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Old 01-09-2021, 07:58 AM
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Default Solo fingerstyle - to pan or not to pan?

Please correct or clarify for me. Panning an acoustic guitar is a tool to use when the guitar has to properly ďsitĒ in the mix with other instruments or a vocalist.

My current recording setup is a spaced pair of mics, each plugged into the input of a Scarlett 2i4, running into Reaper as two separate inputs recording as two tracks in stereo. Panning on each track during recording is centered.

In post processing, is there any reason to pan the mics? Iíve played around with panning them 75% to 100% and while it sounds like a bit more space and breath, there is a significant drop in volume. I did a search about this and just about every reference to panning is specific to panning the guitar to place it properly in the mix with a vocalist or other instruments.

Thanks in advance for educating me.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
Please correct or clarify for me. Panning an acoustic guitar is a tool to use when the guitar has to properly “sit” in the mix with other instruments or a vocalist.
Well yes and no.
First the no, the term "sit in the mix" is usually referring to having the element not stand out as being noticeably forward (front to back) in the sound stage compared to the rest of the element/instruments (and is usually a function of level and compression)

The Yes , panning can be used to separate individual elements/instruments in a mix by positioning them left to right in the sound stage.

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My current recording setup is a spaced pair of mics, each plugged into the input of a Scarlett 2i4, running into Reaper as two separate inputs recording as two tracks in stereo. Panning on each track during recording is centered.
Not quite sure of your meaning ??? but if you are recording the two separate inputs each to their own separate tracks ? they should be two mono tracks not stereo tracks. So assuming you mean two mono tracks (which can yield a true stereo sound) BUT there is no difference as to whether you record them center, or record them hard left and right.

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In post processing, is there any reason to pan the mics? I’ve played around with panning them 75% to 100% and while it sounds like a bit more space and breath, there is a significant drop in volume. I did a search about this and just about every reference to panning is specific to panning the guitar to place it properly in the mix with a vocalist or other instruments.

Thanks in advance for educating me.
So assuming we are talking about two mono tracks (Or even a stereo track ) then yes it is common that if both are panned center then it will be perceived as sounding louder ,,,,as far as a significant difference ? that's somewhat subjective to personal sensitivity but should not be a big difference in actual decibels (if it is there could be some additional routing issue involved) .... BUT that perception of louder does not matter , because you can simply increase the levels when they are panned left and right. And in answer to your question of reason to pan the tracks out left and right? You should pan them out left and right for stereo, because if you pan both to center, you have defeated the stereo image and defeated reason to record with two mics in the first place.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:53 AM
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KevWind,

I think you just cleared me up on a basic setup issue. I’ve been bringing both mics into a single Track with the Input shown as Stereo (i.e. the Track Input shows Input 1 and Input 2 together). I should have been using Mono for each mic for the recording so mic 1 is Track 1 is Mono Input 1 and Mic 2 is Track 2 is Mono Input 2. Than after getting the recording, I pan one mic L and one mic R and set the Master Mix Output to Stereo (correct?).

These are rookie mistakes, thanks for your time.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
KevWind,

I think you just cleared me up on a basic setup issue. I’ve been bringing both mics into a single Track with the Input shown as Stereo (i.e. the Track Input shows Input 1 and Input 2 together). I should have been using Mono for each mic for the recording so mic 1 is Track 1 is Mono Input 1 and Mic 2 is Track 2 is Mono Input 2. Than after getting the recording, I pan one mic L and one mic R and set the Master Mix Output to Stereo (correct?).

These are rookie mistakes, thanks for your time.
From your description above you have one stereo track with one mike panned hard right and the other panned hard left. It will stay that way unless you start messing around with that default panning - don't.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:29 AM
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50% L/50% R is a bit too much stereo spread for me. I bring them in around 10 and 2 o'clock.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
...
Iíve played around with panning them 75% to 100% and while it sounds like a bit more space and breath, there is a significant drop in volume. I did a search about this and just about every reference to panning is specific to panning the guitar to place it properly in the mix with a vocalist or other instruments.

Thanks in advance for educating me.
Study "panning law". You can adjust many DAWs to change the effect of the panning law when dealing with stereo panning.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:15 PM
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I alway pan 100% hard left and right. (Talking here about 2 mics recorded to 2 individual mono tracks) Panning both tracks inward results in phase cancellation and a tonal change (which admittedly could be a sound someone likes, but I don't). If the sound is too wide, you have lots of choices of mic placement to address that - use XY, or ORTF, (including changing the mic angle) or bring spaced pairs in closer together. Distance from the guitar also affects stereo width.

If you record to a stereo track, the panning control (on my DAW, at least) is really just raising or lowering one side, not mixing the two together. The mics will always be panned hard left and right automatically. You can test this easily by turning off one speaker and listening to what the pan control does.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:22 PM
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There is a good pan law discussion, HERE. The basics of two-mic, two-channel operation is that a properly recorded signal should allow you to adjust the panning of the two channels in or out to balance the amount of stereo interest vs. the strength of you center image. Weak center image? Pan both channels inboard a little at a time to strengthen it.

