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Pan law and its effects in exports Spatial Processor Plugins
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Pan law and its effects in exports

Hello to everyone,

I'd kindly like to ask some questions about pan laws. I have made a research through the web but I'd like to open this topic to discuss about pan law and its effects to the final mix or mastering.

I use the -3 db center option and always check my mixes in mono for phasing issues and also to hear how would my mix sound in a mono device. When I "monoing" I could hear a small attenuation of the overall signal comparing to the stereo. On the other hand when I export the same mixdown and listening to it through the pc (outside the DAW) and monoing my audio interface then I see that the audio is louder and sometimes clipping. Why is this happening? Let's assume that my audio interface do not compensate level when monoing, then what about an external mono audio device let's say in a car or a phone etc. How will the mono device "translate" the stereo input? Will it add loudness as my audio interface or the pan law will "follow" the audio clip always?

I have also noticed that when i use the built in mono-interleave button in Cakewalk in a track it is ok but when I monoing the Master Bus and my individual tracks remain in stereo then the meters of the individual tracks exceed the 0 dBfs reference point but I can't hear any noticeable clipping distortion.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
I use the -3 db center option and always check my mixes in mono for phasing issues and also to hear how would my mix sound in a mono device. When I "monoing" I could hear a small attenuation of the overall signal comparing to the stereo. On the other hand when I export the same mixdown and listening to it through the pc (outside the DAW) and monoing my audio interface then I see that the audio is louder and sometimes clipping. Why is this happening? Let's assume that my audio interface do not compensate level when monoing, then what about an external mono audio device let's say in a car or a phone etc. How will the mono device "translate" the stereo input? Will it add loudness as my audio interface or the pan law will "follow" the audio clip always?
Hi,

It all depends...
Pan law will change the level depending on settings and the place the pan is.
"Monoing" can be done on different ways to.
Some "mono buttons" just sum the signal (and this could clip), others attenuate the signals first and then sum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
I have also noticed that when i use the built in mono-interleave button in Cakewalk in a track it is ok but when I monoing the Master Bus and my individual tracks remain in stereo then the meters of the individual tracks exceed the 0 dBfs reference point but I can't hear any noticeable clipping distortion.
Within your DAW it is using floating-point, distortion will happen if you pass the 0 dBFS as you go to fixed-point.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Hi thanks for your answer,

So my stereo mastering export could have different results in different devices? Other attenuates and other just sum? In this occasion which thing way should i trust? My DAW or my Audio Interface? I assume but I am not sure that if in the DAW everything is ok when monoing then it will be the same for other devices.
But what about devices that summing the 2 signals and it result in distortion? Is there anyway to predict that and make my exports good for these devices too ? And if it result clipping distortion to these mono devices could it destroy their speakers?

I know those are a lot of questions

I did not write them just to take an answer as a newbie (this could be unfair for those who have tried years to learn those things.) but I'd like to be an active part of the discussion to write my concerns and when possible (why not? ) to give my advice when I have the knowledge and the experience.

Thanks a lot for one more time
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Quote:
I'd kindly like to ask some questions about pan laws.
Pan law and stereo to mono loudness - Cakewalk by BandLab - Cakewalk Discuss | The Official Cakewalk by BandLab Forum

I answered your post in there.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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lol
thanks
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
So my stereo mastering export could have different results in different devices?
Always.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
But what about devices that summing the 2 signals and it result in distortion? Is there anyway to predict that and make my exports good for these devices too ?
Export you master with +6 dB headroom, so stay under the -6 dBFS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
And if it result clipping distortion to these mono devices could it destroy their speakers?
Turning up there volume to max or very, very bad clipping for long time could destroy their speakers.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BT64 View Post
Always.


Export you master with +6 dB headroom, so stay under the -6 dBFS.

