Old 06-09-2008, 07:41 PM   #1
suprosuperman
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Default Pan vs Balance vs Mono vs Stereo

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EDIT NOTE.....EDIT NOTE....EDIT NOTE

>>>> THIS POST HAS BEEN EDITED <<<<<

hopefully to improve the explanations that were not quite right.

if anyone sees anything that is incorrect or poorly explained let me know i will gladely change it

(True) Panning
true panning would be if you actually took the audio signal from one side and really did move it over to the other side ...

Balance
is when you adjust, raise or lowwer volume levels on the left side or right side of a two channel track. your not moving anything around your just raising or lowering volume of one side or the other of that track.

what is a MONO track
its actually a two channel track that has the exact same audio signal on its left side channel as it has on its right side channel. since both left and right side are identicle(clones of each other) the overall sound is therefore mono. You cant tell that there are two channels, since they both sound Identical it sounds like just one mono signal(but its really two ).

what is a STEREO track
like the mono track above a stereo track also has two audio channels, But the big difference is that the channels on a stereo track each carry a different audio signal. They are not two identical audio signals like the mono track has. In a stereo track the right side audio signal is a different signal than the left side audio signal, so the sound that you hear in this situation is refered to as stereo sound.

Panning vs Balance vs Mono....(panning a mono signal)
almost all panning that we do is done using volume manipulation to give the illusion that the audio sound is moving from one side to the other, its not really (true) panning since nothing is really being moved at all.
All that is done in most panning is that a two channel MONO track is being manipulated using a volume balance, to raise and lower the volume of one side or the other so that it sounds like the mono signal is moving form one side to the other, but its not moving at all, we just percieve it as movement when we hear this volume manipulation happening to a mono track.
Therefore because you need two identical audio channels to be on the track all panning we do is done using a two channel MONO track...its basically using a form of Balence control to create the illusion of moving or Panning the mono signal form one side to the other.

(True) Panning vs Panning vs Stereo....(panning a stereo signal)
If you wanted to actually move the audio signal from the left side of a stereo two channel track over to the right side of that stereo two channel track. you could not do this with just normal panning that uses volume manipulation. The panning that acts like a Balance and uses volume manipulation to simulate movement on a mono track wont work the same way for a stereo track that has two different audio signals on each channel. This type of panning that uses volume manipulation will not create the illusion of movement or panning when used on a stereo track, it will only act like a volume balance and just shut off the volume of one of your channels and not move that channel at all..
So what you need in this case is something or a way to do (TRUE)Panning, to actually be able to move the audio signal on one channel of a stereo track over to the other channel of that stereo track. And since most recording software programs only use mono type panning the manipulation of volume levels to simulate movement/panning of a mono signal you will have to probably look outside for add on programs or vst programs or pluggin programs to help you acomplish (TRUE)Panning on your stereo two channel track........( I call it TRUE panning for lack of a better word, probably just referring to it as stereo panning would suffice)

Stereo Panning.......(the old school way )
there is a way to (True)pan a pair of stereo audio signals using just your recording software as it is. To do this you need to have your stereo audio signals separated, and have each one sent to its very own separate track. That way each of those signals can then be treated as a MONO signal in its very own two channel mono track. So now that you have one of the signals as a mono signal in its own track you can use the normal Pan thats in your recording software program (the volume manipulation type pan fader that behaves like a balace) to pan it just like you would any other mono signal in the usual way. you do the same to the other half of the original stereo signal and you end up with two separate tracks that each have their own pan fader, now you can use those two pan faders to start moving and position (panning) each of those two signals that came from the original stereo source.

Tip - You could have recorded your original stereo source onto two separate mono tracks right from the beginning, or if you had originally recorded your stereo source onto just one two channel track as a stereo track, then you can use your recording softwares features to separate that track into two separate mono tracks, one that has one signal form your stereo source and the other that has the other signal from your stereo source.....

Just remember all tracks have two channels that you can record audio signals onto, if you record two Identical audio signals onto a tracks two channels then that track is what most of us call a mono track. But if you record two Different audio signals onto to the two channels of a track then that track will be what most of us refer to as a stereo track...so all tracks have two channels...(thanks Till)

(I think that about sums up the difference between Balance and Pan in very basic genneral terms...as far as i understand it anyway)

END OF EDIT.....END OF EDIT....END OF EDIT...END OF EDIT

the rest of this post beyond this point was removed because the above explains things much better, so Tills response below was to the older removed parts of this post so keep that in mind when reading Till's next reply below...just trying to make this thing more useful and less confusing to new users, thats why i cut a bunch out...please feel free to remark about the editing if you see a problem with it, im easy..


Why did i make this post so darn long - i felt i should explain from my experience why panning is still needed for stereo tracks, especially for stereo guitar effects,

ok im done, sorry for so such a long post...
yours supro...
.....wow even after editing the stupid thing is still pretty darn long..ouch.

