Panning: How to Get Your Mixes Wide

Vectorscope in Izotope Ozone 4.

Vectorscope in Izotope Ozone 4.

When most people think about panning in music terms, they think left and right. And while they’re not wrong, they’re also not completely right. Panning not only refers to sending audio signals left and right, but also down the middle and to the sides, also known as mono and stereo. This opens us up to the topic of mid-side processing which I won’t discuss any further in this post but possibly in the future. Typically when panning, you want every sound to have its own spot in the mix. That’s when you use the left and right features. However, if you want your mixes to be wider while still sounding good in mono, you’re going to need to pan things in stereo and mono. A good starting point is to spread your higher frequency things such as synths and some percussion to the sides and keep things that you want to be in the middle such as the kick and bass in mono.

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