How To Pan Audio In Logic Pro | Simple And Advanced Options

Oct 11, 2023
How To Pan Audio In Logic Pro


In the vast world of music production, the available tools allow musicians and audio engineers to create sounds that are more captivating and immersive than ever. One of the most fundamental techniques in creating a rich and dynamic atmosphere in a song is spatialization.

Using panning tools allows you to position audio tracks in a virtual space as if different tracks are coming from different areas around the listener's head. Such effects are particularly more noticeable when you’re using stereo headphones.

Apple’s Logic Pro is a world-famous digital audio workstation (DAW) thanks to its long list of tools, features, and industry-standard sound library. Like many other things in Logic, you can pan your audio tracks in multiple ways. Choosing one of these strategies depends on the track type, your goals, and personal preference.

In this post, I show you different ways you can pan mono and stereo audio channels in Logic Pro.



The Easy Way: Using The Default Pan/Balance Knob

Regardless of your track type, Logic will always give you a pan/balance knob to adjust which direction the track’s sound is coming from. You can find this knob in the track header area (1), by pressing “I” on your keyboard and opening the inspector menu (2), or opening the mixer by pressing “X (3).



Using this knob, you can click and drag vertically to position the track signal in the stereo field: dragging down would pan your track to the left, whereas dragging up pans it to the right.

Moreover, you can double-click the pan/balance knob to enter numeral values as panning information: zero indicates balanced stereo, negative numbers are for panning to the left, and positive numbers are for the right side.



When dealing with mono tracks, panning things is more straightforward; you have one audio channel and position it to the left or right according to your preferences. But when it comes to working with stereo tracks, things get a little bit tricky.


Panning Stereo Tracks

Regarding stereo tracks, you have two separate audio signals coming from left and right. Some software instrument tracks might only have subtle differences between the left and right signals. On the other hand, the differences between the left and right audio strips might be much more noticeable if you’re dealing with a stereo recording with two microphones (like an acoustic guitar or various string instruments).

For dealing with stereo tracks, Logic gives you two options to pan audio on the horizontal axis. Either from the inspector menu or the mixer, control-click on your stereo track’s pan/balance knob.



As shown in the screenshot above, Logic sets your panning knob to “Balance” by default, but you can change it to “Stereo Pan.” There’s also a “Binaural Panner” feature, which I will explain later in this post.

For now, let’s focus on the differences between Balance and Stereo Pan. When a stereo track’s pan knob is set to Balance, and you pan it to the left, Logic reduces the volume coming from the right channel. In some cases, this can be undesirable since the two signals have different sonic information. So, if you hard-pan a stereo channel to one side, you’ll lose all the information from the other side.

On the other hand, if you use Stereo Pan, you’re essentially summing both signals to the left or right. Bear in mind that when you send both channels to one side, your track will get louder, so you might need to readjust gain levels to avoid reaching the clipping threshold.



Using Logic’s Binaural Panning Feature

Whether you’re working with a mono or a stereo track, you can use Logic’s Binaural Panning tool to adjust the position of your track beyond just moving to the left or right. Changing the pan/balance knob to Binaural Panning allows you to reposition the source of your signal in a three-dimensional space.


  •  Control-click the pan/balance knob from the inspector menu or the mixer window and select Binaural Panning.
  •  Double-click on the knob to open the tool’s interface.



As you see in the screenshot above, I’ve opened two of these tools: one for a mono signal and another for a stereo track. Each of the windows contains a circular map, with the presumption that the listener is at the center of the circle looking up.

Not only can you move your signals to the right or left, but you can also adjust the distance of your sound source from the listener by moving it closer or further away from the center of the circle.

What’s more, if you change the binaural field from Planar to Spherical, you can even change the elevation level of your audio source by moving the puck around.



You can expand or shrink the size of your general space by moving the Size fader from the bottom of the Binaural Panning window.

Moreover, if you hold “Command” on your keyboard, you can move the puck on a diagram to adjust the direction of the audio source without making any changes to its distance.




Final Thoughts On Panning Audio In Logic

Panning audio is an excellent way to separate different instruments and make everything sound clearer. Moreover, it can create an atmosphere for your song to create a multi-dimensional experience when listening through a stereo audio system.

You can even take it one step further and use automation techniques on your pan/balance knob to move signals around and create interesting dynamics in your project.

If you need more help with songwriting, production, mixing, and mastering, check out my Free 6 Pillars To Learn Logic Pro Faster guidebook.

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