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Stereo to Mono for Live Backing Tracks (Pan, Dir Mix, Mono)


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My project is a cross between live instruments and electronics and we are getting our productions ready for live performance. We will be using backing tracks of synth bass, various synth pads, drones, lots of drum samples both real and machine, some backing guitars, etc.


I'm starting to prepare the productions for bouncing backing tracks for live, as well as the mixing phase for the studio versions. My plan is to mix everything in mono for the live tracks, and to get things sounding as good as possible in mono, before moving to stereo for the final studio mixes. So I will start off with everything centered and a mono plugin on the master bus...do my balances, EQ, saturation, compression, and mono reverbs/delays to get things sounding as good as possible. At that point I will bounce down the backing tracks for the live show...once that's done, i'll remove the mono plugin on the master, start panning (I tend to like LCR style mixes) and applying stereo reverbs, delays and any other stereo effects I want to use to enhance the soundstage (in some cases replacing mono effects).


This brings me to a couple of questions regarding pan laws, and stereo tracks.


I'm using -3db compensated for my pan law, though I'm not sure if I should check the option to apply it to pan knobs on stereo tracks....continuing with that, I have a number of stereo tracks already and have to figure out how to best handle them.


Most of them are Drum samples that were recorded with stereo overheads, or stereo ambience embedded in the track. In some cases there are some synth patches I used that have lots of stereo information.


For the drum tracks that have stereo info, is it better to just pick a side, L or R and treat it like a mono track, or sum the L and R side? As long as they aren't badly out of phase, is there a recommended way to optimize stereo tracks for mono mixes? A lot of my snare samples are from BFD, where I have access to recorded stereo overheads, room mics and ambient mics, so I can either choose L or R, or sum them.


For synth patches, same question? Choose a side, or sum? Is the right idea to just compare the 2 methods and choose the stronger sounding version if there is one?


Once the live mix is done and I go back to stereo, I can take the samples that I chose either L or R or that I summed and make them stereo again or just leave them in mono...but if I go back to the stereo version and want to pan them, should I use Logic's direction mixer to pan? For instance, a snare with stereo information, panned slightly left....or 2 percussion samples with stereo information panned hard left and right? What's the general idea here? I assume if I hard pan a stereo track with the direction mixer, its the same as just summing that track to mono, and panning it hard with the regular pan knob? Does the direction mixer follow a pan law?


Just want to make sure my mixes are as seamless from mono for live backing tracks, back into stereo for the recordings.

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