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Old 01-09-2021, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
KevWind,

I think you just cleared me up on a basic setup issue. Iíve been bringing both mics into a single Track with the Input shown as Stereo (i.e. the Track Input shows Input 1 and Input 2 together). I should have been using Mono for each mic for the recording so mic 1 is Track 1 is Mono Input 1 and Mic 2 is Track 2 is Mono Input 2. Than after getting the recording, I pan one mic L and one mic R and set the Master Mix Output to Stereo (correct?).

These are rookie mistakes, thanks for your time.
Personally I would do it that way,,,, two mono tracks input 1 into one mono track and input 2 into the other mono track (that way you dial the pan knobs intuitively)
While Theoretically there should be no difference for the panning between two mono tracks or one stereo track and in some DAWs there is virtually no difference. However in Reaper specifically the way it handles panning in a stereo track, is frankly IMO unintuitive, cumbersome, confusing, and just plain goofy. And perhaps why you are having issues


if you check out this video you will see why



That embed looks funny if it is not working for you try this link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13uY9H64v2Y
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Old 01-09-2021, 02:20 PM
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Here's three samples I did to let me hear the differences. In each sample the song and guitar, mics, mic recording levels, and DAW master volume level are all the same. Also, in each sample, a HPF is used at approximately 100hz.

One sample is two mics into a single stereo track, pan centered

One sample is two mics to two mono tracks, one mic pan left 50%, one mic pan right 50%

One sample is two mics to two mono tracks, one mic pan left 100%, one mic pan right 100%

The single stereo track and the dual mono tracks L/R 100% pan sound similar in stereo width or effect but produce different sound levels for the master volume setting.

The sample with the dual mono tracks L/R 50% pan has the highest volume but sounds harsher with less stereo effect/width.

I like the dual mono tracks with L/R 100% pan the most all else equal.





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Old 01-09-2021, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I alway pan 100% hard left and right. (Talking here about 2 mics recorded to 2 individual mono tracks) Panning both tracks inward results in phase cancellation and a tonal change (which admittedly could be a sound someone likes, but I don't). If the sound is too wide, you have lots of choices of mic placement to address that - use XY, or ORTF, (including changing the mic angle) or bring spaced pairs in closer together. Distance from the guitar also affects stereo width.

If you record to a stereo track, the panning control (on my DAW, at least) is really just raising or lowering one side, not mixing the two together. The mics will always be panned hard left and right automatically. You can test this easily by turning off one speaker and listening to what the pan control does.
I'm not sure I understand the difference when I have two mics recorded on two mono tracks of panning "inward" or "outward". My pan control knob for each track lets me pan left or right 0% (centered) to 100%. How do I know I am panning inward or outward relative to one or both tracks?

My DAW (Reaper) does the same as what Doug mentions in panning a stereo track with two mics recorded on it.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:01 PM
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For stereo recording of solo acoustic guitar I set things up similar to what Doug explained for a spaced pair (A-B) mic setup.

I record each mic as a separate mono track. On playback, and for rendering, I pan one track hard (100%) left and the other track hard (100%) right. To get the width of the stereo field that I like I will adjust the distance between the mics (and distance from the guitar to the mics) prior to recording. It's a bit more work to get things set up, but for those that want to minimize the phasing effect (causing comb filtering) it's a way to do it.

For spaced pair setups some folks will space their mics apart quite a distance. Then on playback they either pan one track hard left and other track hard right (if they want to keep the stereo width as was recorded). If they don't want the stereo field to be so wide, they will move the pan knobs toward center.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:05 PM
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... [snip] ...
The single stereo track and the dual mono tracks L/R 100% pan sound similar in stereo width or effect but produce different sound levels for the master volume setting.
... [snip] ...
They should sound similar (identical if done on the same take) because those DAW setups produce the same output.

Recording to 2 mono tracks just makes it simpler if after recording you decide to pan inward some amount.
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Old 01-09-2021, 03:05 PM
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BOTH SIDES NOW 2 TR MONO MIX HPF PAN 100% L - R sounds the best. There will an especially noticeable difference when mic'ing
in a spaced pair configuration versus some coincident mic'ing setup.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SprintBob View Post
I'm not sure I understand the difference when I have two mics recorded on two mono tracks of panning "inward" or "outward". My pan control knob for each track lets me pan left or right 0% (centered) to 100%. How do I know I am panning inward or outward relative to one or both tracks?

My DAW (Reaper) does the same as what Doug mentions in panning a stereo track with two mics recorded on it.
I think this is a source of some confusion. Some people are talking about "panning inward" - making a stereo pair sound narrower. Every DAW's different, but usually you can do that when you record to two mono tracks. You have a choice of how much of mic 1 appears in the left vs right and the same with mic #2. So you could even set both pan controls to the center (equal in each channel) and get mono.Or you could pan one mic slightly left and the other slightly right, and get a narrow stereo sound. Or hard left and right to get the widest sound.

On DAWs I'm familiar with, when you record to a stereo track, the "pan" control simply adjusts the volume of one side or the other, it doesn't make the stereo image narrower or wider, it just shifts it left or right.

So I think people are talking about two different things.

For recording to stereo tracks, I try to balance the mic levels from the beginning, but if I need to adjust them slightly during mix down, the pan/balance control is one way to do it.
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