Panipulator is a freeware tool that helps achieve accurate mix translation and it just received an update. Boz Digital Labs has updated the freeware utility plugin from version 2.0 to Panipulator 3.
Panipulator 3 isn’t one of the most exciting freebies; it’s pure utility and does its job with little fanfare. But that’s in no way a negative comment because it does a very important job.
It will help you identify potential panning/phase issues and check mono compatibility across various playback systems.
Most significantly, as marked by a big red button, Panipulator 3 lets you sum your stereo mix to mono. In doing so, you’ll find out if anything is lost in translation ( I also love Bill Murray and will shamelessly drop movie titles/references).
The update comes with a refreshed GUI and a new clean Lofi effect. Panipulator 3 allows you to flip the left and right channels, invert the polarity of either channel and adjust the pan law, which you can set to 0, -3, or -6 dB.
Adjusting the pan law compensates for any increase in level when two signals are summed to mono. If you have any moving elements that pan left and right, summing to mono can turn that motion into a less appealing push/pull feel. Adjusting the pan law per track with Panipulator can address that issue.
CPU-friendly is an understatement for this plugin, so if you want more than one instance, you can go as crazy as you like.
While your mix may sound great on your lovely monitors, not all devices are equal. Ideally, you want everyone to have as close to the same listening experience as possible, or at least hear all elements meant to be heard.
It’s easy to assume most people these days are listening in stereo, but many commercial locations such as nightclubs, restaurants, and stores lean heavily on mono playback. The main reason is to ensure that everyone hears the same thing within the often complex layout.
For example, in a club, you don’t want the bass to drop out when people walk around the corner from the bar to the dancefloor. On a smaller scale, most home smart speakers and similar products are mono.
Accurate mix translation isn’t something that I ever thought about in my early days as a musician. I was blissfully ignorant to many aspects of the studio in my role as a performer/composer. It was a little later when I took an interest in recording/mixing/producing and the many things I previously took for granted.
I bring that up because, although mono compatibility will be second-nature to many of you, it’s good to highlight its importance to beginners.
Panipulator 3 is available in 64-bit AU, VST2.4, VST3, and AAX formats for macOS (10.11 or higher) and Windows (XP or higher).
Download: Panipulator 3 (9.11 MB download size, EXE installer, 64-bit VST2/VST3/AU plugin format for Windows & macOS)