the direction of where they are sitting but then Pan the Hall send Pan towards the direction they would be facing to achieve more of the sound coming off the opposite wall. eg. 1st Violins maybe 75% L with their Hall Send panned 50% to 75% R.  

Country music does this a lot Steel 80% to 100% R with a Hall or Plate Send at 50% to 80% L.  Keeps the direct signal drier and gives a sense of sound flowing from the source on one side towards a wall on the other

MIR is a very elegant solution because of all if the instrument profiles and how it processes the sound that should be coming out in a 3 dimensional way from each instrument.  eg  French Horns main sound is coming out opposite of the direction they are facing. MIR  is Amazing!!

For non-orchestral instruments I have VSL Power Panner saved in my FX chains for Stereo Pianos, Guitars, B3s and even for Stereo Tambourines.  Anything Stereo needing Power Panned has VSL Power Pan built in to my Chains. I may not use it.  Some things may still sound better from one side or the other, or summed together to mono then panned.  I try and see what sounds best on a case by case approach.
 


 

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There are panning laws in Cakewalk are there not?

Yes, but pan laws only apply to mono panning.

Unless, of course, you're using something like Boz's panner, which implements pan laws internally.

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14 minutes ago, Blogospherianman said:

For non-orchestral instruments I have VSL Power Panner saved in my FX chains for Stereo Pianos, Guitars, B3s and even for Stereo Tambourines.  Anything Stereo needing Power Panned has VSL Power Pan built in to my Chains. 
 

Power Pan Pro is probably the most sophisticated panner around.

A bit pricey, though. Then again, if you're among the elite who can afford VSL in the first place, then I'm gonna guess you're probably not too concerned about that. No jealousy here. Much.

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Maybe I am missing something - instead of a single stereo track, I generally keep 2 mono tracks, for left and right, using panning law -3 dB Center, sin/cos taper, constant power, and deal with stereo pan and width that way.  I like to have the option of applying slightly different effects on one side or the other.

Bob Bone 

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I sure hope nobody thinks I'm elite. My only Vienna Library is Special Edition 1, purchased several years ago for about 280.00, and cross-graded recently to the Synchronized Edition for 50.00. I bought Vepro, their library player,  not too long ago, but I don't even use it. Epic Orchestra was a freebie that came with it, but I barely use that either. Now Mir, that's something I've dreamed about for years.  But if I got it, I'd have to remix everything yet again. Does it ever end?

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19 hours ago, Robert Bone said:

Maybe I am missing something - instead of a single stereo track, I generally keep 2 mono tracks, for left and right, using panning law -3 dB Center, sin/cos taper, constant power, and deal with stereo pan and width that way.  I like to have the option of applying slightly different effects on one side or the other.

Bob Bone 

All very well until you want to compress (say) - that becomes trickier (or you do it in a bus/aux track downstream).

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5 hours ago, mdiemer said:

I sure hope nobody thinks I'm elite. My only Vienna Library is Special Edition 1, purchased several years ago for about 280.00, and cross-graded recently to the Synchronized Edition for 50.00. I bought Vepro, their library player,  not too long ago, but I don't even use it. Epic Orchestra was a freebie that came with it, but I barely use that either. Now Mir, that's something I've dreamed about for years.  But if I got it, I'd have to remix everything yet again. Does it ever end?

Just remember...people listen to the music you make, not the software you use.

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