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Panning solo instruments vs ensembles
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 
trigg's Avatar
Panning solo instruments vs ensembles

Hi,

I'm recording some electronic slow jazz stuff and I'm a bit puzzled by panning the trumpet & sax.

For instance I have this track where trumpet & sax play a theme together at the beginning and at the end of a track. In between those themes there's an extended saxophone solo.

In Ableton panning goes like this: -50 (hard left) 0 (center) +50 (hard right)

When sax and trumpet play together I like to pan the sax -20 and the trompet +20

But then, the extended sax solo after the theme sounds better when I center it in the middle (panning 0). The other instruments already have their place in the mix, it seems off when I keep the sax at -20.

Then after the solo when the theme kicks back in together with the trumpet, the saxophone suddenly goes from 0 (center) to -20 again... and that might not be so natural.

Any rules/suggestions what to do?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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avare's Avatar
 

Do you prefer Bricasti or Quantec?

So the sax player moved to center stage for the solo. What does natural mean these days? How many people even remember what a live performance is?

If it sounds good it is good.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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XKAudio's Avatar
 

Automating pan can help you. Try to remember its a "live performance" in Jazz, so its a bit unrealistic to have a player run across the stage.

With Jazz, some rock, singer-songwriter stuff, sometimes the best thing to do as an engineer is let the players' musicality define the songs' dynamics and texture. If they notice your doing something, chances are its too much.

Good luck with your project!

Last edited by XKAudio; 1 week ago at 04:52 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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O.F.F.'s Avatar
 

I'd try panning the sax to -10 for the solo ie closer to the center without being fully centered.

Might work, it might not but it should be worth a try.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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avare's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by XKAudio View Post
Automating pan can help you. Try to remember its a "live performance" in Jazz, so its a bit unrealistic to have a player run across the stage
You have never been in a jazz club have you? Running across the stage mrans taking 2 steps if it is a big stage.

Please write about what you know.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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avare's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
I'd try panning the sax to -10 for the solo ie closer to the center without being fully centered.

Might work, it might not but it should be worth a try.
sounds great and enjoy!
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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XKAudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
You have never been in a jazz club have you? Running across the stage mrans taking 2 steps if it is a big stage.

Please write about what you know.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by trigg View Post
But then, the extended sax solo after the theme sounds better when I center it in the middle (panning 0). The other instruments already have their place in the mix, it seems off when I keep the sax at -20.

Basically answered your own question.
If it seems off, it is off, and if it sounds better another way, you should do that.

This slight panning to center for solos is very common. I do it myself.
You just need to try and make the moves sound as appropriate to the track as possible.
Staging, Panning, Localization of source and reverb, etc., is an Art Form in itself, and, unless you are a prodigy, takes time, effort, practice, and deep reflection while listening.
The only "rule" is, do the best you can, but don't overdo it, especially with Jazz.
IMHO. Good luck.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trigg View Post
Any rules/suggestions what to do?
No rules.

Do what sounds best.

That said, if you're really looking for guidance, without listening first just write down a list of your favorite albums that you keep coming back to. Then after you've done that pull them up on Spotify or whatever and see how the mix engineer did it on those albums.

(If you're more concerned about what other people think about it then instead of your favorite albums you could maybe pick top-rated or mostly sold albums and check those out instead... or all of the above)

Perhaps they're all panned center when soloing. Perhaps panning doesn't change. Perhaps it changes in about half of the cases....
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I think its probably fine either way. If only the sax solos, I'd probably want to move it center. If they both soloed or traded, I'd probably keep each at their place.

A lot of older jazz records have the solos of to whatever side they are on during the head of the tune. Miles Davis INSISTED on his horn being center.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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avare's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
Do you prefer Bricasti or Quantec?

If it sounds good it is good.
I do not know if the sentence was obvious or obsure to readers. The two companies are generally considered to make the best reverb machines. One of the main differencrs is that Bricasti designs its presets to sound good and Quantec designs its presets to sound like actual spaces and/or devices. Both work superbly.

Have you tried adding some small club ambience to your mix(es)?

Enjoy the possibilities!
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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i HATE instruments taking different positions in the stereo or surround soundfield on an album... - when recording/mixing jazz and/or classical music, i mostly try to picture the ensemble as pecisely as possible.
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