Panning And Effects

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Member Since: May 16, 2008

I kno it's really a matter of opinion, but what wud be the best panning technique for a hip hop/rap song?.. As far as Main vocal, ad libs, background vocals. Also i hear about ALOT of different effects like reverb, distortion, normalizing, etc.. IF u could, what are some effects you kno of and what are their main purpose.. Sorry for such a complex and not quite specific question but i hav 0 knowledge on this topic, lol.. Thanx for any Help.

I use ACID Pro 6 to record..

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Ne'er ate 'er
Since: Apr 05, 2006

May 17, 2008 10:55 pm

As far as recording techniques go, Rap/Hip-hop doesn't differ from other styles.

Panning is only for creating a wider sound field, and shouldn't be used for its own sake unless you're intentionally using it for effect.

Use your imagination, but as I've recommended before, it's not wise to use extreme panning on any tracks that are important to the song/message. If you can listen to the piece on one channel only, and hear all of the vital ingredients, then your panning is probably OK.

Effects are the same. Browse the effects in Acid and mess around with them. You'll most likely add too much effects at first because they sound cool, and that's OK. Playing with the possibilities is the best way for a newbie to learn.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

May 18, 2008 08:03 am

Yep, what Herb said, on relevance per styles. Panning shouldn't be overused, though I tend to play with it probably more than I should.

A possible starting point may be:

Scale : -100 . . . . . 0 . . . . . +100
Legend: full left . . . center . . . full right

Main vocals: center when alone
Main vocals: -10 when with backgrounds
Back vox: +10 when with main vox

Drums & bass: center

Guitar 1: -25
guitar 2: +25

Other perc / effects: -50 to +50, placed wherever.

That's certainly just a ballpark idea to give you an idea of how to start with panning. Certainly, your own taste would come into play.

Reverb is similar to the difference between someone talking directly into your ear, or someone talking on a stage in an auditorium. It fools the brain into thinking the source is not directly next to you, thereby giving the source some depth, or space. Direct is sometimes wanted, sometimes not.

Distortion is often used for guitars, for the overdriven fuzzy sound. It can also be used on vocals, to give them a gravelly, fuzzy sound. This can be difficult to do well on vocals, often needing a very good plugin to sound decent.

Another tool you should get to know is compression. This tool says, when the source goes over a set limit (called threshold), say -10db, then the program will start turning down the volume at a certain rate (called ratio).

I like to think of a little guy in the the PC with headphones on, and when the volume of a track gets too loud, he starts to turn the volume down. How fast he reacts is called attack, and how long he waits till he turns it back up is called release.

This is a great tool for taming tracks that have a lot of loud parts, then soft parts. Put on a compressor, the set the threshold down to where it gets into the main part of the signal material. So if the signal is peaking regularly around -10db, then set the threshold around -12db. This 'compresses' anything that goes above -12db, thereby squeezing down the loudest parts.

From there, you can turn up the track a little, maybe 2 db. This makes the track louder, but it doesn't clip because the loud parts are being contained.

Don't overdo it though, as over-compressed tracks are just loud all the time, with no dynamics. Actually, for rap/hip-hop, you may want all loud signal. It really depends on the source material.

Since: May 16, 2008

May 19, 2008 01:27 am

Other then Sony Noise Reduction.. What is a good way to get rid of the background noises, like a air sound?.. The whole effects thing is kinda confusing to me when im looking at it, lol im sure i'll figure it out by playing with them a lil more tho..

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

May 19, 2008 09:05 am


The natural tendency to want to jump right in and do it right from the begining is counter-productive and a falicy. This is not a slight in any manner. I did it too. Now, conversly what I have found is that the more "time in" I have the more I learn and the more I hear. I wouldn't have it any other way. It is always challanging, interesting, motivating in that respect. I am sure had I just been able to "learn it" and be done, I would have done just that; been done.

Get into the "Tips" section here and do some reading. Read liturature that comes with plugs, etc. Get an idea of what the adjustments do at an intelectual level. Then test your theories per study with application and find out what they really do per you're perception.

This is and endless art. Wouldn't be here if it wern't.

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