Renegade Labs Inc - Pan FAQ

Q: Isn't your "Pan" control really a "Balance" control?

A: The control we call "Pan" can operate as either a balance control for stereo or a pan control for mono depending on how the routing is set.

The pan (balance) control operation is easier to explain if we just look at the first 4 crosspoints; the ones that route the left right stereo pair to output buses 1 and 2. Here is a simplified schematic:

Pan Schematic

The mix is digital, of course. We use analog pots here only to illustrate what is done with multiplies and adds in the DSP. When centered, the pan control delivers unity gain to all four crosspoints. The diagram below shows the left input feeding bus 1 and the right input feeding bus 2:

Unity Diagonal

In this case, the "Pan" control is acting as a balance control. As the knob is turned clockwise, the left channel gain to bus 1 is decreased and the right channel gain to bus 2 is increased and visa versa. If you exchange the crosspoints, you get the diagram below:

Backwards

Now, the input channels are swapped (i.e. left to bus 2, right to bus 1). However, turning the control clockwise will still increase the signal on bus 2 and decrease the signal on bus 1. The control still balances the signals in a way that is consistent with the direction you turn the knob. Hence, we say that the pan (or balance) control is output oriented because it does not change direction when you swap the inputs.

To pan one channel between two output buses, you must select that one channel on both output buses as in the diagram below:

Mono

With the pan control centered, the left input is sent to both output buses at unity gain. As you turn the control clockwise, the gain increases in bus 2 and decreases in bus 1 and visa versa. The 2 gains complement each other to maintain constant power between the two buses. That means that the object would move from one speaker to the other without getting louder.

If you want to pan the right channel, then you would select the right two crosspoints instead. If you wanted to pan both left and right together, then you select all four. However, if you want to pan both left and right independently, you will have to assign the same stereo pair to another fader strip and do it there.

The one thing this arrangement does not do well is to balance left and right signals to one bus. Consider the diagram below:

Don't Do This

You might expect the control to balance the two inputs to output bus 1. Sorry. Turning the control clockwise would decrease the gain of both signals to bus 1. We considered putting in some smart software to detect this condition and flip the direction of one of the pots, but what if three crosspoints were selected? Then we would not know which way to turn. It became apparent that this smart operation might be more confusing to the operator than it was worth. Since we expect the need for this configuration to be very infrequent and we like to keep things clean and simple, we left it to its natural operation.

The diagrams and explanation above apply to all the rest of the output bus pairs as well. That is, the operation for bus 1 applies to all the odd buses and the operation for bus 2 applies to all the even buses.