Logic Pro 9 Panning/ Direction mixer: still not clear


I've searched a few threads now but I'm still not absolutely clear how this panning thing works, relative to the difference between a mono and a "stereo" channel.

First of all ...

1. If you have a dry mono instrument strip on the mixer, say, a guitar on Track 1, the pan knob will work as one would think, and you can pan the channel left or right as you so desire. Yes?

2. If you have a mono instrument strip on the mixer, again say, a guitar on Track 1, and you select one of the guitar preset plug-ins, and the channel then converts to "stereo" (because of the plug-in you've selected), the pan will not then work as true pan but rather as a balance between the left and right sides of the otherwise mono channel. Yes?

3. In situation #2 above, in order to pan the now "stereo" guitar channel, you should leave the pan control on the strip in the center position and pan the instument via the Direction Mixer plug-in. Is that correct?

If all of the above correct up to this point, where I get lost is what should you do if you're running a channel to a bus?

Lets suppose I have my aforementioned mono guitar on Track 1 with a "stereo" producing plug-in going to, say, a reverb bus, and another (different) guitar on Track 2 (that also has a "stereo" producing plug-in selected) and both guitars will be using the same reverb bus? What should I be doing to the bus so that Track 1 guitar pans left and Track 2 guitar pans right?

In yet another sceanario: what if I have my drum toms (1 through 4) going to a compression bus, a reverb bus (specifically for the drums) and then to a volume bus (in essense a sub-mix of which all the drums in the kits can be raised or lowered in volume simultamneously through it). All four toms are mono and I want toms 1 and 2 to be panned hard left, and toms 3 and 4 to be panned hard right.

I assume I use the pan control on each tom channel (dialing them in left or right) but how should I set the compression bus, the reverb bus, and the volume bus so that in the final output channel toms 1 and 2 are hard left, and toms 3 and 4 are hard right?

Thanks in advance.



When feeding a stereo bus, leave the pan in the middle the mono tracks, and the tracks using the direction mixer will retain their panning.

My approach is that I don't want all of my tracks swimming in the same reverb.

Sometimes I'll put the reverb, on all my channel strips, with the same settings. Then use different pre-delay settings for subtle variance in depth.


Peter Ostry

Staff member
In stereo channels the Direction Mixer does pan, not balance. So if your stereo channels are set to balance (don't know if this is the default setting) you need the Direction mixer if you want to pan.

There is a remarkable difference between pan and balance:

The whole signal gets shifted to the sides. At the extreme positions all of the music is on one side.

If one channel goes louder the other goes quieter. At the extreme left and right positions you hear only the left or right stereo channel.

If you have for example a guitar left and a singer right, with hard pan both of them go to one side. With hard balance you hear the guitar or the singer, not both.


Yes, I'm finding that out: the difference between pan and balance and how they work, either as an alone tweak or in conjunction with each other.

As I read somewhere else about the pan/balance controls, how they're set up and how they work, it does seems rather counter-inuititive, especially if you're used to analog. But once you understand how the signal path works, then it's not so bad. But I'll tell ya, I was stuck for longest time.

Thanks again