Panning Audacity

Panning Panning is the spread of a monaural signal in a stereo or multi-channel sound field - it is critical to the make up of the stereo image. Figure 1 - Mixer pan controls Usually, the most problematic area of the sound field is the center, as this is normally the busiest place within a mix.

  1. Layering and Panning Creating a Project Importing Files. We'll be extracting our sounds from the allRecordings file and placing them in our new project, using a variety of audacity's actions. Here's a capture of the sound signal of our allRecordings.aiff file.
  2. Modulate panning using simple LFO shapes, or design your own pan pattern with the Rhythm Step Editor. The input signal can be used to control panning, and the plugin also features the famous Soundtoys saturation circuits - useful if you like your pan effects served with a touch of crunch.
  3. LAME is now bundled in with the latest Audacity version. The FFmpeg import/export library allows Audacity to import and export many additional audio formats such as AC3, AMR(NB), M4A and WMA, and to import audio from video files. Audacity 2.0.6 and later requires FFmpeg 1.2 to 2.3.x (or libav 0.8 to 0.10.x).
  4. Audacity lets you pan with the keyboard instead of the mouse, but if you prefer the pan to modify the waveform immediately, this plug-in will statically pan your stereo audio anywhere between left and right channels. There is only one parameter: Pan position: 0=left, 1=right, default is 0.5 (center-panned).

Got this question from a reader:

I recorded in garageband, which they say records in mono. While playing the music over my two studio speakers it sounds great. When I play it only on one speaker, some instruments are missing, so I mixed again in only one speaker. When playing it on the other speaker now,some parts are quieter or missing. perhaps it has to do with panning, perhaps i shouldn’t tamper with the panning and use the stereo output of my interface to listen to what i recorded? So my question is, what does one mean by mixing in mono. is it just using
one speaker only no matter which one?

Bam, what an awesome question! Seems like he having some stereo compatibility issues here. This problem has a simple solution.

Check your mix in Mono

Mixing in mono does not mean mixing on only one speaker. Mixing on one speaker would end up sounding really weird since I guess you would end up panning everything pretty heavily towards that one speaker, leaving you with a lopsided mix.

Audacity channel mixer

No, mixing in mono means flipping your song into mono, either on your interface(like I do on my Apogee Duet) or simply setting the master fader of your DAW to mono.

Now, I’m not entirely sure how to do this in Garageband but in Logic it’s as simple as clicking the mono switch on the master fader. Also, audio interfaces usually come with some software that allows you to switch them to mono mode.

Once you’ve set your listening system to mono, you should go over your mix again and make sure nothing is missing or sounds different from before.

For instance, a common problem with using cool stereo effects on synths or guitars is that once you listen back in mono all those effects disappear. Once you sum the stereo effects to mono the effects on each side of the stereo spectrum essentially cancel each other out.

Just imagine if your awesome stereo delay for your guitar solo would all of a sudden vanish! No cool solo sound for you!

Pan in Mono

Going back to the question above, there is nothing wrong with tampering with panning. In fact, I would urge you to pan as much as you’d like. Panning creates separation in the stereo field so that all your instruments get a little space between your monitors.

A good trick, and one that I talk about in Mixing Strategies( this way.

Mono is Better than Stereo

Stereo Widener Audacity

A stereo mix sounds great on your stereo system, but can sound terrible if it’s not mono compatible. A mono mix however, will sound just as great on a stereo system.

So make sure to always check your mixes in mono, fix those stereo effects to work in mono, and pan your instrument in mono for better separation.

Panning In Audacity

If you want more mono and stereo mixing tricks, check out Mixing Strategies. These strategies have guaranteed, proven techniques to get a better stereo image, as well as kicking ass with creative panning decisions.

Check it out here:

Audacity Pan Audio


Plug-Ins Audacity

Image by: Keoni Cabral