If panning is not working in REAPER, there is a good chance that you have a mono plugin somewhere in your project. If this is the case, you can fix this by figuring out where the mono plugin is and replacing it with the stereo version.
Panning Issues In REAPER
In my opinion, panning is the single most powerful mixing tool in audio and music production. Panning allows you to create a spacious mix that fills the entire stereo field.
If you are unable to use panning while working on a track, you will be significantly hindered in being able to create a professional mix.
In this step-by-step guide, I will show you how to fix REAPER panning if it is not working and some other REAPER panning tips and tricks.
What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial
The only thing you will need for this tutorial is the REAPER DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). All of the features and functions we will be looking at come with REAPER.
Step One – Identify The Panning Problem
The first step for fixing a panning issue in REAPER is to figure out where the problem is.
For example, if you can pan everything in your project aside from one track, your panning issue is on that individual track.
However, if you cannot do any panning in your project at all, the panning issue is most likely on your master track.
Once you have determined where the panning issue is, you can move on and start to fix it.
Step Two – Find The Mono Plugin
Now that we know where our panning problem is, let’s open up our ‘Track FX Window‘ and identify which plugin is causing the issue.
To do this, click the ‘FX‘ button on the desired track and scan the plugins on that track.
Once you find the mono plugin causing your troubles, you can move on to the next step.
Step Three – Replacing The Mono Plugin
Now that we have found the mono plugin causing our panning problems, we can delete it and replace it with a stereo version.
To do this, delete the mono plugin and insert a stereo version of it.
If there is no stereo version of it, you might have to make do with another type of plugin.
Other Potential Fixes
If you went through these steps and did not find a mono plugin causing your panning problem, something else could be causing your issue.
Let’s take a look.
Previously Panned and Printed Stereo Track
One thing that could be restricting you from panning a particular track in REAPER is if it was previously panned in one direction and then printed or rendered with that stereo image.
This would make it so that the individual track doesn’t have any sound on one side of its stereo field. So if you were to try to pan in that direction, you would not hear anything.
If you are working with a stereo track that only has sound on one side of its stereo field, you cannot pan to the side without sound. You will not hear anything.
BUS Track Panning
Another thing that will keep you from being able to pan a track in REAPER is if it belongs to a BUS track with panning applied to it.
For example, if you have a BUS track panned all the way to the left and other tracks that belong to this BUS track, you will not be able to pan these other tracks to the right because they are subservient to the BUS track and its panning settings.
This is definitely something to check if you have issues with REAPER panning not working.
One last thing to look into if you’re having panning issues is that there is no routing giving you problems.
For example, suppose you accidentally send the track you are trying to pan to another channel with panning settings already applied. In that case, it will make it so that your original track takes on those panning settings.
To fix this problem, check your track’s sends and ensure that it’s not going anywhere that you don’t want it to.
How Do You Pan In REAPER?
To pan in REAPER, click the pan knob on the track you wish to pan and drag it to the desired position.
You can also pan in REAPER by right-clicking the fader on the track that you wish to pan to open up the routing menu for that individual track. From here, you can enter a value in the ‘pan‘ box to pan the track.
Where Is The Pan Knob In REAPER?
The pan knob for any individual track in REAPER is to the right of the track’s visual display.
If you right-click the pan knob, you will open up more pan settings.
How Do You Use The Auto Pan In REAPER?
Auto pan is a type of stereo modulation effect that can give certain tracks some flavor and interest.
To use the auto-pan in REAPER, insert the ‘Transient-Driven Auto-Pan (Transmitter)‘ plugin on the track that you want to control.
Once you insert the auto pan plugin on your track, you can use all of the different settings within the plugin to change how the track auto pans, how wide it pans, etc.
Take some time fiddling with these settings to understand how they affect the auto pan.
How Do I Pan MIDI In REAPER?
In REAPER, you can pan MIDI tracks the exact same way that you pan audio tracks. The process is identical.
Simply click the pan knob on the MIDI track and drag it to your desired pan position. [8.MIDIPan]
What Does Pan Mode Mean?
‘Pan mode’ refers to the different types of panning that you can apply to a track in REAPER.
For example, in REAPER, we have the option to use ‘Project default (stereo balance),’ ‘Stereo balance/mono pan (default),’ ‘Stereo pan,’ ‘Dual pan,’ or REAPER 3x balance (deprecated)’.
I recommend using the option for ‘Stereo pan‘ as it is the only option for a true stereo pan in REAPER. However, if you want more of a mono pan instead of a stereo pan, you should use either ‘Project default (stereo balance)’ or ‘Stereo balance/mono pan (default).’
Take a look at the different pan modes in REAPER.
What Is Pan Width?
Pan width refers to how wide you want to pan your track.
In music production, width refers to how far a sound is on the stereo field to the left or right.
For example, if you have a track panned 100% left but the width is at -100%, the pan on that track won’t sound too extreme.
However, if you have a track panned 100% left but the width is at 100%, that track will sound very far out in the stereo field.
What Is It Other DAWs Can Do that You Wish REAPER Could?
The two main things that I wish REAPER had compared to other DAWs are a collection of virtual instruments/audio samples and more built-in compatibility with third-party hardware like MIDI keyboards and MIDI controllers.
REAPER has no virtual instruments or audio samples, which is a massive drawback for modern music producers. You can still use REAPER for modern music production, such as beat making and EDM. Still, you will need a collection of third-party virtual instruments and plugins.
Also, when using other DAWs such as Pro Tools or Logic Pro, you will have a much easier time connecting and using third-party hardware such as MIDI devices. This is because they are much more mainstream and recognized DAWs.
In the case of REAPER, however, I have had trouble setting up certain MIDI devices in the past.
What Is Something That You Love About REAPER Above Other DAWs?
My favorite thing about REAPER above other DAWs is how easy it is to BUS and sub-BUS tracks.
In REAPER, not only can you drag an individual track under another one to BUS it to that track, but you can create BUS tracks within that BUS track.
For example, if you have a BUS track for your guitars with two rhythm guitar tracks and one lead guitar track, you can create a sub-BUS track to control your rhythm guitars independently from the lead guitar track.
This is quite useful when you’re working on a busy mix.
What Is the Benefit of Panning in Mixing?
While working on a mix, Panning is extremely helpful because it allows you to separate different mix elements spatially so that it won’t be muddy or messy.
If you do not pan anything in a mix and leave everything dead center on the stereo field, your mix will sound cluttered, unclear, and unprofessional.
Are you looking for more great tips? Check the following guide if you are struggling with no sound in REAPER.
about the author
I’m Jack Oberkirsch, a film and media composer residing in Denver, Colorado. I play in several local bands and have been touring the country for nearly a decade.
Since 2016 I’ve been focusing on studio work and production and have moved into the realm of film and media composition.
I like to combine and implement many different musical instruments and styles to convey the director’s vision on any given project.
I also enjoy writing material for music libraries and sync placements.