Pan for Ultimate Width
Panning is by far the most crucial step for getting a wide stereo image.
Panning lets you place individual instruments, or even certain frequencies of instruments, in a particular spot within your stereo image - and go as wide as you want.
Here are some quick tips and rules for getting your panning pristine and achieving width in your mix.
Keep your low end in the middle
Don't pan your low end frequencies. Low frequencies are the heart of a groove and drive your rhythm, so it's best to keep them straight down the middle of your stereo image.
Keep your L and R balanced
Our brains are naturally attracted to centered stereo images, so it's best to keep the left and right channels balanced to avoid confusion in the phantom center.
Pay close attention to the "presence zone" frequencies, and remember to always pan with your ears, not your eyes. Don't look at the knobs. The only thing that really matters is how it sounds. When panning, close your eyes and listen until you hear that perfect sweet spot.
Even if the volume of your Left and Right channels are balanced, if one side has more sound competing for the presence zone, this can cause the stereo image to sound off balance.
Keep your lead vocals in the center
By keeping your lead vocals in the center of your mix unless you have a good reason to do otherwise is a great way to really let it shine through.