Setting Pan, Balance, or Surround Position in the Mixer

Rather than having instruments compete with one another in your mix, you can separate elements by positioning audio and instruments in the stereo mix from left to right.

For example, imagine the concert stage in front of you. Where are the key players—drummer, bass player, singer, and so on—positioned? Begin by placing your channel strip signals in the positions you would normally hear them at a concert. This should be your starting point, even though you may move the players around later in the process. The main objective is to place the instruments out of each other’s way so they can be heard.

Mono channel strips feature a Pan control, which determines the position of a signal in the stereo image. At the center pan position, the channel strip sends equal amounts of the signal to both sides of the stereo image. If you were to increase the pan position on the left side and decrease it on the right, the sound would move to the left.

Stereo channel strips display Balance controls. The Balance control differs from the Pan control in that it controls the relative levels of two signals (Left and Right) at their outputs.

To set the Pan or Balance control
  • Drag the control vertically or horizontally.

    Figure. Channel strip with Pan/Balance control.

    Option-click the Pan or Balance control to reset it to the centered (0) position.

When a channel strip output is set to Surround, the Pan or Balance control is replaced by a Surround Panner. For details about using surround channel strips, effects, and the surround panner, see Working with Surround.