I keep my mono kick and bass centered, and use mono percussion samples when possible, that lets me craft stereo audio more carefully and keenly. I often have panning envelopes on percussion so they don’t all hit in the same space, and to give a bit of action to the percussion line itself.
Ive become enamoured of the idea of keeping the stereo signal from crossing one another til its played ni the actual air; Reaper is very handy for mono converting stem tracks output from Renoise, and nondestructive; you can change hte left into teh right, or downmix, or return to stereo wiht a right click. Then its easy to put the l and r stems into hard-panned left-and-right channels, which in my ears gives a bit more space than plain stereo. And prevents any digital crossfeeding, that to me is an invitation to muddy up your audio. I keep a stereo stem on some panning-effected channels, sometimes, but it sounds cool as hell and clean too, to have a panned stereo signal split into mono channels.
Mono is my new love, audio wise (my lady is my real love). I just don’t liek the IDEA of crossfeeding without my own express permission to do so.
Renoise needs to hurry up and allow mono l and r output so i can sleep easy in the knowledge that there isnt any crossfed audio being output (though in practice its not really like that, i assume…?).
Another trick that i use for kick and basses is to hard pan mono mixed left and right and a third centered. I like how this sounds, the bass and kick are coming from every direction, and is functionally 2.1 audio (I think). Just centered or just panned l and r tends to sound either hollow in the panned case, or weak without major presence in the case fo centered only.
Ive used Reaper for mixdowns since i found it, and the mono options it offers are just FTW heavenly… If only Renoise would load stems and set the end of the project automatically to the end of the waveform, and have the same context menu mono switch… And Reaper outputs 64bit FP at 5x realtime! Mp3 at 22x realtime?! WHOA! OF course not entirely realtime. Nice tho. If only it had more application than that, other than mixdowns and the context mono switcheroo its a mess of a DAW. Try routing to sends sometime and praise Taktik for Renoise, and the Holy Arguru ascended into heaven and seated at the right hand of FT2 for the trekker it was born from, as Athena was born from the skull of Zeus so to was the holy trakcer born from a man’s skull.
In the case of synths; experiment in Reaper if you want ease of mono converting, play around with stereo (centered) and hard panned single mono l or r, for example. If you do any panning of the stereo I suggest doing it with 2 mono chans l and r’ed appropriately, as doing the same with stereo can overlap l or r with a mono channel if youve got one. I like how it sounds when i pan the stereo slightly l or r, like <10%, and throw a mono on the opposite side hard panned, for example a stereo chan panned l I would throw the mono hard right, this gets teh stereo interaction but also the single sided mono which when done to the right element can help it stick out. Often Ill cut the db of the stereo audio to about 2/3 to half the mono’s db, to allow the stereo to sort of sit behind the other elements of the mix, while the mono is off to its own side standing clear.
It helped me a lot(!)to read the wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereophonic_sound mainly i was worried that when converting to mono l or r, the pan would become centered and overlap the l and r signals if i didnt change the pan. It doesnt sound like it does that, in Reaper, as I imagine the context conversion, being nondestructive, is just a cutting out of one or the other channels without any pan change, that i can hear. Also check the wiki about mid-side, pseudo-stereo, and quadrophonic sound for more enlightenment.