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Audio Mixing Bootcamp
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Looking at the three main panning areas


From:

Audio Mixing Bootcamp

with Bobby Owsinski

Video: Looking at the three main panning areas

One of the most taken-for-granted elements in mixing pertains to the placement of the sound element in the stereo field, otherwise known as panning. In this video, I'm going to show you how panning can create excitement by adding movement within the stereo field as well as adding clarity to an instrument by moving it out of the way of other sounds. The first thing is a stereo provides a sense of spaciousness, and that's what panning is giving us. It's giving us the spaciousness and as a result, we're also getting some clarity out of it as well. The thing about panning though is there are three main fields that we have and that's hard left, hard right, and in the center.
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  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 8m 20s
    1. Determining the listening position
      2m 27s
    2. Fixing acoustic problems
      2m 5s
    3. Setting up your monitors
      3m 48s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Setting up your session
      5m 52s
    2. Setting up your subgroups
      7m 50s
    3. Setting up your effects
      6m 35s
  4. 8m 45s
    1. Developing the groove
      3m 46s
    2. Emphasizing the most important elements
      3m 44s
    3. Knowing what to avoid
      1m 15s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Learning the principles of building a mix
      1m 1s
    2. Assigning the drums to a subgroup
      3m 55s
    3. Building the mix from the kick
      10m 8s
    4. Building the mix from the snare
      8m 46s
    5. Building the mix from the toms
      5m 25s
    6. Building the mix from the overhead mics
      3m 53s
    7. Checking the drum phase
      4m 44s
    8. Balancing direct and miked bass channels
      3m 36s
    9. Building the mix from the bass
      3m 26s
    10. Building the mix from the vocals
      4m 19s
    11. Balancing the rhythm section
      2m 44s
    12. Balancing the rest of the instruments with the rhythm section
      5m 22s
    13. Making a mix without building it
      4m 20s
    14. Balancing the harmony vocals
      2m 35s
  6. 23m 2s
    1. Looking at the three main panning areas
      9m 23s
    2. Panning the drums
      6m 9s
    3. Avoiding pseudo-stereo
      7m 30s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding compressor parameters
      3m 42s
    2. Setting up the compressor
      14m 44s
    3. Compressing the drums
      7m 53s
    4. Compressing the room mics
      4m 9s
    5. Compressing the bass
      5m 24s
    6. Using the New York compression trick
      4m 23s
    7. Compressing the clean electric guitars
      4m 40s
    8. Compressing the distorted electric guitars
      4m 48s
    9. Compressing the acoustic guitars
      8m 7s
    10. Compressing the piano
      6m 35s
    11. Compressing the electric keyboards
      4m 32s
    12. Compressing the vocals
      4m 34s
    13. Compressing the horns
      3m 55s
  8. 25m 36s
    1. Learning noise gate basics
      9m 23s
    2. Using the noise gate on guitars
      3m 57s
    3. Using the noise gate on drums
      7m 38s
    4. Learning de-esser basics
      2m 15s
    5. Using the de-esser on vocals
      2m 23s
  9. 36m 4s
    1. Understanding equalizer parameters
      10m 16s
    2. Learning subtractive equalization
      8m 57s
    3. Learning frequency juggling
      8m 28s
    4. Using the magic high-pass filter
      7m 39s
    5. Learning the principles of equalization
      44s
  10. 49m 46s
    1. Equalizing the kick
      6m 7s
    2. Equalizing the snare
      2m 57s
    3. Equalizing the rack toms
      5m 4s
    4. Equalizing the floor tom
      4m 32s
    5. Equalizing the hi-hat
      4m 56s
    6. Equalizing the cymbal or the overhead mics
      6m 49s
    7. Equalizing the room mics
      5m 13s
    8. Equalizing the bass
      3m 59s
    9. Editing the bass rhythm
      4m 21s
    10. Equalizing the rhythm section
      5m 48s
  11. 47m 58s
    1. Equalizing the electric guitar
      8m 15s
    2. Equalizing the acoustic guitar
      4m 55s
    3. Equalizing the hand percussion
      3m 28s
    4. Equalizing the lead vocals
      6m 5s
    5. Equalizing the background vocals
      4m 14s
    6. Equalizing the piano
      4m 46s
    7. Equalizing the organ
      6m 49s
    8. Equalizing the strings
      6m 4s
    9. Equalizing the horns
      3m 22s
  12. 30m 47s
    1. Learning the principles of reverb
      1m 59s
    2. Understanding reverb parameters
      6m 49s
    3. Timing the reverb to the track
      6m 6s
    4. Equalizing the reverb
      2m 51s
    5. Using the two-reverb quick setup
      5m 35s
    6. Using the three-reverb setup
      7m 27s
  13. 59m 8s
    1. Adding reverb to the drums
      7m 56s
    2. Adding reverb to the vocals
      11m 59s
    3. Adding reverb to the guitars
      5m 17s
    4. Adding reverb to the piano
      4m 19s
    5. Adding reverb to the organ
      3m 43s
    6. Adding reverb to the strings
      5m 36s
    7. Adding reverb to the horns
      2m 57s
    8. Adding reverb to the percussion
      4m 46s
    9. Using reverb to layer the mix
      12m 35s
  14. 46m 8s
    1. Learning delay principles
      1m 40s
    2. Understanding delay parameters
      6m 54s
    3. Timing the delay to the track
      1m 28s
    4. Using delay timing variations
      2m 51s
    5. Equalizing the delay
      4m 23s
    6. Understanding the Haas effect
      2m 51s
    7. Using the three-delay setup
      7m 23s
    8. Adding delay to the vocals
      8m 43s
    9. Using delay to layer the mix
      9m 55s
  15. 21m 35s
    1. Understanding the types of modulation
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding modulation parameters
      4m 13s
    3. Modulating the guitars
      4m 7s
    4. Modulating the keyboards
      3m 17s
    5. Modulating the vocals
      4m 17s
    6. Modulating the strings
      2m 58s
  16. 12m 22s
    1. Mixing with subgroups
      5m 5s
    2. Using mix buss compression
      4m 21s
    3. Understanding the evils of hypercompression
      2m 56s
  17. 39s
    1. Goodbye
      39s

