Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

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Juljan
KVRist
125 posts since 3 Apr, 2014

Post Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:27 am

Hi there,
I couldn't get an answer to this question but I am sure you know it:
I saw a lot of people panning a sound to the far left and right to widen the stereo spectrum by either recording doubles/harmonies or duplicating a sound AND changing it at a more subtle level.
This is why I was wondering why I can't just duplicate and pan the absolute same sound.

Thanks for your help! :phones:

- Juljan

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planetearth
KVRian
1446 posts since 10 Jul, 2006 from Tampa

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:36 am

Juljan wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:27 am
Hi there,
I couldn't get an answer to this question but I am sure you know it:
I saw a lot of people panning a sound to the far left and right to widen the stereo spectrum by either recording doubles/harmonies or duplicating a sound AND changing it at a more subtle level.
This is why I was wondering why I can't just duplicate and pan the absolute same sound.

Thanks for your help! :phones:

- Juljan
You can, but you'll want to offset the duplicated sound by at least 20 milliseconds for it to sound "wider". Otherwise, all you'll do is double the level ("volume") of the original sound, since they'll both be in perfect sync with each other.

Pan the tracks hard left and hard right, offset the second track (with the duplicated sound) by 20 milliseconds or more, and you'll start to hear the sound get "wider". The more you offset the sound, the wider the overall stereo image will get. Just be careful not to go too wide, or you'll have phasing issues if the audio is played back in mono.

Once you have the stereo image as wide as you want it, you can EQ the duplicated track to taste.

There are many plug-ins that do most of this for you, and you can create the same effect by using a simple delay in your DAW. But for the most control over the duplicated sound and the panning, just do it the way I suggested above, and you'll be all set.

Steve
Listen to some of my stuff here: https://soundcloud.com/shadowsoflife.

Juljan
KVRist
125 posts since 3 Apr, 2014

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:49 pm

Well, to be honest, I don't really get why I increase the volume by panning it completely left and right. :(
The rest sounds really logical, though! :)

No_Use
KVRAF
2331 posts since 13 Mar, 2004

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:02 pm

When you pan the exact same sound left and right it creates a phantom center, meaning you can only hear it as coming from one location. Hence to get a 'wide' effect, there must be differences in left and right, be it timing wise (as poster above siad), or frequency wise.

msl
KVRist
111 posts since 29 Dec, 2003

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:39 am

At risk of repeating what's already been said above... it is important to remember that you are working in stereo. There are only two channels: left and right. Panning is just adjusting the relative volume of a sound on those two channels. 100% volume on the left channel and 0% on the right is hard-panned to the left, and the opposite for hard-panned to the right. The same sound at the same volume through both left and right channels is just centre panned; essentially a mono sound with no stereo width whatsoever. The perception of stereo width comes about from differences between the sound in the left and right channels.

Say you record two different performances of the same guitar part and hard-pan them left and right, even with a very good player, you actually have huge amounts of very subtle differences in the timing, volume, timbre etc. between the two performances. These differences are what give the perception of width when panning the two tracks left and right. With a single track there are other tricks you can use (as mentioned above) to create subtly different copies of the track to pan differently, such as: a slightly delayed copy of the track (or using a panned delay effect), micro pitch shifting (often with some delay), chorus / flanger / phaser effect (which use combinations of delay/phase and pitch adjustment), panning different frequencies to different sides etc.

Juljan
KVRist
125 posts since 3 Apr, 2014

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:54 am

Big thank you to all: I could get the answer by reading your posts and verifying it by some practical experience. :tu:

User avatar
excuse me please
KVRist
94 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:03 am

Interesting. But I still don't get it. What happens when it's 50% L and 50% R?

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excuse me please
KVRist
94 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:04 am

PS sorry you already answered that.

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Hink
Rad Grandad
27672 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:36 am

planetearth wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:36 am
Juljan wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:27 am
Hi there,
I couldn't get an answer to this question but I am sure you know it:
I saw a lot of people panning a sound to the far left and right to widen the stereo spectrum by either recording doubles/harmonies or duplicating a sound AND changing it at a more subtle level.
This is why I was wondering why I can't just duplicate and pan the absolute same sound.

Thanks for your help! :phones:

- Juljan
You can, but you'll want to offset the duplicated sound by at least 20 milliseconds for it to sound "wider". Otherwise, all you'll do is double the level ("volume") of the original sound, since they'll both be in perfect sync with each other.

Pan the tracks hard left and hard right, offset the second track (with the duplicated sound) by 20 milliseconds or more, and you'll start to hear the sound get "wider". The more you offset the sound, the wider the overall stereo image will get. Just be careful not to go too wide, or you'll have phasing issues if the audio is played back in mono.

Once you have the stereo image as wide as you want it, you can EQ the duplicated track to taste.

