Proper stereo panning in Reason: RE or VST?

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chaosroyale
Posts: 717
Joined: 05 Sep 2017

Post 28 Jul 2021

Selig explained the details very well as usual.

The tl;dr version is that the Reason mixer "pan/width" control is totally broken, it is NOT REAL PANNING, and does not work correctly on anything except mono signals.

The workaround is to pan in the rack with my free combinator or Selig Gain. If you want to pan on the main mixer, you have to use 2 channels wired up separately for left and right, which is slow and a workflow killer, so....typical Reason.

If anyone is still having trouble imagining what is happening; make a stereo sound on one of your synths with OSC 1 hard left and OSC2 hard right, a couple of octaves up or playing an ARP or something so you can easily hear the difference. Then try "panning" gradually from center to hard left on the main mixer, and you will hear OSC 2 gradually fade out and disappear.
Last edited by chaosroyale on 30 Jul 2021, edited 1 time in total.

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dannyF
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Post 28 Jul 2021

chaosroyale wrote:
28 Jul 2021
If anyone is still having trouble imagining what is happening; make a stereo sound on one of your synths with OSC 1 hard left and OSC2 hard right, a couple of octaves up or playing an ARP or something so you can easily hear the difference. Then try "panning" gradually from center to hard left on the main mixer, and you will hear OSC 2 gradually fade out and disappear.
So what you are saying is that both the L and R sounds should both be appearing on the Left side? as opposed to OSC 2 vanishing?

chaosroyale
Posts: 717
Joined: 05 Sep 2017

Post 29 Jul 2021

Yes, you got it. Stereo panning should move the R channel gradually across the the left side, not fade it out. That's what "panning" is.

Fading the L and R channels on a stereo signal is not panning, it is a "balance" control, which (as I recall) was originally a way of adjusting the listening position "sweet spot" when listening to music from a stereo amplifier in a room.

dannyF wrote:
28 Jul 2021
chaosroyale wrote:
28 Jul 2021
If anyone is still having trouble imagining what is happening; make a stereo sound on one of your synths with OSC 1 hard left and OSC2 hard right, a couple of octaves up or playing an ARP or something so you can easily hear the difference. Then try "panning" gradually from center to hard left on the main mixer, and you will hear OSC 2 gradually fade out and disappear.
So what you are saying is that both the L and R sounds should both be appearing on the Left side? as opposed to OSC 2 vanishing?

kbard
Posts: 83
Joined: 05 Jun 2021

Post 30 Jul 2021

Selig Combi is how panning works on hardware console. And it should work as that in Reason main mixer imho.

Knowing and reading experiences here, we can conclude that we should not hope that Reason will get new panning anytime soon.

I strongly suggest to anyone that they simply use Selig combinator or eventually some plugin which does the same. It is way easier to mix that way. At least for me.

Apparently mister Selig will update his Selig Gain Rack Extension at some point in the future so this will be easier to achieve.

chaosroyale
Posts: 717
Joined: 05 Sep 2017

Post 30 Jul 2021

Quick reminder my free "Pandemon" combinator will do real stereo panning and a few other tricks, without needing any non-standard devices.

ZIP file is linked earlier in this thread and also in the refill forum here:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7523077

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selig
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Location: The NorthWoods, CT, USA

Post 30 Jul 2021

chaosroyale wrote:
30 Jul 2021
Quick reminder my free "Pandemon" combinator will do real stereo panning and a few other tricks, without needing any non-standard devices.

ZIP file is linked earlier in this thread and also in the refill forum here:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7523077
You don't perchance have a version that doesn't use Line Mixer's 6 dB pan law? I'm a 3 dB or at most a 4.5 dB guy from way back, and that's the only reason I never use the panning from the Line Mixer or 14:2 mixer…
[also just notice you have the same issue I had - uneven center pan position (right channel is 0.5 dB hotter just adding the Combinator to the instrument). Not a huge deal, but seems to be more about how the Combinator/Reason handles things rather than a theoretical issue - in "theory", we shouldn't be having these issues…

In related news, this same panner took less than 10 min to build in Reaktor, and shows none of the issues we both ran into trying to do the same inside Reason!
Selig Audio, LLC

chaosroyale
Posts: 717
Joined: 05 Sep 2017

Post 30 Jul 2021

Yeah I'm with you on the pan law. If the line mixer had smoother volume steps instead of only 127 values, I could adjust it with another workaround to gradually reduce/increase the gain while panning. But I think at the current resolution it might be too steppy (especially when automating).. maybe I will have a listen when I'm free some time and see if it's acceptable. When I use this device in my mixes, I just accept that it has a heavy-handed pan law and keep that in mind when balancing the channels gain.

As for the lack of perfect "center" position, I decided to just accept it without trying to find a workaround (if that is even possible) because if someone wants it panned perfectly center, they don't need to use the combinator in the first place ;)

For both issues, it would be nice if the devices were updated to allow for more accurate adjustments. But I'm not holding my breath.

Reaktor.. yeah... I am seriously thinking of moving everything I do to Reaktor or Max for Live. It's a shame because I love the simple and easy style of Reason's Combinator, especially combining VST instruments and effects with Reason utilities.
selig wrote:
30 Jul 2021
You don't perchance have a version that doesn't use Line Mixer's 6 dB pan law? I'm a 3 dB or at most a 4.5 dB guy from way back, and that's the only reason I never use the panning from the Line Mixer or 14:2 mixer…
[also just notice you have the same issue I had - uneven center pan position (right channel is 0.5 dB hotter just adding the Combinator to the instrument). Not a huge deal, but seems to be more about how the Combinator/Reason handles things rather than a theoretical issue - in "theory", we shouldn't be having these issues…

In related news, this same panner took less than 10 min to build in Reaktor, and shows none of the issues we both ran into trying to do the same inside Reason!

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