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Pan vs. Balance

A big part of mixing audio is panning, which is like steering your audio between left and right (or multi-channel for surround). Sometimes we use panning to isolate stereo sources to mono outputs, which can be the case when making splits.  But what would happen if what you thought was a panner was really a balance control?

In Premiere, what looks like a panner (audio steering wheel), acts more like the two levers of a Green Machine or Pod Racer!  When you want to steer left, you decrease the right – instead of steering the right channel content to the left.  Sound confusing?  Check out this Mixing Minute video!  (and read below to dive just a little deeper)

So, how else could a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) handle stereo content?  Well, with a stereo panner.  ProTools, for example puts two panners on a stereo track or aux input (submix track).  The default for these panners is hard left and right, but if you want to “pan” the stereo content, you have separate controls for each channel.  In the case of the splits mentioned above, the right panner would be set all the way to the left.

Stereo Panner

Stereo Paner in ProTools

The resulting mono signal from the dual panners in ProTools would result in a significantly higher signal than the technique used in Premiere.  In Premiere, the resulting gain is reduced by a considerable amount whether you place stereo content on a mono track or route stereo content through a mono sub.  But these are topics for another post!  Comments?  Find me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MichaelAudio.  And thanks for reading!

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