Panning in Mono? Try The Straight-Line Method.
“You start your mixing in mono and go stereo on step 8. In step 3 you do levels and panning. Do you change from mono to stereo so early in the mix? Or do you go back and forth between mono and stereo? I just don´t check this. Or how do you pan in mono?”
People often think that there’s some trick to panning in mono but there isn’t.
You simply switch your speakers into mono, either on your interface or in your DAW (I do it on my monitor controller).
And then you do your basic rough levels and panning that way. When you pan in mono, things don’t move from one side to the other like they do in stereo.
Instead, think of the mix like they’re in one straight line down the middle, and by panning you move the tracks around two-dimensionally inside that straight line.
Imagine you have a long line of checkers going straight down the board. They represent your tracks. When you pan in mono you are effectively switching the checker pieces around and making them jump closer to you or further away, while staying in that same straight line.
Because you’re limited to this straight line, you force yourself to really listen to the separation that happens between the tracks as you’re panning them down the middle.
When you’re satisfied with the separation in mono, you can check your mix in stereo to make sure things aren’t too heavy on either side. You still want a balanced mix from left to right so going back and forth is a good way to make sure things are as separate as possible while staying balanced across the stereo spectrum.
Mixing in mono is a great way to train your ears because your mix will never sound as good in mono as it will in stereo.
That doesn’t mean it can’t sound great in mono, it’ll just always pale in comparison to what happens when you click that stereo switch, and all of a sudden your mix becomes wide and amazing.
But if you can make your mix sound good in mono, chances are it’ll sound great in stereo, so spend some time in mono and you’ll train your ears faster.
I hope that was useful to both Peter and the rest of my readers. For my in-depth, comprehensive mixing guide, remember that you can get the audio version of my best-selling book, Step By Step Mixing, as a part of the Step By Step Mixing System this week for the low price of only $27.
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Have a great rest of your day,
If you’ve already got all that good stuff above and would like to get personal 1-on-1 coaching to help you get to the next level with your music business, hit reply and let me know.