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Drastic Panning the Orchestra ?

nuyo

Active Member
Why do people say you shouldn't pan Orchestral sample libraries ?
I know they are "pre panned" but in our stereo we can pan
things much further to get a clear and defined sound.

Or is it the realism aspect ? I don't think anybody would listen to a well sounding cue and be like:
"Man that cue sucks because the Cello doesn't come from halfway right."
 
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nuyo

nuyo

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Not all are.

Most are. I can only name JAEGER/Nucleus is not pre panned.
And Nucleus is actually recorded in the center but panned to the left and right inside Kontakt.
 

d.healey

Senior Member
Most are.
There are literally thousands of libraries so I have no idea how true this is. If you are talking about only the big orchestral libraries then I would assume that most of them are recorded in position, except for the close mics which will almost always be mono.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
In any case, I don't see a benefit in hard-panning orchestra stuff. I generally don't hard-pan anything other than mono guitars that are at least double-tracked and you have one all the way to the left and the other one 100% to the right. What for? It's just not a great sound having something stuck up a sideways wall, tootling into one ear.

Orchestra sections need a certain width anyway, and sure you can move that around in the panorama a bit and narrow it a bit or make it a bit wider, as long as it doesn't lead to phase weirdness etc., but why would you want to throw your 6 horns against the wall to the left and have them sit on each other's heads there.
 
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nuyo

nuyo

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In any case, I don't see a benefit in hard-panning orchestra stuff. I generally don't hard-pan anything other than mono guitars that are at least double-tracked and you have one all the way to the left and the other one 100% to the right. What for? It's just not a great sound having something stuck up a sideways wall, tootling into one ear.

Orchestra sections need a certain width anyway, and sure you can move that around in the panorama a bit and narrow it a bit or make it a bit wider, as long as it doesn't lead to phase weirdness etc., but why would you want to throw your 6 horns against the wall to the left and have them sit on each other's heads there.

Hard panning in an Orchestral sense for me is panning them 40% to the left or right. I should have been clearer about that. ^^
 

Jdiggity1

Senior Member
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As soon as you pan a stereo signal, you start to alter the 'space' that was captured in it. This is especially the case for the wider or more "3D" mic signals such as outrigger or ambient.
The common approach is to decide on which mic signal you want to use as the 'space', and use close or spot mics for more directional positioning.
With samples that have a lot of baked-in room (Spitfire, OT, etc) panning can do more harm than good if you're just panning for panning's sake. So sometimes the advise of "don't pan" is the better option. But it's always going to depend on the source material, the skills of the user, and the desired result!
 

Kamil Biedrzycki

Recording / Mixing / Mastering
Isn't it so that if your sample library has reverb "baked into the samples", then panning an instrument will also pan the reverb of the instrument? Doubt that is a good thing, but then again, I'm just a hobbyist so... :emoji_shrug: :)
You wrote good thing. When you have a lot of room in samples than panning this isn't good idea. Better idea is to leave "natural" panning because your material will be more cohesive with this kind of library. When you use different libraries than better choice is to mix dry signals panned as you wish and add one or two reverbs to get cohesive sound. It's hard because many libraries sound really good with their reverb and mixing some tracks you have to choose what kind of sound you want. When I mix samples with reverbs, I narrow pan a little for woodwinds or percussions when it's orchestra track. You can try to find similar reverb for samples than you can pan instrument a little and add reverb to get wider sound. Experiment, don't be shy :)
 

I like music

Senior Member
I imagine all panning isn't equal.

I used some relatively aggressive panning for my sample modeling strings using the in-instrument panner. I'm guessing in their case, it takes relevant things into account (I haven't a clue if this is true), but does anyone have a comment on types of panning and their implications?
 

jason3.14

Active Member
Most are. I can only name JAEGER/Nucleus is not pre panned.
And Nucleus is actually recorded in the center but panned to the left and right inside Kontakt.
Can you explain what you mean by this? I have heard that Jaeger/Nucleus are not pre-panned, and indeed I have been panning them myself using this assumption, e.g. setting violin to 30L or whatever.

However, I feel like they are? Like for violin or french horn, I can hear (and see the meters) are predominantly coming from the left even without messing with any panning myself. Maybe I'm missing something though, since everyone says Jaeger/Nucleus are not pre-panned.
 