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Audio Mixing Bootcamp
8h 53m Beginner Nov 11, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Bobby Owsinski reveals industry tips, tricks, and techniques for producing professionally mixed audio on any digital audio workstation. He offers recommendations for setting up an optimal listening environment, highlights the most efficient ways to set up and balance a mix, and shows how to build a powerful sound with compression. The course also explains how to master the intricacies of EQ; incorporate reverb, delay, and modulation effects; and generate the final mix.

Topics include:
  • Optimizing your listening environment
  • Setting up sessions, subgroups, and effects
  • Understanding which mixing elements to avoid
  • Understanding the principles of building a mix
  • Panning instruments
  • Setting up the compressor
  • Using noise gates and de-essers
  • Understanding the concept of frequency juggling
  • Using the magic high-pass filter
  • Timing reverb and delay to a track
  • Using reverb to layer the mix
  • Understanding the Haas effect
  • Modulating guitars, keyboards, and vocals
  • Mixing with subgroups
  • Tweaking the final mix
Subjects:
Audio + Music Mixing Music Production Audio Effects
Software:
Pro Tools
Author:
Bobby Owsinski

Looking at the three main panning areas

One of the most taken-for-granted elements in mixing pertains to the placement of the sound element in the stereo field, otherwise known as panning. In this video, I'm going to show you how panning can create excitement by adding movement within the stereo field as well as adding clarity to an instrument by moving it out of the way of other sounds. The first thing is a stereo provides a sense of spaciousness, and that's what panning is giving us. It's giving us the spaciousness and as a result, we're also getting some clarity out of it as well. The thing about panning though is there are three main fields that we have and that's hard left, hard right, and in the center.

Now what happens when we pan something in the center is the sound is coming out of both speakers at the same time, in an equal amount, and that gives us a solid feel to the track. So what we try to do is anything with a lot of low end we try to put into the middle. So for instance, listen to one track of the bass, which is the DI track. So if we put it in the center, it sounds very, very solid. As soon as we move it to the left or to the right, now we get the sense of spaciousness, but it doesn't sound quite the same anymore.

And we can use this to our advantage, but usually we do that in other instruments rather than the bass. Now let's just listen with the track for a second, with the bass panned at the middle. (music playing) Now, if we were to add the second bass track, the bass cabinet in, and listen to them both and solo them both-- (music playing) --it sounds pretty good.

