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tunesurfers
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Hi, i was wondering what you guys think about ear preference while mixing your tracks. I always want to pan strong instruments to the left and supllementary instruments to the rightside because i want to hear the melody on the left ear (if not on the top of your head).

When I’m listening to people, i usually listen to them with right ear but in music i prefer listening with left ear.

Another thing i observed is, while mixing drums strong and continuous rides panned to the rightside are very annoying to me although hi-hats on the leftside don’t create the same annoying effect. Of course if you balance it nicely nothing is annoying but if i’m listening to a jazz track that goes with rides panned to the rightside till the end, then it becomes a torture after a point.

Also in most orchestral pieces often basses are on the rightside while violins are close to the left. Maybe we want to hear basses on the right ear and hi-pitched instruments on the left ear?

What do you think? What’s your preference? I believe there must be a scientific truth about this.

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Dirtyflint
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soundengine said
What do you think? What’s your preference?

I think we should listen with both ears. ;)

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garethcoker
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Dirtyflint said
I think we should listen with both ears. ;)

LOL – brilliant!!!

The only preference is what sounds ‘good’. There are some conventions that can be followed, but for every convention, you will find an exception.

e.g. Orchestral recordings, the basses are indeed often on the right hand side. But, in many recordings, violin 1 is on the left, violin 2 is on the right, viola is mid-left, cello is mid-right and bass is center.

It really depends on what sort of sound you are going for. If you think it is annoying, it probably is. If you think it sounds good, it probably is good.

The best thing to do is ALWAYS check your recordings against professional recordings.

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tunesurfers
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@dirtyflint

Lol, obviously that’s the starting point.

@ Gareth, thanks for the input.

Joking aside, according to some research i did (just googled :)), people distinguish melodies better with left ear. When you listen something with left ear it goes to the right hemisphere of the brain for processing, and when you listen to something with right ear it goes to the left brain.

Left brain is associated with more analytical things like maths and speech and right brain is associated with more abstract things like music.

Regular people distinguish melodies with left ear (right brain) while experienced musicians distinguish melodies with right ear (left brain) because they listen to music in a more analytical way.

So, looks like when you have to pan an important instrument to a side, try panning it to the left if you want it to be distinguished by regular listeners. Then, what to pan to the rightside? Basses, suplementary instruments, low-pitched variations of the melodies, and maybe some of your vocals if you have meaningful lyrics.

Just thoughts

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AndySlatter
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Some interesting points. I think you have to be very careful with panning, unless you are double tracking and panning hard L/R for a doubling effect you have to be careful not to pan stuff too hard unless it is balanced with something else, otherwise you get an uncomfortable effect where it feels like one ear is being sucked into the headphones (this is the only way I can think to describe it :) )

@soundengine, this is interesting, I may just experiment with the idea of panning the melody just out of interest.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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tunesurfers
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@slats

Yeah, this is really interesting. For example, the piano sample i use pans the bass sounds to the left naturally and when you mix it with other instruments, it pushes birighter sounds to the right causing an annoying effect. Then you wonder what’s wrong with this track…

Look at the beginning of this movie soundtrack:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9lWUqraDoU

Although it is not that annoying, it still sounds like something is wrong with this track because a bassier guitar is playing on the left and brighter guitars are panned to the rightside. I feel like it should have been the other way around (or i’m becoming obsessive :) )

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SonicCube
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The only thing i know for sure, is about the paning in dancefloor, club orientated tracks.

Bass below 150Hz should be more or less mono, as vinyl ( i know it’s almost dead ) tend to mash things up under 150hz when the stereofield is to wide.

Snare and Kickdrum which are main players, should be centered.

Main melody line should be centered or doubled if paned ( imagine someone stands in front of the left speaker in the club and the melody is paned hard right, he will not have a clue why everyone else is smiling and dancing to something he can’t hear ).

Sure, there is always room to experiment, but if you listen to this kind of music, you will notice, that most tracks follow this rule :)

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AndySlatter
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SonicCube said
The only thing i know for sure, is about the paning in dancefloor, club orientated tracks.

Bass below 150Hz should be more or less mono, as vinyl ( i know it’s almost dead ) tend to mash things up under 150hz when the stereofield is to wide.

Snare and Kickdrum which are main players, should be centered.

Main melody line should be centered or doubled if paned ( imagine someone stands in front of the left speaker in the club and the melody is paned hard right, he will not have a clue why everyone else is smiling and dancing to something he can’t hear ).

Sure, there is always room to experiment, but if you listen to this kind of music, you will notice, that most tracks follow this rule :)

Yes, this is very true.

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liambradbury
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SonicCube said
The only thing i know for sure, is about the paning in dancefloor, club orientated tracks.

Bass below 150Hz should be more or less mono, as vinyl ( i know it’s almost dead ) tend to mash things up under 150hz when the stereofield is to wide.

Snare and Kickdrum which are main players, should be centered.

Main melody line should be centered or doubled if paned ( imagine someone stands in front of the left speaker in the club and the melody is paned hard right, he will not have a clue why everyone else is smiling and dancing to something he can’t hear ).

Sure, there is always room to experiment, but if you listen to this kind of music, you will notice, that most tracks follow this rule :)

bass under 100 hz will mostly sound centred anyway no matter where you pan it in the speakers because your ear cant determine where these frequencies come from.

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SonicCube
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liambradbury said
bass under 100 hz will mostly sound centred anyway no matter where you pan it in the speakers because your ear cant determine where these frequencies come from.

Yes, thats correct, but if its stereo in the production, the subbass speakers in a club can go nuts :) the main issue tho is if the track will be pressed onto vinyl, the needle can’t handle low frequencies in stereo properly.

So, when mastering a track for vinyl, one step is always to make the frequencies below 100hz monaural :)

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