There are many plug-ins that do most of this for you, and you can create the same effect by using a simple delay in your DAW. But for the most control over the duplicated sound and the panning, just do it the way I suggested above, and you'll be all set.

Steve
before computers for me and plugins I had an Akai 12 track digital recorder, I made a spreader patch for it. I think 20ms is too long, that's a long time but then I'm only saying what worked for me. I used a stereo delay with a stereo pitch shifter, 3-5ms of delay with little feedback (I suppose offsetting two tracks would work better) and pitched one side up a few cents and the other down a few cents. I dont have many examples of this to be honest but this song was done around 1998 and the "spreader" was used on the vox, I think adding the pitch shift helps a lot. FTR I did not come up with this, I read about it in recording magazine and this song was the first I tried it on.
https://www.soundclick.com/html5/v4/pla ... gID=991773

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planetearth
KVRian
1446 posts since 10 Jul, 2006 from Tampa

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:13 am

I recommended at least 20 msec because anything less than that falls into the "Haas effect" zone, where the brain has trouble distinguishing between two sounds being heard and determining where they're coming from--especially if they're the same sound. Some website articles refer to this as the "precedence effect", and they also say it can range from 2 to 50 milliseconds. But whatever it's called and whatever length of time you choose (under 40-50 milliseconds), the brain can have trouble distinguishing sounds and localization cues. This depends upon the sounds and how complex (or simple) they are, but the result is basically the same.

And as you increase the delay, the soundstage will appear to get wider--up to a point where you start to hear that one side is obviously a delayed version of the other side.

If you were using a pitch shifter and feedback along with the delay, then those two other effects were more than likely why your brain thought it was hearing two different sounds. Again though, it depends upon the sounds, so as with most things, YMMV. ;)

Steve
Listen to some of my stuff here: https://soundcloud.com/shadowsoflife.

sleepcircle
KVRist
469 posts since 28 Nov, 2016

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:17 am

A mono signal is just "the same signal coming to the left and right ear at the same time."

So, to deliver a mono sound to you through two speakers, the computer is duplicating and panning the absolute same sound to the left and right channels, already.



(Longer explanation. Since your brain uses volume, frequency difference, and sound phase cues to figure out where a sound is coming from: if the exact same signal reaches both ears, at the exact same time, with no difference at ALL, then your brain will decide that the sound is coming from 'nowhere.'

(With headphones this is often described as sounding 'inside your head.' From speakers, the sound will be changed naturally by the shape of the room and the angle of your head, and your brain will pick up that the sound is coming from the general direction of those speakers.)



I realize this is sort of late, as replies go, but no-one mentioned this particular angle of the question, so I figure I can at least add something.

Juljan
KVRist
125 posts since 3 Apr, 2014

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:46 pm

I try to make follow-up by asking: What is stereo width over 100 percent practically doing?

cron
KVRAF
3134 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:27 pm

Juljan wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:46 pm
I try to make follow-up by asking: What is stereo width over 100 percent practically doing?
100% in a stereo widening plug typically refers to leaving the signal untouched. A 'basic' stereo widening plug works by taking the 2-channel left/right audio and encoding it into a mid/side representation for processing. Above 100% will be boosting the volume of the side relative to the mid, and below 100% doing the opposite.

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planetearth
KVRian
1446 posts since 10 Jul, 2006 from Tampa

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:06 pm

Juljan wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:46 pm
I try to make follow-up by asking: What is stereo width over 100 percent practically doing?
When effects designers offer a stereo signal that's "over 100%", they're basically changing the phase/polarity of one of the channels, to make it sound wider. You can't actually have a stereo signal wider than 100%, which would be both channels at full levels. But if you start to change the phase of one of the channels, the signal appears to seem wider and move outside of the speakers or headphones, due to the psycho-acoustic effect.

However, altering the phase to make a signal seem wider can cause problems when that signal is played back in mono, because certain frequencies will cancel each other out and create a "phasing" or "comb filter" effect. This affect will be more or less noticeable depending upon how far beyond 100% you tried to make the stereo signal appear to be.

Steve
Listen to some of my stuff here: https://soundcloud.com/shadowsoflife.

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do_androids_dream
KVRAF
2851 posts since 26 Oct, 2007 from Kent, UK

Re: Why can't I just duplicate and pan a sound?

Post Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:26 pm

'Panning' is a relative thing between two sound sources (speakers) - a stereo mix. If you 'pan' two identical audio files hard left and hard right you've actually done nothing other than increase the overall volume (doubling a signal will increase the signal by 6.02dB) - you still have a mono mix that's 'doubled' in volume. As mentioned by many already you have to make a 'difference' relative to the other, to one of the audio files to create 'width'. Delaying one by 15 to 20 ms is a good way as is slightly varying the pitch by a few cents - that will create 'thickness' and width.

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