Now as soon as we begin to pan them though, all of a sudden we lose some power. (music playing) It still sounds good, but there's just enough difference between the two tracks that we've gained some spaciousness, but we lost some power. Let's listen with the track. (music playing) That's one of the reasons why we don't pan things like kick drums and basses.

In the early days of stereo, you might find some records where that happened, where on the left channel you might have the bass and on the right channel you might have the drums. But that was only because they had limited panning positions-- they didn't have pan pods back then--and they were learning to trade. So you had a few of The Beatle records for instance that did that, but not many. Where panning does come in handy though is when we do something like panning the vocals or panning other instruments to stay out of the way of certain instruments.

Now let's just solo up our background vocals for a second. (music playing) Everything panned up the middle. And just listen to it for a second. It sounds pretty good. (music playing) Now if we were to pan these background vocals hard left and hard right, have a listen to what it sounds like now.

(music playing) Now what we get is a sense of spaciousness, but what also happens is the vocals detach from one another. And what we want sometimes is we want all three vocals, in this case, to sound like a section. If we pan everything hard left, hard right, and up the center, then there's a detachment that doesn't actually quite work really well.

But what happens if we just pan them a little? Well, let's pan 20% to one side, 20% to the other side. Now have a listen. (music playing) Now what that does is it gives us the best of both worlds. It gives us a space in the middle for that lead vocal. It moves the background vocals a little out of the way, plus it gives us some spaciousness.

So that's the beauty of using the spaces in between hard left and hard right and the center, where we can get the best of both worlds. We can get the clarity plus we can get spaciousness. So sometimes just a little bit of movement to the left or to the right makes a really big difference. The other thing that we can do is listen to some guitars as well and how that works with guitars. So I'll come over here, and there's two guitar parts especially that we can listen to. Let's play it for a second and take notice, they're panned up the middle.

(music playing) Now this sounds pretty good, and we can hear the difference between both of them. But now if we pan them just a little bit left and right, you can hear a big difference. All of a sudden, there will be some clarity between them. Now once again, we'll just go to 29. And Guitar number 1 is actually in stereo, so what we'll do is we'll pan the left way far to the left and the right-hand channel just a little bit.

Now here's the beauty of a stereo instrument. We don't always have to pan it hard left and right. We can just pan it a little bit, and we can get the same spaciousness. And take a listen. (music playing) And now you can hear that there's a lot more clarity between both. This also happens with stereo instruments, and let's listen for a second to the organ.

This is a Hammond B3, and with the B3 it's being played through a Leslie Tone Cabinet, which has a rotating horn on the top and rotating horn on the bottom. And what that does is it gives us a very unique stereo perspective. Let's just listen in mono for a second, and let's solo both of them and have a listen. (music playing) Now let's pan them hard left and hard right, which is what a lot of people think right off.

Well, I have it stereo. Let me pan it hard left and hard right and have a listen. (music playing) Now sometimes you can go too far with your panning, and in this case this is one of those things where it's a good example where when you pan it so far apart all of a sudden the low end and the high end sort of detach from one another.

It gets so far--and that happens with pianos a lot too, where the low keys feel like they're detached from the high keys. So sometimes a hard left/hard right pan doesn't really work well for a lot of stereo instruments. In fact, it sounds better if we do a modest pan, and let's just take it to 32, and we'll take the right-hand side to about the same thing, 33. Have a listen now. (music playing) Now the beauty of that is there's no detachment between the high and low end, plus we get this sense of spaciousness, which is what the panning is all about anyway.

And that gives us this beautiful feel of hearing the player play right across the stereo field, and yet we still have the spaciousness without any kind of detachment. So one of the reasons why it's important to stay away, a lot of times, from the hard left and hard right areas is the fact that you'll get a very, very wide stereo field, but sometimes it will just feel unnatural. And by being a little more modest with your panning, it will feel much more natural. Let's listen in the track now. (music playing) Now you can hear it where we still feel that spaciousness.

It's still sort of up the middle, but it feels really good. So to sum it up, stereo provides a sense of spaciousness and panning allows us to create excitement by adding movement within the stereo field. The most prominent music element is usually panned to the center, as well as the kick drum, the bass guitar, and even the snare drum, because this makes the mix feel strong and anchored.

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