Panning techniques


I have been laying everything right down the middle on all tracks which works ok for tunes that are played loud for dancing but they sound stale And so I want to get some movement in the stereo field.

I have 2 tracks panned hard left and right and have had some success recoding the same phrases on each track with the tremolo creating a sweeping effect. However it’s not exactly how I want it and I’m looking for some advice. I’ve been listening to @yooth soundcloud and there’s loads of controlled panning action which I can’t figure out. How do you achieve the following:

  1. Have a percussion track bounce around left to right, not hard panned to each side every time, but say, 60% left then 40% right then 90% right etc?
  2. Have a snare roll go smoothly from left to right and then back again over 4 bars?
  3. Play an evolving pad from left to right or vice versa?

i have tried so far,

Playing a phrase to tape.
Lifting this to the drum sampler
Applying -100 volume by tremolo and playing back to a panned track
Doing the same for the other panned track by +100 volume.

This doesn’t work properly.

I have played a phrase and manually adjusted the record level on each panned track.

This does work but is not controlled.

Anyways, any advice greatfully received.

Hey @853, this is my favourite topic. I love panning on the op-1 :slight_smile: Just finishing up work but will list off my tips on the train home.

Ok! Here are some tips based on a setup that pans one track hard left and another hard right. Top tip: whenever I’m scared of messing things up while overdubbing (especially when multiple overdubs are required on multiple tracks), I’ll copy the parts to a bit of spare tape, do my trickery on the copy and then replace the original parts when I’m happy.

1) To achieve approximate placement in the stereo field, say 70% left, play the same phrase on both L & R tracks, but with a higher recording level on the left than on the right.

2) To make it sound like a sound is panning from left to right, play the phrase on the left track with the recording volume high to start with and drag the red meter down as you play through the phrase. Then record the phrase on the right track with the red meter low to start with and increase the recording volume as you play through the phrase.

3) Another nice way to get panning that bounces between left and right is to use nitro on your phrase with a free lfo modulating the red value. If you play this on each of the L & R tracks, since the lfo is free and you very likely won't start it in the same point in the lfo, the opening and closing of the filter can cause a nice panning effect. A variation on this is to change the lfo speed on one of the tracks.

4) Another neat one is to play a phrase on the left track. Then copy and paste it to the right track, but nudged a tiny little bit to the left or right (I think it's called the Haas effect or something).

5) Then there are a whole bunch of tips based around playing something on the left and right tracks with slightly different settings. The difference could be anything, but these work great:
  • Different spring settings - I love this one on short drum sounds spotted about here and there over the top of some standard drums in the centre. Super cool for adding atmosphere. Also causes panning from one side to the other when one setting has a longer release than the other.
  • A random lfo on the envelope (can cause erratic or subtle jumping about the stereo field).
  • Different CWO settings - my favourite are two slightly different subtle CWO chorus settings. Works really nicely on lush pads.
  • Detune slightly differently on L & R. (Thanks to @Lymtronics on this one, tried it on my current track, works lovely, richens things up a bit).
  • Use delay with low red (delay level) and high white (delay feedback) on one channel and high red and low white on the other. This is another creative way of getting something to pan from one side to the other).
  • If it's a synth engine you're playing, then a subtle change to synth settings can sound great.
6) Go asymmetric. Just add something hard left or hard right without doing the other.

I'm sure there are loads I forgot :)

Wow! Thanks @yooth

I have been trying 1&2 but I obviously haven’t put enough work in. I really appreciate the time you have put in to this reply and I’ll be referring back to it constantly. I can hear in your tracks the detailed programming and through my cans it sounds amazing with elements whizzing around.

Erase Tape - pan L&R - start again. That’s my weekend sorted

Anytime man. Give 3 a try too. If you get the timing right (which since it’s a free lfo, you just have to try a few times and be lucky) and get the exact opposite phase of the lfo, it gives a nice left and right effect, with less fuss than 2.

Sometimes with the nitro trick- depending on settings- you can hear the LFO filtering the faintest background noise that is usually lost in the mix, but can help you time when to start your recording.

I will add to the CWO trick that on pads and other constant sounds, it can be nice to record one side of the mix in reverse. When using the endless sequencer, hold shift on the sequencer screen and turn the orange knob to find the reversed version of your phrase. The modulation of CWO with orange above fifty percent is nice, but seems to move in one direction. By recording in reverse, you can have an upward phase on one channel and a downward phase on the other. This can be used in conjunction with the manual raising and lowering of the recording level to add to the panning effect.

I love recording things normal in one channel and recording in reverse on the other even when they arent CWO pads.

++1 on the thankyou for this info. Amazing stuff.

Hey @Lymtronics, that’s a really cool idea if I’m understanding correctly. So you record a endless sequence on L and then reverse record the reverse endless sequence on R? I can imagine that would also benefit from differences in the way the attack and release are set up on the notes that are being played. I’m for sure going to experiment with this. Great idea :slight_smile:

Yeah @yoof. With release or delay or CWO settings you can get a sort of hint of a sound before it actually comes in. It can be used either as stereo trickery or just regular balance throwing kind of stuff. Can’t wait to hear you put it to use.

Thanks @yoof and @Lymtronics once again for sharing your wisdom! =)

Gotta try these for the battle entry…

I suppose this is cheating, but I find that Spring or especially Phone as master FX can add a lot of stereo detail/enhance panning.

+1 for spring on the master for pseudo-stereo. I use a short/dry setting.

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Hey all, new to the forum, and new to OP-1… just noticing that my track pan controls don’t seem to be working at all, do I have to have them panned BEFORE I record? just thought of that, will try it. In the meantime, any other suggestions as to why this might not be working on my OP1?


@scy1e Are you trying to record into the OP-1 with it panned? Panning only works in the mixer settings going to the output. Anything recorded in will be mono. Hope this helps.

Shift plus encoder to pan a channel in the mixer window.

@GCF, I meant before I record to tape (from synth/sampler), rather than after… I realize that’s kinda nutty, but I DO have the tracks panned in the mixer, but seem to still be getting a MONO output signal…

Will upload a lil vid I suppose, maybe someone could catch my mistake, there must be one…

@scy1e AFAIK, you cannot record to tape with panning. Think of the 4 tracks existing as mono tracks which can then be panned after something is recorded onto them. If you have the mixer panned, and everything is still outputting as mono, then that would be a problem.

Depends what mode you are in. When recording and you are in Synth or Drum mode the sound will be in mono, if recording in Tape or Mix mode you will hear the sound panned (and volume too) as per the selected channel.

I discovered that the problem lay in a small ‘mono’ button on my mixer that I hadn’t noticed before! I knew it was more likely something like that than a prob with the OP-1, thanks for the help in confirming that all works as expected, including that it won’t work right if you d dumb stuff!



Absolutely brilliant! thanks yoof and Lymtronics :slight_smile: