Panning (audio)

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Panning is the spread of a sound signal (either monaural or stereophonic pairs) into a new stereo or multi-channel sound field. A typical physical recording console pan control is a knob with a pointer which can be placed from the 8 o'clock dial position fully left to the 4 o'clock position fully right. Audio mixing software replaces the knob with an on-screen "virtual knob" or slider for each audio source track which functions identically to its counterpart on a physical mix console.

The control knob is designed to distribute its source sounds with constant power, so that at the full left extreme, with the knob pointing to the 8 o'clock position, the sound appears in only the left channel, with all the energy going exclusively to the left channel (speaker). Conversely, when placed in the far right extreme, that is the 4 o'clock position, the sound only appears in the right. In the middle, at the 12 noon position, the sound in each channel is evenly distributed, but decreased in each channel by the law amount, thereby distributing the left and right energy equally across the two output channels, so that the overall sound power level is always constant regardless of the knob position. Because of the phantom center phenomenon, any sound placed at the 12 noon position appears to be coming from preciselybetween the left and right speakers, because the brain sees sounds equally from left and right, and concludes...
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