I always leave 5 or 6 dB headroom for mastering purposes. But I have noticed that even my final mastered stereo tracks also result in clipping when monoing my audio interface. The same track is not clipping when monoing inside DAW.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Master with 6 dB headroom.
Or accept that when monoing with summing it will sound evenly crappy as other masters in mono.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
I always leave 5 or 6 dB headroom for mastering purposes. But I have noticed that even my final mastered stereo tracks also result in clipping when monoing my audio interface. The same track is not clipping when monoing inside DAW.
2 Words: Pan Laws..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BT64 View Post
Master with 6 dB headroom.
Or accept that when monoing with summing it will sound evenly crappy as other masters in mono.
I suppose no one make masterings in mono ???? I am newbie

But make master with aiming -6dBfs won't be very quietly?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Quote:
I suppose no one make masterings in mono ???? I am newbie
You supposed wrong. Its done all the time. If you are just starting out and doing home masters, there is much to learn about the signal chain and gain stages.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
You supposed wrong. Its done all the time. If you are just starting out and doing home masters, there is much to learn about the signal chain and gain stages.
I am watching some tutorials and took some internet courses but as I undestood they just test the Mastering in mono but not make mastering for mono devices.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Quote:
I am watching some tutorials and took some internet courses but as I undestood they just test the Mastering in mono but not make mastering for mono devices.
So why do you think they test it in mono then? You test for it, to be mastered for it. You never do things , just to do things. Everything you do has a purpose.

CJ
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
So why do you think they test it in mono then? You test for it, to be mastered for it. You never do things , just to do things. Everything you do has a purpose.

CJ
And here is where I am confused. When I check for mono compatibility in my DAW everything seems fine (at least in my ears and also not clipping) but when test the same exported track in mono outside the DAW it clips and result in distortion?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
its your pan laws, like i said earlier.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
its your pan laws, like i said earlier.
I'm going to read more stuff about pan laws and maybe I will clear it in my mind. I am really so confused now ..
Thanks
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
And here is where I am confused. When I check for mono compatibility in my DAW everything seems fine (at least in my ears and also not clipping) but when test the same exported track in mono outside the DAW it clips and result in distortion?
Like BT wrote, "Some "mono buttons" just sum the signal (and this could clip), others attenuate the signals first and then sum."

If you just add two signals the level will increase. Pan-law will attenuate the level to adjust for that increase. Some places where you go from stereo to mono will rely on pan-law and others will just do straight summing.

The latter will explain why you can get distortion.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
Hello to everyone,

I'd kindly like to ask some questions about pan laws. I have made a research through the web but I'd like to open this topic to discuss about pan law and its effects to the final mix or mastering.

I use the -3 db center option and always check my mixes in mono for phasing issues and also to hear how would my mix sound in a mono device. When I "monoing" I could hear a small attenuation of the overall signal comparing to the stereo. On the other hand when I export the same mixdown and listening to it through the pc (outside the DAW) and monoing my audio interface then I see that the audio is louder and sometimes clipping. Why is this happening? Let's assume that my audio interface do not compensate level when monoing, then what about an external mono audio device let's say in a car or a phone etc. How will the mono device "translate" the stereo input? Will it add loudness as my audio interface or the pan law will "follow" the audio clip always?
PAN LAW.
Pan law is just the degree in which a PANPOT handles the level change of the channel signal, when turned from center to either side.

When a panpot is centered on a mono channel, the signal is divided over the two L and R paths/speakers; when the pot is turned to one side, all this power goes through ONE of the paths to ONE speaker, resulting in a higher volume.
For this reason, the pan law was invented*
*A resistor at the panpot attenuating the level when turned either side, so the level remains constant, whether at center or extreme panned.
So, when turning the panpot extremel L/R, the level drops (-3, -4.5 or -6dB depending on the pan law) relative to the center position, or depending how you view it, the level increases when going towards the center
.*
This is why your master meters can show -6dBFS Left, with a single channel signal panned left, while still be at -6dBFS on both meters, when panned center.

Anyway, once these balance and levels are set in the stereo signal mix, the pan law has no relevance anymore; the stereo mix balance is what it is, at that point.


MONO CHECK.
A mono button for mono check works differently than a panpot!
The mono switch just crossfeeds the left and right stereo signals:
Say you have a stereo signal, with the levels 5L(eft) and 5R(ight), the result being 5L+5R.
Pressing the mono switch will divide 5L (left signal) over both the left and right, resulting in 2.5L going to the left and 2.5L going right. Similarly 2.5R goes right and 2.5R goes left.
The result here is; 2.5L + 2.5R going left and 2.5R + 2.5L going right => 2.5L+2.5R+2.5R+2.5L = 5L+5R.

So, a mono button does not give level changes, besides the evident signal loss due to phase/polarity issues.


YOUR SITUATION.
You are using your audio interface probably in a non ideal manner for this purpose.
-1. A mono switch, or mono circuitry is ideally only in the MONITORING PATH, and not in the path of the recorded signal itself.
-2. The inputs of your interface are probably two mono channels with their own pan law and do "monoise" by centering their individual panning.
As explained above, this will result in a level increase in BOTH channels AND will probably be at least +6dB, even at -3dB pan law.


SOLUTION.
If you do not have a dedicated monitor controller, with a mono button/switch, you can find out if you can TURN OFF any pan law on those channels on your audio interface that you use for the stereo mix.
With no pan law on these stereo channels, there'll be no level difference between the stereo pair widely panned or center panned (monoised); because now you'll get the normal -6dB drop per channel at center, that the pan laws were designed to compensate for.

I hope this helped.

Success.


P.S.
Mono devices, like your car's radio or phone, do not typically use any pan law, as they just crossfeed the L/R signals like the mono button does (explained above), so there'll be no added volume/level.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodba View Post
PAN LAW.
Pan law is just the degree in which a PANPOT handles the level change of the channel signal, when turned from center to either side.

When a panpot is centered on a mono channel, the signal is divided over the two L and R paths/speakers; when the pot is turned to one side, all this power goes through ONE of the paths to ONE speaker, resulting in a higher volume.
For this reason, the pan law was invented*
*A resistor at the panpot attenuating the level when turned either side, so the level remains constant, whether at center or extreme panned.
So, when turning the panpot extremel L/R, the level drops (-3, -4.5 or -6dB depending on the pan law) relative to the center position, or depending how you view it, the level increases when going towards the center
.*
This is why your master meters can show -6dBFS Left, with a single channel signal panned left, while still be at -6dBFS on both meters, when panned center.
Anyway, once these balance and levels are set in the stereo signal mix, the pan law has no relevance anymore; the stereo mix balance is what it is, at that point.
In sonar the option I use do not boost signal when panning hard l or r, and make a 3dB attenuation in Center. I suppose it is the same principal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodba View Post
MONO CHECK.
A mono button for mono check works differently than a panpot!
The mono switch just crossfeeds the left and right stereo signals:
Say you have a stereo signal, with the levels 5L(eft) and 5R(ight), the result being 5L+5R.
Pressing the mono switch will divide 5L (left signal) over both the left and right, resulting in 2.5L going to the left and 2.5L going right. Similarly 2.5R goes right and 2.5R goes left.
The result here is; 2.5L + 2.5R going left and 2.5R + 2.5L going right => 2.5L+2.5R+2.5R+2.5L = 5L+5R.

So, a mono button does not give level changes, besides the evident signal loss due to phase/polarity issues.



YOUR SITUATION.
You are using your audio interface probably in a non ideal manner for this purpose.
-1. A mono switch, or mono circuitry is ideally only in the MONITORING PATH, and not in the path of the recorded signal itself.
-2. The inputs of your interface are probably two mono channels with their own pan law and do "monoise" by centering their individual panning.
As explained above, this will result in a level increase in BOTH channels AND will probably be at least +6dB, even at -3dB pan law.


SOLUTION.
If you do not have a dedicated monitor controller, with a mono button/switch, you can find out if you can TURN OFF any pan law on those channels on your audio interface that you use for the stereo mix.
With no pan law on these stereo channels, there'll be no level difference between the stereo pair widely panned or center panned (monoised); because now you'll get the normal -6dB drop per channel at center, that the pan laws were designed to compensate for.

I hope this helped.

Success.


P.S.
Mono devices, like your car's radio or phone, do not typically use any pan law, as they just crossfeed the L/R signals like the mono button does (explained above), so there'll be no added volume/level.

