Ok so I recently received a request for doing a blog on panning and stereo imaging so here are a few quick, but hopefully helpful tips;
Panning is super important and gets overlooked by many. They stack a couple of stereo synths and that´s it. I like to look at panning as a tool to place each instrument so it feels like I´m watching a band playing on stage. So maybe we got the guitar player standing on the left side of the stage, the keyboard player on the right side of the stage, the lead singer right in the center etc etc.
But with that being said I like to keep all my low end information, like kick and bass, in the center of the mix most of the time (which kind of goes against what I just said). Snares as well. Or maybe I duplicate my snare, pan 1 left and 1 right, then slightly pitch and time shift one of them to get rid of phase problems. This way I get a real wide big snare that your still hear knockin on both sides if your listen with earbuds. This is also a trick that works well on hihats. Lead vocals should be in the center as well. Everything else should get it´s own place somewhere left or right in the stereo image. Panning goes hand in hand with reverb as I like to use reverb to move instruments back and forth in the mix like you use panning to move stuff left and right, if that makes any sense lol. There are no rules tho so if you want to go for a super unrealistic stereo image and it sounds great then go for it! Be creative!
On stereo instruments I like to use S1 Stereo Imager to pan them to give them their own place in the mix. Especially if you layer a lot of synths you can really give each layer it´s own place and make the total sound real wide and huge.