Reduce panning / stereo width [solved]

Hello all,

I have a recorded track that I need to edit in Audacity. What I need to do is reduce the panning on the track. There are portions of the track, in both the lead synth and the drums, where things are panned too far to the left or the right. I need a way to edit the track within Audacity such that the track is not entirely mono, but just “less wide.” Like, I want the parts that are to the right or the left to be 50% closer to the center, and I want to just apply this change to the entire track. That’s all. Whatever I need to do to make that happen, I’m willing to do it!

From the track drop-down menu ( select “Split Stereo to Mono”
On the upper track, slide the Pan control to 50% left
On the lower track, slide the Pan control to 50% right
Edit > Select All
Tracks > Mix and Render

– Bill

For the record, this is what I tried doing and I think the result might be OK:

  • Duplicate the stereo track.
  • Render the duplicate to mono.
  • Make a new stereo track.
  • Copy the mono track into both channels of the empty stereo track.
  • Delete the mono track.
  • Take the original stereo track (the one with too much panning) and change the amplification to -6 dB, using the slider to the left of the track.
  • Mix and render the two stereo tracks to a single stereo track.

Now there’s still panning on the end result, but the instruments don’t “hard pan” like they used to… it’s more subtle. Is there a better way to do this?

Oh, just noticed this, I’ll try it now!

I don’t know of any “separation” tools, but I can think of an insanely painful way to do it in Audacity 1.3.

Duplicate the existing stereo show so you have two copies in the edit window. Pick the bottom copy and Tracks > Stereo Track To mono.

This is where it gets sloppy. I think if you Effect > Amplify [-6dB] to each track and listen to it just like that, it should be what you want. Half-mix between stereo and mono with no loss in quality.

I think if you export right now, it should produce a stable show. I personally would be going through the extra steps to make a two-track mono of the bottom track, but that’s just me.


billw58, that worked perfectly, similar result to the long and painful method I tried first and much easier your way. Thanks!

This free Audacity plug-in could make your mix less wide …

Stereo Butterfly (static) (buttrfly.ny) View | Download

The original Stereo Butterfly plug-in, the name coming from a butterfly’s wings, which can be spread wide (1, full stereo), closed (0, sounding mono), or > somewhere in-between> . Stereo Butterfly can even mirror the left and right channels (-1… the butterfly’s flipped!). And also anywhere between the extremes from -1 to 1.


  1. Stereo width [width, between -1.0 and +1.0

I suspect what the plugin is doing is managing the show as R+L and R-L like stereo FM does instead of Left and Right. You can reduce the separation of the show just by fading the L-R (the stereo signal) to zero or get variable separations by stopping at any value. You can go above normal, too.

If you flip the signal over (Invert), the stereo show will reverse. There’s a lot to be said for compressing a show like this, too. Mono shows, or shows with reduced separation automatically take up less data.


Another alternative is to use the “Channel Mixer” effect: