Mixing a 2 piece band and hard panning

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jrdamien
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Mixing a 2 piece band and hard panning

Post by jrdamien » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:10 pm

Anyone have any wild suggestions? I've been mixing it for a couple days putting the drums in the middle and the guitar hard left and right, but what about drums left and guitars right and vocals middle?

Yes, I know, whatever sounds right. But what are the down the road implications to hard panning in the manner, ie, "old school"?

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Snarl 12/8
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:26 pm

Man, I always want that to work, but I think the drums really suffer from not getting the woofers moving on both sides. It just lacks ooomph. I guess some people go for small drum sounds, and maybe with this alternative, stripped down, arrangement that's what they're going for, but for me it never works.

Try hard panning it and then crank it a bit and get up and move around the room. Listen to it from out in the hall. Does it rock? Most people aren't going to be sitting in a mixing position when they listen to it. Oh, and try it on headphones or earbuds. Play it for someone with a fresh set of ears and more of a layperson's perspective.
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Post by Jitters » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:34 am

You might try drums and guitar hard panned with the reverbs going to the opposite speaker to fatten it up and glue it down.

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Post by mscottweber » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:07 pm

As Snarl said, in the past I've tried to do crazy hard-panning with groups like that and it always lacks in power and "oomph". I usually end up having everything up the center, or drums up the center, guitar over to one side with guitar verb or short delay panned opposite. In my opinion, if the drums were recorded in stereo, and you utelize(sp) interesting stereo verb and delay tricks on the guitar and vox, the mix is usually interesting enough and still retains the clarity and power that you'd be looking for.

Of course, if you hard pan stuff all wild and crazy, and you and the client like it, then thats awesome! I always want to be able to get away with stuff like that, but it just never works out for me.

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Post by TapeOpLarry » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:13 pm

Recently I mixed bass where I ran it through a crossover and panned the bass highs left, kept the lows centered. Cool trick and makes vinyl mastering safer. You could do this and pan a single gtr amp right, or vice versa.
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Dakota
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Re: Mixing a 2 piece band and hard panning

Post by Dakota » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:16 am

jrdamien wrote:Anyone have any wild suggestions? I've been mixing it for a couple days putting the drums in the middle and the guitar hard left and right, but what about drums left and guitars right and vocals middle?

Yes, I know, whatever sounds right. But what are the down the road implications to hard panning in the manner, ie, "old school"?
Agreed with above posters that while there is a temptation to at least try panning drums hard to one side for that 60's 4-track "early days of stereo exotica" sound - it's hard to get modern recordings sounding anywhere near as charming doing that - and certainly hard to get modern expectations of a "powerful" feel from the drums that way.

As far as "wild" though, there's lot's to do! And a two piece being kind of sparse, it's cool to use experimentation to fill out the sound field and add additional interest.

Compression Panning (dynamic auto-panning): mult a guitar track, uncompressed panned hard to one side, same signal through a compressor set pretty darn deliberately squashy panned hard to the other side. Experiment with attack and release times to get pumping that feels rhythmically interesting and coordinated with the song tempo. Balance the levels of each by ear to have the same perceived average volume as each other.

Then the track will automatically seem to pan itself side to side based on the player's loud/quiet dynamics. (And this can be done on drums as well! Anything that has volume dynamics.)

If a guitar track is already heavily distorted, the above approach may not shine if not enough volume dynamics are present in the signal. In that case, use a compressor set to expansion, or a downward expander.

Variation, fun with side chain EQ: mult signal to two compressors, each hard panned as above, side chain EQ in one compressor just passing lows, other compressor's side chain just passing highs. The signal will then pan side to side based on the high/low content of the track.

TapeOpLarry's suggestion of using crossovers to make stereo interest, definitely!

Wildly different EQ's side to side, yep. Reverbs and delays hard panned opposite, yes indeed. Clean/distorted hard panned, yes yes.

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Post by BassGuy87 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:14 pm

Hard panning drums is a nice effect for a bit or even a song, but is sounds horrible for very long. As was said above, you lose out on that umph in the speakers and woofers. But I may be the wrong person to ask. I am not a fan of hard panning anything but the vocals for very long. Although shooting the reverb into opposite speakers might be really sweet.
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Post by MicrophoneMark » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:44 pm

I've always wanted to try a mix where gtr/drums are hard r/l, the plan being they take up equal space in the frequency spectrum... most probably with a tits amount of distortion and smashing. Strangely I've not yet had the opportunity!

I have the same issue as you with gtr/drum bands or more commonly productions with a single guitar track. I always search for as many elements as possible to offset the guitar with, so I might pan some/all of reverbs, toms, ride/hats, extra percussion, vocal fx etc to oppose the guitar. It's a situation I'm still trying to find an ideal method for. I recently did a postrock mix with one gtr and bass synth and resolved to fuzz-up the bass and chunk-up the guitar and hard l/r them. It made a hole for a huge, Bonham that would've been impossible with 'bassy' bass down the middle.

Larry - did you have any wierd phase stuff with the crossover bass trick? did you have to fiddle with it much? I've never had success with stuff like this. There's always some kind of wierd hole-in-the-middle-of-my-head thing that I hear. Same with the thng where guys opposite-pan two mics on a single gtr cab. It always jumps out a mile to me.

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Jitters
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Post by Jitters » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:17 pm

Hey Mark. I'm no Larry, but a close mic and a room mic hard panned can be very nice and natural on a track with a single guitar.

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Post by mscottweber » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:23 am

At least in my experience, phase problems seem to disapate when you start panning the mikes away from each other. I.E., if there are phase issues, they are MOST apparent to me when the two signals are in the same pan position.

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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:05 am

What about not hard panning? I've been noticing (I think, now that my monitoring is a touch better) that some slight panning can really open things up in a great way without sending you back to the drawing board "balance" wise. Not that I give too much of a shit about balance really. I like big, loud and power, but I don't care usually if the snare or kick is right down the middle.
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Post by Dakota » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:37 am

mscottweber wrote:At least in my experience, phase problems seem to disapate when you start panning the mikes away from each other. I.E., if there are phase issues, they are MOST apparent to me when the two signals are in the same pan position.
Quite. Depends on whether one wants to keep a recording mono compatible or not... depends on the intended uses and where/how it might get played.

When panned out, signals that have lots of complex cancelling phase and comb oddness sound way more stereo wide field than phase-compatible pairs.

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Post by JohnSuitcase » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:14 pm

I've done something similar to what Larry suggested, but I took a DI of the bass, which was kept center, and a mic of the amp, with a distortion pedal (inserted after the DI), panned opposite the single guitar. Worked nicely to balance the mix without putting all the bass to the left.
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Post by bannerj » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:55 pm

Dakota wrote:
mscottweber wrote:At least in my experience, phase problems seem to disapate when you start panning the mikes away from each other. I.E., if there are phase issues, they are MOST apparent to me when the two signals are in the same pan position.
Quite. Depends on whether one wants to keep a recording mono compatible or not... depends on the intended uses and where/how it might get played.

When panned out, signals that have lots of complex cancelling phase and comb oddness sound way more stereo wide field than phase-compatible pairs.
yep, it is easier to hear phase problems when two mics are lined up. you should at least check phase with them panned in the same position first before you spread them out. The wide pan might sound nice but with layers of other things, the seemingly subtle phasey issues can get wonky.

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