To Pan or not to Pan two Monos

I have a guitar track that was cut in stereo, and is exported in two mono tracks, L & R. There are two ways to pan them:

  1. Pan them hard left and right, buss them to a Group Track, and then pan that Group where I want;


  1. Pan the mono tracks where I want the guitar to sit in the sound field, making the instrument as wide or narrow as I want.

My question is, does it matter which way this is done? How does it affect the sound, phasing, etc.? And what is recommended practice?

I doubt there’s a difference in sound, but what I would do is convert the track to stereo instead and pan there. I generally find it much easier to work with one track rather than more than one.

Thanks for your reply. Him… I’m not convinced. I think there are definitely phase considerations. In playing with either option, moving around two mono tracks of the stereo image, or moving the panner on a stereo track of the same, I find it difficult to keep the sound similar. That’s why I’m wondering what the common practice is.

if the two mono tracks are sent to a group stereo track (or bounced into a stereo track), the stereo images stays left and right, and decreases in either channel accordingly. But when you move around two mono images, the one side is increasing while the other remains the same when you move one closer to the other. That has to introduce some phasing, I would think, or at least, creates some cancellation or some summing that wouldn’t happen just panning a stereo track.

It makes no phase difference whatsoever-- the only things that would affect that would be the track’s being recorded out of phase in the first place, or one of your split stereo files got moved slightly after import. But whether you’re panning a pair of mono or a stereo file of identical material would make no difference.


Well to begin with I just want to make sure that you’re aware that there are different types of panners for stereo tracks. Check the manual. They work differently.

The other thing is that the way we interact with tools change the way we change things. One anecdote that shows this was given by an engineer working on SSL consoles that recounted the positive reviews on an update to a console EQ. He then explained that the only difference was the radius of the EQ knobs. Because it was different, engineers would actually do more or less “EQing per turn”, which they then perceived as a different sounding EQ despite the electronics being the same. So that you’re not getting the same results working on two mono tracks as opposed to a stereo track is probably not so strange. The question is if you can get a result you’re happy with.

HI Lydiot,

Thanks for writing back. You know, it’s been so long since I"ve used Nuendo, I totally forgot about the stereo panner options. Given that the dual panner is essentially the same as moving the mono tracks around, then it answers my question that moving mono track panners is just as acceptable.

However, with the stereo panner, a group track is no longer required and all the routing, etc. Will save me some time on the rest of the project! Thank you sir.

You’re most welcome!