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nuyo

nuyo

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Can you explain what you mean by this? I have heard that Jaeger/Nucleus are not pre-panned, and indeed I have been panning them myself using this assumption, e.g. setting violin to 30L or whatever.

However, I feel like they are? Like for violin or french horn, I can hear (and see the meters) are predominantly coming from the left even without messing with any panning myself. Maybe I'm missing something though, since everyone says Jaeger/Nucleus are not pre-panned.

They are pannend inside the Kontakt Patch by default. You need to go inside the patch and set the panning to 0.
 

muk

Senior Member
It's a realism thing I guess. If you want to approximate the sound of a real orchestra, recording in situ and not messing with the panning will be closest to that. Mind you, few things in the process of stitching samples together to emulate a musical performance are actually close to 'real'. So it's for you to decide if panning in situ samples bothers you or not. For me it depends on the music, and what I am trying to achieve. In a fairly classical piece for string orchestra, for example, I would absolutely go with the in situ recording and not mess with the panning at all. In a somewhat busy track of media music, I may widen the panning of the strings without thinking twice. It all depends on the context.

Here is a little test of what happens when you pan samples around that have been recorded in situ (pst #158 about midway on the page):


To me, it is audible in this isolated case. In a busy mix, I don't think anybody will notice.
 

Lucas Bodenbender

Flickshot Music
Why do people say you shouldn't pan Orchestral sample libraries ?
I know they are "pre panned" but in our stereo we can pan
things much further to get a clear and defined sound.

Or is it the realism aspect ? I don't think anybody would listen to a well sounding cue and be like:
"Man that cue sucks because the Cello doesn't come from halfway right."
There is no rule against panning. You always should encourage to experiment and if it sounds good - fine! If it doesn't sound good - try something else. The seating plan of an orchestra is carefully put together in the last centuries to provide the best communication between the musicians and to achieve the best sound projection in the hall. Many different approaches were coming from different composers and conductors to fit their arrangements. And this is what you could do as well. I would pan if I feel it would help to balance the arrangement. But I always would try to pan inside the libraries to have full control over the mics. Post panning can often sound a bit off due to panning room and reverb as well.
 

AudioLoco

Senior Member
Little panning here usually. Maybe a touch to accentuate the original panning the patch comes with and open up the stereo width of the mix if necessary.

On more "modern" stuff the basses and cellos get moved to the center often, like you would do with any low frequency generating instruments in most genres that are not classical.
 

Rob Elliott

Senior Member
Generally I agree to NOT panning post the library but with the Cinematic Studio Series I have found using just a tad of the VSL power pan seems to clean things up a bit. What have been folks experience with CSS/CSB/CSW?

Maybe i should just pan the close mics a tad more an leave the main/rooms alone???
 

jason3.14

Active Member
They are pannend inside the Kontakt Patch by default. You need to go inside the patch and set the panning to 0.
Thanks for your response - this is what it looks like in the edit mode for me:

1618128789758.png
Even though the pan at the top right and the pan under the amplifier sections both indicate Center, the sound still is asymmetric to the left. Could you point me to where else I should be checking to adjust the pan to 0? Thanks! :)
 

Saxer

Senior Member
I'd also experiment with panning. It's music production, not a history museum. Samples doesn't transform to real players if you don't touch the pan knob. If it doesn't sound good dial it back. Sometimes it's good to double track the whole orchestra to keep space in the middle for dialog or fx. Desplat recorded a real doubled orchestra placed left/right for Godzilla. Wagner placed lots of musicians around the audience. HZ used the Air balcony for horns. The standard orchestral seating isn't the only one. We are just used to it. I like to have the basses in the middle. Sometimes the 2nd violins on the right. Whatever works.
 
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nuyo

nuyo

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Thanks for your response - this is what it looks like in the edit mode for me:

View attachment 47761
Even though the pan at the top right and the pan under the amplifier sections both indicate Center, the sound still is asymmetric to the left. Could you point me to where else I should be checking to adjust the pan to 0? Thanks! :)

Hm Maybe I'm just wrong. I haven't used Jaeger that much.
You could check if all groups are set to center and not just the one that pops up automatically.
 
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