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Topic: Orchestral Panning

  1. #1

    Orchestral Panning

    I was wondering if there are any suggested presets for panning the various sections. In the past when working with orchestral compositions I rarely pan anything beyond 30% in either direction. To thicken the sound of the string sections I usually double a couple of the solo strings on the same part with very low volume levels. I'm worried that 20% to the left on the violins section might mean something different than 20% to the left on a solo violin.


    Ok, so I've figured out approximations of the presets for the strings. They are as follows:
    1st Violins 70% to the left
    2nd Violins 30% to the left
    Violas 20% to the left
    Celli 50% to the right
    Basses 80% to the right

    Honestly, I think this is too balanced and not really typical of what it sounds like in an auditorium or in a live recording. My suggestions are as follows:

    1st Violins 20% to the left
    2nd Violins 10% to the left
    Violas Center
    Celli 10% to the right
    Basses 20% to the right
    Last edited by Dane Grant; 12-06-2010 at 07:18 PM. Reason: answered my own question

  2. #2

    Re: Orchestral Panning

    If you are working with dry sounds and intend to later add reverb, you will find that the panning sounds different (less extreme) after the reverb is added.

    Also, many orchestral libraries come prepanned as they are recorded with the instruments in their natural position.

  3. #3

    Re: Orchestral Panning

    That's a good point. If you were conducting an orchestra in the dessert you would hear the violins coming from your left ear significantly more than in if you were conducting the same orchestra in a concert hall. Consequently, I usually pan the instruments before adding the reverb effects.

  4. #4

    Re: Orchestral Panning

    If you are panning for the purpose of making each instrument sound like it is placed in a certain position relative to the other instruments then you might consider doing the panning with the reverb engaged so that you will hear the sounds as they will be heard by the listener of the finished product.

    Most things done to a mix are best done in the context of the full mix, including things like EQ, so you hear them in proper context.

  5. #5

    Re: Orchestral Panning

    Here's a guide I've been using for some time and has served me well:


    Pan before reverb, agreed ! And just enough reverb to make it "pop" and not washy...

    Something else that may help:


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