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The Odd Necessity for Binaural Pan

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asked Jul 1, 2019 in Studio One 4 by jamesrussell14 (380 points)

This is a bit of a silly question, but it's been on my mind:

You mix a song, you pan tracks out left and right using the option on the console, or you can use "Dual Pan" to place sounds where you want them.  Get 'em nice and spaced out.

You go to master your work in your project where S1 has turned those tracks into a stereo file.  It now sounds narrow and cluttered.

Enter "binaural pan."  When used on individual instruments during mixing, that plugin will not widen some things at all, even if they're stereo output. The sound doesn't change. Sometimes however it does have an effect.

But in your mastering project, binaural pan is amazing.  Suddenly, the whole things widens out massively and the instruments sound like you'd ideally hope they would- spread out spatially and very even.  More like it did when you were mixing them.

Today, on a whim, while mixing, I threw binaural pan (BP) on my master bus after my light compression.  It sounds FANTASTIC.  Like putting 3d glasses on lol. 

I was mad that I'd never thought of it before, so my question/speculation is this: why would binaural pan even be necessary to make that happen?  In my silly mind, if you're lookin' at your console and, let's just say I pan a guitar Left 100% and a piano Right 100%, that program's tellin' you "You panned these as far as stereo goes dude.  This is the brakes. Ain't no more "left" or "right" in those headphones/speakers."

But that's not accurate- go to master and it suddenly sounds narrow? BP fixes it.  Today I learned BP on the master bus of your mixing session is looovely. Maybe what I'm doing is something very silly or unnecessary, but I'm planning to try it on all mixes from here on out.  Now, I'm dumb AND self-taught (bad combo), so does anyone with more sense think it's weird that all your panning/placement options don't just make the mix sound like BP does in the first place?

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