Facebook social media iconTwitter social media iconYouTube social media iconSubmit to Reddit

Panpot

A description of the technology and function of the panpot as found in mixing consoles.

FREE EBOOK DOWNLOAD ►
Come on the FREE COURSE TOUR

Each channel of the mixing console posesses a panpot (short for 'panoramic potentiometer').

In early mixing consoles the signal could be switched to the left channel, to the right channel, or divided equally between left and right - center, in other words.

The panpot can be used to send the signal to any point in the stereo image between extreme left and extreme right - known as 'hard left' and 'hard right'.

The panpot has what is known as a 'law'. This determines the way the signal is proportioned according to the position of the panpot.

FREE EBOOK - Equipping Your Home Recording Studio

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio

In some mixing consoles, when the panpot is in its center position, the signal level is -6 dB compared to hard left or right. This is because the signal is routed equally to left and right and the two sides add together.

Other consoles use a -3 dB law.

The object is to maintain a constant signal level no matter where the signal is panned.

-6 dB is theoretically correct if the stereo signal is later going to be summed into mono. -3 dB is correct if the signal is to remain in stereo. Some consoles use a compromise -4.5 dB law.

Most engineers would regard this as a fine distinction, hardly worth bothering about.

By David Mellor Monday June 2, 2003
Come on the FREE COURSE TOUR