I have an UAD Apollo which is not using any pan law compensation as far as I could understand. It is working with a software console which I could use in the DAW but I prefer the DAW's Console.
I do not own any monitoring system but controlling the monitors volume through Apollo. So as I understand using Apollo mono will add more level to the sound but using DAW signal which includes pan law and monoing there will show what will really happen in mono external devices?

I cannot understand this one. The mono switch should be between audio interface outputs and Speakers? I could not make the mono compatibility job inside my DAW?

Wow thanks for your time. Really very interesting.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
In sonar the option I use do not boost signal when panning hard l or r, and make a 3dB attenuation in Center. I suppose it is the same principal.
Many DAWs allow you to select the pan law. The behavior you see is "correct" depending on how you set it (if you have the option).

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
So as I understand using Apollo mono will add more level to the sound but using DAW signal which includes pan law and monoing there will show what will really happen in mono external devices?
Not necessarily. You have to in a sense "isolate" different devices. If you mix something and you check it in mono, that's as far as you can go. When that mix goes to someone else's playback system it's out of your hands. Some devices may "incorrectly" add signals and end up with a mono signal that's "too loud", and some may not. You have no control over that.

But I would say it's the job of the maker of the device to make it operate "correctly", it isn't your job to adjust for them failing that.

So if your mix sounds great and isn't clipping in stereo you're good. Don't worry about it clipping when summed to mono, because that really is someone else's problem, not yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
I cannot understand this one. The mono switch should be between audio interface outputs and Speakers? I could not make the mono compatibility job inside my DAW?
You just have to figure out how your DAW works. In Cubase and Nuendo we have the option of setting up routing almost any way we want, and we can definitely set it up so that our monitoring chain before the audio interface can downmix from stereo to mono either using panlaw or not.

So it's up to the DAW. It's just that a lot of people use external speaker controllers that take a stereo input from the DAW interface outputs, and then does all leveling and mono summing and speaker switching, and then sends out a signal to connected speakers.

But yes, you often can get this done in a DAW. You'll just have to learn how your DAW works.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Many DAWs allow you to select the pan law. The behavior you see is "correct" depending on how you set it (if you have the option).



Not necessarily. You have to in a sense "isolate" different devices. If you mix something and you check it in mono, that's as far as you can go. When that mix goes to someone else's playback system it's out of your hands. Some devices may "incorrectly" add signals and end up with a mono signal that's "too loud", and some may not. You have no control over that.

But I would say it's the job of the maker of the device to make it operate "correctly", it isn't your job to adjust for them failing that.

So if your mix sounds great and isn't clipping in stereo you're good. Don't worry about it clipping when summed to mono, because that really is someone else's problem, not yours.



You just have to figure out how your DAW works. In Cubase and Nuendo we have the option of setting up routing almost any way we want, and we can definitely set it up so that our monitoring chain before the audio interface can downmix from stereo to mono either using panlaw or not.

So it's up to the DAW. It's just that a lot of people use external speaker controllers that take a stereo input from the DAW interface outputs, and then does all leveling and mono summing and speaker switching, and then sends out a signal to connected speakers.

But yes, you often can get this done in a DAW. You'll just have to learn how your DAW works.
Thanks a lot.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
In sonar the option I use do not boost signal when panning hard l or r, and make a 3dB attenuation in Center. I suppose it is the same principal.
Sorry if my explanation may have been a little unclear, as sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between perceived level, metering, voltage, power, etc., without getting too technical.

But, the pan laws are exactly designed to prevent the levels from going (too much) all over the place, when panning, just like you describe.

With NO pan law, you would experience these level changes when panning a mono channel in the stereo panorama.

Say, you have a water tap producing a certain waterpressure.
If you connect two hoses (=stereo analogy) on that tap, the waterpressure will drop in half (=center panned).
When you use only ONE hose (=Left or Right panned), the pressure will be higher.
So, what pan law does, is opening (when two hoses are used) and closing (when only one hose is used) the tap in such a way that the waterpressure will be almost equal, regardless whether you use one hose, or both.
In fact, pan law is changing the levels "under the hood" in such a way that the outcome stays equal in all panning situations.


Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post

I cannot understand this one. The mono switch should be between audio interface outputs and Speakers? I could not make the mono compatibility job inside my DAW?
That is, if we're talking about mono MONITORING; ideally, you don't want any button you press to get a monitoring perspective to affect the signal itself, inside the DAW, record path, etc.

Like Mattiasnyc mentioned, you may need to find the right routing within your DAW to do this.
Maybe you could explain how exactly you're doing this "monoising on the audio interface".
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodba View Post
Sorry if my explanation may have been a little unclear, as sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between perceived level, metering, voltage, power, etc., without getting too technical.

But, the pan laws are exactly designed to prevent the levels from going (too much) all over the place, when panning, just like you describe.

With NO pan law, you would experience these level changes when panning a mono channel in the stereo panorama.

Say, you have a water tap producing a certain waterpressure.
If you connect two hoses (=stereo analogy) on that tap, the waterpressure will drop in half (=center panned).
When you use only ONE hose (=Left or Right panned), the pressure will be higher.
So, what pan law does, is opening (when two hoses are used) and closing (when only one hose is used) the tap in such a way that the waterpressure will be almost equal, regardless whether you use one hose, or both.
In fact, pan law is changing the levels "under the hood" in such a way that the outcome stays equal in all panning situations.




That is, if we're talking about mono MONITORING; ideally, you don't want any button you press to get a monitoring perspective to affect the signal itself, inside the DAW, record path, etc.

Like Mattiasnyc mentioned, you may need to find the right routing within your DAW to do this.
Maybe you could explain how exactly you're doing this "monoising on the audio interface".
I didn't mean to offend you your explanation was great . I was just to ensure for myself about the principles of panning laws.
Well I have Cakewalk in which I make my recording, mixing and mastering. When monoig there everythins sounds (and seems) fine. Afterwards I export the stereo track . When listening to stereo track through a media player as stereo everything is identical to DAW. When I push the Mono Button in UAD Apollo Console 2 it adds more level and it distorts. I have noticed that when listening to music from streaming and the leves are close to 0,0 dB and push mono button in interface also the music I listen to is clipping and distorting.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicfirexate View Post
I didn't mean to offend you your explanation was great . I was just to ensure for myself about the principles of panning laws.
Well I have Cakewalk in which I make my recording, mixing and mastering. When monoig there everythins sounds (and seems) fine. Afterwards I export the stereo track . When listening to stereo track through a media player as stereo everything is identical to DAW. When I push the Mono Button in UAD Apollo Console 2 it adds more level and it distorts. I have noticed that when listening to music from streaming and the leves are close to 0,0 dB and push mono button in interface also the music I listen to is clipping and distorting.
Oh, but no offence was taken, don't worry about that.

I found this article (from 2013 already), where people had the exact same issue with UAD Apollo Console 2, and apparently was never fixed.
Level compensated mono button in the console, please!!!
They're talking there about a "lack of level compensation of the mono button" in the Console 2, but like I explained in my first post; UAD is apparently using a PANNING METHOD to achieve mono instead of CROSSFEEDING the stereo mix, like a normal mono circuitry would do, in which case there would not be any necessity for any "level compensation", or whatsoever.

Anyway, this way that UAD works in this regard, is NOT how mono checking normally works and is definitely NOT how any other mono device would treat your audio.

I hope this puts your mind at ease.

Success.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodba View Post
Oh, but no offence was taken, don't worry about that.

I found this article (from 2013 already), where people had the exact same issue with UAD Apollo Console 2, and apparently was never fixed.
Level compensated mono button in the console, please!!!
They're talking there about a "lack of level compensation of the mono button" in the Console 2, but like I explained in my first post; UAD is apparently using a PANNING METHOD to achieve mono instead of CROSSFEEDING the stereo mix, like a normal mono circuitry would do, in which case there would not be any necessity for any "level compensation", or whatsoever.

Anyway, this way that UAD works in this regard, is NOT how mono checking normally works and is definitely NOT how any other mono device would treat your audio.

I hope this puts your mind at ease.

Success.
Your posts where very helpful really. Thanks a lot
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