Last edited by suprosuperman; 06-11-2008 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:42 AM   #2
Till
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long question, short answer:

there are no mono tracks and every pan fader behaves like a balance fader (which makes no difference for "mono" tracks).

there is a dual panner available (gives you what you need in your example): JS:Utility/chanmix2.
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Old 06-10-2008, 03:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Till View Post
there is a dual panner available (gives you what you need in your example): JS:Utility/chanmix2.

great, so this dual Panner will take my stereo instrument(podxt), that i record onto one stereo track in reaper, and allow me to pan that original stereo instruments two channels all the way over to one side if i needed to (just as an extreme example), so that i will now have both the left stereo and right stereo signal form that instrument combined together now on one side and neither of the two origninal stereo signals are lost, they are just both pushed together(panned) over to one side now...?

and this can be done on one stereo track in reaper, i dont need to split my stereo instrument and send it to two separate tracks when i record it for the dual panner to be able to function..?

sorry for asking so many question Till, but alot of instruments are recorded in stereo now, and its good for us to know what options we have available to pan lets say a stereo chorused guitar to one side and a stereo flanged organ to the other side with out loosing part of the instruments original signal or having to turn it into a totally mono signal...

example - a stereo chorused guitar can have one of its signals set to far right and the other set to centre, it will sound like the guitar is panned to the right but it wont sound mono it will sound richer than mono though not a full left right wide stereo spread, it will be a narrow stereo spread from centre to one side...

yeah i know another long winded post sorry folks....if i had a video recorder i could probably explain all this in 1 minute just by showing what i mean....
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:17 PM   #4
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I was looking around the internet, and found a vst similar to what Till was talking about. apparently cubase had at one time the function to true pan stereo, but that feature was removed, and this site has a free vst that brings back that function...

stereo Pan - http://home.netcom.com/~jhewes/StereoPan.html

so im thinking that plugging your stereo instrument into the single stereo track of reaper is not going to give you the ability to pan that stereo signal around later, you will either have to do as i used to do on tape, and record your instrument onto two separate channels/tracks in reaper , or record onto one stereo track in reaper and use a vst like the one i found or like the one Till mentioned in reaper JS:Utility/chanmix2.

I dont mind using the vst to pan or even two separate tracks , I just think its important that people using stereo instruments are made aware of this so they know ahead of time how to handle recording their stereo instruments, especially if they expect to be panning those instruments off to one side or the other later....

thanks till for your patience, no need to respond i think i got it now, ,,,hmmm,,,,but if i dont got it,(which isnt unlikely) then by all means respond and say so...

thanks you.
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:02 PM   #5
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you seem to have got it.

there is also this VST that does panning and a bit more. http://www.cloneensemble.com/sb_main.htm
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:20 PM   #6
suprosuperman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Vampire View Post
you seem to have got it.
Man I sure hope so....LOL

thanks Sonic, the links led to some needed answers for me...(and maybe for others using guitar stereo processors too?)

and thanks for the heads up on the stereo pan tool too..


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Old 06-11-2008, 12:54 PM   #7
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EDIT NOTE.............EDIT NOTE..........EDIT NOTE

Ok folks , just letting you know im gonna edit some of that first opening post up top, first to shorten it, and second to modify some things that i wrote that i found out to be not totally correct after reading your posts, especially my previous understanding of balance, pan....and since this is newbieland i dont want to leave any real bad explanations that could further confuse newbies like me, im gonna clean it up a bit.....so if you see that post looks different next time then this is why..
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EDIT NOTE.............EDIT NOTE..........EDIT NOTE
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:16 AM   #8
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Supro-
Nice touch going back to the OP and updating as not to confuse others who come in late or at another time in the future all together. I wish there was a place to put or somehow catalog these types of threads so that once all the info is there it can just be condensed and referenced in one post for future use without going thru a bunch of posts and quotes. I guess that's kinda like a wiki, but I know no-one wants a bunch of long posts attached to the wiki. But I guess the flipside of that, is others can see where the mistake/misunderstanding was and how the OP'er was righted.
Anyhow nice job, as I was watching/reading this myself and some things were brought to light that I didn't think about myself.
Cheers,
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:41 AM   #9
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IMHO only...Even though both effects posted I'm sure are fine, you may want to stick with a 64 bit plug, such as the Jesusonic one Till referenced. Since you're really not using the plug as an effect you need to keep your mixing resolution (internal) at 64 bits as long as possible.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suprosuperman View Post
what is a MONO track ---
its actually a two channel track that has the exact same audio signal on its left side channel as it has on its right side channel. since both left and right side are identicle(clones of each other)
If you want to write a definition the above is wrong.
Mono files have one channel and are fed sooner or later into a stereo bus just like in any analog mixer. The pan pot decides how much of the original signal each bus channel gets. Reaper and many other programs can handle more that mono in their tracks which leads to some confusion. A stereo channel however is not handled the same way. It doesn't pan. Graphedit is good for visualising these symptoms.

Panning moves the whole signal whereas balancing does not.
IMO the balancing function as it is 'wired' in Reaper is the least uesfull implimentation for stereo material. When setting up a mix - Panning a stereo keyboard or vst output is much more likely to be needed than balancing some porely recorded stereo stuff.
We need to be able to switch to real panning in the preferences - please.

Cheers

maa

Last edited by maa; 07-24-2008 at 03:43 AM.
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