Making Stereo Pan Adjustments with the Audio Mixer

You can control the stereo pan of clip items within audio tracks by using the panning sliders in the Audio Mixer. Like adjustments made using audio faders, adjustments made using a track’s panning slider affect only the clip that appears at the position of the playhead, and these adjustments can be automated. For more information on creating pan automation, see About Mixer Automation and Keyframe Recording.

For more information about working with stereo audio in Final Cut Pro, see Stereo Audio.

Pan Controls for Stereo and Dual Mono Audio

The way clip items are linked together and the kind of output bus assigned to a track affects how pan controls behave in the Audio Mixer.

Initially, you choose whether clip items are mono or stereo during capture, but you can change this when you edit in the Timeline.

About Mono and Stereo Clip Items

Clip items may be linked in the following ways:

  • Mono clip item: A mono clip item is a single audio clip item that contains one audio channel and is not linked to any other clip items.
  • Stereo pair clip items: Two clip items can be specially grouped together as a stereo pair. Creating a stereo pair allows you to adjust the level and pan controls of both clip items simultaneously. Clips captured as stereo are automatically added to the Timeline as a stereo pair. For more information, see Audio Editing Basics.
  • Linked clip items: To keep items in sync while you edit, you can link up to 24 audio clip items (mono or stereo pair) together. Linking audio items does not change their mono or stereo pair characteristics. Dual mono clip items are a typical output group in which two mono clip items are linked together. For more information, see Linking and Editing Video and Audio in Sync.

How Audio Outputs Affect Panning Sliders

Panning sliders can behave in three different ways, depending on the clip item linking and the type of audio output assigned to a track. For more information about audio outputs, see Audio Signal Flow in Final Cut Pro.

  • Mono or stereo clip item and mono audio output: Any track assigned to a mono audio output has its panning slider disabled.
    Figure. Diagram showing how mono and stereo clip items in Timeline tracks are output to a mono bus.
  • Mono clip item and stereo audio output: A track’s panning slider allows you to control the stereo placement of the mono clip.
    Figure. Diagram showing how a mono clip item in a Timeline track is output to a stereo bus.
  • Stereo clip items and stereo audio output: Level and pan controls for both clip items are linked. You cannot independently adjust the left or right level. Changing the pan of one of the clip items inversely adjusts the pan of the other, resulting in a gradual swapping of the left and right audio signals.
    Figure. Diagram showing how stereo clip items in Timeline tracks are output to a stereo bus.
    Figure. Panning sliders in the Audio Mixer showing pan settings of -1 and 1 for linked stereo clip items assigned to stereo outputs.

Changing a Clip’s Pan

You can change the pan of both stereo and mono clip items in the Audio Mixer. When you adjust a stereo clip item’s pan, the other clip item in the pair is adjusted by an equal and opposite amount. Mono clip items’ pan is adjusted independently.

To change the pan of an entire clip
  1. Make sure the clip doesn’t have any pan keyframes already applied.

  2. Make sure that the Record Audio Keyframes button in the button bar at the top of the Audio Mixer is not selected.

  3. In the Timeline, position the playhead so that it’s over the clip you want to change.

  4. Drag the panning slider of the relevant track strip.

    Dragging the slider to the left pans that clip’s audio increasingly to the left channel. Dragging it to the right pans that clip’s audio increasingly to the right channel.

    Figure. Panning sliders in the Audio Mixer tab.
To reset a panning slider
  • Hold down the Option key, then click the panning slider you want to reset.

To reset all panning sliders in the Audio Mixer
  • Control-click at the top of any track’s track strip, then choose Reset All Panners from the shortcut menu.

Note: Stereo pan can also be modified in the audio tabs of the Viewer. For more information on how to modify stereo pan in the Viewer, see Changing the Pan of Audio in the Viewer.