Experienced engineers don’t resort to sweeping changes of the panorama. Instead, they uniformly fill the mix broadwise. Extreme values should be left for reverberators and chorus. If you have any tracks recorded in stereo, set a separate sounding zone for each of them. It’s done by defining panorama values for left and right channel individually.
In case of guitar double-tracks or synthesizer pads, such a zone can be fairly broad and even reach maximum values.
Some particular sounds respond well to a 20-50 % deviation from the center during sound mixing. For example, piano sounds in a rich arrangement or other instruments that need stricter panorama borders fall into this category. Percussion and other elements of rhythmic parts should be uniformly placed across the panorama. Many music mixing and mastering services face a problem when two instruments with a similar spectrum give different rhythmic patterns. If you place such instruments on different sides of the mix space, it will prevent their frequency conflict and enliven the rhythmic texture of the track you are mixing.
Same technique can be used if you are dealing with two synthesized sounds, as well as with a rhythm guitar or a piano.
Stereo field center
The stereo field center should be occupied by the main instruments. They include lead vocals, solo instruments (keyboard, stringed, wind and other instruments), kick and bass.
A snare can play a primary or a secondary role in the mix depending on the particular genre.
That’s why sometimes (though rarely) it can be moved a little left or right relative to the center. However, you should avoid master volume contortions in two channels of the mix. Don’t forget that snare is a loud and energetically rich instrument, so by moving it even 10% to the left, you significantly lower the right channel RMS.
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