Your preference on Pan Depth/Pan Laws


#1

Trying to learn more about this.

Recent versions of Pro Tools give the option of Pan Depth at -2.5, -3.0, -4.5, and -6 db. I researched a little and it seems that that number is the amount of db cut from centered panning information. So more db cut out of the center = a wider pan. Older versions of PT defaulted to (and I think only offered) -2.5 db. Now it defaults to -3.0. But one of my friends (college roommate/best man in my wedding) is a producer at Sweetwater and says he prefers -4.5.

What do you guys think/know about this. Odds are, you know more than me. :wink:

Thanks!


#2

I’ve never experimented in depth with the panning law. I always leave it to Equal Power in Cubase :slight_smile:


#3

Pan law doesn’t really change anything in the final product (i.e. you don’t get a ‘wider’ mix from using a different pan law)

The only thing the pan law affects is how the levels change as you move a source across the stereo field. If you start mix at a given pan law, whatever that is -
you will compensate for it while mixing, nothing changes in the final result. Its just a different kind of workflow to the same problem, that is… changing the sounds position and how loud it is.


#4
garethcoker said

Pan law doesn’t really change anything in the final product (i.e. you don’t get a ‘wider’ mix from using a different pan law)

The only thing the pan law affects is how the levels change as you move a source across the stereo field. If you start mix at a given pan law, whatever that is -
you will compensate for it while mixing, nothing changes in the final result. Its just a different kind of workflow to the same problem, that is… changing the sounds position and how loud it is.

Okay. I think I understand. So do you not mess with it at all? Just work from the default setting of -3db? I was secretly hoping you’d chime in, Gareth. I value your wisdom.


#5

I may be wrong but I thought this was to do with how certain mixers work so you can have the same workflow both digitally and via analogue.


#6

Hi there. First post to to forums, yay!

The pan law has to do with the fact, that when playing sound from 2 speakers at the same time, the sounds panned to middle will have a boost of about 6 decibels without compensation. The most common pan law is -3dB, which means things panned dead center will be boosted about 3 decibels.

It is a workflow thing and the pan law affects the way your stereo system fits your acoustics and how mono compatible your stereo mix will be. For example having a -6dB rule will play at the same level in mono as your stereo mix, because the center position level is compensated in full. -4.5dB law has been said to have been designed for very good, acoustically designed rooms and is closer to being totally mono-compatible. Most commonly this was used on old Solid State Logic consoles. The -3dB law is the most commonly used because it is a good compromise.

Some laws can be more suited for different listening/monitoring environments. It probably makes no big difference to the end product, but I have noticed that using a steeper pan law can make panning sound wider when mixing, because it automatically changes/compensates the level more.

I prefer -3 and -4.5 laws.

I’m not sure of the equal loudness though. I assume it uses some kind of a designed curve, but I’m not sure. Maybe it boosts the side and attenuates the center at the same time? Could it be doing +3dB compensation on sides and -3dB at center?

All the best,
Werihukka


#7

Usually you can change the pan law during a mixing session, so once your mix is ‘done’ try experimenting with different ones and see what you like best.