Hi there, Musikality is back and is back for good . Since I don’t have much time anymore, I’ll write less frequently and shorter posts, but I guess that’s better than nothing.
Lately, I’ve been mixing my new album (http://raskolnikovsdream.com). If you listen to my pieces you’ll see that I layer a lot of sound on top of one another. When you are mixing, the main focus is how to stack all these different sounds together. Sometimes, the sounds are all on the same frequency range, something that makes it quite difficult to mix them.
Enter panning. Panning is the location of the different elements on the stereo field. Back, in the days of yore, everything was mono. That means that there was only one channel for both left and right speakers. Stereo, seperates the signal into left and right. This creates a fuller sound, but the reason that stereo was created was not only to create a fuller sound, but to emulate a realistic live performance.
The next step after stereo is surround audio, but surround audio is something that is mostly reserved for audiophiles, since it is difficult to set up.
Surround panning in Cubase
Now, panning, as we said, concerns the placement of the audio elements in the stereo field from left to right. One of the biggest mistakes one can make is to place everything in the center. Let’s say for example that you are trying to mix a guitar with a vocal track and you place both in the center. The sound won’t be so clear. Now, try to move the guitar to the left. Suddenly, the vocals become clearer. This is what panning is for.
However, the stereo field has to be balanced. You should move audio tracks that share the same frequency spectrum equally to the left and to the right. So, for example, you should balance the guitar on the left, with a high hat on the right. Furthermore, you should know that everything placed in the center sounds more pronounced. So, you should leave the center for things like vocals, bass and kick drums. Vocals, because they are very important and bass and kick drum because low frequency sounds are not perceived very clearly by our ears and if you move them left or right they will mess the perception of the whole mix.