Which panning to use in this case

I have 2 tracks - 1 x stereo piano and 1 x stereo guitar - which are clashing a bit.

I want to give them both their own space by panning - but am not sure what is the best way to go about it. Usually I set the project pan law to Equal Power, and use Pan in default “balance” format - but maybe the Pan Stereo Combined is more appropriate for what I want to achieve - I read a bit about the Pan Stereo Combined and understand what it does, but not really WHY and WHEN I should use it over the normal Stereo Balance.

Any suggestions?

The Stereo Combined Panner may be able to help you with this but if the guitar and piano are playing similar frequencies maybe not as much as you might hope. Essentially it controls firstly the width of the stereo signal and then where it’s placed (if not at full width). Easier to observe than explain I find.

There are various Videos around on the Stereo Combined panner which probably explain it better than I can with examples, such as this one:


In this case I’d probably use the Stereo Combined Panner starting with something like L-R10 on one channel and L10-R on the other and adjust it from there. That said I often end up with a stereo spread like L80-L40, or even narrower. Also coordinate your EQ-ing between the parts. Cut some frequencies in one part that lets the other part through & vice-versa.

I use the combined panner a bunch. I find it especially useful for taming “big” sounding parts so they don’t take over the entire recording. Lots of VSTi patches sound great when you just play them alone - huge wide sound. Designers are inclined to create these patches because they make their instrument shine. Trouble is a lot of these patches just don’t play well with other sounds in your mix, drowning out the other elements in the mix. Guitar effect pedals also often do this. The Combined Stereo Panner (and EQ) is a really useful tool in combating this.

Whenever using guitars and keys in same song, it’s always best to play the keys one octave above the guitars to avoid them clashing together and that is pretty much how it has to be done.