Panning behaviour and the Utility Plugin

After reading this thread: http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=46605&start=15 talking about panning laws, I found myself with a question.

On a track containing a stereo vocal recording, I create a rack with two parallel chains, each chain containing a single Utility plugin.

I then either:

A:  Set Utility 1 to "Left" and set Utility 2 to "Right"

B:  Leave the Utility plugins untouched, but pan Chain 1 to "hard left" (50L) and pan Chain 2 to "hard right" (50R)

Are A and B equivalent?  Or will they have a different result?

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LithiuMind 2 years ago | 0 comments

4 answers

  • Near Earth Object
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    Best way to find out is to just try, i guess. I think it should not make any difference.
    But instead of worrying about panning laws and effect settings I would suggest to always trust your own ears. If it sounds good, keep it like that. And if it sounds bad, try something else :)

    2 years ago | 0 comments
  • cjhoffmn
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    It's funny - I had a bizarre thing happen in a mix that lead me down the path to performing almost exactly the test you described above in order to figure out that the panning knob functions as a balance knob because its on a stereo track.  Even the master pan pot functions this way (that - I find a little odd actually)

    It does not position the stereo output of the fader in the stereo field.  It selects the amount of each side of the stereo signal on the track that goes out the fader.  I'm pretty sure that's normal behavior for a stereo track on a mixer, but it isn't clear in the manual.  It was however quite clear when I did this:

    I recorded a stereo signal with one synth on the left and another on the right.  Played @ 0 pan pot - I hear each synth out of the correct speakers.  If I turn the pan pot to either extreme - you hear only the left or the right synth.  So in essence, it is a left/right mix controller, not a positioning controller for the fader in the stereo field.

    In order to move a complete signal with both sides of the stereo signal, I used a utility plug-in.  Just a small reduction in stereo width will start to bring the sound from both sides to one side or the other.  

    Before I caught this (The manual plainly states that the pan pot positions the signal in the stereo field) it resulted in me having some bizarre problems with tracks that were panned - but weren't functioning that way because they were merely balanced instead of panned.

    It does make life tricky if for example, you have something like a stereo shaker that you want somewhere in the mix.  Just because you pan it one way or the other - if you haven't used the utility to sum it to mono first (or used the "spread" in the drum rack) - you aren't moving it anywhere.  You're just selecting the left or right stereo channel of the original recording...

    The AutoPan effect does the same thing.  In order to move an entire stereo signal around in the stereo field - I had to put a utility on the track before the Autopan and decrease the width.

    At least on my system, that's what happens :)

    1 year ago | 0 comments
  • cjhoffmn
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    OK - I went out to the old forum and searched and I'm convinced that its not a panning knob, but rather a balance knob, as my test above shows.  So it basically means, if you have a stereo signal that is different between left and right - panning it just plays the left or right signal - it doesn't move it in the output.  So in order to move a stereo track in the stereo field, you have to use the utility plug in to do so.

    1 year ago | 0 comments
  • cjhoffmn
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    After playing with this idea for a while, I went out and made a stereo panning rack.  Not all that hard really.  

    Create an audio effect group, insert two chains entitled Right and Left.  

    Insert a Utility on both.  

    On the Left Chain, select Left on the Utility on that channel.  Do the opposite on the right channel.

    Map the Panorama of each to a macro knob.  Now - when you change that knob - you are moving the stereo effect channel in the stereo field.

    1 year ago | 1 comment

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