There’s a lot of steps to creating a great modern mix.
But some of those steps seem to get downplayed and even forgotten in some mixes.
It seems as if panning is one of those steps.
But panning all by itself isn’t so effective. You have to do the right panning in order to create a wide mix. Here’s a few tips for using panning effectively.
1. Pan to get a balanced frequency spectrum on each channel.
This means that you don’t want to have all of your cymbals panned hard right and all of your rhythm guitars panned hard left. If you pan based on frequency, you’ll put your hi-hat on the left, and crash on the right (or vice versa). This creates a balanced, interesting mix.
2. Don’t create a wall, create moments.
You don’t need to have something happening at every pan position at all times. Allow things to enter certain positions in the stereo field, but also allow them to fade away. This creates a more interesting mix and allows you to create “moments.”
3. Go for the gold – pan wide.
Not everything needs to be hard right or hard left, but pan things out pretty wide. If I’ve got something panned 15% to the right, I often ask myself why I should even bother. Only sometimes do I leave it there – most of the times I pan it out even further.
We look at the best way to pan things out in an indie rock mix in Nashville Demo Mixing v2: Indie Rock. We walk through the best way to create a massive mix with panning and end up with a massive modern rock track.